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The literal meaning of Suomenlinna is 'castle of Finland'. This is a sea fortress which is built on six car-free islands and forms a part of Helsinki. These Islands are connected by bridges. The main attractions are the museums, fortress walls and former bunkers and Finland's last World War II submarine. Suomenlinna is declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the top most visited destinations by local as well as foreign tourists.
The Temppeliaukio Church or the Rock Church was opened in 1969 and was built directly into the solid rock. The church is lighted in natural light that enters through the skylight that surrounds the copper dome at the center. A number of concerts take place here due to its rare audio quality which is a result of the rough rock surfaces. The church is extremely famous among tourists and receives nearly half a million visitors every year.
Market Square is located in central Helsinki and is a prime destination for vendors selling souvenirs and Finnish food. There are numerous outdoor cafes selling delicacies as rare as meat pastries. Maximum activity can be witnessed from spring to autumn. In October the square bustles with people when the annual Helsinki herring market is in full bloom.
Linnanmaki is the most popular amusement park in Finland. It was opened by a non-profit organization to raise funds to aid child welfare. This park entertains nearly 1 million visitors every year. The main attractions are the arcades, kiosks, games, restaurants and the stage performances that take place in summers.
Sea life Helsinki is a chain of around 50 aquariums which range from small ones with a capacity of 100 liters to larger ones with 250,000 liters of vast oceans. Sea life showcases both permanent as well as changing exhibitions. The permanent collection is segregated geographically with different departments for certain marine animals like seahorses and jellyfishes. This museum was opened with an aim to introduce marine animals to the world and to motivate guests to protect the seas.
Also called the Korkeasaari, the Helsinki zoo is the largest zoo in Finland. Visitors can board a ferry and water buses from Market square and reach the Korkeasaari Island that houses the zoo. The zoo boasts around two hundred species of animals and nearly thousand plant species.
Helsinki is the capital city and the most populous urban area of Finland. Also called the design capital of the world, Helsinki's design scene is extremely dynamic and has influenced cities globally. It is another booming area with wooden architecture, Byzantine –Russian, Functionalism, neoclassical and neo-Renaissance deeply ingrained in most of the city's eminent structures. Although Helsinki is a metropolitan city, yet its surroundings have a natural feel and give you ample opportunities to enjoy activities like boating, hiking, ice-skiing, ice-skating and ice-fishing on the bays in winters and much more.
How to Get Tickets?
You can approach any travel agent for this or you can also use the regular route i.e. purchasing your plane tickets on your own. Tickets can also be booked online through this website. If you are visiting during the peak season, ensure that you have made reservations at your must-eat diners at least two weeks in advance. Interested in boat cruise or cycling tours, book at least a week in advance.
How To Get Around?
Helsinki has numerous means of transport: trains, buses, taxi, boats, bicycles, vehicle hire. Use the one that suits your need and budget. Public transport system of Helsinki (HSL) operates trains, trams and ferries. Helsinki has a single metro line that connects the city to the airport.
What Should I Wear?
The style of the city is stylish yet relaxed. Pack some smart casual clothes for a visit at any time of the year. Summers can be surprisingly warm so carry some short sleeved tops along with shorts and skirts and a few summer dresses. For winters long trousers cardigans or jackets are must for layering. Any winter outfit in Helsinki is incomplete without a Scandinavian parka, mittens, scarf and woolen hat. Carry good footwear with proper grip in case you need to walk on icy grounds. Keep a swimsuit or umbrella handy as it rains unexpectedly.
Best Time to Visit
The best months to visit Helsinki are from mid-June to mid-August i.e. the summer season. Although July marks the starting of the spring and you will find the city in full swing then. At this time of the year, the Finns are most festive and there are a lot of activities to take up. Winters in Helsinki are extremely cold and dark but the hotel and flight rates are extremely cheap at this time.
Will I Need a Guide?
If you are visiting Helsinki for the first time it is recommended to take a tour. This way you can cover all the important sites without the fear of getting lost or missing out something.
How To Get There?
Helsinki can be reached by airplane, train, bus or boat. Helsinki-Vaanta airport is the major airport of Finland. This airport connects Helsinki with many International destinations as well as European cities. The airport city rail link connects Helsinki with the airport. Several International ferries link Helsinki with Tallinn, St Peterburg, Stockholm, and several German destinations. Yellow line airport Taxis need to be booked in advance when you plan to leave the city.
n case you plan to visit a number of museums, buy a Helsinki card. The services include free transport within the city and entry into several chief attractions. Do not carry any valuables. The ones you have must be kept in safe deposits boxes in your hotels. In order to avoid getting robbed by pickpockets keep all your cash and cellphones in an inside pocket of your bag.