If you see only one place in Helsinki in the summer, make it the World Heritage Site of Suomenlinna. The “Gibraltar of the North” was once the greatest sea fortress…
Before the mid 12th century little is know of Finnish history. This is when Sweden started to conquer and Christianize the Finland and they remained part of Sweden until the 19th century. That is until the Finnish War of 1808 when Sweden lost control and Finland fell under Russian rule. For over 100 years Russian rule alternated between benevolence and repression and there was already an independence movement when the Russia revolutionary happened in 1917. Finland seized the opportunity and declared independence. During World War II, Finland was able to withstand a Soviet attack but lost 12% of its territory. They were able to stay neutral during the Cold War by practicing “the art of bowing to the East without mooning the West”.
Population – 5,550,000
Money – Euro (as of Feb 2020 US$1 = €0.91; current rate available at XE.com)
Language – Finnish & Swedish, but English is understood by most
Religion – 70% Lutheran
When to go – Summer when it is warmer
World Heritage Sites – 7 – Kvarken Archipelago, Petäjävesi Church, Rauma, Sammallahdenmäki, Struve Geodetic Arc, Suomenlinna, & Verla Mill
Country formed – gained independence from Russian Empire on December 6, 1917
In August 2019 I spent a month traveling around the Baltic states and as a spur of the moment addition I took a two hour ferry from Tallinn, Estonia to Helsinki for a day.
Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations
Having only been to Helsinki for a day I can not give much in the way of recommendations yet. I can tell you I was amazed how easy it was to get to Helsinki from Tallinn and that Helsinki is a very easy city to walk around in. There are several sites within the city and you should have no problem filling a day in the capital. With that said I doubt you would need more than three days to see everything within the city leaving lots to see in the rest of the country.
Check out my two blogs from my day in Helsinki to get an idea of what all you can do here.