NORDIC WATERFRONT DELIGHTS IN HELSINKI
Known for its stunning location on the Baltic Sea and beautiful design, Finland’s capital is a true feast for the senses. Be spoilt for choice with a range of luxury Radisson Blu hotels in the city centre! Stay next to Helsinki’s vibrant new shopping and entertainment district, or within a stone’s throw of central station and the Museum of Contemporary Art. For wonderful waterfront views, choose the Radisson Blu Seaside Hotel.
Helsinki is the vibrant heart of Finland's economy and a diverse centre of her cultural life with its restaurants, shopping malls and historic buildings. By attending Helsinki’s cultural activities, you get to see the city’s wonderful attractions at the same time: Opera and ballet at the Opera House on the banks of the Töölönlahti bay, theatre at the National Theatre, which was built in the shape of a medieval castle, art at the Ateneum and Kiasma, sports at the Olympic Stadium (built for the Helsinki Olympic Games) and the Swimming Stadium. In the city centre there are more shopping places than you could imagine, from traditional department stores to major shopping centres and unique boutiques.
Charming cafés with melt-in-the-mouth delicacies can be found throughout the city. The city’s restaurants offer culinary experiences, from the flavours of Lapland to ethnic food and fine dining. The city’s nightlife has something for everyone from cosy pubs and glittering nightclubs to international casinos oozing with sophistication.
The landscape of our capital is characterised by the nature of its archipelago and the greenery of its parks. All in all, the Helsinki archipelago has more than 300 islands, many of which are accessible by ferry. On the islands, you can enjoy the nature of the archipelago and the fresh sea air. Worth visiting are the historical maritime fortress of Suomenlinna and the lush and verdant Seurasaari outdoor museum. For a capital, Helsinki is a green city with more than 6,000 hectares of parks. The parks range from classically shaped city parks to Keskuspuisto (Central Park), which starts from the centre of the city and covers an area of ten square kilometres.
Established in 1550, Helsinki’s culture has been influenced by major powers of both East and West. Swedish King Gustav Vasa founded Helsinki at the mouth of River Vantaa in Forsby, the site of the medieval village of Koskela. In 1640 Count Per Brahe the Younger moved the city to the its current seaside location, where for instance the Senate Square stands today. The city's importance began to grow when construction of the fortress of Suomenlinna was started off its coast in 1748. The fortification work increased the number of inhabitants and the garrison of the fortress boosted the city's social life, commerce and shipping. Russian troops occupied Helsinki during the Finnish War in 1808, and in the same year a great fire destroyed part of the city. Helsinki became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812 and the capital of the independent Republic of Finland in 1917.
Helsinki has plenty to do and see for those interested in shopping or culture, as well as those travelling with children. Its relaxed atmosphere and unique people make Helsinki an easily approachable city. For your trip to Helsinki, choose accommodation in one of the capital’s Radisson Blu Hotels: The luxurious Plaza in the city centre, the modern Royal near the entertainment facilities of Kamppi, or the unique Seaside in the Ruoholahti urban port setting. The hotels’ carefully considered furnishings and quality services make your stay luxurious. When you want a successful city trip, choose Radisson Blu.
The large department stores Sokos and Stockmann are well-known landmarks of the city centre and useful points of reference for a shopping trip. Stockmann is a culturally and historically important building and the Nordic region's largest department store. "Under the clock of Stockmann" is a traditional place for meeting friends, and a good place to start a shopping trip. Stockmann is bordered by Aleksanterinkatu (Alexander Street), a bustling shopping street, where you will find boutiques and shops in addition to the Esplanade Gallery and Kluuvi shopping centres. The other traditional, large department store in Helsinki is Sokos, close to the Railway Station. Close to Sokos are two major shopping centres, Forum and Kamppi Center, with fashion, furnishings and leisure specialty shops as well as dozens of restaurants and cafés. A quick metro ride away in Itäkeskus is Itis, the Nordic region's largest shopping centre, where you can spend the whole day shopping and relaxing in a range of cafés and restaurants.
For those who enjoy design products and unique boutiques, Helsinki is a dream destination. The city has an entire district of design and antique shops, jewellery makers, galleries and museums as well as trendy street eateries. In the Design District you can spend the whole day visiting a variety of clothing, furnishing and jewellery stores that offer unique creations by up-and-coming young designers and much-loved Finnish design brands. The Design District’s centre is at the crossroads of four suburbs at Kolmikulma (Triangle), known as Diana Park, around which the Design District stretches towards Kaartinkaupunki, Kamppi, Punavuori and Ullanlinna.
The Museum of Architecture, the Design Museum, and Design Forum Finland are also located in the area.
See you at the market! The unique atmosphere of a seaside market and the bustle of market halls are ever-present in Helsinki. The Market Square in South Harbour was established in early 19th century. It is now Helsinki's most prominent outdoor market, and the most popular among tourists. The market attracts plenty of vendors on a daily basis and major public events are also organised there. The Market Hall near the Market Square was opened in 1889 and is the oldest covered market in Helsinki. The Hakaniementori open-air market was opened in 1897 and hosts a market on the first Sunday of each month. The Hakaniemi red-brick Market Hall sells local food, but also handicrafts, jewellery, clothing and flavours from around the world. Hietalahdentori Market and the Hietalahti Flea Market are located along the banks of the Hietalahti Beach in Helsinki, and both operate year-round. On the edge of the Market Square is the beautiful Hietalahti Market Hall, which was built in the early 20th century.
