Official language: Finnish, Swedish
Time zone: UTC+3 (summer), UTC+2 (winter)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
While staying in Finland, go at least once to sauna. In Helsinki we recommend Kotiharjun sauna, the last such public place in the capital, which is wood-fired.
From a port in Helsinki you can go by boat to the island Suomenlinna. It used to be a fortress defending the city from attack form the side of the sea, today it is enrapturing with its nature and an interesting museum.
Around 30 minutes’ drive from the port, in the district Töölö there is situated Temppeliaukio, the church in stone, one of the most known buildings in the whole Finland.
Helsinki is a city of modern technologies, minimalistic architecture and perfect, based on fishes and wild meat, local cuisine. Though winters are cold there, don’t be afraid – the capital of Finland is beautiful at each season of the year.
Helsinki doesn’t have a typical main square like most of other cities. As a meeting point or a local landmark is serving Kauppatori, a trade market on the shore of the Baltic Sea. You can find there not only tasteful, covered stalls with food, including fishes, but also souvenirs and numerous eateries and cafes. In October this place is filled with scent of basic gift of the Baltic Sea as traditional herring market, called silakkamarkkinat, is taking place there. It is also worth to go to the boardwalk Esplanadin Puisto, by which a lovely park is situated together with baronial, secessionist building, premises of artistic cafe Kapelli.
In the city’s panorama dominant are simple in form, spectacular buildings such as Helsingin päärautatieasema, a railway station Helsinki Main City or headquarters of the Parliament (Eduskunta) and numerous sanctuaries. The most famous of them is white, neoclassical Lutheran cathedral Tuomiokirkko, built on a hill by Senate square and made of red brick Uspenski Cathedral located on an island Katajanokka Skatudden. You will get there without struggles – both buildings can be noticed from afar. Visit also ultramodern, minimalistic and made almost entirely of wood Chapel of Silence (Kampin Kapelli), situated in the business district Kamppi. It is open every day till 20.
Modern Finnish cuisine is a mix of traditional dishes with modern recipes in continental style. In restaurants serving local specialties it is worth to try poronpaisti, a reindeer roast, leipäjuusto, which is baked cow’s cheese and perunamuusi with lihapullat – mashed potatoes with meatballs. It is good to know that lunch is usually served between 11 and 14 and during that time prices of dishes are the cheapest. Where to go when you feel hungry? To a restaurant Juuri at Korkeavuorenkatu, Lappi at Annankatu, as well as Finnjavel at Etelaeranta.
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