Saturday, August 31, 2013

Helsinki – one big flea market

Today is Siivouspäivä again and Helsinki turns into one huge flea market. After registering online everyone can open their own stand almost anywhere they like in the city.

Siivouspäivä in Mai 2013

You can find all registered stands on a map online. Due to poor weather conditions today unfortunately there won’t be as many sale points as planned. Some might have also just moved under a nearby roof. So don’t give up if you don’t find what you were looking for.

Have a nice Saturday and hopefully find some great deals!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rocking with the stars at Tavastia

Tavastia is the number one rock club in Helsinki. The club was built in the 1930s and is located right next to Kamppi Kauppakeskus. Almost every night bands from Finland and abroad play here.

PMMP at Tavastia in August 2013

Over the years Finland’s biggest bands such as HIM, Hanoi Rocks, PMMP, The Rasmus, Von Hertzen Brothers, The 69 Eyes, Nightwish or Apocalyptica as well as international several international stars like Nick Cave, Hurriganes and Gary Clark Jr. have rocked Tavastia’s stage.

With a capacity of just around 700 people manages to give gigs even with big stars an intimate atmosphere. So if you have the chance to see any of your big idols performing here don’t miss the chance to see them.

On Tavastia's website you’ll find the schedule for the upcoming weeks and month and can book the tickets right away.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Organic, fast and yummy

On the lowest floor of Kluuvi kauppakeskus you find the organic fast food restaurant Armas Pikaruokala. And don’t let the word fast food scare you away. The only reason why it is suitable here is because the kitchen is really fast.

Armas Pikaruokala in Kluuvi Galleria

You can choose from a whole list of delicious meals that range between 7 and 10 Euros. And believe me you get your money’s worth. The stuff you get here is not just organic but also damn tasty. And the portions are big enough to keep your hunger away for quite a while.

Coffee and several flavors of tea are included in the meal. And for very little extra money you can get home backed cookies and other pastry.

Eat&Joy Maatilatori Kluuvi

After your meal at Armas Pikaruokala take a few minutes to stroll through the organic supermarket Eat&Joy Maatilatori. They have a wide selection of local and ecological products.

Both places are worth a visit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer sunset

Views like this make the summer in Finland so special.

summer sunset in Helsinki

And even though the Finnish summer is almost over we still have wonderful warm days with over 20 degrees. Enjoy those last warm days!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mexican Street Kitchen

If you’re up for a good and filling snack while being in the center Cholo is the place to go. Owned by the same people that also run Patrona Cholo brings the great Mexican taste now also to the street. And believe me, it is real good stuff.

Cholo Mexican Street Kitchen on Lönnrotinkatu in Helsinki

They offer tacos and burritos to eat there or for take away. All dishes rage around 10 Euros, a decent price for what you get. The food is well spiced. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different.

tacos at Cholo

This is really a place to try out and come back to. Go for it!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Secret way to the island

Do you know what this mysterious gate in the rock of Kaivopuisto is hiding? It is the entrance to a small tunnel leading all the way to Suomenlinna. It connects Länsi-Musta, the north-western part of the island with the mainland.

gate of the tunnel to Suomenlinna

The tunnel was built in the late 70s and is big enough for a car. It is only open to emergency cars and authorities. Furthermore heating, water and cables go through this tunnel.

So unfortunately if you don’t happen to work for the government, the army or are an emergency doctor you will most likely not get to see more than the tunnel’s small outer gates. But if you take a look at HERE Maps you can see where exactly the tunnel goes.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Changes in public transport

Some of you might have already wondered what happened to tram lines 3B and 3T. During HSL’s latest restructuring line 3B has been renamed to number 3 and 3T to number 2. Their routes remain the same (except for changes for line 3 around the Hakaniemi stop due to renovation till the end of September).

new tram line number 3

Also some other minor changes have been made concerning bus timetables and numbers in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. You find details on all recent changes from the HSL website.

So don’t get lost and travel savely!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Delicacies from all over Finland

Today and tomorrow you still have the chance to try gastronomic specialties from all Finnish provinces at Herkkujen Suomi on Rautatientori. From Uusimaa to Lappland food producers have come to Helsinki to present their products. You can easily spend several hours here and get a taste of Finland.

stands at Herkkujen Suomi

Part of Herkkujen Suomi is the Syystober tent. Here you find stands of several Finnish microbreweries. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some of their delicious beers.

The entrance to the whole area is free. Herkkujen Suomi is open on Friday 11-20 and Saturday 10-18. The Syystober tent stays open on both days till 1 in the night.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Night of the Arts

Today Helsinki celebrates the Night of the Arts for the 25th time. It’s the highlight of the Helsingin Juhlaviikot. Countless activities and events take place. E.g. watch the Harmonic Fieldsinstallation on Kaivopuisto, go to the Open Stage or sing with 40 policemen.

a cappella performance at the Night of the Arts in 2012

To see tonight’s whole program click on the Night of the Arts website. The first events start already during daytime and many last till midnight and later.

