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Helsinki - A Paradise On Earth
Discover helsinki, the fascinating capital of finland, which was founded by king gustav vasa in 1550.
With interesting m้lange Swedish, Russian and more evidently Finnish influences, Helsinki is blessed with a character distinct from other Scandinavian capitals. It contains some radiant architecture, excellent museums, scenic waterways, and has a lively atmosphere, especially in the summer months. The best time to visit this dynamic city is from June to September with long sunny days in June and the cultural festivals in August providing you with a virtual smorgasbord of activities. The compact city-centre and plethora of open spaces make Helsinki a terrific walking or biking city.

Bicycling and roller blading are popular activities and hiring bikes and roller blades are readily available. Free bike/skate city maps can be obtained from the tourist office. The city also offers several swimming pools, the best being the Itakesus underground swimming hall, with a gym, saunas as well as several pools. Finns have passion for saunas, so you should try one. Nude bathing is commonly accepted and there are nudist areas on some island beaches like the western edge of Seurasaari.

Dont miss visiting Kauppatori, Helsinkis famous fish market on the south harbour quay, which is fun to stroll in. A must see is the mermaid statue called Amanda, the symbol of Helsinki, as is the Senaatintori or Senate Square at the heart of the city, with elegant 19th century buildings including the Government Palace, the University, and Tuomiokirkko (the Lutheran Cathedral), which is worth climbing for a view of the city.

Helsinki offers plenty of options for families who wish to enjoy a city by the sea. The public transportation system is very efficient allowing access to dozens of parks and museums. Make full use of the Helsinki Card, which provides free entry to more than 50 museums. In Helsinkis Kiasma, Finlands new Museum of Contemporary Art, children can explore exhibitions of Finnish visual arts and high technology. Other children-friendly museums include the Childrens Museum, Post Museum and different branches of the Helsinki Science Museum. If visiting King Gustav Vasa founded Helsinki in 1550 Santa all year round, catches the children fancy, then head up north to Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. Santa Claus Village and Santa Park (the official residence of Santa Claus, Mrs Claus and Rudolph, the reindeer), offers a wide array of rides, gifts, toys and attractions.

Eating out in Helsinki is an experience in itself. The city boasts more than 42 different ethnic cuisines to choose from, so come dinner time, if youre not in the mood for bear, elk or reindeer (traditional Finnish food), you have plenty of other options.

Finnish restaurants offer a typical Scandinavian buffet with herring, eggs, hot and cold meats, potato dishes, salad, cheese and deserts. In Helsinki, you can find a wide range of international cuisine, but it is a great place to try Russian food, especially at Kauppahalli next to Kauppatori.

Finding good accommodation is never a problem as theres no shortage of midrange to first-class hotels, and they are not as expensive as they used to be. For good deals, try business hotels in July-August, or on weekends; always check discount deals and book ahead and have yourself a piece of heaven in Helsinki!
Posted on : 14/11/2005
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