Several months ago, the idea of a city break might have felt bad. Crowds and concrete were not on anyone’s agenda. But as we gradually turn our toes back to some normal position, the cultural emptiness left by the closure of months becomes increasingly apparent. Theaters, galleries, shops and restaurants have been clearly out of our lives.
While it may take some time before we are ready to re-embrace the metropolis, smaller cities will have more attractiveness.
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, which is easily walkable and inhabits more trees than people, finds the perfect balance between space and social activities.
Mornings can be spent admiring Art Nouveau architecture, while sunny autumn afternoons are ideal for a sauna and invigorating sea swimming.
All doubly vaccinated passengers can enter without a PCR test, and most seat restrictions have been removed. Not that congestion is ever a problem in a city where there is always enough space to roam freely. The only stressful decision is to decide what to do…
This angular building is as much a work of art as a place to relax, but it has become a trendy hangout for locals who want a modern Finnish sauna tradition.
The place is named after a metal bucket that threw water on the coals and added steam, and is located on the beach in a former industrial area just outside the city.
In common saunas, swimsuits are used, the temperature of which can rise up to 90 degrees if there are too eager Finns in the room.
Cool off by going out and taking a dip in the sea via a ladder.
The outdoor restaurant offers a relaxing space to relax and chat between sweat sessions.
In winter, drink beer around the interior.
A two-hour session costs € 19 (about £ 16), including a towel and seat cover. Visit loylyhelsinki.fi
This Art Nouveau masterpiece was originally built for the 1936 Olympics, and it didn’t happen until several years later.
Climb the spiral staircase to find a movie theater with striking red leather chairs, and go downstairs to the art gallery built into the basement. Perfect for demonstrating large installations, the cave area has several performances throughout the year.
Light flows from windows built into cones that rise from the market square. For local cherished, futuristic structures have been a particular hit among skateboarders.
The gallery even has storage space for skateboards behind the counter if all tourists want to go.
Visit the Lasipalatsi Café to admire the frescoes and 1930s design. Visit amosrex.fi
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The latest project by adventurous, trendy chef Richard McCormick only opened a few weeks ago, but it has already aroused confusion.
The invisible Esplanade Park in central Helsinki, the unscrupulous pink salon, is a playful mix of plush dining booths and sticky 80s antiques.
However, once the Instagram frenzy is over, you should stay in the food.
With the help of local Finnish ingredients, French and European favorites change, the menu is a pleasure.
The tartar of fodder plants is rich in earthy, forest flavors; lobster -linguine is a sweet and salty nod to the sea.
If you’re lucky, Richard’s mom, Nisa, might be a waitress. Awesome character with a background in musicals, he is happy to share stories about his colorful life. Visit cherihelsinki.com
Sleep at the new Scandic Grand Hotel
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Much of Helsinki’s architecture deserves attention.
One of the most famous buildings is the train station, which was built in the early 20th century.
An example of Art Nouveau splendor, its pistachio bell tower rises above two pairs of lantern pillars lining the entrance.
The adjacent railway administration building, designed by the same architect Eliel Saarinen, has been converted into a hotel. Inside, long corridors are set in a grid, and wide stairs connect each floor. Highlights include original murals showing different sections, and a wooden conference table with a trail of a speaker’s hammer.
The breakfast buffet is one of the finest in town. Find three types of porridge, seasonal apple crumb with vanilla sauce and egg souffle with chimichurri sauce. From € 102 per night (approximately £ 87), incl. Breakfast. Visit scandichotels.com
Finns living so close to nature have an inner desire to live as sustainably as possible.
Citizens are aware of the waste caused by excessive consumption and are changing their habits and looking for new ways to eat and shop.
Alongside popular charity shops with furniture and bricks, several designer clothing stores are working to give second-hand goods a new home. The cut above all the mixed sales, the clothes hang neatly on the rails and the accessories are presented in Flea (Iso Roobertinkatu 11) glass cabinet, which also serves as a champagne bar.
It is similarly set up in Relove (Fredrikinkatu 25), where the department is reserved for a trendy café serving sophisticated cakes and pastries.
Go a step further and start from scratch with an excellent yarn collection sold at several of the city’s knitwear stores. Part of the school curriculum, a popular hobby is taught to boys and girls.