Helsinki Pocket Guide Travel Book Review – The Perfect Travel Companion

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Helsinki Pocket Guide, from Insight Guides, provides travelers a compact handbook with stunning photos, a pullout map, and a perfect day itinerary to ensure the visit to Finland's capital city is filled with all that Helsinki offers.

Helsinki, located in Northern Europe, in what is known as the collection of Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, has a population of nearly 1.5million. It is the third largest metropolitan city in the Nordic countries after Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden.

A thoroughly contemporary city, Helsinki's modern transportation system including a subway, buses, ferries, and ride share services move the city's people and travelers throughout the region. A coastal city, with 76 miles of shoreline, the capital is home to a flourishing and growing arts and cultural community.


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The Helsinki Pocket Guide, a complete and condensed version with nine sections including an introduction, "A Brief History," "Where To Go," "What To Do," with a subsection of Entertainment, Shopping, Sports & Activities and Activities for Children," Eating Out," "A-Z Travel Tips," "Recommended Hotels," an "Index" and also a "Features" section for quick references to historical points.

Each section contains many of the top destinations available for those passing through or even enjoying a short stay. With proximity to Tallinn, Estonia (three hours) St. Petersburg, Russia, (three hours) and Stockholm, Sweden, (17 hours) each accessible by car, train or ferry, day or weekend trips to these neighboring countries are not to miss when visiting.


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Mixing the old with the new, Helsinki has more than 70 museums, and 3000 annual festivals. To exhaust the culinary offerings of Helsinki, foodies would need more than three years of dining out every evening to visit each of the 1053 restaurants available.

Knowing even a brief overview of the culture and history before arriving will give travelers a bit of information to help understand the people. Finland is only 102 years old. Prior to its independence on December 6, 1917 Finland was a Russian territory. The years following resulted in many bloody battles, and heavy losses to retain their independence. The current regional proximity to Russian continues to remain a challenge.

Like many European cities, the history of Finland dates back, in some cases, more than two centuries. In Helsinki, part of the rich cultural experiences are the Museums that include the National Museum of Finland that oddly houses a collection of American Indian Artifacts from the Colorado Mesa Verde. Finland also operates a collection of museums, the Finnish National Gallery, which divides the period of artistic expression across three periods including classical Finnish art, classical European art, and modern art.


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Best travel season depends of course on personal tastes. Finland's southern region has a traditional winter three or four months of cold temperatures. The northern region experiences seven months of deep-freezing temperatures. Springtime and summer are fueled by warm ocean temperatures and is ideal for seeing the city on foot.

Where to Go

The Insight Guides Where to Go section highlights the city's eleven neighborhoods each offering a unique feel with key points interest within each district. The Rautatientori which hold the Ateneum Art Museum and The Esplanadi; The Market and Senate Squares showcase the State Buildings, University, and Helsinki Cathedral.

Mannerheimintie neighborhood houses the Natural History Museum and Temppeliaukio Church which is a rock church and one of Helsinki's top tourist attractions and is carved out of solid bedrock; Toolonlahti Bay and Olympic Stadium, which Finland built when it hosted the 1952, Summer games. The surrounding park circles the bay with cafes sitting waterside, and is also home to the Finnish National Opera, the Winter Garden, and Finlandia Hall.


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The Design District, the cities bohemian center, showcases the Art and Architecture which helped Helsinki earn the title of World Design Capital in 2012. The Design Museum is quite extensive with more than 75,000 pieces; The Bulevardi and Hietalahti Market with produce and weekly flea markets and along the waterside is home to the cities three museums, 12 galleries and art and music studios.

Ullanlinna and Kaivopuisto provides an observation point with sea views of the South Harbor and Ursa Observatory and Helsinki's favorite Green space, Kaivopuisto Park; Kallio and Around, houses the Botanical gardens; Lenininpuisto and Linnanmake neighborhood receives about 500,000 visitors annually as it is home to Helsinki's amusement park; Suomenlinna Fortress, an impressive island fortress available for tours and also several museums.

Helsinki's Islands, an archipelago of more than one hundred islands that are slowly becoming more integrated into the capital city as the urban nature beckons and city dwellers escape for the weekend or longer to these islands surrounding the mainland, Greater Helsinki, and Excursions.

The 143 page guide, provides a perfect mix of key points. The two sided pull out map provides a full map of Finland with its proximity to neighboring countries and the opposite side has three small maps, an Helsinki city map, a central Helsinki street and cultural destination map and a Southwestern Finland map.

Insight Guides Helsinki Pocket Guide provides the perfect introduction and travel companion to this modern city European city by the bay. For more information on Insight Travel Guides: www.insightguides.com

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