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Helsinki Cultural Landscape is Always Rich in Music

Aug 18, 2007
Helsinki is the capital of Finland.

There is no shortage of mid range to first class hotels, and they are not as expensive as they used be. For good deals try business hotels in July and Aug, or on weekends. Always check discount deals and book ahead. Basic hotels and hostels fill up quickly in peak summer time, so book ahead.

June to Sept are the best time to travel, the climate is hot and there is a cultural festival in August. Christmas is also special, because Finland is the home of Santa Claus. The worst time to travel is Jan and Feb because it is very cold, deep snow and short dark days.

The main shopping areas in Helsinki are Esplanadi and Aleksanterinkatu where you will find large department stores and shopping centres. For small boutiques visit Fredrikinkatu and for antiques try Mariankatu. In summer Helsinki has many good markets which are big attractions in the city.

Traditional Finnish foods include Salmon, Herring and Crayfish. These are normally eaten with new potatoes and dill as a summer dish. In autumn, berries are served fresh with ice cream or in pastries. Another speciality in Finland is reindeer which is served in many of Helsinkis restaurants. As well as Finnish cuisine, you will find a wide range of restaurants including Russian, Asian and Italian.

In recent years Helsinki has seen an explosion of night time possibilities. Friday and Saturday nights are impossibly overcrowded, so if you plan to go out, you need to show up early at a club, or you may not get in. The older crowd sticks mainly to bars in popular hotels.

Nearly all theatrical performances are presented in Finnish or Swedish. However, music is universal, and the Helsinki cultural landscape is always rich in music whatever the season. The major orchestral and concert performances take place in Finlandia Hall. Operas at the Finnish National Opera are sung in their original languages.

Due to the cultural influence of neighbouring Russia, Helsinki has a quite different character from other Scandinavian capitals. It contains some radiant architecture, excellent museums, scenic waterways, and has a lively, cheerful atmosphere especially in summer months.

The cleanliness, compact centre and plethora of open spaces make it a terrific walking or biking city.

However it is never cheap, especially eating and drinking, though due to a recent recession you can find some of the cheapest deals among travel packages.

Local drunks can be offensive and the main train station at night is not a good place for travellers to hang out.
About the Author
Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Helsinki Rental Site
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