5 good reasons to go to Helsinki
To see / do
Culture and history
Helsinki’s churches and cathedrals
Even if you’re not keen on visiting religious buildings, there are a few here that are definitely worth a look. The red-brick Uspenski Cathedral is quite spectacular, while the Lutheran Helsinki Cathedral is more modest in style. Then there’s the quirky Temppeliaukio Church, which has been carved from solid rock, and the intense silence of the highly unusual Kamppi Chapel.
A tour of the museums
Helsinki is packed with fascinating museums. Why not visit a few to learn more about local culture! If you love art and history, then you’re in for a treat! There are so many museums to choose from, including the Finnish Museum of Natural History, the Finnish National Gallery, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum of Finland and the Design Museum.
The market square
Kauppatori means “market square” in Finnish. Helsinki’s kauppatori is the beating heart of the capital and plays host to many major events. From the square, watch the boats as they sail out to sea. There are a number of prestigious institutions overlooking the market square (and close by), including the Town Hall and Presidential Palace. The buildings look very sophisticated with their pastel colours and modest style.
There are lots of stalls selling local produce in the Kauppatori (market square). But just 20 minutes’ walk away, there’s another market you may prefer. The Hietalahti market is in an old brick building and features stalls offering lots of good-quality organic produce and take-away food. Outside, there’s a really popular flea market that's a hit with the locals.
Explore the fashionable districts
As in other capitals, Helsinki has regenerated some of its shabbier, lesser-known, areas. You should definitely pay a visit to some of these rehabilitated neighbourhoods, such as Punavuori and Kallio. The trendy bars, art galleries and street art have given these areas a new lease of life, making them the most fashionable parts of the city.
Poronkäristys is a delicious reindeer stew. It’s not a meat to suit all budgets, but you should give it a try if you can. Reindeer is usually served with mashed potato and cranberry sauce. A lot of traditional restaurants have it on the menu.
Karjalan piirakka are originally from the Scandinavian region of Karelia and are hugely popular in Helsinki! Karjalan piirakka look a bit like little canoes. They are, in fact, savoury pasties made with rye flour and filled with a rice porridge or vegetable purée. They're the perfect snack for busy days spend sightseeing in Helsinki!
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