The climate in Helsinki, Finland is somewhere in between maritime and continental. Winters began in November and the city is covered in snow with temperatures well below freezing and almost no real daylight. Spring comes late arriving around April but bringing warmer temperatures. Summers have temperatures that range between 59°F during early spring to 86°F in the hottest month, July. Summer is an excellent time to visit Helsinki because of the warm weather as well as the almost 19 hours of daylight.
Helsinki, the capital and largest city in Finland, is also the cultural, educational, and business centre of Finland. It is a sea town and the harbour is definitely the heart of the city. In fact a ride on the giant ferries is an absolute must on a visit to Helsinki. Helsinki is cool and stylish without trying to hard. The Art Nouveau buildings, elegant cafes, and ever present subtle tributes to Finnish heritage all work together to make Helsinki a truly unique place. Though you may wonder where all the people are in the winter everybody comes back out in the summer and spring, to enjoy the warmth of the sun, go biking, and revel in the nightlife.
If you are out and about on a summer evening you may want to check out Heitalahden tori, the popular flea market, to pick up some whimsical pieces of Finnish art. The Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral is a must for those who enjoy architecture. The cathedral is topped by 13 gilded cupolas which represent Christ and his 12 disciples. The Senaatintori, Helsinki’s central square, is a popular meeting place. Modeled after St. Petersburg’s Square in Russia, it is surrounded by stately 19th century buildings. The Statute of Havis Amanda is a fountain and mermaid statute built in 1908 and is regarded by many as a symbol of Helsinki. One of the most popular attractions in Helsinki is the Temppeliaukio Church. It was hand cut into solid rock in 1969 and now is home to regular concerts and English service at 2 pm on Sundays.
Restaurants in Helsinki offer cuisine from all over the world all with a certain special European flair. For example, Bar Tapasta is a hole-in-the-wall with excellent tapas and plenty of sangria to wash them down with. Bellevue, near the Orthodox cathedral offers Finnish and Russian dishes with a French twist, with dishes as exotic as braised bear steak and roasted fillet of reindeer. The Cafe Ekberg is the oldest cafe in the city and one of the best places to get breakfast; the family has been making coffee and cake since 1851. If your sweet tooth is going you probably want to hit Fazer, and sample a variety of the offerings of Finland’s most famous candy making family. For something a little more rustic try Lappi. Most people go for the sautéed reindeer but the restaurant offers several delicious entrees.
Why not make plans to visit beautiful, unique Helsinki this summer and enjoy all that this fabulous city has to offer.