The Helsinki Metropolitan area which includes the nearby cities of Vantaa and Espoo, is the largest urban concentration in Finland, with a population in the region of one million. Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is the country’s busiest port, and stretches across a number of Baltic islands and peninsulas, while the suburbs spread out into the surrounding forests.
Helsinki has a reputation for being one of Europe’s most progressive and modern cities, with a fascinating history going back over 450 years. Its combination of bustling, busy market places, of seaside parks, bars, cafés, and restaurants, its variety of museums and galleries, outdoor music festivals and concerts, all combine to make this a perfect city for visitors.
Amongst the many attractions in the area, the island fortress of Suomenlinna, located in the entrance to the South Harbour, stands out, and is very popular with locals for picnics and family outings. Staying in the islands, a visit to the Open Air Museum of traditional buildings on Seurasaari shouldn’t be missed, nor should a trip to Kiasma which houses the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Temppeliaukio, the unique Church in the Rock, both located near the city centre. Take in the history as you stroll through Senate Square, where the focus is the neo-Classical Lutheran Cathedral, and nearby Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral can be seen looming from its hilltop vantage once you reach the market place in the harbour. The city has a wide variety of excursions to avail of, like relaxed cruises around the archipelago, or steamer trips along the coast to the historic town of Porvoo, and even day trips across the Baltic to the Estonian capital, Tallinn.