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Helsinki

Finland's capital is full of character, combining classical architecture with innovative design, in a beautiful setting sprawled along the Baltic Sea. Read more...

Whether it is cutting edge design or the classical art nouveau buildings, where you look in Helsinki you can't help but succumb to its quirky charm. Originally a part of the Russian Empire, much of Helsinki was modelled on St Petersburg and the city still retains the classic onion domed architecture of Imperial Russia. However, it has been in the most recent centuries that Helsinki has really come into its own, to create a cosmopolitan hub that is in all ways Finnish. As the Finnish republic grew, so too did the city and the impressive art nouveau and neoclassical buildings that reflected a rising sense of nationalism in Finland of the twentieth century.

Today, Helsinki is the design capital of the world, inspiring innovation on every street corner. With unique cafes, bars and craft breweries, plus countless galleries, ateliers, and boutiques, Helsinki is certainly a forward thinking city. That is not to say that it has forgotten its roots - in the number of internationally renowned museums, Finnish folklore and culture takes centre stage, while some restaurants have not even changed their menus since the 1930s. In and around Senate Square, the grandeur of days past prevails, while the unmistakable spire of the Lutheran Cathedral cannot be missed.

Positioned on the Baltic Sea, there are many waterways and rivers that wind their way around Helsinki and it is wonderful to lose yourself just walking by the canals. The Presidential Palace, the City Hall, the Parliament buildings, Finlandia Hall and the Opera House are all points of interest to look out for. Suomenlinna, one of Helsinki's islands is also well worth a look in, with the largest sea fortress in the world and some interesting museums.

With so much to see, we thoroughly recommend purchasing the Helsinki City Card which gives entry free or at discounted prices to many of the city's main sites. Bentours is also able to organise an audio tour by bus of the city, for those time-poor travellers who still want to soak up all that Helsinki has to offer.

A day trip out of Helsinki to the medieval capital of Estonia, Tallinn is also a wonderful option, or partake in one of our tailor-made itineraries out of Helsinki and further afield in Finland such as the Finnish Lakes and Forests or the Quaint Finland tour.