Helsinki was a wonderful city to visit. A fantastic food scene, stunning landscapes, beautiful architecture, and amazing shops. We really found this of every place we stopped in Scandinavia. Super fun to visit and really well catered to people with all types of interest.
Of course I was very much interested in the design scene. Helsinki’s design district spans several city blocks, filled with beautiful independent boutiques as well as internationally known brands. You could spend a lot of time wandering the streets and poking around in shops. Of course I didn’t quite have that luxury (ahem, kids!) but we did manage to visit several gorgeous spots, and collected a few goodies along the way. The new Artek flagship store was definitely a highlight, showcasing lots of my favourite brands and many iconic Finnish designers such as Alvar Aalto and Eero Aarnio. Lets just say that I was in designer furniture heaven! Derek was probably pretty happy that we couldn’t pack our suitcases full of chairs.
We loved the many art nouveau buildings, with beautiful glass and interior art details typical of the era. The streets were dotted with candy-coloured structures as well as classic stone, interspersed with modern architecture here and there. There was such a vast array of styles, it really was a joy to explore. If you’re visiting the cathedral, you simply must pop across the street and have a look inside the stunning main library, boasting one of the more jaw-dropping interiors I’ve ever seen.
We decided to visit the Natural History Museum, which we’d heard was fabulous. Housed in a former school, the architectural details were particularly beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a stunning dinosaur exhibit, I just loved the play of violet light with the skeletal shadows. The kids had a great time exploring the northern wildlife displays and pulling out the various drawers of specimens.
A short walk from our apartment we found yet another lovely park on the water, where you can find the Sibelius monument, made to look like organ pipes. It was a really gorgeous tribute.
All in all, Helsinki held a lot of wonderful surprises, and we really had a fantastic time exploring. The kids loved discovering Moomin troll, Tova Jansson’s adorable comic strip character. He has come home with us to live, and the kids love him to pieces. We also got to tour the Supercell studio (creators of Clash of Clans, etc) to Oliver’s complete delight. He loves their games and since Derek had a contact there we asked if we could pop by, which was fun. We hope to visit Helsinki again someday, and if you ever get the chance we definitely recommend visiting the beautiful Finnish capital city, a delight in many ways.