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Book a flight to Helsinki with Qatar Airways and you’ll discover a city that is warm, welcoming, and full of surprises. Whether you visit during its sunny summer or icy winter, Helsinki is full of attractions and events year-round. It might take a while to get used to the fact that the sun hangs in the sky long into the night, but it actually seems to add to the city’s fairy-tale qualities. You’ll find everyone out in the city is cycling, walking, boating or enjoying a picnic in one of Helsinki’s many parks.
Helsinki comes alive in the summer, with a plethora of cultural attractions in the form of art festivals, concerts and exhibitions drawing people into the sunshine. Flights to Helsinki can be caught from most international airports.
If you take your trip to Helsinki in August, then you might find yourself attending one of the city’s biggest cultural attractions: the Helsinki Festival. This is a vibrant, eclectic celebration of all things artistic, featuring opera, ballet, music and art. To support the festival, you’ll find many of the city’s art galleries open until midnight, so you can visit places such as the Helsinki Contemporary, the Ateneum and the Napa Gallery long after they would normally close.
Helsinki offers a maze of meandering paths, which are perfect for those who want to do their sightseeing on foot or on the most-popular means of transport – the bicycle. The Finnish National Museum is the best place to go to soak up the country’s history and it is easy to spot, thanks to its sky-scraping spire and the stone bears outside. Inside, you’ll find everything from Finland’s prehistoric past to modern times.
One of the most popular tourist attractions is the Sibelius Monument, built to commemorate the life and works of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The monument, located in Sibelius Park, is comprised of more than 600 steel tubes linked together to evoke the impression of a wave.
A trip to Helsinki wouldn’t be complete without visiting the inhabited sea fortress of Suomenlinna, one of the biggest sea fortresses in the world. Suomenlinna remains as one of the most popular attractions in Finland and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. You can catch a ferry from Helsinki’s harbour to go around the site and spend a day simply soaking up the scenery. If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) – which appears over Helsinki on around 20 nights of the year.
If you’re travelling to Helsinki with children then be sure to take some time out to visit Helsinki Zoo. One of the world’s oldest zoos, you can spot more than 200 spectacular animals, ranging from those that live in the Arctic wastes to those who spend their lives in tropical rainforests. Alternatively, if they need to burn off some excess energy, take your children along to the Linnanmȁki Amusement Park, where they can enjoy a range of rides, including the park’s 50 year-old wooden rollercoaster. Helsinki is also full of beautiful, expansive parks perfect for walks and picnics.
In recent years, Helsinki’s café and restaurant culture has blossomed, giving visitors the chance to sample a wide range of cuisines from a growing number of establishments. You’ll find American, African, Asian and Mexican restaurants and diners peppered among the streets. However, it’s well worth hunting out a traditional, Finnish restaurant and trying some of the local cuisine.
Finland is one of the world’s most ecologically-aware countries and the majority of its restaurants are ethically run and use seafood, meats and vegetable from sustainable, local sources. Lohikeitto is a traditional salmon soup made with fish, leeks and potatoes and seasoned with dill. Pickled herring is another popular treat, often served with flatbread. For an authentic taste of old-world Finland, look out for reindeer steaks, served with mashed potatoes and a lingonberry jam.
If you’re travelling to Helsinki with shopping in mind, then prepare yourself for a shopper’s paradise. The city houses everything from sleek, chic designer stores, classy boutiques and artisan stores to vibrant, feel-good open-air markets.
Thanks to the extended hours offered up by the summer sun, many shops and markets extend their opening hours well into the evening. If you’re looking for unique and odd gifts and items, head down to Market Square, where you’ll find rows of stalls selling hand-crafted goods, local delicacies and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Qatar Airways flights to Helsinki land at Helsinki Airport.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. Click here before you fly to Helsinki for visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type C / F
Language: Finnish / Swedish
International dialing code: +358