Whether awash in summer sun, or shrouded in a coat of winter snow, there is a magic in the Nordic city of Helsinki, Finland that everyone must experience at least twice in their life (once for a summer holiday, and again for a winter break). It’s a city that can be discovered entirely on foot with the intertwining backstreets and passages offering visitors a plethora of stunning architecture, unique dining destinations and world-renowned Scandinavian design (be sure not to miss the design district – 25 streets home to the best of furniture, fashion and art in the city). On a sunny day, take a break from the mainland and hop onto a boat for a day trip to a nearby island and wander through the enchanted forests and lakes that have inspired fairy tales and folk tales throughout European history.
A newly restored nineteenth century landmark situated right opposite the stunning Old Church Park, the Hotel St. George is a unique luxury hotel in the heart of Helsinki. While the hotel is steeped in history (some of the buildings dating back to the 1840s), the hotel’s iconic design is thanks to famed architect Onni Tarjanne, known for his work designing the Finnish National Theatre. In collaboration with institutions such as the Helsinki Art Museum and National Gallery, the hotel’s impressive art collection showcases incredible international works from artists such as Ai Wei Wei. The hotel’s team is welcoming and dedicated to ensuring that your stay is as special as possible, their motto being ‘moments are more’. Combining warm and ambient neutral palettes, natural materials and comforting textures, the guest rooms offer nothing less than the exquisite Scandinavian design one would expect from a five-star hotel in a city internationally renowned for its iconic interior design.
Seating only 24 people a day, Chapter is a restaurant that wholly embraces a less is more approach to dining. Disheartened by the wasteful nature of the food and beverage industry, Chapter are dedicated to finding ways to better the way that they work, in the hopes that this creates a wave of change in their industry. From finding new ways to get the most of their ingredients to utilising almost only local produce, the restaurant is inspired by pure and raw Scandinavian produce and methods of food preparation that bring out the most exciting flavours through minimal intervention and ingredients.
Savoy: An iconic minimalist restaurant offering spectacular views over Helsinki’s roof tops – an absolute must.
Story: Next to the harbour, this is a perfect spot for a delicious lunch made from high-quality ingredients.
Yes Yes Yes: A quirky and cool vegetarian restaurant with friendly service and a great atmosphere.
When someone mentions Finland, the word ‘Sauna’ doesn’t usually come far behind. A nation known for its penchant for sitting in almost unbearably hot saunas, there is no better place to do as the locals do and experience an authentic sauna than at the incredible Löyly, an architecturally magnificent urban oasis located on the waterfront offering both private and public saunas. Enjoy a long and revitalising steam before heading outside where you can cool down in the sea with a refreshing dip before enjoying a spot of lunch on the deck while looking out to the beautiful scenery ahead of you.
Kiasma: The Finnish National Gallery, this art museum showcases a huge breadth of contemporary art in the Nordic region.
Boat Trip to Suomenlinna: Take the ferry to the fascinating Suomenlinna fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage sight and place of great historical significance in the area.
Café Regatta: A picturesque little red cottage café by the sea to spend the afternoon in. In the summer, barbecue some sausages and rent a paddle board to explore the nearby waters.