Helsinki a Nordic gem

ByAndrea Thompson

June 28, 2024

Helsinki, the vibrant capital of Finland, offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.


Helsinki’s past is woven with threads of resilience and transformation. It evolved from a small trading town to a grand city over the centuries.  Founded in 1550, it has witnessed wars, Russian rule, and eventual independence. The architecture reflects this journey, from the imposing Senate Square to the modernist Oodi Library

Architectural Marvels:

  • Helsinki Cathedral: Perched atop a grand staircase, this neoclassical beauty dominates Senate Square. Its white facade and green domes are iconic.
  • Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church): Carved into solid rock, this unique church hosts concerts and offers an otherworldly experience.
  • Kamppi Chapel of Silence: A serene wooden structure in the heart of the city, inviting contemplation.
  • Suomenlinna Fortress: A short ferry ride away lies Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore its tunnels, cannons, and museums. Don’t miss the panoramic views from the bastions.

Design District:

Helsinki embraces design like no other. Wander through the Design District, where boutiques, galleries, and cafes showcase Finnish creativity. Marimekko, Iittala, and Artek are household names here.


  • Allas Sea Pool: Imagine swimming in heated pools by the sea, surrounded by snow. Add a traditional sauna session for the full Finnish experience.

Cultural Kaleidoscope:

  • Ateneum Art Museum: Finnish art from the 19th century to contemporary works.
  • Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art: Bold, thought-provoking exhibits.
  • National Museum of Finland: Dive into Finnish history and folklore.

Island Hopping:

Explore Helsinki’s archipelago—over 300 islands! Take a boat tour or hop on a kayak. Vallisaari Island, with its untouched nature, is a hidden gem.


Just a few recommendations to try whilst there

  • Karjalanpiirakka (Karelian Pie): These small, crusty pastries from Finland’s eastern province of Karelia are filled with mashed potato or rice and oven-baked.
  • Poronkäristys (Sautéed Reindeer): Reindeer meat, with its strong flavour and low fat content, is a common protein source in Finland.
  • Korvapuusti (Cinnamon Bun): Known as “a slap on the ear,” these sweet buns are loaded with sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Try one with your coffee at a local café
  • Leipäjuusto (Bread Cheese): Also called “squeaky cheese,” this sweet baked cheese pairs perfectly with cloudberry jam.

Sustainable City:

Helsinki prioritizes eco-friendly living. Its efficient public transport, green spaces, and commitment to sustainability make it a model city.

Helsinki’s blend of history, nature, and culture makes it an underrated gem. Whether you’re a solo traveller or exploring with friends, this city won’t disappoint