Helsinki is a vibrant urban metropolis and the largest city in Finland, and it is consistently ranked among the world's best places to live. Helsinki boasts many museums, music halls, and theaters, and the city is renown for its various art and cultural festivals. The city is likewise famous for stunning architecture, but while Helsinki is an ideal destination for architecture enthusiasts, it will also appeal to travelers in search of a thriving nightlife scene and world-class entertainment venues. Our Helsinki travel guide will help you plan your itinerary top to bottom.
Things Not to Miss in Helsinki
Your Helsinki travel plans would not be complete without attending one of the various festivals held each year. In August, Helsinki holds its Night of the Arts festival. With circus troupes in the parks, opera performances displayed on screens throughout the city, and philharmonic orchestra performances, this festival is designed to help tourists and residents alike see the city's museums and theaters in a new light, hopefully enticing them to return to visit Helsinki throughout the year.
During the winter solstice, the Forces of Light festival begins. This festival was created to help the inhabitants combat the dark days of winter by lighting fires; now, it has morphed into a city-wide event in which all people are encouraged to create light of any kind. Colored light is especially encouraged, and makes for a stunning visual display for those who travel to Helsinki in the winter months.
When to Go to Helsinki
Helsinki and the rest of Finland tend to stay warmer than their northern latitude may indicate, with average temperatures in January around 23 degrees (not for the tropical traveler!). The latitude does, however, dictate the amount of sunshine per day. In the winter, the sun is often out for only 6 hours, but in the summer, you'll enjoy sunshine for up to 19 hours per day. If you value your sunshine, be sure to visit in the summer.
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.