Helsinki is the capital of Finland, also known as Helsingfors in Swedish. You’re probably wondering why this city has two names, but Finland and Sweden have a lot in common since Finland had been a Swedish region for over 700 years until 1809 when Finland became a Grand Duchy. I happened to travel to Finland in 2017, an important year in Finnish history because the centenary on Finland’s independence is being celebrated this year. Alright, I don’t want to bore you with history, so let’s get lost in Helsinki!
The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about Helsinki is the famous cathedral (Helsingin tuomiokirkko) dedicated to St. Nicholas and designed in a Neoclassical style by Carl Ludvig Engel during the first half of the XIX century.
Something that will take your breath away is the Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral (1868), which witnesses the Russian influence on Finland.
Finland was under the Russian Empire until 1917, that’s why Finns are celebrating this year, but Russian architecture and culture had anyway a huge impact on Suomi.
Finnish Museum of Natural history:
At this point, you might have noticed that I love museums, especially Natural History museums! In this one, you can learn a lot about Finnish nature and there’s also a wing dedicated to the history of our universe, from its creation to today. Here you can find more info about opening hours and entrance fees: https://www.luomus.fi/en/natural-history-museum.
I was in Helsinki during the second week of September and temperatures were hardly above 15°C or below 8°C, so I’d say that autumn arrives quite early in Finland. The weather is quite unpredictable though, so my advice is to bring clothes for all seasons – even in summer. Packing an umbrella is useless, better buy one at Marimekko.
Oh Finnish food, what art thou?
Finnish food has now a special place in my heart, my stomach, and my cupboard. Is it silly or predictable if I say that I loved korvapuusti?
Don’t forget to buy Moomin biscuits and eat salmon soup in the heart of the old market square.
Oh, and don’t miss Mat, a cozy café which serves delicious food.
Maybe I should stop talking about food at this point.
But look at this berries…
Stay tuned to find out more! There’s so much to say about this country, especially on design, which will have a dedicated blog post.
But don’t miss out on Suomenlinna, the best accommodations in Helsinki and the Helsinki Design Week!