Helsinki is the capital and the largest city within Finland. As it is situated in the southern portion of the country, Helsinki is also quite warm in comparison to other locations. With a population of more than 1.2 million residents, this city is also one of the most important educational, artistic, cultural and financial centres of the entire country. As should come as no surprise, there are a great many things to do and see for those who are planning on visiting Helsinki.
The Best Times to Visit
If you are not a fan of the extreme cold, it is wise not to arrive during the late autumn or the winter. Also, keep in mind that due to the northern latitude of this city, the winters can be cold and dark; very little sun is seen. It is best to think ahead and visit between May and August. However, the only trade off here is that this is also the time when the majority of tourists tend to arrive. Should you desire to avoid the masses, plan your holidays in Helsinki in late March or April. You are likely to encounter less people while the prices of accommodation may be substantially reduced.
The Best Things to do in Helsinki
The most well-known architectural attraction to be found within the city is by far the Helsinki Cathedral. Built between 1830 and 1852, it was intended to be a tribute to both the Grand Duke of Finland and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Its tall, green dome tends to dominate the Helsinki skyline and it is quite emblematic of the rather turbulent history of the country itself. As the church seats no less than 1,300 visitors, it is also one of the largest in Finland. An interesting feature is that the facade incorporates traditional Roman columns alongside a decidedly Russian influence. Masses are held here regularly while you can also feel free to simply take a tour.
You may be surprised to learn that Helsinki has some beaches to enjoy during the warmer months of the year. A region known as Aurinkolahti is found in the eastern portion of the city and houses some of the only public beaches within the region. Although the waters here are not as balmy as those of the Mediterranean, the ability to bask in the northern European sun is an enviable excursion not to be taken lightly.
Another great window into the past is to visit an ancient fortress known as Suomenlinna. Not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is a popular picnicking spot for tourists. Museums can be visited here and the last Finnish submarine is permanently docked within its harbour.