Finnish culture and lifestyle have so much to offer to anyone relocating to Helsinki for work. Here are our tips for enjoying the Finnish way of life.
Nature in your backyard
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a bustling coastal city. Despite this, nature is just around the corner, offering you a quiet place to clear your mind. Take the bus to the Nuuksio National Park in Espoo. Hiking while enjoying the lovely scenery is an excellent way to relax. Make sure to travel around Finland to see its charming old towns and enchanting forests, and visit a few of Finland’s thousands of lakes (187 888 to be exact!). In the wintertime, visit snowy Lapland, and perhaps even see the Northern Lights and enjoy the magical time called Kaamos when the sun does not rise at all (or visit Lapland in summer to witness the midnight sun!).
Let’s be friends
Enjoying a dinner on the street on Helsinki day. (Image by Helsinki marketing)
Finns are said to be anti-social, but this is not true. We might seem shy and silent, but once the conversation gets going, you have made a true friend. Ask a Finn about the real Finland not described by any travel guide or brochure.
Finnish cuisine has something for everybody. Nature is the source for inspiration in Finnish cuisine, and berries and mushrooms are widely used. Make sure to visit the harbour area for fresh fish, and the old market halls for both modern and traditional Finnish food. One of the best ways to get acquainted with the food culture is Restaurant Day, held once each season, when anyone can set up their own mini restaurant.
Relax in the sauna
Want to experience something totally new? Try the Finnish sauna. Yes, we cram ourselves into a tiny and hot room full of steam. It’s also typical to prepare sausages over the sauna stove and wash them down with beer. Sometimes in the winter, people go swimming in a hole in the ice after sauna, and if you are brave enough, this is also an amazing experience.
Can I interest you in a cup of coffee?
Finns consume the most coffee in the world per capita, and a rich café culture has made a resurgence in recent years. When Finns meet their friends and relatives, it usually involves several cups of coffee. Traditional old coffeehouses still offer table service, and new ones that roast their own beans and sell their own flavours of coffee are opening all the time. The coffeemaker is almost always in use in every home and workplace. Make sure to try the local brands!
Passing the time
Finnish people love outdoor activities, no matter what time of year. Cross-country skiing and ice skating are very popular in the winter. It can take a while to master these skills, but learning to glide on the ice rink on a city square or skiing through a quiet forest are great rewards. In summer, Finns lose themselves in nature. The forests are so clean that you can eat berries straight from the plant. Swim in a Finnish lake, or gather your friends and spend a day at the beach.