This monday we decided to take a walk in the sunny Helsinki, take some pictures and go to Kaivopuisto – old, beautiful park by the sea. Weather was more than great and Helsinki looked like a whole new town to my eyes. People were happy, weather was sunny and everyone was having a good time.
It is good to be a tourist in Helsinki during the summer time, since Helsinki helpers are walking in city center helping you to get to where you want to get to and make sure that you get the best from your stay in Helsinki. How cool is that, how many other cities you know with similar service?
Esplanad is an old park bulevard in the center of Helsinki. During the summer time you can spot tourists, happy locals and beautiful scandinavian and baltic girls strolling around.
On some days you can spot live music performances on stage, ranging from jazz to pop and rock – and modern dance and what not.
If you fancy a drink at the same time, you can enjoy it at restaurant Kappeli’s terrace. Kappeli is famous summer restaurant in Helsinki, and was also one of the few places that were presented in american TV-show ’Amazing race’ when they visited Finland. However if it is sunny day, be prepared to be disappointed to see terrace already full. If you are lucky to find a spot, enjoy. One of the best places to enjoy sun and a drink in the heart of Helsinki.
Few hundred meters from the Kappeli you will find old market square and scandalous Havis Amanda statue that is not so risque in modern standards, but during it’s day provoked many protests and discussions.
Market square is home to many fresh delicacies that are ingredients in traditional finnish cuisine. Here you can get traditionally good service and talk with merchants who sometimes are also those who have with their own hands grown those vegetables or fished the salmon that you are going to buy. Experience that you usually do not get in local supermarket.
Havis Amanda statue and it’s fountain can be a cooling oasis during hot and sunny day. Sometimes during the night you can see some risque fellows also trying to swim in it’s water. Alchol, finns and water is well known combination to produce funny and not so funny experiments.
From the market square you can also take ferry cruises around the coast of Helsinki. For twenty or so euros you can send hour and a half in the sea and see the city from a different perspective. Helsinki from the sea shows the city in it’s most glorious form, something that you can see also from an aeroplane that closes in on Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Especially in the morning sun it still almost always brings tear to my eye. Helsinki truly is world’s smallest metropolitan, and from the sea or from the air you can see it so well.
If you feel tired from all the walking, there are alternative ways of transportation in Helsinki City center:
Right next to the market square is old market hall.
What you find from the market square, you will find most likely also in the hall – and more.
One place that is close to my heart is Kultasuklaa.
Kultasuklaa makes and produces handmade finnish chocolate. Though it can be a little more expensive than Fazer’s or Marabou’s chocolate, taste of strawberry- or chilichocolate makes it up more than enough.
From market hall it is a small walk or a tram trip to the Kaivopuisto, which is a old and traditional park in Helsinki. Kaivopuisto has been a venue for many open air concerts as well as annual brunch for thousands of people celebrating first of May. It is beautiful park with magnificent scenery to the sea and over parts of Helsinki, if you climb to the top of observatory hill.
If you visit Kaivopuisto, remember also to visit Cafe Ursula right next to the sea.
At Cafe Ursula you can enjoy a drink or two, food and even some moderately expensive champagnes – and look at sea scenery, which at least on a sunny day is worth the extra markup in prices. Though a word of warning, if you eat someting at Ursula terrace – take care of your food and do not leave it unattended as small birds will immediately take their share.
Had fun watching birds fly.
While walking back from the Kaivopuisto, you can also watch ferries prepare to leave to Stockholm.
Oh how I love Helsinki.
Some addtional photos in here.