"A thriving, flawlessly-designed seaside city, Helsinki is famously livable and inspiring. A regional powerhouse of outstanding design and creativity, Helsinki lies across a confetti scattering of 300 islands and skerries in the Gulf of Finland. Known for the light granite hue of its buildings - which lend the city a bright, whitewashed appearance - traditional buildings mingle seamlessly with bold new structures, showcasing Finland's celebrated design outlook. Helsinki Cathedral is the crowning glory - rising high over the city's waterfront with its pearly white domes gleaming.
A city that reveres knowledge and creativity above all else, artworks and statues litter the streets and parks, honouring creative minds of the past. Open parks offer space to lie back and soak up summer's sun, while sculptures like the abstract organs of the Sibelius Monument celebrate national heroes like composer Jean Sibelius - whose music gave Finland national identity in the quest for independence. Feel the stunning acoustics of the incredible Rock Church deep in your gut, as you witness a performance in this collaboration between man and nature. Built into the rock underground, the amphitheatre's soaring copper bowl roof is suspended dramatically on a bed of glass windows. One of Helsinki's many incredible buildings, the Design Museum offers a comprehensive insight into the city's balance of style, function and form.
Helsinki's easy-going, forward-thinking way of life was hard fought for, and the spectacular Suomenlinna fortress rears out of the waves as a reminder of the historical struggles that have played out in this stretch of sea. The chain of forts covers six islands and was built to defend the archipelago when it fell under Swedish rule. Sail out to the quaint little beaches, and waterfront pathways that now lend a calm, peaceful ambience to this UNESCO World Heritage Site."