Helsinki is the capital of Finland. Founded in 1550, the “Daughter of the Baltic” has been the Finnish capital since 1812, when it was rebuilt by the tsars of Russia along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg, a role it has played in many Cold War movies. Today, Helsinki pulls off the trick of being something of an international metropolis while still retaining a small-town feel. The best time to visit is in summer, when Finns peel off their overcoats and flock to outdoor bars and cafes to enjoy the sunshine.
Where to Eat Local Cuisine
- Green Hippo Cafe – Veg Friendly & Vegan Options – Green Hippo Café serves healthy, price worthy and beautiful food and is very vegan friendly as well. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served Monday-Saturday from early until late and an all-day, highly popular brunch is served on Sundays. We have a big and cozy terrace outside in the summer. We also serve wine, beer, cider and bubbly.
- Krog Roba – Veg Friendly & Vegan Options – Former police station is now relaxed restaurant which roots are in Nordic countries. You can pop in just for burger or lunch, or spend whole evening in our company. Come and see what Nordic Madness feels and tastes like!
- Pompier Espa – Veg Friend, Vegan and GF Options – Casual lunch is served daily with a changing menu. There is always warm food, a rich salad table, a soup of the day and self-baked bread. Warm food is served at the tables as a plate dish.
- Vinkkeli – Veg Friend, Vegan and GF Options – Restaurant Vinkkeli is located in the heart of the Kaartinkaupunki neighborhood, at the intersection of Korkeavuorenkatu and Pieni Roobertinkinkatu. Vinkkeli can be described as a food and wine restaurant, presenting a friendly, honest, and uncomplicated take on classic cuisine, where the wine and drink selection is given the same devotion as the selection of ingredients in the kitchen.
- Nokka – Veg friendly, Vegan & GF options – The gastronomic flagship establishment of the Finnish food and drink scene is located in Helsinki’s Katajanokka neighbourhood. Our friends call us Nokka. In summer, Nokka opens out towards the Baltic Sea and offers what is undoubtedly Helsinki’s most inviting outdoor patio area, just a stone’s throw away from the city centre. Our café and shop serves lunches, wine and coffee, and you can also buy products featured on our menus and created by our carefully selected suppliers to take home, to enjoy as a snack or a full lunch.
- Ravintola Kuu – Veg friendly, Vegan & GF options – Restaurant Kuu, or “the Moon” in english, was founded in 1966 with an eye above the clouds. Since the beginning the atmosphere has been described as reminiscent of a continental bistro. Many of our neighbourhood clientele are second generation regulars and we look forward to welcoming the third generation to Kuu as well.
Top 6 Tourist Spots
Suomenlinna is an 18th-century sea fortress and nature area with centuries-old artillery and defensive walls, spread across 6 linked islands. Walking trails cross parkland between popular sights like the King’s Gate drawbridge and Suomenlinna Museum, which recounts military and maritime history. Submarine Vesikko lets visitors explore a restored 1930s vessel. There’s also a brewery and several waterside restaurants.
Helsinki Cathedral is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the neighborhood of Kruununhaka in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built from 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia
The Market Square is a central square in Helsinki, Finland. It is located in central Helsinki, at the eastern end of Esplanadi and bordering the Baltic Sea to the south and Katajanokka to the east.
The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel’s architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki.
The Sibelius Monument by Eila Hiltunen is dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The monument is located at the Sibelius Park in the district of Töölö in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland.
Uspenski Cathedral is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Helsinki, Finland, and main cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Finland, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos. Its name comes from the Old Church Slavonic word uspenie, which denotes the Dormition. Designed by the Russian architect Aleksey Gornostayev.
Unusual Things to Do in Helsinki
The National Library of Finland
Architecturally stunning library serves as the hub of Finnish scholarly life and culture.
Within the vast halls of this architecturally eclectic library sits a treasure of Finnish cultural knowledge, gathered from every source available and preserved by Finnish law.
A subterranean house of worship carved right out of the bedrock.
The underground house of worship, called Temppeliaukion kirkko in Finnish, was designed by architect brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in the charmingly named Töölö neighborhood. On all sides of the circular church are roughly hewn stone, where sometimes water still seeps in to create miniature waterfalls.
An alien church provides much needed silence in the midst of a Finland shopping center.
In the middle of Helsinki’s hectic Narrinkkatori Square is an ultra modern chapel that creates a little slice of heavenly silence in the middle of a sea of outside noise.
Bad Bad Boy
This endearingly discomfited urinating statue commemorates the sneaky pees had by us all.
As far as micturating statuary goes, Manneken Pis in Brussels has been the gold standard for an astonishing 400 years. However, Helsinki introduced a charming new entrant a couple years ago that is less whimsical little kid peeing happily, and more chagrined adult who did not intend for you to see this.
Seurasaari Open Air Museum
A small island dotted with old, historic Finnish buildings.
Helsinki, Finland, is a beautiful amalgamation of old and new architecture. The city sports many buildings that are a few centuries old. If you’d like to see even older buildings, then you should head to Seurasaari, a quaint island in the Meilahti neighborhood that’s full of antique structures.
Finland’s oldest astronomical observatory once played a crucial role in seafaring and timekeeping.
When walking past the Helsinki city center, it’s hard to miss the large, beautiful building that stands at the top of the hill in the southern part of the city. It is slightly obscured by a row of old trees but nevertheless is an imposing structure that can be seen from all around the harbor. This building is not a palace, as you’d be forgiven for thinking, but actually used to be Finland’s main astronomical observatory.
Also, check out our Helsinki Infograph!
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