Elias Pelcastre

The best of European capitals

I think it’s fair to say that during my last three months of travel I have experienced a lot of cities throughout the world, with a fair proportion of them being capital cities and in Europe.

Every city had its unique sights and its quirks, but Helsinki really stood out to me as fulfilling my wanderlust bug entirely. From jumping on a ferry and exploring the fortress of Suomenlinna to sunbathing around Töölönlahti Lake to eating street food at the waterfront whilst watching the sunset, there are such a variety of exciting activities which club together to result in a perfect experience.

So why Helsinki?

Firstly, it’s the kind of city which is pleasant just to stroll around in. The streets are separated by grassy areas which give way to performances during the summer months and attract diverse members of the population who often come equipped with a picnic blanket and bottle of prosecco. Whilst navigating the city, it’s common to turn a corner and be startled by a beautiful church poking out amongst the trees. The humble cathedral which towers over the rest of the city attracts tourists and locals alike, who relax on the steps with this wonder of a city at their beck and call.

Helsinki Cathedral

Walking around the lakes and you will become acquainted with the cosy cafes tucked away in corners, a sanctuary from busy city life and hear the shrieks of delight from those who choose to try their hand at supboarding. Let’s just say there are quite a few people who don’t seem to be overly successful. The waterfront is stunning and attracts many, from wealthy couples who choose to dine in one of the champagne bars to backpackers who buy a punnet of strawberries and dangle their feet in the water. Both types get to appreciate the beautiful sunset and the music which escapes the local bars.

One of the many lakes in Helsinki

As well as this, there is a quirky art scene which has resulted in beautiful handmade clothes shops and museums popping up which showcase this emerging element of the city. The people who work in these are excited to discuss their works with you and in turn they attract exciting people. Another cool thing to do here is to explore the area around the Olympic stadium.

The art quarter

The museum was a lot of fun (even if you are not a sport lover – there is a wii) and there is also a tower which offers beautiful views of the city and was empty when we went up there! Although I have only visited here for short periods of time I plan to return for a longer period of time to be able to fully immerse myself in the positive culture this city exudes.

Photos by Kitty Busz