I travel to Helsinki at least 4 times a year. I love the city and each time I return I like to walk around revisiting my favourite places as well as discovering new ones.
My first stop is usually Fazer in Kluuvikatu for a coffee and one of their delicious rye sandwiches. (Click the word in bold type to see a post about the subject)
From there I walk through the park along Esplanadi to Market Square beside the harbour. The park is lovely in any season.
Havis Amanda is always there to greet me at the harbour.
I was at the harbour one very cold winter morning to see the sunrise.
There is often a market offering lots of local delights. I have managed to be in Helsinki 3 times for the Baltic Herring Fair held in October. Boats back into the harbour and sell their products directly. It is great fun to talk to the fishermen about their catch.
Kauppahalli, the covered market, always beckons me inside. On a cold winter day it is the perfect place to warm up with salmon soup for lunch. If I am staying at an apartment with a kitchen I buy fresh salmon to cook at home…wonderful.
A short walk from the harbour is the imposing Russian church, Uspenski Cathedral. It was built between 1862 and 1868.
Behind the church is the beautiful district of Katajanokka. I absolutely love the architecture in this area. I can wander for hours, trying to remember to look up at the incredible roof decoration. The beautiful doors are also a source of delight. All of Helsinki is full of fabulous buildings, but in this area they are all amazing.
Walking back towards the city I visit Senate Square dominated by Tuomiokirkko, Helsinki Cathedral. This exquisite white building looks brilliant with a blue sky background….or covered with snow.
Opposite the front of the church is the National Library of Finland. Even though I can’t borrow a book I like to wander through and look at the gorgeous reading rooms.
Back in the city I walk past the naked blacksmiths. Look for the bullet holes left from the war.
The railway station building was designed by Eleil Saarinen in 1904. It is one of the most beautiful in Europe. The stone men in front have been restored recently and carry their lights beautifully.
No visit to Helsinki would be complete without a walk around Tooloonlahti. I love the way Finns are out in any weather enjoying this beautiful place.
The shopping is excellent in Helsinki. They say if you can’t get at Stockmann it is not worth having.
Just in case I have missed something in Stockmann I drop in to Marimekko to see their beautiful clothes and homewares.
iittala has the most exquisite glassware and kitchen items. Something usually finds its way into my suitcase.
Dining in Helsinki is great. I have been to many Helsinki restaurants. For the setting, it is difficult to beat Kappeli, which has been around since 1867 in Esplanadi park.
Nokka serves delicious modern Finnish food.
Juuri is another favourite.
So far I have only dined at restaurants serving Finnish food. Helsinki restaurants also cater well for those looking for other cuisines. Look in the “Restaurant” category for posts on places I have visited.
I have been writing Beautiful Helsinki for 5 years. If you look back through the archives you will find quite a lot of information about this fabulous city.
I will be back in Helsinki next month…can’t wait.