The capital of Finland, is a modern city with over half a million residents, situated on the Baltic Sea. Helsinki is famous for its design, architecture and high technology. But what makes the city really special is its nice, friendly and easily approachable local residents.
Sweden’s King Gustavus Vasa founded Helsinki on the mouth of Vantaanjoki River in 1550 to compete with Tallinn for Baltic Sea trade. The town grew slowly however, and the centre of Helsinki was moved to its current location in the 1600s. In 1748 Sweden began construction of the Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress off the coast of Helsinki to counter the growing threat from Russia. The massive project brought additional wealth, inhabitants and merchants to the town.
In Helsinki most sights and attractions are within walking distance and getting around town is easy. The Senate Square and the Esplanade Park are filled with concerts and other outdoor events and festivals during the summer season. South Harbour is the centre of maritime city life. Sightseeing cruises and boats to the maritime fortress Suomenlinna and the Korkeasaari Zoo Island depart from the Market Square.
Suomenlinna is Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the world’s largest historical maritime fortresses. The vast fortress is best explored on foot, so prepare for some hiking with good shoes and a windbreaker.