ROL Cruise recommends...
1. Visit the Design Museum
Named World Design Capital in 2012, this contemporary and cool city has been home to many iconic designers. Take a trip to the city’s Design Museum to see Finnish work alongside that of great designers from across the globe, including Sir Terence Conran of Habitat fame.
2. Shop till you drop
Helsinki is famed for street fashion, contemporary design and bespoke handmade jewellery. Head to the Design District to see some of the city’s best creatives at work. This hub of shops and studios is run by 200 of the city’s most promising young designers, some of whom are already internationally renowned. You could while away an entire afternoon wandering around the hub’s home decor stores, clothes shops, jewellery makers and antiques dealers.
3. Get your skates on
Ice skating is weaved into Helsinki’s history. Lace up a pair of skates and feel the exhilaration of skating on the ice in the open-air at one of the city’s seven outdoor rinks. When you need a break, warm up with a coffee in one of the city’s cosy cafes. Finnish folk have learned to wrap themselves up against the biting winters – and their coffee shops are designed with this in mind. Expect chairs that swallow you up, interiors that captivate and coffee and cake that warm your soul.
4. Try the local cuisine
Finnish food is all about using the best local ingredients to create simple, hearty food designed to warm bellies on cold days. Expect stews made with reindeer, potatoes and vegetables; or soups of leek and potato made luxurious with freshly caught local salmon. Then mop up your bowl with some freshly cut rye bread, or perhaps a potato flatbread.
5. Sail to Suomenlinna
Suomenlinna is a military fortress built on a close network of islands off the coast of Helsinki. Built to defend the coast of Finland in the eighteenth century, the fortress is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the city’s top visitor attractions. Wander from one island to another on the bridges, and lose yourself to the crumbling military ruins.