Archive for the ‘Helsinki’ Category


Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is the economic capital of Scandinavia. From its humble origins as a small fishing town on the coast of the Baltic Sea, it has now grown into a bustling metropolis, the most populous city in Finland, and is the country’s cultural, economic, and communications hub. Lovingly referred to as “the daughter of the Baltic,” Helsinki is famous for its coastlines which are dotted by ports and secluded coves.

Ferries glide into Helsinki’s ports every day, and watching one as it softly makes its way to the harbor is something that no visitor to the city should ever miss. The city is also the perfect place to marvel at neoclassical architecture, as exemplified by buildings around the Senate Square. The city’s countless waterways are perfect for romantic or leisurely strolls and are an all-time favorite of locals and visitors alike. Travel back in time and discover the city’s past by visiting various museums or marvel at the interesting mix of modern and traditional structures that sit comfortably beside each other. English is widely spoken so there should be no trouble communicating with the locals.

Getting around Helsinki can be done by bus or by walking, which can be a good idea since the city is relatively small. Going around by car is discouraged because of the difficulty in finding a good parking space. Safety is of no concern in Helsinki, which has been named the second safest city in the world. Pickpockets and thieves can be encountered in crowded areas but visitors can be kept safe if they carry wallet or purses in their front pockets and refrain from staying in dark or dimly lit areas.

Americans require a valid passport for entry to Helsinki but they are not required to present a visa for stays that last up to 90 days. No vaccinations are required for entry into Finland.