We had a few more days in Helsinki both after Christmas and after New Years. It's a fantastic city even in the winter when days are short and temperatures are low. Strangely when we were there the city had not seen snow yet, which we were disappointed about, it was rainy much like winter in Seattle.
Dining was interesting, in a good way! Did you know that Helsinki has a large Tibetan population? Forest did, so one night we ate at Mount Everest. Yep, another theme but also quite good Nepalese food.
Fratello Torrefazione was a good stop for mid-day espresso, glögi (mulled wine), and sandwiches.
One non themed dinner was at Restaurant Jurri which was absolutely wonderful. A small space offering mainly seasonal dishes with excellent service. Highly recommend!
And you'd be hard pressed to find a prettier place for lunch that at Kappeli right on the Esplanade. The restaurant and bar are in a gorgeous glass atrium and the food and service were elegant and fantastic.
Besides hitting the American Bar on our very first night in town, most places on my list to check out for cocktails were closed for the holidays. Good thing Forest and I mix such good martinis! But Bar Haven, inside the Hotel Haven where we stayed for a night before heading home had some very well made drinks in a super cool space.
We also had cocktails at the uber-popular Grotesk where craft cocktails rein supreme. It was a bit of a madhouse so I'd suggest going early and not on a weekend if you have your choice.
As far as sightseeing went we used the city's tram system to get us to most of places. It is easy to navigate and the stops are well marked and announced.
Helsinki has a church, Temppeliaukio, that is built entirely into a huge rock; unique and unusual to visit.
The Kiasma Modern Art Museum is amazing and well worth more that a couple of hours. There were a lot of interactive pieces which is always fun. Also one of the exhibits was of clothing made entirely of plants, flowers, etc found in nature. The pieces were beautiful.
Near to that is the Silence Church, a beautiful oval shaped church with no denomination, meant to welcome everyone. Crazy concept right?
Market Hall (or Hakamiemi in Finnish) is a fun stop to explore both local food items on the ground floor, and crafts and vintage items for sale upstairs.
And of course I did a bit of shopping at the small Christmas Market outside of Stockmann's (which had amazing window displays). I'm sure prior to the holiday the market was much larger.
There was another market down near the harbor which was smaller and not holiday oriented. I think it runs year around but at the time there were a lot of wintery items like reindeer and fox pelts for sale.
We also went to the beautiful Winter Gardens at the Botanical Park.
Right in the center of town there was a skating rink, just next to the train station. We didn't partake but skating rinks always bring a smile to my face!
All Helsinki photos here
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