I visited Helsinki back in 2010 as I wanted to tour around Scandinavia as well as visiting my friend Jonna who lives in Espoo. Maybe she has the right idea as in 2017 the city was ranked as the ninth most liveable city in the world, coming second after Vienna.
I am torn between Minsk and Helsinki for my favourite name of a European capital.
There are loads of great buildings to see in Helsinki, which is probably why it was awarded World Design Capital in 2012. It is sometimes called ‘the white city of the north’ because of all its light-coloured architecture.
The Neoclassical Lutheran Cathedral was designed by Carl Ludwig Engel. This grand building is probably one of the most photographed in Helsinki.
The great thing about Helsinki is that it the city centre is so compact so it is really easy to see all the main sights by foot.
Helsinki extends far beyond the mainland with 330 islands making up the Finnish capital as well the city itself.
As you can see from this picture, even scaffolding is decorated in a quirky way, I think this sign is made from fabric!
This nude bronze statue of Havis Amanda was created by sculptor Ville Vallgren. She is mermaid who represents the rebirth of Helsinki by rising out of the water.
The market square, known as Kauppatori to locals, funnily enough has a market that sells food as well as souvenirs and socks as you can see in the picture!
You can even buy the local delicacy lihapiirakka, which are Finnish meat pastries.
The Uspenskin Cathedral was built as a Russian Orthodox Cathedral, but it now houses a Finnish Orthodox congregation.
Helsinki’s Central railway station was designed by Eliel Saarinen in the Art Nouveau style. Finnish railways used to be state-owned during the Russian Grand Duchy so architects jumped at the chance to design buildings in a more romantic style.
Helsinki has a wonderful waterfront, this is also the place to visit if you want to visit any of the islands for the full experience of the capital.
I don’t feel like I really peeled back the layers of Helsinki, even though it is charming and I loved the architecture. I can see that is a awesome place to live as my friend had a lovely apartment and all the suburbs looked great.
There is also a lively arts scene as well as fantastic infrastructure which means the city is easy to navigate. As a tourist I was not overwhelmed by things to do but it certainly felt safe and I loved discovering the Suomenlinna Fortress. Helsinki definitely is a city that we will be hearing more from.