Helsinki is located on the topmost portion of a peninsula. It is also one of the cities located in the northernmost part of the world, where winters are long and cold, with days in almost total darkness. The city is surrounded by sea and over 300 islands, with over 14,000 hectares of marine fishing waters. The outer limits are surrounded by postwar suburbs which are divided by small patches of woods.
How to Reach (Modes of Transportation)
By Plane - The Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is the primary airport serving the city, located 18km north and located in the nearby city of Vantaa. It serves both domestic and international destinations, with the busiest season in the summer.
By Train - The Central Railway Station provides short and long-distance routes to nearby cities and to international destinations such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. Easy connections to the metro and tram lines are available to get to the city centre and its suburbs.
The Tram network has 2 lines that go around the city centre, providing the most convenient way to get around. The Metro Line located brings passengers to the eastern parts of the city.
By Bus - The Central Bus Station offers bus companies with domestic and international routes.
By Boat - There are 5 harbours in the city, offering trips to Estonia and Stockholm, and to the neighboring islands.
By Helicopter - Copterline is an expensive way to get to Tallinn and back. The ride takes only 18 minutes and is the world's fastest capital to capital city transfer.
By Kutsuplus - A relatively new mode of transportation in Helsinki and offering a more convenient and faster way to get around is the Kutsuplus, a minibus service that one can book online, taking passengers that are headed in the same direction in one vehicle. Passengers are picked up in the nearest bus stop and payments are only made through credit card.
By Taxi - Taxi services abound in the city centre and are regulated by the government.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Helsinki is in the summer - during the months of June to late August. Daylight hours are very long with sunsets happening very late at night. It's the one time of the year when locals take off their coats and head to the cafes and outdoor bars to revel under the sun. Beaches are filled with tourists and locals, being the only time of the year when swimming is pleasant.
Culture (Fairs and Festivals) and Traditions
Helsinki Festival - Every August, Helsinki celebrates the largest arts and culture festival in Finland. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the city during this event, with performances of dance, music, theatre, and art exhibitions are spread all around.
Flow Festival - This 3-day urban and electronic music festival held every mid-August every year is flocked by the country's music lovers, as well as international visitors to witness national and international acts. Art installations and workshops are a new addition to this event.
Vappu (Walpurgis Night) - Every April 30-May 1 in the city, students and workers all around the city find the perfect excuse to wear the most colorful and extravagant costumes and party the days and nights away. Bars and cafes host massive parties, and the festival is considered as one of the city's biggest holidays.
Points of Interest (Places to Visit)
Suomenlinna Fortress - One of the greatest fortresses in all of the Baltic, it holds lots of fortifications, catacombs, iron cannons, and buildings that have been converted into restaurants, museums, a theatre, and cafes. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is considered to be one of the greatest examples of military architecture in Europe.
Seurasaari Open Air Museum - A little island located north of the city centre, this live museum offers plenty of walking trails in nature, authentic old Finnish homes, and locals doing traditional crafts in local costume. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants, as well as souvenir and gift shops.
Kiasma Museum - This modern art museum has an acclaimed architectural style that is distinctly Finnish - its clean lines and unique design is an attraction in itself.
Helsinki offers a wide range of accommodation choices - from luxury hotels to cheaper alternatives. Old brick house hotels are available, offering a unique experience, as well as eco-friendly hotels for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint in the environment.
Last Updated : August 22, 2014