Helsinki City is a modern European cultural city whose urban cosmopolitan lifestyle exists in perfect harmony with nature. Surrounded by the sea and its own exotic archipelago. Helsinki offers visitors an endless number of possibilities. Just as Helsinki cannot be described in one word, neither can it be experienced in just one way. Helsinki really does have something for everyone. Helsinki City of contrasts
Throughout its 450-year history, Helsinki has existed in the crosscurrents of the East and West. The colourful layers of history can be seen everywhere; a walking tour of the city centre or of the magnificent Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress will open your eyes to a fascinating past.
Today’s Helsinki is also a city of the future. Its modern architecture, cutting-edge design and high-technology have attracted international recognition for the city. Unique lifestyles and urban subcultures are all a part of this international metropolis.
Helsinki Rhythm of the seasons: Life in Helsinki is defined by starkly contrasting seasonal changes. In the summer, the warmth and permanent daylight invigorate the city. The locals worship the sun and welcome the heat with open arms.
In the winter, the cosy and mysterious darkness offers its own blanket of warmth, even in the crisp and snowy outdoors. In town, Helsinki’s culture explodes into life with a vast range of events, concerts and exhibitions.
Climate:Â Helsinki is a city of four distinct seasons. The moderate weather is influenced by both maritime and continental climate patterns.
Warm and bright summer
Summer in Helsinki begins in May and lasts until mid-September. The average summer temperature – for day and ‘night’ – is around 15°C. On hot days the temperature can rise to around 30-degrees. Helsinki is usually at its warmest in July. Sailors will know to expect slightly cooler temperatures off the coast.
The Helsinki summer is bright white. During the summer equinox in late-June there are no less than 19 hours of daylight between sunrise and sunset.
Temperatures cool significantly towards the end of September, and the days grow noticeably shorter with the impending arrival of winter.
Cold and snowy winter: The winter season begins in November or early-December, when temperatures vary either side of 0C. The first snow creates its own unique light, making Helsinki a picture perfect winter wonderland. The average temperature between December and February is around -4°C.
The coldest time of the year is usually around the end of January, when temperatures can fall to below -15°C and the sea is often frozen. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Helsinki was -34.3°C in 1987.
Spring arrives late in Helsinki, usually around April. The days quickly grow lighter and the first warm days prepare everyone for the coming summer
What to See:Â Helsinki is a compact and beautiful city that is ideal for seeing on foot. The city also has an excellent public transportation system for getting around and visiting outlying areas.
Senate Square and Market Square – the Heart of Helsinki
The Senate Square and surrounding buildings form a unique and cohesive example of Neo-Classical architecture. The square is decorated by three buildings designed by C. L. Engel between 1822 and 1852: the Cathedral, Council of State and the University of Helsinki.
In the immediate vicinity you will also find the National Library, the Sofiankatu museum street, Esplanade Park and the Market Square. In the summer the Market Square is filled with stalls selling fruits, vegetables and souvenirs. It is also a great place to admire, taste and purchase fresh and smoked fish.
Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress: Built in the 1700s, Suomenlinna is one of the world’s largest maritime fortresses and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Built on six islands off the coast of Helsinki, Suomenlinna is today one of the most popular sights in Finland.
Suomenlinna offers an unforgettable experience for all ages, offering museums, special events, idyllic cafes and cosy restaurants. It is a great place for a walk year-round.
Linnanmaki Amusement Park, Sea Life and Helsinki Zoo – Great for the family. Linnanmaki has been the traditional highlight of every Finnish child’s summer holiday for the past 50 years. The amusement park offers thrills for the whole family. The rollercoaster is the perennial favourite and is backed up by all the latest rides – at least one new ride every year.
The Helsinki Zoo on Korkeasaari Island is another family favourite, featuring exotic animals from the Arctic tundra to the tropical rainforests. It is a great place in the winter too, as 80 percent of the animals can be seen throughout the year.
Sea Life takes you on a voyage from the tropical oceans to the Arctic Sea, not forgetting the Baltic Sea along the way. The exhibitions present many species whose environments are under threat. As well as seeing live creatures, visitors can also enjoy interactive and educational presentations.
Distinct and impressive churches:The Cathedral of Helsinki is perhaps the most photographed and recognisable building in Finland. Designed by C. L. Engel, the Cathedral celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002.
The Temppeliaukio ‘Rock’ Church is one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions and one of the most respected examples of modern architecture in Helsinki. Quarried out of the natural bedrock, the church has excellent acoustics and is a popular venue for concerts.
Completed in 1868, the Uspenski Cathedral is the largest orthodox church in Western Europe. With its golden cupolas and redbrick facade, the church is one of the clearest symbols of the Russian impact on Finnish history during the 19th century.
Ateneum and Kiasma – Two worlds of art: The Ateneum Art Museum is the National Gallery of Finland. The nation’s largest art collection includes an impressive exhibition of Finnish art from the mid-1700s to the 1960s. The museum’s foreign collection features western art from the mid to late-1800s to the 1950s, including works by Van Gogh, Gauguin and CÃ©zanne. Special exhibitions are also arranged.
Kiasma is the controversial and intellectually stimulating Museum of Contemporary Art designed by world-renowned architect Stephen Holl. The museum features art from the 1960s to the present day and includes installations, media art, music and film.