the sunday guide to // helsinki
Often overlooked in favour of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, Helsinki isn’t the most obvious destination for a Nordic getaway. Yet, the Finnish capital is just as desirable a location as the aforementioned cities, and is slowly becoming more popular with holidaymakers seeking an alternative city to explore at a slow pace.
Located by the Gulf of Finland, Helsinki enjoys a waterfront setting which allows for swimming, boating and exploring the nearby islands in the summer months. During the winter, temperatures plummet and nights are long, but this is a city with plenty of activities and attractions for any time of year. Immerse yourself in local culture, discover the diverse architecture, or warm yourself up in one of the city’s many saunas. Read on to discover our guide to spending a relaxing Sunday in Helsinki.
Reflect in the Kamppi Chapel of Silence
This striking building stands out for its unusual shape, resembling a large wooden bowl. The interior is also crafted entirely from wood, appearing not unlike one of the city’s saunas. The Chapel was crafted with the purpose to be a place where people could come to reflect and enjoy a moment of silence, away from the busy city streets and nearby shopping centre. Come here to meditate, relax or to enjoy a few moments of downtime.
photo: open buildings
Admire the Sibelius Monument
Designed by artist Eila Hiltunen, the Sibelius Monument is one of the most striking sights in Helsinki. Reaching a height of 8.5 metres whilst appearing to defy gravity, the sculpture pays tribute to the world-famous composer, Jean Sibelius. Crafted from over 600 individual pipes, the monument is interactive in that you can sing or talk into the pipes to create your own unique sounds.
photo: beautiful helsinki
Eat lunch at Hietalahti Market Hall
Housing over 100 traditional wooden shops, the Hietalahti Market Hall is one of the oldest in Finland, originally used by vendors selling antiques. Now the perfect destination for lunch, as well as purchasing ingredients to take home with you, the hall offers everything from cheese stalls to coffee bars. Ensure that you don’t miss the delicious soup at Soppakeittiö, and the mouth-watering fish dishes at Marja Nätti.
photo: dine for joy
Discover the Temppeliaukio Church
Designed by two brothers in the 1960’s, Temppeliaukio is one of the most iconic buildings in Finland. The entire interior of the church is excavated from the natural bedrock, creating natural walls from the rock surrounding the building, whilst the skylight surrounding the copper domed roof allows light to flood into the room. Not only famed for its unusual build, the church is also famous for its excellent acoustics, and many concerts are housed here.
Enjoy a cup of coffee at Kaffa Roastery
It may surprise you than Finland is the world leader of coffee consumption. Our favourite place to sit back and enjoy a cup of freshly roasted coffee is at the small coffee bar situated within the Kaffa roastery. The duo behind the roaster originally intended to set up a small chain of coffee houses, but soon realised that they would have more of an impact by roasting their own beans. The result is one of the best cups of coffee that you can treat yourself to in the city.
Warm up in Culture Sauna
The most peaceful sauna in Helsinki is also the newest addition to a vast array of saunas in a city famed for them. There’s no better way to warm up on a freezing winters day than to relax inside its wooden walls. Designed by architect Tuomas Toivonen, Culture Sauna is as much a work of art as it is practical for use, with many visitors simply stopping by to admire the building. Join the locals and experience a dip in the sea in between sessions inside the sauna.
Take a stroll inside Töölö Winter Garden
Not as busy as the larger Botanical Gardens, Töölö is a quiet and contemplative spot for a relaxing stroll, which has the added benefit of tropical temperatures inside. Admire the large collection of cacti and succulents as you wander through the three rooms as your own pace, before resting at the café with a steaming cup of coffee.
photo: visit helsinki
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