Visit the thriving Helsinki metropolis. The capital of Finland is a nearly 500 years old cosmopolitan city which has been influenced by its Eastern and Nordic neighbors since the beginning of time. While Finland and Sweden share a long history and tight bonds, the historic powerhouse of St. Petersburg is only a four-hour car-ride away. And Tallinn, Estonia can be reached within two hours by ferry.
Wandering around Helsinki you will feel this awkward symbiosis of the Nordic West and the Ancient East. See the Helsinki Cathedral, designed by the same architect that once created the U.S. senate square. And the Uspensky Cahtedral, which starkly reminds you of Russia next door. Imagine the hardships of times gone by and visit the astonishing Suomenlinna Fortress only 20 minutes away, as well as the Temppeliaukio rock church, which should be on any traveler’s bucket list.
But don’t just stay in the city. Be sure to get out and explore! Rent a car and go discover the nearby region of Turku. You’ll find a hidden gem less visited by tourists, with a strong Swedish influence and a gorgeous archipelago of no less than 20.000 individual islands small and large.
Our insider tip: take the ferry from Turku and visit the Åland islands which are located halfway towards Stockholm, in the middle of the Baltic Sea. An archipelago paradise and a lone island state, the Finns and Swedes always both wanted to claim Åland part of their crown. But the Ålanders are a people of their own. So the islands now have a unique flag and independent rule, even though they officially belong to Finland.
Visit Helsinki and the Capital Region. You might just be in for a big surprise.