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Helsinki, Finland’s Capital


Since there’s plenty of information and pictures readily available, I’ll run down a few fun facts about Finland and Helsinki instead:
Helsinki, Finland

  • Officially, the area of Helsinki consists of 2/3 of the Baltic sea and 1/3 land. The sea area is clustered by (count them!) 315 islands.
  • Apparently Helsinki is one of the coldest capital cities in the world. It does not receive sunshine for roughly 51 consecutive days during winter. The city has around 101 average annual days of snow and an amazing 169 average annual number of days below 0 Celsius.
  • So why would you want to live in Helsinki? Well guys, the population of women is greater than men! Men constitute around 46.6 per cent of the population and women make up around 53.4 percent. Given the lack of sunshine, don’t expect to see many tan lines.Helsinki, Finland
  • In winter, there is absolutely no snow on the sidewalks and boulevards of central Helsinki. Helsinki, FinlandThe city government heats the granite slabs from underground, so the snow and ice immediately melt.
  • Tap water comes straight from mountain springs via Päijännetunneli, the longest water tunnel in the world. The quality of Helsinki’s water is so high that it is exported to other countries. For example, Saudi Arabia for many years now has been buying drinking water from the Finnish capital.
  • It had one of the shortest lived monarchies ever. Helsinki, FinlandThe newly formed nation toyed with employing a bloke on a throne as it found its feet in 1918 – and even went as far as to elect a German prince to the top job. Frederick-Charles of Hesse was “appointed” on October 9, 1918. But then Germany lost World War I, abandoned its own monarchy, and posh German chaps in robes were no longer en vogue. Frederick-Charles stepped down on December 14, 1918 after a glorious 67-day reign. His time span so short he was never crowned.

Hiidenvuori Hill


Hiidenvuori Hill, FinlandHiidenvuori Hill rises over Kirkkojärvi Lake in southern Finland. With a height of 60 meters, the hill is popular lookout spot and definitely a location for nature lovers.

The views soothe both the eyes and soul: to the North there are islands and sparkling open lakes; to the South pine-forests and deciduous forests. There are plenty of easy-to-navigate trails so take you from one area to the next.

At the base of the hill is a large boat dock with a beach area that has a fireplace and toilet. From the pier you can try catching fish or just admire the tranquil shoreline.

Repovesi National Park


Lapinsalmi suspension bridge in Repovesi National ParkRepovesi National Park is just a couple of hours from Helsinki,Repovesi National Park Map, Finland but with rugged forests dotted with blue lakes and ponds, it feels like a million miles away from everything!

With over 40km of hiking trails, there are plenty of huge trees, fresh berries you can pick/eat along the way, and super-thick patches of sphagnum moss that’s more comfortable to nap on than the finest mattress. These present hiking adventures suitable for everyone, from fine views over treetops and across the many lakes, to walking next to restored log flumes and across the Lapinsalmi suspension bridge.

Repovesi National Park Finland
Repovesi National Park Finland

Repovesi National Park FinlandThe hiking trails are well marked with plenty of places to stop along the way to cook your own meal over open flames or brew a pot of coffee/tea. If you happen to end up next to a lake, take your meal down to the water’s edge and soak in the beauty of the dragon flies buzzing about the water lilies.

Be sure to take a picture of, or print out, the Repovesi Brochure so you know exactly where you’re going since there’s plenty of trails to explore!

Suomenlinna


Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, Finland
Suomenlinna is an irregularly shaped sea fortress built on rocky islets guarding the approach to Helsinki.Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, FinlandThe fortifications were placed in such a way that they provide cover for each other with the aid of cannon artillery to deter the passage of enemy ships. Suomenlinna was shaped by three historic eras when it helped to defend first Sweden, then Russia, and ultimately Finland.

Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, Finland Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, Finland Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, Finland

Across the 6 islands it occupies, there are numerous, well marked, walking trails that lead to both the “King’s Gate” and Field Marshal Count Augustin Ehrensvärd’s monumental tribute. Ehrensvärd was the Swedish military officer responsible for the creation of the Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) fortress and the Swedish archipelago.

Suomenlinna is a World Heritage Site that makes for a good 1/2 day trip visit from Helsinki, especially if you’re into history. The islands are car-free and connected by bridges. However, the only way to get to the islands is by ferry.

Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, Finland Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, Finland Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, Finland

Temppeliaukio Rock Church


The Temppeliaukio church is situated in the heart of Helsinki and is one of the city’s main attractions. The underground Rock Church, as it is commonly known as, is built inside of a massive block of natural granite in the middle of an ordinary residential square. The church hall is covered with a dome, lined with copper and supported on the rock walls by reinforced concrete beams. The structure is barely visible from outside, with only the copper dome poking out of the rock. The interior walls are of rugged rock and rubble wall. An ice-age crevice serves as the altarpiece. Due to its excellent acoustics the church is a popular venue for concerts.

Its spectacular atmosphere and unique architecture promise to make it a unique church-going experience.

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