From architecture to street art, the Finnish capital can offer you anything you wish. Despite being one of the eurozone’s most developed countries Finland is deffinitely a place on your bucket list that you shouldn’t give up on because of financial reasons. The popularly known wealthy situation of the country doesn’t make it less of a touristic woner, even for the budget travelers. There are plenty of events with free admissions happening especially during the summertime, and the city is – as you’ll find – amazingly beautiful in itself.
‘Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’ J. K. Rowling through Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter
1. Free access monuments are what the classical tourist looks for whenever he feels like making a trip to Europe. The internet covers them all on the most part. If you’ve already decided to visit the country, you probably know about the sophisticated detailed architecture of the Lutheran Cathedral on Senate Square and the beauty somptuousness of Temppeliaukion Church from Lutherinkatu 3 isn’t a mystery either. The latter is also known as the rock church and don’t think that it’s the metalheads’ answer to religion – the place is literally built into a rock and if you don’t get your hopes too high thinking it’s a sort of rock pub for whoever wants to pray instead of drinking beer, you’ll actually love it. It’s impossible not to, the construction allows natural light to give the church a shining veil making it look delicate despite its very rough structure and the natural, raw acoustics of the place makes the atmosphere sober at the same time.
Being one of the first visiting options for most of the tourists in Helsinki, these attractions are sometimes a little busy but if you get to visit them during the early mornings or in the afternoon there shouldn’t be any problem.
‘The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.
Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer.’ George R. R. Martin in A Game of Thrones
2.Living the fantasy of this country has never been easier. The second stop for all the budget travelers are the wonderful parks of the city. Besides not having any type of admisssion fee, the natural spaces here seem like they’ve been especially targeted for specific groups of people. Depending on the type of group that you feel most close with, you’ll either go for the hipsters, the hippies, the happy couples or the silence far from the city noise and crowds. Alppipuisto is the hippiest place in Finland, all the social outkasts who think should have been born in time to go to Woodstock because the Millenials don’t represent them in any way have found this place to gather, sing blues or jazz, organize music events or food related special days. You’ll love it here if you’ve been backpacking all over Europe with the guitar on your back, singing Bob Dylan or Janis Joplin’s hits to any new local you’ve met.
Koffinpuisto, on the other hand, is where all the hipsters in Finland seem to have landed from. The Gulf of fine sand in the park is more like a shrine than a popular attraction among the youth in Helsinki. If you don’t have Ray Ban glasses this may just not be your alley but if you do, however, all the fancy haircuts you’ll see on these colorfully dressed, highly fashioned people. Sometimes there are free concerts here but if you’re not one of them, you probably didn’t hear about the bands. Either way, for a nice evening joining a concert here isn’t only free, but sometimes it can be very fun if you’re with the right people. The natural amphitheatre formed on the hillside of the park makes the green grassy park a great place for a picnic and the long flat bottom is the ideal natural environment for any socializingmanifestations from concerts to sport events.
Suomenlinna is where you’d like to come after a week in the big city. Even visiting all kinds of monuments can turn out to be very exhausting and afer a few days of passing by crowds, staying at queques, watching the city rush with people going to work early in the morning to come home just late at night. Only ten minutes away from the center of this crazy capital city you’ll fine this heaven for any hopeless romantic. And even if you’re of a flawless kantian rationality you should still come here for what has survived from the Finnish Fortress, passing the merciless test of aging. The landscape’s really worth it at any time of year, but if you’re visiting during the winter you should know that, being at the sea, the wind is very wild during the cold season. Another place worth going to is the museum on the island; it’s where you’ll find interesting facts, but you’re not really passionate about history, then maybe you should stick to admiring the beautiful, cold but perfect seascape.
‘This is your realm, and the heart of the greater realm that shall be. The Third Age of the world is ended, and the new age is begun; and it is your task to order its beginning and to preserve what must be preserved.’ J.R.R. Tolkien through Gandalf the Grey in Lord of the Rings
3. Networking events of all kinds are to be found in Helsink during all year long. All you have to do is plan your trip so you don’t miss them. Among the most importnant (and popular) ones there’s The Finland Lantern Festival celebrating spring and the miracle of life and the end of the Chinese year. Also called Shan Yua, this free event is not only colorful, but full of hope and vibrant both spiritually and sensous, like a senzorial feast to welcome you to their openness towards different cultures. A great attitude for under the unity we’re sharing through diversity in the European Union, this event is not to be missed especially if you’re into cultural experiences, and you’ll find the electric atmosphere somehow chemical, psychedelic and charming.
The largest pride event in the country, happening at the end of June every year and celebrating the cultural differences making us who we are, this GLBT manifestation bringing together not only representants of this community but also all kinds of exhibitions, workshops, parades and all kinds of activities. Even from the outside this is the type of place where you’d like being in June and if you happen to be in town you should definitely come and visit. The magic is in how these people interact, their every gestures are all kind, polite and lacking in any prejudice that you often happen to experience on the streets of the big cities. Tolerance is the key that holds together these events and not specifically the sexual orientations that are being named.
If you happen to be visiting Helsinki during the winter holidays trying to run away from the typical Christmas, you’ll be more than glad to hear about the Christmas Markets in the city. There are more markets, the first one’s women’s free market at the beginning of the month, followed by St. Tomas Christmas Market in the middle of the month. December’s a month full of events and the Independence Day is celebrated with patriotic flags and all kinds of displays in regard to their great respect for the country. Knowing just a little of their history will make you understand all these manifestations, join them and have fun at the fullest extent.