Travel

What to do during a 24-hour summer stopover in Helsinki

Unique experiences await you in Helsinki during summertime - even if you have just 24 hours

Chasing the winter northern lights or the all-year Santa Claus sightings at Rovaniemi would be on top of any traveller's list of must-sees in Finland.

But unique experiences can be enjoyed even on a one-day stopover in Helsinki during summertime.

Here are four things you can easily do in 24 hours in the Finnish capital, according to Finnair, the airline that flies the shortest Northern route between Europe and Asia through Helsinki.

BASK IN THE GLOW OF THE SUN ALL DAY LONG

In Helsinki, for part of the summer, there is sunlight round the clock, the so called midnight sun. It is a natural phenomenon that amazes many who visit - and even some of the locals, still.

While the Finns love their winters, summer holds a special place in their hearts, particularly from mid-June to early July, when they have never ending days.

There is even a Midsummer Day national holiday on June 22.

It is also a good time to head to the Suomenlinna fortress, one of the most visited attractions in Finland and a Unesco World Heritage site.

Families can spend several hours there with their kids, as the Suomenlinna Toy Museum has a wide selection of vintage toys, with ones that date back to the beginning of the 19th century.

Venture through the underground tunnels, have a picnic on the greens and explore to your heart's content.

It is a great way to be exposed to Finnish culture and the country's tradition of games, while keeping it fun for the little ones too.

HIKE THROUGH ONE OF FINLAND'S 40 NATIONAL PARKS

There are 40 national parks in Finland - with its 40th park inaugurated in 2017 when the country celebrated its 100th year as an independent country.

There is nothing like taking in the fresh air (Finland is among the countries with the cleanest air in the world) and hiking is easier when there is no snow.

The clear paths in moderate temperatures create opportunities for less serious hikers to take in all that nature's best has to offer.

Check out Nuuksio National Park, a mere 45 minutes from Helsinki city centre where even an hour-long hike along one of the main trails lets you experience the feeling of being in the wilderness.

Or if you are game to venture further out, try Koli National Park - atop Ukko-Koli hill. It is where you will find one of the most gorgeous views of Finland, one that has inspired many Finnish artists.

LIVE LIKE A FINN IN A SAUNA

To truly understand how to live life like a Finn, the sauna is one place you will want to hit up. Whether it is winter or summer, it is a big part of Finnish culture and an activity that cannot easily be compared to anything else.

Try the Allas Sea Pool, a new spa complex inspired by the historic spa heritage of the Baltic Sea, or check out the Loyly Design Sauna, another incredibly aesthetic location that is just a short walk from the city centre.

EAT FINNISH DELICACIES YOU CANNOT PRONOUNCE

Finns are passionate about their food and they know how to celebrate it.

In Finland, market stalls everywhere overflow with seasonal produce and local delicacies, and festivals mark the arrival of favourites throughout the year.

Some of Finland's most iconic foods include the Karjalanpiirakka, also known as Karelian pies, that are made with rye flour and filled with potatoes, rice or carrots. A Finnish summer is also incomplete without the Grillimakkara - thick, juicy sausages that are traditionally eaten with mustard and washed down with beer.

TOURISM & TRAVEL