Helsinki is Finland’s largest and capital city with a population of at least 500,000 people. It is considered Finland’s cultural center. The Helsinki-Vantaa Airport connects a number of destinations in Asia and Europe and this makes it an ideal place for holidays for people residing in these continents. However, this does not mean that the airport locks out people from other regions or continents that want to tour or explore Helsinki.
The city derives its name from the Swedish name Helsingfors, a combination of two words (Helsinge – the surrounding parish) and (fors – the rapids). There are still many theories surrounding the origin of this name and they could go on and on. Nevertheless, what is important is the fact that this is a vital city and it has been in the records as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Helsinki is praised for its richness in the number of islands, peninsulas and bays and could provide an excellent experience for any holidaymaker or visitor. When you explore Helsinki, you will admire a scenic display of patches of forest. Some visitors claim that the Helsinki Central Park is just irresistible; they can not leave the city without taking much of their time in the park. One tourist wished the park would be transported to her neighbourhood back at home.
When you travel to Helsinki, you could consider making a tour to its rich islands such as:
- Lauttasaari island
- Korkeasaari island
- Santahamina island
- Seurasaari island
- Pihlajasaari island
These islands are favourite spots during summer. Helsinki and its islands receive a considerable number of visitors during summer as a result of the prevailing humid continental climate. It is also reported that the city experiences long days in summer and this means that you can have all enjoy all the sun rays and warm climate as you please.
Apart from the islands, the city itself is a beauty to behold. Some of the most fascinating buildings and sites include:
- The Aleksanterinkatu
- The Helsinki Cathedral
- The parliament of Finland
- Café Regatta near Sibelius Park
- The Senate Square
- The Government Palace
- The Stora Enso, the headquarters of the paper company
- Finlandia Hall, the concert venue
- The Tennis Palace
- Olympic Stadium
- The Swimming Stadium
- Glass Palace
- The Rowing Stadium
- The Helsinki-Malmi Airport
- The Exhibition Hall
All these sites and buildings are demonstrations of the architectural ingenuity and innovativeness that can not be found anywhere else except in Helsinki, Finland. In fact the Helsinki-Malmi Airport and Olympic Stadium have been recognized as important national cultural-historical environments by the National Board of Antiquities.
Helsinki is endowed with museums which are home to a wide range historical collection some of which date as far back as the prehistoric times. They include:
- The National Museum of Finland
- The Helsinki City Museum
- The UNIVERSITY MUSEUM, University of Helsinki
- The Natural History Museum, University of Helsinki
- The Kiasma Art Museum for classical modern art
- The Sinebrychoff Art Museum for classical European art
- The Ateneum Art Museum for classical Finnish art
In case you are not a fan of museums and galleries, you can take a tour of Helsinki’s theatres and the most popular theatres are: the Helsinki City Theatre, the Finnish National Theatre and the Finland Swedish Svenska Teatern. They will offer you the best experience that you have ever had in your life. While it is good to spend most of your time outdoors, it is also vital to give yourself a break so that you can be witness to what happens in Helsinki’s theatres and musical venues. Some visitors arrive there with the assumption that theatres and musical venues across the globe offer presentations and renditions that are not any different from what they have in their respective countries. You know what they say, “He who has eaten his mother’s food all his life might think that his mother is the best cook in the whole wide world.” If you give it a chance, you will be shocked at how different theatres are in Helsinki.
Whenever you choose to explore Helsinki and its attractions, do not just focus on the recreational, buildings and other attractions. Remember that people are usually the best attractions that you can ever have. Interact with the locals in Helsinki and discover the ideas that they have. The best time you can interact and mingle with the locals is in August when they are having their Helsinki Festival. This event is held with the aim of celebrating the city’s culture and body of arts.
Finally, the city’s well developed transport network makes mobility of visitors to their respective destinations of choice faster and easy. Helsinki is a city of choice and a city visitors and locals.