Established as a trading town in 1550, the early history of Helsinki – or Helsingfors, as it was then known – was characterized by poverty, disease, and war. It was not until Russia defeated Sweden in the Finnish War and annexed Finland in 1809 that the town began its development into a substantial city. Once the capital was moved from Turku to Helsinki, and the country’s only university was relocated as well, Helsinki’s newfound role as a major city and as a center of intellect was cemented.
Though the Finnish Civil War and the Winter War would leave their marks on Helsinki, the city’s already steady development continued, eventually leading to a period of rapid urbanization in the 1970s.
Today’s Finnish capital offers all the style and charm of a typical Nordic metropolis, with a hefty dose of quirkiness for good measure. The diverse architectural landscape, highlighted by the largest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Northern Europe, is a must-see – and there are stunning examples of neoclassical and modernist structures as well. With world-class museums nestled among fabulously traditional restaurants and cafes, in a place where urban sauna culture is a way of life, this deceptively small city has a wealth of exciting options to make your visit a memorable one!
Helsinki isn't short on trendiness either. A significant expanse of the city, known as the Design District, is a paradise for art and design enthusiasts, comprising of 200+ destinations – including museums and galleries, shops, artist studios, and even special design-oriented hotels – spread across 25 streets. The culinary scene is also on the rise. Between chic eateries with locally-sourced menus, craft beer bars, and micro-distilleries, Helsinki ticks every box on the contemporary foodie’s wish-list.
During your Milk & Honey tour, you’ll have a chance to see many of the main highlights of Helsinki, including the historic Senate Square, the grand Helsinki Cathedral, and the Olympic Stadium. You will visit the city center and its marketplace, the Sibelius monument, and the gorgeous Rock Church, among other sites, on this whirlwind exploration of the Finnish capital.
There is also the possibility of extending your tour to include a visit to the beautiful, ancient town of Porvoo, situated just 50 km from Helsinki. With a charming Old Town, shops featuring Finnish design, and what our guide describes as „the best chocolate in Scandinavia,“ there is lots to enjoy here.
We invite you to join us in Helsinki and beyond!