Flight and hotel Helsinki
City breaks in Helsinki
Amid inlets washed by the Baltic Sea, Helsinki's offbeat heart is discernable in its innovative design and elegant boulevards. There's a reason all eyes are on the Finnish design scene, and it will be clear as you wander through the city's spectacular design district to its Design Museum.
Helsinki's more than edgy aesthetics, though. The city's gastronomy has also exerted an influence, reaching far beyond the country's banks. Local, sustainable, farm-to-table cuisine found its origin in Finland, where arctic char, reindeer, lingonberries and unusual herbs flavour cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurants and local markets alike. Read on to discover what makes package holidays in Helsinki so special.
Before booking flights and hotels in Helsinki
It's simple to book a flight to and hotel in Helsinki from the UK. Direct flights from Dublin to Helsinki run regularly, as do flights from Cork. The currency is the euro. Travelling to the city couldn't be easier, with direct and inexpensive connections between the city centre and the airport. Finland is two hours ahead of the UK, and Scandinavians have superb English skills, so you likely won't encounter problems communicating in the country.
When is the best time for city breaks in Helsinki?
To see Helsinki swathed in snow and winter cheer, December to March is the best time to arrive. Catch the array of winter activities that this part of the world does so well. Spring sunshine beams between April and May, and the city really swings in June through to August, when the events programme is especially packed. If the Northern Lights are on your bucket list, then you may get lucky in Helsinki – the lights illuminate the sky for 10–20 days per year, between September and March.
What is there to do on weekends in Helsinki?
Grab your snowshoes and hike into the stunning scenery surrounding the city. There are plenty of purveyors of skis and snowmobiles, so you can indulge all your winter sport inclinations on your weekend in Helsinki. Alternatively, delve into the country's design history at the Museum of Finnish Architecture. Housed in a neo-Renaissance building, the permanent collection is augmented by temporary retrospectives, and the bookshop is stocked with superb design books. In the summertime, the museum shares a pavilion with the Design Museum, where the permanent collection focuses on the origins of Finland's aesthetic. Run into bad weather? Be entertained at the Tennispalatsi, built for the 1940 Olympics but now home to the Helsinki Art Museum among other cultural attractions.
What is there to see on weekends in Helsinki?
The centre of the Western world's design aesthetic and home to the Northern Lights, Helsinki boasts unparalleled sights. Here are some highlights:
- Gaze into the skies that sometimes come alive with the enigmatic Northern Lights at Observatory Hill Park. The astronomy exhibition is particularly attractive in spring, when the hill is drowned in a sea of tulips and daffodils.
- Marvel at the opulent interiors of the Sinebrychoff Art Museum, where the collection of classical European paintings outshines any other in the country. You'll also see artefacts bequeathed by the Finnish government.
- Look up at the gilded domes of red-brick Uspenski Cathedral, which dates to 1868. The Russian Orthodox church is a vision, crowning Katajanokka island with golden splendour.
- Enjoy the sculpture garden and sight of families tobogganing down the hill at Kaivopuisto. Summertime transforms the waterfront park into a picnic paradise.
Eating out in Helsinki
Helsinki's food scene is about more than bearded men serving herring and salt liquorice. Scandinavia is the centre of a revolution in culinary terms. Michelin-starred gastro-labs such as Ask, Chef & Sommelier, Demo and Olo are just part of the story here. Why not go lingonberry picking in the summertime? Or try the country's beloved cloudberries? Tuck into comforting cabbage rolls filled with pork, mashed potato and gravy. Finnish classics also include a torte named for Finnish poet Johan Runeberg, who wrote the lyrics to Finland's national anthem. Pulla cinnamon buns are another popular sweet treat.
What to bring home from package holidays in Helsinki
Helsinki really sings in the holiday season, when Christmas markets pop up all over the city. Year round, you'll find reindeer souvenir stands in Kauppatori Square, which overlooks the harbour. Take some Finnish design home with you after you shop in the city's design district, Punavuori, the epicentre of cool design. Meanwhile, Ullanlinna opens onto stunning parks and the Hernesaari waterfront. You'll find perfect examples of Finnish design to remember Helsinki with.