Visit the beautiful seaside city of Helsinki and you’ll experience a mix of culture, history and natural beauty. Finland’s capital is a great city to explore on foot or by bike. It also offers a public transportation system that’s both reliable and easy to navigate. Here are a few must-see attractions awaiting you in this Baltic capital.
Fortress of Suomenlinna
This top Helsinki attraction is just a short ferry ride from Helsinki’s harbor. It was built in the 18th century by Sweden as a defense against Russia. The fortress is made up of a grouping of six islands. Learn more about its rich history by taking one of the guided tours offered throughout the summer months.
Though it’s known as Rock Church or Church of Rock its official name is Temppeliaukio Church. This Lutheran church is built directly into rock. As visitors approach this site, the only part of the church that is visible is the top of the dome as the church is built below ground level. Natural light comes in through the windows surrounding the roof. This unique church offers a peaceful rest after a day of sightseeing where you can take a seat and listen to its tranquil music.
Senate Square offers a great vantage point at the top of its steps where you can sit and take in the views of the city. The square is made up of four buildings, Helsinki Cathedral, Government Palace, University of Helsinki (main building), and Sederholm House offering fine examples of neoclassical architecture.
This is my favorite part of the city. Market Square is the central square in Helsinki and borders the Baltic Sea. You’ll be sure to find everything from fresh Finnish food to one-of-a-kind souvenirs, handcrafted by local artisans. Canal tours around the Helsinki harbor frequently depart right from Market Square and offer an opportunity to explore the local islands during the summer months.
With 1/3 of Helsinki covered in green area, it’s no wonder one of its major sites is Helsinki’s Central Park. What sets Helsinki’s park apart from other city parks is the fact that Central Park is more wild woodlands than manicured gardens. The park offers many activities for the outdoor enthusiast and draws some 2 million visitors each year. Whether you prefer to jog, bike, hike or use the archery range there are an abundance of ways to enjoy this city’s green space.
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Thank you to travel writer Lisa Medeiros. Follow her on Twitter @lisamedeiros_