My Helsinki is your Helsinki
Saying Helsinki has it all doesn’t really do the city justice. This summer, it has even more. In a place with so much to offer, a group of tourist guide superheroes need to assemble.
Don’t be fooled by its relatively small size. From its classic urban architecture and the ever-present nature to one of the coolest food scenes in the world, Helsinki packs in a bunch. Thank heavens the visitors can, once again, rely on the jolly and green team of Helsinki Help patrolling the capital’s sunny streets.
Anyone can install maps around the city or design websites for people study. And they sure have their place! What makes Helsinki Help unique and human, however, is the gang’s sincere and open attitude toward visitors of all age, style and background.
– Many of our guides are relatively young. For us, it’s important to keep the atmosphere open and fun. Both on the city streets as well as at our office, explains Tourist Information Expert Pinja Maunula who has worked with the green troopers for several years.
– We also try to keep the rotation with our twenty-something guides quick over here. This way no one gets bored. This means all Help guides should patrol in each of the city’s designated areas at least once during the summer season, Maunula explains.
– All in all, the feedback from visitors and the staff has been super positive!
From island hopping to snack spotting
Fueled with a happy philosophy like that, it’s relieving to leave the task of guiding Helsinki’s growing number of visitors for these guys. But enough with the flattering – where do the Helpers guide the visitors? What is particularly hot? Besides the pleasantly warm June, that is.
The word on the street is that Helsinki summers are becoming more and more about the sea. The mainland with its amazingly long coastline is beautiful, sure. But you’d be silly not to check it out from the waterfront too and, most importantly, admiring it from its beautiful islands. And indeed, consisting of around 330 pieces, the Helsinki archipelago is easier to reach than ever before.
True to the city’s strategy of kindly nudging people to hit the boats and get to the beaches, Maunula joins the crowd.
– The city has started opening up islands for the public on a quickened pace. The ferry connections with their short travel times are also very easy to reach. Relaxing on the islands is definitely my personal favorite thing about summer in Helsinki, says Maunula dreaming.
One example of opening up the islands for the people is the cute Vallisaari – literally Wall Island. A place that was closed from the public until 2016. Just a bit further chills Isosaari – Big Island. And yes, it’s one of the biggest around.
The schedules of the privately-operated ferries can be easily checked at Helsinki’s official Journey Planner or, as they call it in Finnish, Reittiopas at www.reittiopas.fi/en. (Just note that the boat tickets need to be purchased separately upon departure.)
The Helsinki archipelago forms an ideal setting for those summer day picnics, swimming, visiting one of the many restaurants amidst remarkable surroundings or, simply, kicking it and relaxing in the pristine nature.
– For me Helsinki in the summer really is about the sea. And nature. Oh, and food too! Maunula lists.
– I wouldn’t brand myself as a culinarist per se, but I really love the street food Helsinki has to offer. There’s nothing wrong with the more nuanced themes of the fine dining scene in the city. However, simple and delicious is always in fashion!
Don’t believe her? Check out the Old Market Hall and start your delicious voyage from there.
My Helsinki: Your best local online guide to Helsinki. Make sure to check it out at www.myhelsinki.fi
Ode to culture
Kansikuva: ©helsinkimarketing / Jussi Hellsten