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Registered: Sep 2004
I live in Helsinki so I can give you some tips about it. But what kind of things would you like to experience? What kind of food do you eat/like? Are you looking for some fine dining places or cheaper places? Or both? When are you coming? The most renowned and popular restaurants are usually fully booked so you should try to make reservations asap.
Helsinki is very convenient since it's quite small and has very good public transport so it's easy to get around. I would recommend taking the tram to Punavuori, which is a very hip neighbourhood full of cosy cafés and restaurants. There are fine dining scandinavian restaurants, asian restaurants, small shops etc.
I don't have that much recent experience of the restaurant scene because I'm a poor student but my Dad is a real foodie so he talks a lot about the current "it" places. One of his favourites is BasBas, run by one of the most promising young chef's in Finland (Kalle Kiukainen). If interested you can book a table up to 30 days in advance.
Other top restaurants in the same category are Bronda, Levain, Olo (Nordic restaurant) Finnjävel, Pastor.
Farang is not as new but it's a very good one, I've been there once some years ago. They have fusion Asian food and it's yummy.
There are loads of nice cafés and I suggest you pass the mainstream franchises and look for the personal ones. Like I said, there are lot's in Punavuori but also in Kruununhaka (e.g. Papu which is a minimalistic vietnamese cafe, Muumi café (if you like Moomin, there's likely to be mostly asian tourists in there) Café Engel (an old classic, stylish café right next to one of the most popular sights Tuomikirkko).
My favourite area in the city is Kallio, which is the old working-class neighbourhood which nowadays is the main home for the Helsinki hipster and underground cultural scene. It's about 10-15 min from city center. if you like vegetarian/vegan food and cheaper options this is where you wanna go. Here you can also find lot's of bars, some nicer than others. Most of them close at around 1 o'clock. I recommend café Talo where you can stop by for a coffee, food or drinks. If you want to go out for drinks I recommend Siltanen, although it is usually super crowded, but they usually have good music. If you wanna dance and don't prefer the mainstream pop clubs, you should try Kaiku which is right behind Siltanen. Most people start the evening at Siltanen and continue to Kaiku.
Another more chill and laid back place that hosts live gigs is Ravintola Tenho. They have food too. http://www.ravintolatenho.fi/en/
One thing I think you should do while in Helsinki is visit a sauna. There are many options! One quite new and cool option is Löyly, which is located right by the sea in Hernesaarenranta. You can take bus number 14 from Kamppi and get transported right in front of it. There you can bathe in the sauna and if you are brave you can take a dip into the sea. They have a restaurant too and you can stay there for drinks and food. You can also reserve a sauna for you and your friends.
Another option is Allas Sea Pool which you probably won't miss noticing since it's right in the center of Helsinki, in the harbor, beside Senaatintori.
A third option is to visit Helsinki's first public swimming hall, Yrjönkadun Uimahalli, opened in 1928. Also right in the center. It's a beautiful, calm swimming hall where you can swim nude or in bathing suite (different turns for men and women, you need to check the schedule). If you want to use the normal public sauna the entrance is only around 5 euros. For 14 euros you get access to their second floor where you can choose between saunas warmed up with wood, steam or infra-red. There you can relax in a private booth and drink champagne. The swimming hall is widely used by locals.
Café Ekberg is also worth visiting, it's one of our oldest café's and very traditionally "Helsinkian". It's on Bulevardi, a walking distance from the center and easily accessible by tram as well.
There's so much more I could suggest but let's leave it at this for now. There's a lot to do and a lot of beautiful neighbourhoods where you can walk around in. Let me know if you have any quesitons or want to know more.
Last edited by nooneanymore on 12-22-2017 at 01:07 PM
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