Have a great Night of the Arts!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ullanlinnanmäki in August

The summer vacations are over and people get back to work. Even though for some people August might already seem to be the first month of fall it is actually still really sunny and warm.

Ullanlinnanmäki in August

To see how the view from Ullanlinnanmäki changed during one year you can see the pictures of the previous months here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More at the Flagship Store

There is something new at Nokia’s Flagship Store. To improve the customer service Nokia has gone made some small changes at their store on Aleksanterinkatu.

Nokia's Flagship Store on Aleksanterinkatu.

Not only can you get the new Lumia 925 here now already before it is available anywhere else in Finland. When buying a new phone you can also get it set up for you right away for free in the new Set Up Area.

Are you a fan of Nokia and would like to buy some Nokia merchandise. Before that was just possible at their head quarter’s in-house shop. Now selected products like sweaters, mouse pads, pens and more are also for sale at the Flagship Store.

Also for tourists this place is worth a visit. At the counter you can get a free Helsinki guide with lots of insider tips on where to go, what to see and to know about the city.

So drop by and check it out!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Law Abiding Citizens

I was aware that in Finland (almost) everyone follows the rules. What I wasn't aware of so far is that that even applies for animals. 

seagull crossing street on cross-walk

Of course the seagull crosses the street only at a cross-walk. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Restaurants popping up again

Today is Restaurant Day again. Hundreds of pop-up restaurants, cafés and bars will open in Helsinki and worldwide for just one day.

cupcakes at Ravintolapäivä

Among them are again lots of exciting and interesting places. In the center of Helsinki you will find everything from exotic African food, Thai chicken and North Corean specialities to Swedish herring, German cake and of course Finnish delights like mustikkapiirakka and lettu.

A map and further details to all restaurants can be found from the Restaurant Day website or through their app (scroll down on their website).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

10 Days of European Film Bliss in Espoo

Till the 25th around 100 films from all over Europe are shown at Espoo Ciné. The films are divided into eleven categories and shown in venues around Tapiola and Leppävaara.

waiting for the movie to begin

To get an overview over what is going on during that time check out the program and buy the tickets to your favorite movies already online.

Alongside the films Espo Ciné has also other events to offer such as free outdoor screenings, pre-film brunch, workshops, shows, exhibitions and concerts.

The venues are connected through a free shuttle bus that also operates between Kamppi and Tapiola.

Don’t miss it!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Helsinki Festival

This weekend and the upcoming two weeks you won’t get bored. During the Helsingin Juhlaviikot countless events like theater plays, concerts, movies and exhibitions will take place all over the city. There is something for everyone and for every day.

Night of the Arts 2012

Be quick to check out their program, make your own plan for the upcoming days and buy the tickets for the shows you want to see as long as they are still available. But don’t worry, there will also be lots of free events taking place during this time like the Movie Picnic, the Open StageSounding City and of course The Night of the Arts.

Have a great time at the Helsinki Festival!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tea at F8

Coffee is the number one drink in Finland. But why not have also some extraordinary tea from time to time?

Tea and sweet treats at Café Velvet

I already recently reviewed the F8 Tema restaurant on the top level of Stockmann. On the same floor you also find the Thé tea room as well as Café Velvet. Both serve a big range of special exotic teas that are worth a try. Go e.g. with the White Bear, a white tea with blueberry and herb flavors.

Both places of course also offer small sweet treats alongside with your drink. So check it out and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A lonely boat

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own small boat and your own small pier next to your house? Or do you even have that already?

A lonely boat

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Design District Helsinki

Over 100 shops in Helsinki together form the Design District. One big passion unites all those smaller and bigger shops: Finnish Design.

And should you be into Finnish design yourself then this gives you the perfect opportunity to find brands and products you probably wouldn't find otherwise. Just look out for the Design District Helsinki stickers on the windows of participating shops to know where to go. You can also find all members on the official website.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Free parking with Plussa

Just a short tip today:

parking at Ruoholahti Kauppakeskus

Do you have the K-Plussa Kortti? With that you can park one hour for free at Ruoholahti Kauppakeskus. After your visit just put your parking ticket and after that the Plussa Kortti into the machine. You won’t have to pay for the first hour then.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Beautiful old Porvoo

Just a few kilometers away from Helsinki lays the picturesque Porvoo. It is the second oldest town in Finland and has one of the most preserved and historic old cores you can find in the country.

wooden house in the old town of Porvoo

In the old center over 200 cute wooden houses are just waiting to be admired by the visitors. You can take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the place or just stroll around the narrow streets, stop for a coffee or some ice cream here and there and enjoy the atmosphere of this beautiful place.

view onto the old town from the old bridge in Porvoo

You can easily get to Porvoo by car, bus or ferry from Helsinki. To find out more about what to do in Porvoo and how to get there check out the website of the tourist board.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A day at Iso Vasikkasaari

The capital area has lots of beautiful islands. Many of them are private but some are open to the public. One of them that it definitely worth a daytrip is Iso Vasikkasaari on the coast of Espoo.

at the harbor of Iso Vasikkasaari

Several times a day a ferry leaves from Otaniemi, Haukilahti and Matinkylä to bring visitors to the island. For the timetable click here. Adults pay 5 € for a return ticket, children just 2€.

