I was Overwhelmed by the Spectacular Baggage Hall at the Arrival Wing of the Helsinki Vantaa Airport.
In a captivating demonstration of its commitment to creating an extraordinary experience for its passengers. Glass-encased showcases portraying Finnish plants and wildlife were placed in between the baggage claim belts, while live footage of Finnish nature is now being projected on one of the walls. The ceiling, meanwhile, was covered with fabric representing wings, and the walls decorated with a circuit board pattern, which was hand-drawn by Lindfors and pays homage to Finnish IT expertise.
Helsinki (Swedish: Helsingfors) is the capital of Finland and its largest city.
The urban area offers a variety of historical, cultural, and outdoor attractions to explore. Most of Helsinki proper sits on a granite peninsula on the north coast of the Gulf of Finland, facing the Baltic Sea. The peninsula has numerous offshore islands and rocky islets and many little coves and inlets. While generally a flat city, there are some significant hills scattered about with excellent views of the sea. Helsinki is a great city to explore on foot or on a bike. That said, it has a reliable and far-reaching public transportation system.
I must also mention that Amongst the four Scandinavian Countries I visited, Finland was the Most Mother and Toddler friendly.
I didn’t spend a penny on transportation, except when I used taxis. You travel for free on the Buses, Tram and Train if you are travelling with a child on a Pram/Push Chair.
Below are some of my favourite Top-Rated Attractions in Helsinki:
1. Helsinki Harbour:
2. Market Square:
The Market Square (Kauppatori) is the main planned and paved square in central Helsinki. It is one of the best-known outdoor markets in Northern Europe.
Bordering the Baltic Sea, at the eastern end of the Esplanadi, the market runs from spring to fall. It is full of stands selling Finnish foods, flowers, and tourist souvenirs as well as a few outdoor cafés. Visitors should watch their food carefully, the seagulls at the market are large and brazen and will pluck food from unsuspecting diners. In October, the famous herring market takes place, and masses of American cars meet at the square every May 1st.
3. Helsinki Cathedral:
The Cathedral is a major tourist attraction and a distinctive landmark in Helsinki. The building is in the neo-classical style with its tall green dome surrounded by four smaller domes.
It was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel as the classic max of his Senate Square layout; it is surrounded by other smaller buildings designed by him.
The church’s plan is a Greek Cross (a square centre and four equilateral arms), symmetrical in each of the four cardinal directions, with each arm’s façade featuring a colonnade and pediment. Engel originally intended to place a further row of columns on the western end to mark the main entrance opposite the eastern altar, but this was never built.
4. Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral :
5. Rock Church:
North of the Hietaniemi area along Fredrikinkatu is Helsinki’s Rock Church, designed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in the late 1960s. The underground interior of the church was carved out of and built directly into the ancient solid rock of the Helsinki peninsula. The inside is bathed in a glorious natural light that enters through the glazed dome. It has a shallow circular dome (13 meters high) of copper sheeting and glass borne on concrete ribs. The church is also used as a concert hall due to its excellent acoustics created by the rough, unworked rock surfaces of the interior.
Admission: Free, except during concerts
Address: Lutherinkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki
6. Visit A Sauna:
For the Fins the sauna represents a place of meditative refreshment; a god-like delight dating from the Viking period. Besides the obvious stress relief, there is a multitude of supposed benefits on offer from the high-temperature, timber chamber: It improves cardiovascular performance; helps weight loss; soothes muscle and joint pain, and contributes to better sleep quality. For the real experience, consider joining a trip to the sauna with spot of winter ice diving – if you dare! One of the nation’s most popular sauna types, the smoked sauna, can be found at Yrjönkatu, the oldest swimming pool in the country.
Address: Yrjönkatu 21 B, Helsinki, Finland, +358 931087401
7. Visit the Design District
All the best things in life are free, so is this thought-provoking visual design parcel in the heart of the city of Helsinki!
With an impressive accumulation of boutiques, workplaces, antique shops, galleries and restaurants, there are plenty of opportunities to discover the unmistakable simplicity of minimalistic Finnish design here. In short, the Design District unravels the subtle power of Scandinavian design and décor though awe-inspiring collections of hand-made products, simple-cut clothing shops, and functional architecture alike.
8. Linnanmäki Amusement Park:
To the east of Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, beyond the railroad line, is the Linnanmäki amusement park, with a water tower, a switchback, and a giant wheel. Along with the nearby Television Tower, it forms a striking vision on Helsinki’s skyline. The park opened in 1950 and has continually renovated and improved the rides, shows, shops, and restaurants. Prices and entry times vary throughout the year and change frequently so be sure to check the website for the most up-to-date information.
Address: Tivolikuja 1, FI00510 Helsinki
9. Finnish National Museum (Kansallismuseo)
At Mannerheimintie 34 is the National Museum (Kansallismuseo in Finnish). Founded in 1912 in a National Romantic style, the museum is easy to spot when heading north along the street as it is the only building on the left hand side with a tall spire. The Kansallismuseo contains a comprehensive collection of material on the culture and ethnography of Finland. Of note is the Finno-Ugrian collection with traditional costumes and everyday cultural objects. The prehistoric section is the largest permanent collection of archaeological materials in the country. Various displays also document the development of Finland from the middle ages through the Swedish and Russian empires and into a modern state. The entrance hall is decorated with fabulous ceiling frescoes inspired by the Kalevala, the national myth of Finland. The frescoes were painted by Akseli Gallén-Kallela, perhaps Finland’s best artist. Opposite the National Museum, in a park, is the Municipal Museum.
Hours: Open Tues-Sun 11am to 6pm, closed Mondays.
Admission: Adults 8€, students and seniors 7€, children under 18 free
Address: Mannerheimintie 34, 00100 Helsinki
10. Finlandia Hall:
North of the Municipal Museum in Helsinki, on the shores of Töölö Bay (Töölönlahti), is the Finlandia Hall, a concert and convention hall designed by Alvar Aalto and built in 1971 with a white facade of Carrara marble. The marble is also used on the inside of the structure. Details appear in hardwoods and ceramics. The main concert auditorium is a stunning site and is famous for its acoustics. Another standout feature is the wide Venetian staircase that leads from the ground floor to both the main auditorium and chamber music hall. The Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was signed here in July 1975. To the north of the hall is an excellent park (home to large chess boards and chess pieces), and beyond this again is the new Finnish National Opera House, inaugurated in November 1993 with a performance of the opera “Kullervo” by the Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen. Check the website for frequent updates on events, prices, and openings.
Address: Mannerheimintie 13 e, 00100 Helsinki
11. Central Park (Keskuspuisto)
Helsinki’s Central Park (Keskuspuisto) is a massive park right in the middle of the city. Covering more than 10 square kilometers, the park begins at the Olympic Stadiumnear Töölönlahti Bay and stretches north into the community of Vantaa at the Paloheinä forest where there is a wide cross-country skiing area. The park is more wild woodland than manicured garden. It’s loaded with bike and walking trails and other activity areas. The idea for the park was proposed by architect Bertel Jung in 1911 and grew over the following decades. It was finally codified and included in the master planning for the city in 1978.
12. Finnish National Museum of Art (Ateneum):