Summer is the most pleasant season to visit Helsinki, which is a city of nature, of brilliant clear colors, fresh air, and refreshing walks. The main cathedral (Tuomiokirkko) dominates the view of Helsinki with its pure white structure and green dome projected against the clear blue summer skies. The church is a good starting point for exploring the city that is at its best in the sunny season when locals crowd the terraces of cafes and tourists swarm in the farmers market in search of souvenirs.
The architecture of the Finnish capital offers an overview of the city’s history, among other things conveying the changes from the early nineteenth-century Russian influence to the search of national expression. Helsinki’s design consists of a fascinating mix of styles: Byzantine-Russian, Neoclassical, Art Nouveau. In addition to the main market square (Kauppatori) and the cathedral, both definitely worth exploring, there are other places of interest that are attractive especially in the summer.
One of them is Suomenlinna, the fortress island. A boat ride, with a spectacular view of Helsinki, takes only 15 minutes from the Kauppatori market to the island where, once landed, you can walk around the fortress, lie on the rocks sunbathing or go swimming.Another island to visit, accessible by foot, is Tervasaari, located behind the President’s palace next to the harbor with small yacht boats. This small island is ideal for leisurely walks, jogging or having lunch in the restaurant that serves typical Finnish dishes.
Temppeliaukio church is one of the mandatory visits during a stay in Helsinki. Not too far from the church, you can breathe the air of old Finland in Kahvila Hopia, a coffee house that evokes history (located on Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu 9, practically across the street from Finlandia Hall). All of their typical Finnish pastries are delicious but their karjalanpiirakka, Karelian pies, are, without a doubt, the best in Helsinki.
Those in search of something out of the tourist tracks, will enjoy a visit to the famous Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto’s home, now museum. It is located in a nice suburban area of Helsinki, on Riihitie 20, surrounded by beautiful villas. The museum dedicated to the painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela is also worth a visit not only because it is hosted in a typical Finnish country house but also because of its location in a very characteristic Finnish park. You can take tram number 4 to Munkkiniemi, hop off at Munkkiniemen puistotie stop and then walk through the park, about 2 kilometers, to the museum. After you have admired the paintings collection, have a coffee and a pastry at the nearby characteristic coffee house.
After visiting some other museums, head to the shore, to Kaivopuisto where you can go for a walk, either along the sea or in the park, to conclude your summer tour of the Finnish capital.