A weekend away in Helsinki
One of the perks of living in Europe – things get stressy, feeling restless and just need a change of scenery, just hop on a plane and you are somewhere completely different within a few hours. In hope of snow and negative temperature, I booked a flight to Helsinki. From Zurich it’s less than a 3 hours flight and getting from Helsinki Airport into the city centre couldn’t be easier. In fact, I booked the bus ticket at home online and just showed them the QR code. Bus drops you off at the Main Railway Station at the city center of Helsinki.
So, what are the things that you can do while in Helsinki? True, it is not a big city, definitely has the small city feeling and you can walk around everywhere or take ferry ride to an island. Helsinki became somewhat of a design junkie capital. All fancy designer shops are in walking distance and you can even pick up a map called “Designer District Helsinki”. Of course I went straight to the Marimekko factory outlet a bit outside of the city. The walk to the outlet was a bit dogy and I was wondering how such awesome design can be in such a neighbourhood. Soon enough though I saw the building and I bought lots of stuff in the outlet. One might say too much. In the city centre you will find artek, vitra, more marimekko, ittala, and lots of wonderful small designer shops. They are a bit pricy, but still awesome to just look at or do some serious window shopping.
Helsinki – organically health cautious
I felt like in Kitsilano (neighbourhood of Vancouver) when I saw all those organic cafes that sell smoothies! It was amazing! I had kale/pineapple/yogurt smoothies every day, great coffee at SIS Deli which has delicious and healthy yogurts as well. With berries, cardamon and all! Real good! My London Fog research was disappointing though, this drink doesn’t exist in Finland either. I guess it’s just a total Pacific Northwest thing. I think it should also stay that way.
Make sure to visit the Market Hall, which is next to the harbour – lots of good food and excellent spot to do some souvenier shopping.
Suomenlinna – the Shutter Island of Helsinki
Yes, there is also Shutter Island in Helsinki. Who would have thought! The ferry at the harbour takes you there in about 15 minutes and you get an excellent view of the grand Helsinki skyline (nah, just kidding) . There is a fortress on the small island and you will feel like in that Shutter Island movie. If you have not watched the movie yet, watch it after you visit the island. Interesting fact: there is an active prison on the island as well. Soothing.
Lots of places that you can go and have a traditional finnish sauna. You find an overview of different places here.
Well, going in winter is definitely a different experience, it is dark until 9.30am and it gets dark again in the late afternoon.
Anyway, that’s it. Next trip will be Davos over NYE. After that my island and summer will be spent in Vancouver/British Columbia again! YES! I cannot wait!