Top Things to do in Finland: A City Break to Helsinki

Helsinki is quite a lively city, especially during summer. The cafés and park benches are filled with people enjoying their salad lunches, ice creams, and frappes. Tourists stroll through the markets looking for a souvenir or Finnish bite to eat, enjoying the capital’s churches, squares, monuments, and malls.

Helsinki is also quite a walkable city, so we stuffed our backpacks in the Central Station luggage storage (4€ per 24 hours), and made our way to the waterfront via the Esplanadparken. This area hosts the central market on Market Square, where you can find your souvenir, or sample Finnish specialties. However, only a few steps away you can also find the Old Market, which offers some nice lunch options indoors.

After a quick snack we made our way to the Uspenski Cathedral, beautifully situated on the hillside. From there, we walked towards the city center and onto the steps of the Helsinki Cathedral. After a short break, we walked around a bit more, and passed the Chapel of Silence. We stopped for coffee at the adjoining Kamppi Center mall, and walked towards the Temppeliaukio Church. This church comes with a unique setting, the rocky area surrounding the church being a popular hangout and sunbathing spot!

Unfortunately, as most saunas would open only after 2pm the following day, and we had a ferry to catch, we were unable to experience the traditional Finnish sauna. An interesting fact about the saunas is that pretty much every residential building had a sauna built-in, and that saunas are rarely unisex. In addition, locals like to grill up sausages and wash them down with a beer after or in between saunas, so it’s quite the social event. Regardless, we decided to leave the sauna for a future trip!

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We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.

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