With trips to Scandinavian capitals becoming increasingly de rigueur, the Finnish capital Helsinki, offers a quirky but stylish experience filled with hip design and cool eateries juxtaposed with beautiful historic architecture. Find out the places you should definitely include in your Helsinki itinerary.
This vast region in Northern Europe includes 5 different countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. From fjords, endless forests and lakes to beautiful cities, Scandinavia surely has a lot to offer to any traveller. Let’s see what there is to experience there.
Back to blogging after a busy summer full of travelling! Let’s start with Finland, a country that should definitely be on your bucket list of Nordic countries to visit. Here is why.
This sea fortress located on an island 15 minutes away from central Helsinki by boat was built in the 1700s to protect the city from sea attacks and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Go on a sunny summer day or (even better) on a crisp winter’s day when the sea is frozen and the whole island tourist-free. Allow yourself a few hours to circle the island, its big walls and old cannons. Don’t forget to stop at the hidden Samovarbar next to the little toy museum, and have a piece of their delicious apple pie.
The region called Lapland stretches out across 3 countries (Finland, Sweden and Norway) and is quite different in each of those countries. From rugged mountain landscapes and treeless tundra in its western and northern parts, Lapland becomes hilly and covered by endless taiga towards the south (and suprisingly much colder in winter, as inland is way colder than the efficiently Gulf Stream-heated coastline). It’s one of the very few easily accessible and fairly populated places on Earth above the Arctic Circle (which geographically marks the limit of the globe’s arctic area where the sun doesn’t set and doesn’t rise for at least one day during the year, a phenomenon also known as midnight sun and polar night). The further you go north, the longer these periods last (for example at North Cape, the sun doesn’t set at all from May 13th to July 29th and doesn’t rise at all from November 18th to January 23rd). Lapland also is one of the best places on Earth together with Iceland to chase the amazing northern lights.
There are 4 different Michelin-starred restaurants in the Finnish capital (each of them awarded with one coveted star). Offering new Nordic cuisine, each one still has a different touch and a signature of its own. Thepickytraveller visited all of them during the last year.