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Overview

The first thing visitors notice in Helsinki is the Finnish sense of style, whether it's in architecture, merchandise in shop windows or the window displays themselves. Leaders in modern design, the Finns epitomize Nordic style's fresh concepts and functional designs in everything from tableware to cell phones. The design district is the epicenter, with the Design Museum, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Forum, plus designer shops and galleries. The compact city wraps around the harbor, where the lively daily market is even livelier in the summer, when fishermen sell from the boats. People are helpful and friendly, and ...

The first thing visitors notice in Helsinki is the Finnish sense of style, whether it's in architecture, merchandise in shop windows or the window displays themselves. Leaders in modern design, the Finns epitomize Nordic style's fresh concepts and functional designs in everything from tableware to cell phones. The design district is the epicenter, with the Design Museum, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Forum, plus designer shops and galleries. The compact city wraps around the harbor, where the lively daily market is even livelier in the summer, when fishermen sell from the boats. People are helpful and friendly, and despite their reputation for reticence and silence, they are a gregarious, fun-loving lot with an active nightlife. In summer, when the sun barely sets, it goes on all night, and in winter it just moves into the many cozy cafes and cool clubs. Central to Finnish daily life is the sauna, a ritual so ingrained that many hotels have in-room saunas.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Now Happening in Helsinki

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Sweden and Russia
  • Language: Finnish, Swedish
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    No season is extreme, although the most rain falls in summer. Best is between May and September, when days are long; November through January has only a few daylight hours daily.