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Helsinki Travel Guide

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Elements of high design abound in this stylish capital, where Eliel Saarinen and Alvar Aalto, the fathers of Finnish modernism, are revered the way sports heroes are in other cities. Their legacy lingers in the buildings they left behind, all low white blocks and unadorned granite. The onion-domed Uspenski Cathedral may be a landmark—and a reminder of Russia’s former influence—but it’s the architecture from the 1960’s and beyond that really
defines the streetscape. The vibe on the sidewalks is youthful, the restaurants are fashionably furnished, and the cafés in Kallio, an emerging artists’ neighborhood, are ideal for dark winter nights and long summer evenings when the sun never quite sets.

Don't Miss

  • Drinking a Karhu—the city’s local lager—at Ateljee Bar, the rooftop bar at the Sokos Hotel Torni, which has some of the best views of the city.

  • Perusing the kiosks at city’s outdoor food market, Kauppatori, known for its cloudberries, lingonberries, pickled herring, and smoked salmon sandwiches, among other goodies.

  • Exploring the 35,000 objects on display at the Design Museum, and learning how and why Finland became the design mecca it is.

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