3 reasons why Helsinki should be high on your travel list

by By Michelle Chin (mchin@sph.com.sg)
published on 21 June 2016

Head north for a European experience that will have you wanting to return for more, be it the Scandinavian landscape, the gastronomic evolution or creative fun activities unique to the region.  

Visit Helsinki during the warmer months from May to September when temperatures can range from 10 deg C to 17 deg C.

1. Wealth of history

Summertime in Helsinki is pleasant weather to be outdoors. Sign up for a three-hour English-guided walking tour around the city.

For more extensive exploration, purchase a 24-hour ticket to embark on city tours while zipping around on an open-air double decker bus. The tour comes with multilingual headphones.

You can hop on and off the bus as much as you like at about 15 bus stops around the city. This gives you ample opportunities to explore attractions dotted around the city at your own pace.

Some places to visits include Helsinki Cathedral, Senate Square, Market Square, the beautiful Uspenski Cathedral, Temppeliaukio Church and the Kamppi Chapel.

2. Maritime culture

Take a 1.5-hour cruise along the waterways of the city’s waterfront to enjoy the picturesque views of the shorelines of Helsinki. The cruise will pass by the Helsinki Zoo and the Unesco World Heritage Site of the Fortress of Suomenlinna. The multilingual audio commentary onboard enhances the experience.

A sea fortress, Suomenlinna was built in the 1700s by Sweden before Finland’s independence. Today, it is frequented by tourists for its six museums, cafes and artistic gardens.

3. Satisfy your taste buds

Sampling local fare forms part of the travel experience. A traditional Finnish fare, the Karelian pasty comes with a rye crust encasing rice pudding or mashed potatoes.

This fragrant and warm treat is often accompanied by a delicious spread made of boiled eggs and butter.

The lihapiirakka, or meat pie in Finnish, is a savoury deep-fried pastry filled with meat filling. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, this golden-brown delicacy is sometimes served with mustard, ketchup, or sweet cucumber relish.  

Located at central Helsinki, the Old Market Hall is must visit to satisfy your taste buds. With more than 20 family-run food stalls offering a variety of local and international delicacies at the food hall, one visit may not be enough.

Tuck into locally-produced cheese, shell fish, creamy salmon soup or lohikeitto in Finnish and exotic fare like reindeer meat.