When you want to put your feet up after a busy day of shopping, the Radisson Blu will help you relax. Enjoy a refreshing shower or sauna. You can order relaxation equipment, such as back and foot massage devices, to be brought to your room free of charge.
There are more than 300 islands off its coast, many of which are used for recreation. The most significant of these is the historic sea fortress of Suomenlinna, which is listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Inland from the seaside is the area of Kaivopuisto, which is full of villas and embassies. It is one of the oldest parks in Helsinki and a traditional outdoor recreation area for the city’s residents. At the beautiful and idyllic Seurasaari open-air museum you can explore the housing and folk traditions of Finland’s bygone age.
Helsinki's architecture includes the dominant styles of different centuries, most notably neo-classicism, art nouveau and functionalism. The neoclassical Senate Square is surrounded by buildings such as the University of Helsinki main building, the Government Palace and the Cathedral. Art nouveau can be seen in Kallio Church, the National Museum and the Railway Station. The functional style is represented by the Olympic Stadium, the main Post Office and the Glass Palace. A particularly fascinating attraction is the Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church), which is carved into the bedrock and is a popular concert venue thanks to its great acoustics. On the edge of the Market Square are the Presidential Palace and Helsinki City Hall, and the Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral in Katajanokka is a short walk away. Located along the Mannerheimintie Road are the Parliament House and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, in front of which stands the statue of Field Marshal Mannerheim. The Sederholm House, built in 1757, is the city's oldest surviving building.
Visitors with children have many fun things to do and see in Helsinki. Families’ number one destination is the Linnanmäki Amusement Park, which is open from April to October. The Sea Life Centre adjacent to the Amusement Park is open year round. You can find exciting animals at the Helsinki Zoo, which was founded in 1889 and is one of the oldest zoos in the world. The Finnish Museum of Natural History is among the key landmarks of Etu-Töölö and presents interesting exhibitions on nature and the history of life in Finland. Helsinki also has a number of active play areas for children, such as the fun park SnadiStadi in Ruoholahti.
Helsinki is a green metropolis. One-third of the city’s land area comprises green spaces, which portray the styles and ideals of different time periods. Esplanade Park is the biggest park in the city centre, where residents congregate in good weather. The ten-kilometre stretch of Keskuspuisto (Central Park) begins in the city centre at Töölönlahti Bay and ends at the city’s northern border. The park has four fantastic nature preserves and about one hundred kilometres of walking trails for joggers and cross-country skiers. The jogging tracks in Kaisaniemi and the University’s Botanical Gardens are located in the heart of the city very close to the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. Töölönlahti Bay is connected to the open sea, and is surrounded by beautiful parkland. On the Bay are the Finnish National Opera and Finlandia Hall.
Helsinki's restaurants offer an inexhaustible cornucopia of flavours. You will definitely find your favourite food and sample exciting new taste experiences. Restaurant Kitzens on Railway Station Square offers taste experiences from five different culinary worlds. Ethnic flavours are served, for example at the South-East Asian restaurant Farang in the Kunsthalle in Helsinki and the modern African restaurant Sandro in Kallio. Fine Dining is offered at Brasserie Kämp and Chef & Sommelier, which serves organic food. The Grill It! restaurant in Kamppi features authentic food cooked on a wood-fire barbeque. Viola, in the maritime oasis of Ruoholahti, serves fresh local flavours in addition to popular pizzas and burgers. During the summer, you should visit the archipelago and enjoy delicious food and sea views at the beach restaurant Boathouse in Liuskasaari or restaurant Saaristo on the Klippan Island.
Among the popular cafés is Ekberg on Boulevard, whose traditions go back as far as the 1850s. Large cinnamon buns are served at Esplanade and Succès. The modern yet classic Karl Fazer Café has a magnificent domed hall and a dizzyingly wonderful deli. The Kaivopuisto Pier serves champagne as well as coffee and pastries on its terrace. Also worth a visit are the stylish Market Hall next to the Market Square or Regatta, an outdoor café by the seaside in Töölö, which is furnished with quirky old knick-knacks and furniture.
In Helsinki, you can find local delicacies and flavours from around the world in covered markets, which are situated in Hakaniemi, Hietalahti and Eteläranta. There is an exciting new shopping facility in Helsinki, the Teurastamo (“Slaughterhouse”), which was built in 1933 and is viewed by many of the city's residents as their “communal backyard”. The venue is now full of shops and restaurants that sell mainly organic food. In the garden there is a large red-brick barbeque, which is freely available throughout the year. There are also local residents’ allotments.
Perhaps the best known of the city’s cultural events is the Helsinki Festival, held each year at the end of summer. The festival lasts several weeks and includes music, theatre, art exhibitions and performances throughout the city. The most popular individual event is the Night of the Arts. Other popular events include the annual Helsinki Day and the Kaivopuisto Summer Concert, held on 12 June, the City Culture Festival, the Music Festival Flow and the Finnish Fireworks Championships, all held in August, as well as the Love and Anarchy Film Festival in September.
What about Helsinki nightlife? The city offers something for everyone. There are relaxed informal restaurants, cosy pubs, live music gigs, a Casino oozing international sophistication, party venues (where you can dance on tables), and much more.
After an eventful day, you are guaranteed complete relaxation by Radisson Blu Hotels’ unique Blu Dreams sleep experience and sweet dreams in a Magic Bed®, which transports you gently to the “land of Nod”. A wide choice of blankets and pillows provides a good sleep, which ensures that you wake up to a new morning refreshed and ready to go. The day starts energetically with a plentiful and varied Super Breakfast® buffet breakfast. When you want to break away from the mundane, select Radisson Blu.