Cool, slick and cosmopolitan, the intriguing capital of Finland is a Cunard favorite that’s well worth discovering.
Helsinki may not be quite as well known as its Nordic cousins, stylish Stockholm and chic Copenhagen, but that’s just fine by the Finnish capital. Handsome Helsinki revels in its understated brilliance, simply sitting back and allowing visitors who travel here to slowly but surely fall hook, line and sinker for its charm, good looks and irresistible personality.
Perched on the fringes of the Gulf of Finland, Helsinki is blessed with a unique geography that simply demands to be explored – a must-see sight on cruise vacations to Finland.
Here are just a few things to do in Helsinki, especially recommended by our Helsinki expert Virve Kataja.
Better known as Rock Church, this dramatic dome-topped landmark has been excavated directly into solid rock. Completed in 1969, the centrepiece is the altar, which stands in a crevice dating back to the Ice Age. Visit before noon to see a fantastic light and shadow show as beams stream in, illuminating the walls.
Known for world-respected design, this interesting hub in the heart of the city is lined with boutiques and interiors stores. Pay a visit to the fascinating Design Museum for some history and insight into the whole movement.
"Cafe Regatta on the seafront is famous for its fresh cinnamon buns and blueberry pie," says Virve. "The building itself is wonderfully historic and characterful."
Beyond the city
A visit to Finland's capital shouldn't limit you. Explore further, away from Helsinki's shores, and unearth more memorable experiences for you to treasure.
Visit the islands
There are some 330 of them (think sandy beaches, old Viking settlements and picnic hotspots) scattered far and wide across the surrounding waters. Pihlajasaari is popular with sunbathers during summer, while historic Suomenlinna, a fortress built in the 18th century and spread across six linked islands, provides a fascinating glimpse of the past.
Meet the reindeer
Head to Nuuksio Reindeer Park to get up close to these hoofed creatures, which come from Inari, high up above the Arctic Circle in Lapland. You can even accompany them on a woodland walk.
Wander through history
Take a trip to Porvoo, around 50km east of Helsinki. It’s the second oldest city in Finland and is famed for its quaint red shore houses, originally painted so to honour the arrival of King Gustav lll of Sweden’s visit in the late 18th century, when Finland was part of Sweden.
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