Especially on weekends and when the weather is good the ferries are normally full. So try to get on board before Matinkylä. Luckily the island is big enough to never give you the feeling of being overcrowded.

the pier at Iso Vasikkasaari

There are nice smaller and bigger beaches and several idyllic places along the water and further inside on the island. On the South-Western side the sailing boats at the wooden pier give you the feeling of being somewhere at the Mediterranean Sea rather than in Finland.

Café on the island

Closer to the harbor you find a cozy restaurant serving meat and fish dishes. You can of course also just enjoy a cold drink in the shade.

Enjoy your stay!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Go for a swim

Before the water starts cooling down again use to time to go for a swim this weekend.

swimming around sunset

There are lots of great opportunities in the Helsinki area. Go either to one of the sea beaches in Helsinki and Espoo or try out one of the lakes around the city.

Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Inside the Chapel of Silence

Built just a year ago the Chapel of Silence is already a landmark in Helsinki. And a wonderful place to calm down, enjoy the silence and take a break from the hectic city life.

The Chapel's opening times are Mon-Fri 7-20 and Sat-Sun 10-18.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Miniature golf at the sea

The beauty of Helsinki is its long coastline and all the possibilities you have to enjoy time close to the sea. Close to Café Carusel there you can even play miniature golf close to the sea.

Minigolf Kaivopuisto

The course was built already in 1978 and is – especially due to its amazing location – still very popular. For 7 Euros per person (4 € for children) you get to play 20 holes while inhaling a fresh sea breeze. Minigolf Kaivopuisto is open daily from 11:00 to 21:00.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A day in Tallinn

Just 80 kilometers is the distance between Helsinki and the Estonian capital Tallinn. Several boats operate daily between the two cities. This gives a wonderful opportunity for a day or weekend trip.

Eckerö Line's MS Finlandia

If you think about a short trip to the beautiful medieval Tallinn you should take a look at the website of Eckerö Line. They offer cheap daytrips with MS Finlandia for only 29 Euros at the moment. The ferry needs 2.5 hours for the ride from Länsisatama to the harbor of Tallinn. There you have five hours to visit the city before the ferry leave back to Helsinki again. If you plan on staying longer check out their very reasonable hotel packages (including the ferry trip).

If you want to travel a bit faster and would like to have more options when to go and when to return you should also take a look at Linda Line, Tallink and Viking Line. They are all a bit more expensive than Eckerö normally.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cards, cards, cards

To get a discount in Finland it’s not enough to be at the right place at the right time. Here you most likely also still need a membership card of some sorts. Those cards are given away by almost every shop, bar, restaurant, café or whatever other business there is.

membership cards in Finland

Sure you can take them all. But you will quite soon find out that there is not even enough space in your wallet to fit them all. You start taking some out and of course forget to put them back in before you need them.

There are two cards though that I highly recommend on having and always carrying with you being in Finland. Since the S- and the K-group own so many businesses in this country you are always well off having their discount cards with you all the time. The S-Etukortti is a bit more expensive than the K-Plussa Kortti but the investment pays off quite soon normally. And you don’t just get the discounts you also earn points every time you use them which you can later use for shopping.

Good luck with not getting lost in the membership card jungle!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Summer at the pavillion

Haukilahti in Espoo is always worth a visit. Right behind the beach is the small beautiful small harbor for motor and sailing boats.

Drinks at Haukilahden Paviljonki

And right in the middle is the cozy Haukilahden Paviljonki. During sunny summer days you can sit on their terrace with a drink in your hand and watch the boats. They also offer food. Prices are a bit higher than elsewhere though. But especially during this time this is the perfect place to enjoy Finnish summer.

Friday, August 2, 2013

3 Kaveria to go

There is something new from 3 Kaveria IceCream. The new popular ice cream company from Helsinki now also sells small to go packages in the city.

3 Kaveria ice cream to go

So far you get them at Cafe Carusel and HelmiGrilli. And of course they are available in all three delicious flavors as well.

A wonderful treat for a warm summer day.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Haven of the Kalevala

Build in 2010 by the American architect and professor Travis Price and his students the wonderful wooden chapel at the southern end of Seurasaari has already become part of the landscape.

Shaman's Haven of Kalevala

Over that many people already forgot that this installation was actually just planned to be here for a limited time. And this exhibition time will end at the end of August. After that the installation that invites people in everyday to come in and relax will be removed again.

This month you still have the possibility to visit and enter Shaman’s Haven of the Kalevala daily from 12 to 15. It can also bebooked for private events for a fee of 30 Euros.