Helsinki Travel Guide
What to eat, drink, see, and do in Europe's welcome point.
At the southern tip of Finland, Helsinki is considered the welcome point for the rest of Europe and everything surrounding it. The largest city in the country is home to over 1.5 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area who create the unique and approachable urbanity the city is known for – just look to its architecture, design, language, dynamic food scene, and sauna culture for proof. Along with a commitment to become carbon neutral by the year 2035, it’s no wonder the Finnish capital consistently appears at the top of the most livable cities in the world.
Studio Aalto - Tiilimäki 20
Finland’s most famous architect, Alvar Aalto, has opened his former office and headquarters for the public’s enjoyment. If you’re a design nerd or just want to learn about the essence of Finnish architecture, this is a must-see. Just make sure to buy your tickets weeks in advance!
Alvar Aalto House - Riihitie 20
Continuing on with the Alvar Aalto theme, his former living quarters are also available to view. Here you will find a plethora of his own furniture and architecture, along with collections of his favorite pieces from other well-known designers.
Hotel St. George - Yrjönkatu 13 C
A former publishing house in the 1920s, this seemingly old-yet-new hotel opened its doors in 2018 and has emerged as one of Finland’s top design hotels. Step into the lobby for a minute to see one of Ai Wei Wei’s few permanent artworks; a floating dragon made of bamboo and silk.
Ravintola Inari - Albertinkatu 19 A
Former Noma alumni Kim Mikkola opened Inari’s doors with a vision of serving new wave Nordic cuisine with Asian influence. The seven course tasting menu is full of flavor, contrasting with the simple design for this Michelin Guide-featured restaurant.
Ravintola Nölla - Fredrikinkatu 22
We were unable to have a proper dinner at Nolla, but we did happen upon a nice chat with the friendly staff whilst at the bar having a glass of natural wine (my favorite). A beautifully considered atmosphere with a nicely curated wine list is all we really needed from this place.
Löyly - Hernesaarenranta 4
Sauna culture is vastly popular here, standing as a relief for the cold winter months. Löyly is the perfect experience – it’s close to the city center, but also tucked away by the seaside as a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core. You can order alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks while you sit in the sauna, and there’s even a restaurant inside to replenish yourself post-heat blast.
Kamppi Chapel - Simonkatu 7
Known as the “Chapel of Silence,” this chapel is meant to be a refuge from one of the busiest areas in the city. It’s free to visit, but unfortunately pictures inside are not allowed. The interior is absolutely stunning, though.
Amos Rex - Mannerheimintie 22-24
A magnificent, underground contemporary art museum located in downtown Helsinki; its roof serves as a playground while protecting all of the spectacular artwork below. Step inside and spend at least an hour to appreciate the quirky exhibits and an unexpectedly lovely café.
Onda - Hämeentie 13 B
If you’re looking for delicious vegan or vegetarian food, take a visit to Onda, a Peruvian restaurant located in the trendy Kallio neighborhood. The weekend brunch buffet serves over 20 tasty dishes that represent the wide pallet of flavors from South American cuisine.
Photos courtesy of Armin Tehrani.
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