Nah don’t bother, its boring as anything…
If you don’t know what to do that is
Luckily you have me to help you out…
Helsinki may have a rep as being a tad boring and I can kind of see why. From the outside their doesn’t seem toooooo much to do. After all, a lot of people who spend a week or more in Finland do so in the north of the country where the nature is the main draw. However, delve into the culture a little bit and do as the locals do, and Helsinki is definitely a city worth spending 2 or 3 nights in.
Here’s some pretty dope ass reasons you should visit the city:
Kauppatori (Market Square)
The Market Square is a pretty cool place to visit any day. Situated next to the main harbour you can’t miss the brightly coloured orange tents. The stalls sell fresh fruit and veg, cooked meals, interesting clothing, souvenirs, and local trinkets. As it’s next to the harbour you also have boats mooring up that sell fresh fish to market goers. Frequently on evenings, when the market has set down, the square will play host to cultural events like the classic car meet up that occurred when I was there.
Located right next to Market Square are the ferry companies that provide transport to the islands in the Helsinki Archipelago. Suomenlinna Island is the main island that people visit as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is actually 6 joined up islands that were an 18th century fort island built when Finland was part of Sweden to counter Russian expansionism. Head over at sunset to catch some epic shots of Helsinki:
The pools and Saunas
While I was in the city I took a trip to 3 separate watering holes.
On my first full day in the city I spent pretty much all day at the Allas Sea pool. This complex is situated in the harbour of Helsinki next to the big Ferris wheel and contains 3 pools; one deep lane pool (where there is no lane discipline ffs), one shallow kiddies pool, and one deep pool filled with filtered sea water. Theres also plenty of room to sunbathe on the deck or on one of the free deck chairs that are limited in number. Chilling here is a great option as you can soak up the sun, take a dip, and watch the cruise ships sail by.
On my second day I visited the Olympic Pool which is about a 20minute bike ride north from the city centre. The 50m pool is great for swimming laps, there is also a little kiddies pool, as well as a deep diving pool which you can swim in and jump off the diving boards in the designated jumping periods.
Loyly Sauna is rated as the number one sauna in Helsinki, its around €18 for entry and well worth it. The Sauna has a modern luxury feel to it and provides great food and refreshments. After you’ve warmed up in the sauna theres a ladder leading down into the Baltic Sea for you to cool off in.
The beautiful people
From a male perspective, Helsinki contains the highest number of beautiful women I have ever come across in a city. Fellow female travellers have said the guys aren’t too bad either. It must just be this Scandinavian genetics! In my time in the city I met plenty of English, kiwi, and Aussie guys who have upped sticks and moved over to Finland after meeting the Finnish girl of their dreams. The rest of us can only dream…
Countless day trips
The city of Helsinki can be used as a base to explore other parts of the country. Many day trips are around an hour travel from central Helsinki and many will transport you to another world. Here are a few:
- Porvoo – a medieval town that has narrow streets, cobbled roads, colourful buildings, and plenty of cute restaurants and cafe’s
- Lake Tuusula – A Stunning lake with a 24km cycle road surrounding it. Home to many Finnish artists.
Nuuksio National Park – A national park that is almost completely unspoilt by humans. An idyllic get away.
- Tallinn – A 2.5 hour ferry ride will take you to the capital of Estonia.
Renting a bike
To rent one of Helsinki’s city bikes you pay €5 for one day – pretty good value! Theres something ridiculous like 700 docking stations in and around the city so you’ll never go somewhere and not have somewhere to dock your bike. Fortunately, from my experience, Helsinki isn’t too hilly so the riding is pretty easy and the quality of the bikes isn’t too bad either. A great way to see the city and surrounding areas.
Helsinki’s residents love to do things outdoors In their cities open spaces – of which there are quite a few. I regularly saw large groups of people having BBQs and gatherings in the city parks. During the day and especially of an evening you should take a trip to Park Esplanadi. This long thin strip of grass runs through a central part of the city and has a great atmosphere during the day and a buzzing one during the evenings, at these times you will find groups of people chilling on the grass enjoying the weather.
The drone laws.
As I’ve recently come into the possession of a drone I’ve quickly had to become savvy on drone laws wherever I’m flying. Many countries I feel, are overly strict with their laws which is a real shame as it restricts you a lot with where you can fly your drone – sometimes nowhere it seems. Thankfully however, Finnish drone laws are sensible, practical, and follow a common sense approach. There are 3 no fly zones within the city of Helsinki which are around government and other important buildings. The rest of the city you can fly in as long as you’re not exceeding 150m and not above large crowds. That lets you get epic shots like this:
These are just 8 reasons why Helsinki is well worth a visit for around 2 or 3 nights. Helsinki is slightly more expensive than other western countries but no where near the prices you will find in Sweden, Norway, or Iceland – so a short break can be more than manageable. In addition to the reasons noted above there are of course your usual city walking tours, churches to visit, and beaches to lay on. If you’re planning on staying longer in Finland then its probably worth including the north of the country in your itinerary, here the natural landscape can provide countless activities on a longer holiday.