The capital of Finland, Helsinki is quaint, charming, clean and surprisingly “happening.” The public transportation since may be the best in the world and the people may be the kindest. A center of global design, it seems everything new and funky comes here first. From large boulevards to hidden winding lanes, sun-swept parks to deserted islands just a fifteen-minute ferry-ride away, Helsinki is the perfect city break destination, an excellent reintroduction to Europe following Russia or a brilliant addition to a Scandinavian adventure. Eat reindeer and lingonberries, explore ancient island forts and simply relax at a sidewalk cafe in this northern city.
The main avenues running through the city are Mannerheiminaukio (north to south) and Esplanadi (east to west). The train station is good orientation marker, as it is the city’s local transportation hub and splits the more urban southern half with the more residential northern half. Don’t forget to pick up a tourist transportation card, which covers all forms of transport - trams, buses, metro and even local ferries - for one, three or seven day. If you’re looking for traditional Finnish cuisine like reindeer, elk and lingonberries, try Lappi Restaurant (Annank 22) right in the heart of town. It’s cozy, a bit kitsch and just delicious.