• Suomenlinna / Photo: Jussi Hellsten

Sauna and Urban Nature – the highlights of Helsinki

The cultural mix of East and West, the urban vibe and nature, modern technology and history… Helsinki is a city whose contrasts create unique experiences for visitors looking for both peace and excitement. The highlights of Helsinki in 2016 include the brand new Löyly design sauna and the timeless beauty of the urban nature and archipelago.

Finland’s sauna culture is alive and well in Helsinki and experiencing even somewhat of a revival. In the year ahead visitors will be able to enjoy new kinds of sauna experiences beside the sea in a cool urban milieu.

The Löyly design sauna will open in spring 2016 just a short distance from the city centre on the southern tip of the Helsinki peninsula and Hernesaari cruise pier. The modern complex will also house a restaurant serving the finest Finnish cuisine, which visitors can enjoy while admiring the stunning views from the large terrace that stretches out over the sea. Covering over 1800 square metres including terraces and with a profile height of 9 metres, the impressive building will also be a real design attraction as an example of contemporary wooden architecture.

Close by, at the end of the same peninsula, close to Hernesaari cruise pier, is the popular restaurant complex and socialising hotspot “Hernesaaren ranta” where another new public sauna will open in summer 2016. Visitors can also enjoy a more traditional atmosphere at the one of the classic public saunas in the heart of the city or head out into the nature to enjoy a sauna at Nuuksio National Park, for example, just 40 minutes from the city centre.

Island paradises just minutes away

“No one in Helsinki is more than 10 kilometres away from the shore, no matter what part of the city you are in. This makes Helsinki quite exceptional among the world’s capitals.“

Helsinki is a green city where nature is ever present, even in the heart of the city. Green areas account for one-third of the total area, and parks can be found everywhere. Helsinki is also characterised by its maritime landscape, boasting over 130 kilometres of shoreline. The sea is all around and offers visitors a vast range of experiences, such as the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the stunning archipelago, which can be admired aboard relaxing cruises.

Helsinki’s archipelago is truly spectacular and within easy reach by ferry or cruise boat. New islands have been opened to the public in recent years, including the idyllic island of Lonna in 2014 just seven minutes from the mainland by ferry. Next year the island of Vallisaari will also be accessible to visitors, who will have the chance to enjoy its combination of unspoilt nature and historic fortifications.

Helsinki – The City of Design…and innovative food culture

Design is everywhere in Helsinki, which was inaugurated as one of just 17 UNESCO Cities of Design in 2014 in recognition of how deeply design is ingrained in the city’s culture and activities. Traditional design is showcased throughout the city, especially in the Design District and the Arabia district, but also in the flagship stores of famous Finnish design brands and in the numerous smaller design boutiques. Helsinki also stands out in the fields of urban design and service design, which are guiding the development of the city and its services.

Helsinki is also characterised these days by its innovative food culture, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. The Restaurant Day concept began in Finland and has since spread to over 70 countries, helping to accelerate the rise of the street food culture. This year’s phenomenon has been the appearance of food carts and food bikes on the streets of the city, serving coffee and snacks – and even traditional Finnish porridge – to passersby.

Find out more: www.visithelsinki.fi.

Visit Helsinki is a partner of Helsinki Cruise Network.