Finland capital

Are you going to Helsinki? 10 tips for a vacation in the Finnish capital

(CNN) — Finland hosts two of the world’s most powerful men when Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin meet on July 16 in Helsinki.

They’ll probably have too much to say to each other to share a sauna or hit the town’s bars, but with the spotlight on Finland’s biggest city, it may encourage others to travel here.

Here are 10 tips for visiting Helsinki.

Pack properly

It’s less a question of comfort than of survival. In July, average temperatures in Helsinki are a pleasant 17 C (62 F). In February, it is minus 6 C (22 F).

Planning to head north? Next, the right clothes are crucial.

For those delivering Christmas letters to Santa in person, temperatures in Lapland can drop to minus 50 C (minus 58 F).
Coming to Finland unprepared? Try one of the Helsinki UFF Thrift Stores, which support aid projects in Africa and India. Or you try decidedly more expensive options such as Marimekko.

Find a sauna

Hot in Helsinki: Saunas.

Finnish Sauna/Harri Tarvainen

Finns love saunas. The country claims to have about 3.5 million, or about one for every 1.6 people.

They come in a variety of forms, including smoke saunas, electric saunas, and portable saunas.

Loyly, Hernesaarenranta 4, Helsinki 00150 Finland; +358 (9) 6128 6550

For foreigners, Finnish conversations can be enigmatic

At the same time, the Finnish language does not have the words for “please” or “excuse me”.

The result is that what may seem like a borderline awkward and rude exchange to foreigners is simply everyday conversation for Finns.

An easy way to catch up on the culture is to travel to the amazing city of Helsinki Academic bookstorewith its superb selection of books in a variety of languages.

Go down to the pub

Winter temperatures make Helsinki a place where an evening can easily turn into hypothermia, so the bars tend to be relaxing – as evidenced by the stacks of board games often found just outside side of the towels.

It is therefore recommended to opt for a lonkero (or long drink, usually consisting of gin and grapefruit soda) and an evening to soak up the atmosphere, ideally having conversations with the locals who feel abrupt and stilted, which is a sign that they are going to swim.

There’s a lot to be said for just choosing the first option that sounds appealing, but Teerenpeli offers beer from its own brewery and for a good cocktail there is freedom or death.
Teerenpeli, Olavinkatu 2, 00100 Helsinki; +358 424 925 260

Devour the local specialties

Finland Helsinki 10 tips Sauteed_Reindeer_smashed_potatoes

Just avoid thinking about Rudolph while you eat.

Vastavalo/Soili Jussila

Three unmissable must-haves in Finland are salmon stew, lingonberry pie, and reindeer.

Lapi-Restaurant is a good place to try reindeer in various forms, from grilled fillets to carpaccio. (Do this only after sending Santa’s letter.)
Another option is Savoyfamous for decades for both its cuisine and its design (see below).
SavoyEteläesplanadi 14, 00130 Helsinki +358 9 6128 5300

Immerse yourself in architecture, especially Alvar Aalto

Perhaps because it has a strong influence from Sweden and Russia, Finnish architecture in general has a distinctive look.

Today, the nation’s most revered architect and designer is Alvar Aaltowhose “human modernism” earned him worldwide recognition.
Tours are available for some of his most famous works in Helsinki, such as Finlandia room or the interiors he designed for the aforementioned Savoy.
Want to take some Aalto home? His furniture can be purchased at Artek.
Artek, Keskuskatu 1B, 00100 Helsinki; +358 (0)10 617 3480

See the Sibelius Monument

After meeting the country’s most renowned architect, why not also say hi to Finland’s most famous composer?

Situated in Sibelius Parkthis welded steel sculpture by Eila Hiltunen resembles a massive organ with over 600 organ pipes.

It also includes a bust of Jean Sibelius himself, whose compositions include the beautiful but chilling “Finlandia”.

Admire the art at the Ateneum

In addition to the interesting contemporary artwork inside, Kiasma's exterior is also a beauty.

In addition to the interesting contemporary artwork inside, Kiasma’s exterior is also a beauty.

Pirje Mykkänen/Finnish National Gallery

the Ateneum This is where you can discover the most important artists in Finland, including Hugo Simberg.

Not known for being optimistic, Simberg’s masterpieces include “The Wounded Angel” and “The Garden of Death.”

For those who demand something a little more contemporary, check out the collection at Kiasma.
Ateneum, Kaivokatu 2, FI-00100 Helsinki; +358 (0)294 500 401
Kiasma, Mannerheiminaukio 2, FIN-00100 Helsinki; +358 (0)294 500 501

To dance

More precisely, the tango. The staple food of Buenos Aires was somehow deeply connected to the Finns.

rock out

Finland Helsinki 10 Apocalyptica tips

Apocalyptica: cello interpretations of Metallica hits.

Terhi Ylimäinen

Notable bands include Apocalyptica (who rose to prominence through Metallica’s all-cello covers – yes, they have actually done with James Hetfield) and HIM (short for His Infernal Majesty – having managed three top 20 albums in the US).

Taking place on the site of the former Suvilahti power plant, it bills itself as the “largest metal music festival in the Nordic countries”.

Other Helsinki sites include nosturiwith a capacity of 900 seats and which has the gift of welcoming artists with varied musical styles from all over the planet.

hit the ice

Finland has had an outsized impact on the hockey world.

Helsinki-born stars include Jari Kurri, who rose to the NHL Hall of Fame by winning five Stanley Cups with Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, and “The Finnish Flash” Teemu Ilmari Selänne, seen as a lock to join Kurri in the Hall this year.

Catch a hockey game or head to one of Helsinki’s artificial pitches. skating rinksas the ice park in the heart of Helsinki, not forgetting the natural ice rinks.
ice parkRautatientori, 00100 Helsinki