Where the lake-riddled Finnish landscape finally gives up and surrenders itself entirely to water, that’s where you’ll find Helsinki.
Start with a morning of Helsinki highlights, including Tuomiokirkko, or Helsinki Cathedral, whose Russian-influenced neo-classical columns and proud green domes make it the city’s best-known landmark. Your route will also take you past the Presidential Palace, City Hall and the clean Scandinavian lines of Finlandia Hall and the Opera House.
It’s hard to resist the lure of the water and Helsinki’s numerous islands. A mighty Baltic fortress makes the island of Suomenlinna a stand-out, and a monument to Finland’s troubled relations with Russia.
Scandinavian style and ingenuity is admired the world over; trace the evolution of this rigorous aesthetic at the Design Museum. Finnish fine arts may be less known, but a visit to the Ateneum will show you what you’ve been missing.