Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Helsinki, 2012 World Design Capital

Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:04am EDT
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By Eero Vassinen

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's capital comes alive as soon as the snow begins to melt and residents start venturing outdoors again, cafes spill onto sidewalks and the city's modernist architecture sparkles.

While cross-country ski trails and saunas offer entertainment for visitors during the colder months, the city is best explored after it emerges from its long, dark winter.

The next several months will be a particularly exciting time to visit as Helsinki, the 2012 World Design Capital, holds special events related to design and fashion.

The Design Capital events include the opening of a new public sauna in Merihaka. A wooden pavilion made of renewable and recycled materials will be built near the Design Museum to showcase the country's new generation of artists.

Helsinki's long and warm summer days also provide a perfect backdrop to events like the two-week Helsinki Festival of theatre, music, circus, and dance, starting August 17. The Flow Festival, also in August, features world-class artists such as Bjork, Bon Iver, The Black Keys, and Feist.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of 48 hours in the city.


6 p.m. - Start with drinks at Ateljee Bar at the top floor at the historic Hotel Torni, with a 360-degree view over Helsinki. Be sure to check the scenic, if slightly unsettling, toilets.   Continued...

A woman walks past Helsinki cathedral March 4, 2011. REUTERS/Yves Herman (