Want a break from the summer heat? Hel Yeah!

Hel Yeah! is Helsinki’s marketing slogan and rightly so as there are so many reasons to pick this city as your next holiday destination. 

Senate Square, Helsinki
Senate Square, Helsinki

As complaints about the heat reach their peak, unlike most travellers looking for a beach destination, many Maltese are looking for something a little bit cooler. With temperatures under 20°C and 19 hours of sunlight in the summer, Helsinki offers the perfect respite from the heat of the Maltese summer.

What to do?

The capital of Finland has a lot to offer. This trendy city is all about world-class food and drinks, shopping and entertainment all in a picturesque environment with one third of the city is covered in parks.

The Senate Square and its surroundings form a unique and cohesive example of Neoclassical architecture. The square is dominated by four buildings designed by Carl Ludvig Engel between 1822 and 1852: Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. Helsinki Cathedral is arguably Finland's most famous and photographed building; it celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002. The oldest stone building in Helsinki is the Sederholm House located on the southeast corner of the square. The main building of the City Museum can be found on the Sofiankatu museum street.

Though there is plenty to do in the city itself, Helsinki is a great base if you plan to explore the surrounding natural areas.

Helskini is a city surrounded by the sea, giving off a cool breeze that keeps temperatures down. With 100 kilometres of coast and over 300 islands, many of which are only accessible for recreational purposes. Take a maritime tour to get a taste of Helsinki from the water.

Suomenlinna, Finland
Suomenlinna, Finland

One of the best places to admire the sea is Soumenlinna, just off the coast, this sea fortress built in 1748 really gives visitors a feel of Helsikni’s location between east and west. Soumenlinna was shaped by three distinct historic eras when it helped defend first Sweden, then Russia and ultimately Finland.

After the Paris Peace Treaty was signed in 1947, Finland was no longer allowed to have any submarines, but up till this day one still remains. Stranded on the West bank of the Artillery Bay in the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Finland’s last remaining submarine, Vesikko, is on display to allow future generations a chance to marvel at this war-time relic.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is representation of European military architecture of its time. The 800 residents love the sea and can often be seen picnicking by the water’s edge with younger residents as well as visitors exploring the many tunnels of the old fortress. The museums, cafés, cosy restaurant and events make the island worth visiting for people of all ages. 

Take a break from the summer heat at Unique Lapland Winter World where the temperatures are kept at -3°C.
Take a break from the summer heat at Unique Lapland Winter World where the temperatures are kept at -3°C.

If you are travelling with kids then a trip to Unique Lapland Winter World, the home of Santa Claus is a must. This indoor facility brings Lapland into the heart of the city. Experience winter in the middle of summer in this treasure trove of all-year-round winter. Snow attractions and activities will entice the young and the young at heart. Check out the igloos and the ice sculptures, the toboggan hill or kick sledding and tandem skiing in an environment where everything is kept at -3°C for an authentic winter feel without the biting wind. Book a ride on a husky sledge or arrange a visit with the real Santa Claus, while grown ups enjoy a drink at the ice bar.

Finland’s food culture is a unique and vibrant experience that reflects Finnish nature, society, history, identity and culture. Based on fresh, seasonal produce often from the lakes and forests their culture is a melting pot of west and east. Foodies will relish in new experiences of reindeer meat, which almost melts in your mouth as well as bear meat. Their berries are second to none.

Foodies will appreciate Helsinki’s markets and market halls where traditional delicacies and local specialities are sold. They offer a great way to discover local food culture and shopping. 

How to get there

Finnair offers twice-weekly flights from Malta to Helsinki from 2 April until 22 October. Flights departing from Malta on 14 August to 21 August were priced at €574.48 including tax at the time of publishing. 

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