So I recently visited Helsinki for the first time in my life and it was a very different experience. I did not have a lot of expectations but it turned out to be quite and interesting experience. These are 10 things I learned from my trip.
1. It is cold
While most of the Europe was enjoying the nice warm sunshine and 20 celsius spring time, it was snowing in Helsinki. When my friend and I arrived there we were literally shaking how cold it was. For the whole duration of our trip we were layered in clothes and sweaters to make sure we have a good time without shivering the whole time.
2. It’s small but in a good way!
When its cold, the last thing you want is to be in the city of New York size. I guess Helsinki comes in perfect size for the cold weather. Everywhere we wanted to go It was literally all in one place. We felt stupid looking on google maps because everything was always 3 minute walk from where we were. That definitely makes Helsinki a nice relaxed place to visit, since you have no extra expenses on the very expensive taxis in Finland.
3. It’s Expensive
Yes,. It is definitely a city break you should really really want. Because for the money you will spend in Helsinki you could be eating tapas in the warm Spanish sun. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go, but you should definitely plan it better then I did. You should go during the northern light season and maybe correlate with Lapland. I went during easter so there wasn’t much fun for me. Taxi will charge you 15 euros for 2 kilometres. Hotels cost around 250+ euros a night. Food is not that expensive, but it’s not cheap either. Alcohol is similar price to rest of Europe.
4. Lakes are no where to be found
Vida and I were excited to go to these magical lakes, but when we got to Helsinki and asked to see them, everyone was looking at us like we fell from planet Mars. We were confused because we know there is thousands of Lakes in Finland, but for some reason, there is no magical lakes in Helsinki. So if you are looking for lakes, you will have to venture out of the City to find them.
5. Nothing works on Easter
I guess it was very bad timing for us to go on Easter. Literally nothing was open for the first two days. The whole city was empty, and it was like we were the only people there. We wanted to visit some Michelin restaurants and some traditional places to eat, but they weren’t open either. We had no choice but to use up our time to find whatever was open. I would highly recommend that you go to Helsinki when there are no holidays
6. They have 365 days of Christmas!!!
Father Christmas by some legend resides in Finland, so it’s no surprise there is a Christmas shop that is open 365 days per year. That means they sell everything , from trees to decorations, and ti is a magical shop. You get to shop for christmas in the middle of summer or whenever nostalgia kicks in. I love Christmas so I really liked the idea 😀 Also works great for you wallet because you don’t have to spend a lot of money at once for Christmas, you can spend it throughout the year.
7. Lot’s of Michelin restaurants
With high standards, comes higher paycheque and it is much easier to make a Michelin restaurant you weekly activity. All tough none of them worked when we were there, we ventured to some fine dining venues to find families with their kids eating there like it’s Mc’donalds. My parents would never take me to an expensive restaurant like that when I was younger, but for young Finish kids it seems to be the norm.
8. Cocktail galore
15 euros for a cocktail is the least you will pay in Helsinki, but they are all so worth it. We found this super secret cocktail bar where you had to tell the secret code in order to go inside and when we got inside we were not allowed to take any photos. Having a cocktail in Helsinki is an experience as all of them have their own little secrets and tricks. The one we went to didn’t even have a price menu, all the cocktails were the same price.
9. Sauna obsession
So don’t let your hotel fool you and tell you you don’t need a reservation, because you do! Our hotel told us we did’t and 30 euro cab drive later we kissed the front door of the sauna. We missed out on the experience , so make sure you book in early and save you spot because if you do not go to Finnish sauna while in Finland, then why did you come at all 😀
10. How do you get from the airport to the City?
There is a taxi service, but not enough of them. There is so many people flying in to Helsinki sometimes you will have to wait for an hour before you will get a ride to town. Also I haven’t seen any city taxis there, probably because they are so god damn expensive, but there are shared vans . You should book some car hire in advance to avoid waiting and confusion.
Hope you liked my 10 things, and that you are looking forward to my other 5 posts from my trip to Helsinki where I will be writing in detail about my trip and some weird unfortunate events that happened along the way.