Helsinki, known as the “Daughter of the Baltic”, is the capital of Finland and is a delightful city to explore. Alive and full of vitality both in the day and night, it is a city full of interesting old buildings, museums, restaurants, nightlife and scenic greenery. And interesting enough for someone like me who’s used to buying and drinking only bottled water, the tap water is of excellent quality and is actually being bottled and sold to other countries. It tasted so refreshingly crisp and clean!
Here’s how we spent our day in this beautiful city…
We made our first stop at 12:30pm in this busy square to witness Helsinki’s oldest public event… the Helsinki guard parade.
This is an iconic symbol of Helsinki located in the middle of Senate Square. It is a magnificent Evangelic Lutheran Church. The statues of the saints on top of the Cathedral looking out symbolizes that they are watching over the Finnish people.
The Esplanadi Park
This is a beautiful garden park filled with sculptures, musicians and performers and lined with beautiful cafes, restaurants and high end shops. It was a lovely sunny day when we visited Helsinki and so the Finns were out as well enjoying a bottle of wine with friends and family on the esplanade’s green landscape.
Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this is the largest Orthodox Church in Western Europe. The church is perched on a rock, high above the harbor and its Russian style exterior reflects a period where Helsinki was under the Russian rule.
Kamppi Chapel of Silence
An unusual structure in the heart of Helsinki, its purpose is to provide a place of peace and an area to have a moment of silence for those seeking it.
Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko)
This Lutheran Church was built into a solid rock thus it is also known as the “Rock Church.” Unfortunately, there was a private event at the time and we weren’t able to catch a glimpse of its unique copper dome interior.
Sibelius Park & Monument
Dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius who is recognized as the country’s greatest composer. He contributed to developing Finland’s national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.
Finnish days and nights…
We spent the rest of our day strolling around this lively city, soaking up the sun as the locals did, and walking through a couple of interesting old market halls. Despite starting mid day, we had an ample amount of time to explore the city. During the winter, days are shorter in Helsinki lasting only about 6 hours. On the contrary, the country enjoys longer summer days lasting about 19 hours. In the northernmost point of the country, the sun does not set for 60 days during summer, and does not rise at all for about 50 days during winter.
The Finnish Sauna
When it comes to activities, there is one thing that you absolutely have to do when in Finland. And it is exactly how we ended our night: relaxing in the sauna. Almost every household in Finland has a sauna and surprisingly there are different kinds. It is something deeply rooted in the Finnish culture and something you shouldn’t miss especially after a long day of walking and exploring.