Finland is a beautiful country that holds man gems for travelers willing to make a trip North from most European tourist destinations. With about a quarter of the country’s population, Helsinki is a must destination for any trip to this Finland. To help you make the most of your trip here is our top 10 Helsinki attractions on and off the beaten path :
1) Temppeliaukio Church
Also known as the “Rock Church”, this is a very special place and can be great to spend a few hours if you are into meditation. Built into the granite bedrock of Helsinki and topped with a dome made from copper pipes, there is a distinctly earthy and grounded flavor to one’s experience here, as if you are tapped into the heart core of the earth.
The Esplanade is a waterfront promenade which often feels more Parisian than Finnish. The full effect of this is felt by grabbing a table in Café Esplanadi and indulging in a hot chocolate and some naughty pastry. The street itself is best enjoyed in the summer, when the sun is shining, the trees have leaves, and the Finns seem very keen to wear as little clothing as possible.
3) Stockmann’s Department Store
For my first few weeks in Finland, I practically lived a Stockmann’s, using its 3rd floor Gelateria as my office and home away from home. This exceedingly stylish place takes up a whole city block and has everything you could possibly want. If you want to arrange a meeting with someone, it wouldn’t be out of character to meet next to the clock inside the Alexander St. entrance.
4) Toolontori Hangover Food Stand
This place may not show up on tourist guidebooks, but you need to go there. Located in my old neighborhood of Toolo, this little food stand is open really, really late and caters cab drivers, drunks, drunk cab drivers, and people like me who had the tendency to take a lot of late night runs. If you are in a period of life in which you aren’t eating particularly healthy, then go all out and have a few Finnish meat pies, one with at least everything on it.
5) Suomalainen Kirjakauppa
This is a bookstore, a fine Finnish bookstore, whose name translates rather creatively to “Finnish bookstore”, but they have so much than just Finnish books. Located across the street from Stockmann’s, come here first for your literary needs. I still miss my leather bound edition of the Lord of the Rings that I purchased right here. They also have a lot of Tintin! Why am I still on about that!? Because Europe loves Tintin and you should too.