Helsinki is an exceptionally beautiful seaport city, and when you fly into Helsinki Airport (HEL) you ll see why Findland s capital is so popular with tourists. Located on the shores of the Baltic Sea, the city center seems to be surrounded by the ocean. Its art-nouveau buildings are far from ancient, but they certainly give the city a pleasant and quirky charm.
In Helsinki's city center is where you'll find most of the attractions. Near the primary train station, you'll find the Ateneum, Finland's premier art museum.
Take a walk on the pedestrian roads to the south, and you'll discover the Esplanadi (or Esplanade Park) where sunbathers sit on blankets in the grass and cyclists leisurely tool down trails (in the summer, of course). To the south, you'll find a museum that details Finland's claim to fame: The Museum of Finnish Architecture.
Outside the city center, there are plenty of options for sightseers. Chief among them is the Suomenlinna Fortress, located on top of six different islands in the Gulf of Finland.
Ferries run to the island regularly and cost relatively little. Admittance to the island itself is free. You may also want to stay in the fortress's own hostel for a night or two to really get a regal feeling.
When you fly to Helsinki Airport (HEL), you'll actually be in an inland town called Vantaa. Never fear, as there is a bus (615) that will take you directly to the city center in about 40 minutes. Car rentals are also popular as Helsinki is eminently drive-able.
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