Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Starbucks coming to the center

Did you know that at Stockmann Akateeminen a new Starbucks will open soon? It is going to be the first Starbucks outside the airport in Finland.

Starbucks in Helsinki opening soon

When it exactly opens is still a secret though. But it can most likely be expected during the month of August.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jazz on Espan Lava

All of you who like jazz should come to Espan Lava on Esplanadi this week. At the free open-air Jazz Festival Jazz-Espa bands play every afternoon starting from 16:00.

On their website you can see what artists will be playing this week. You can either watch the performances from the benches in front of the stage or if you fancy a cold drink in your hand while listening to the relaxing jazz sounds just sit down at the terrace of Kappeli.

The big final of Jazz-Espa will be on Sunday at mbar with the long JazzPiknik from 14:00 till 1:30 at night. Several great jazz bands and artists will be performing.

Enjoy the music!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rocky beaches

That is what makes Finland so special. The rocks might not be as comfortable to lay on as sandy beaches. But they just have so much more character.

Rocky beach in Espoo

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Helsinki’s balcony to the sea

Are you looking for a brunch place for the weekend? What about sitting on a small island overlooking the city and enjoying a selection of delicious archipelago buffet?

view from Saaristo

You can get all that at Restaurant Saaristo on Klippan island. You get there easily with a small ferry leaving every few minutes south of the Olympia Terminal next to the Peace Statue.

Restaurant Saaristo

The white Jugend style villa with the red roof can already be seen from far and is a landmark in Helsinki. Its history dates back to 1898 and during the summer months it serves as a high class restaurant.

the beach of Klippan island

The buffet is served only on Sundays between 12:00 and 16:00 and costs 32 Euros. This is one of the more expensive brunches in the city but it’s probably also the one with the most unique surroundings.

Sunday brunch at Saaristo

Saaristo is also open during the week as an à la carte restaurant and also serves lunch. You can of course also just come there and have a drink on their beautiful terrace.

Saaristo's summer terrace

Saaristo is still open till September 1.

Friday, July 26, 2013

8 Metre Worlds in Helsinki

The 8 Metre Sailing World Championships are held in Helsinki at the moment. Till August 3 boats from all over the world will compete in several races. The main hub of the competition is Liuskasaari.

boats participating in the 8 Metre Worlds 2013

The organizing sailing club HSS even opened a Sailors Café just for the event. From its terrace you have a wonderful view onto the open sea and can also follow the races. They serve coffee, tea and small snacks for reasonable prices. Especially when the sun is shining it’s a great place to enjoy a fresh sea breeze.

Sailors Café on Liuskasaari

From the mainland you can take the small ferry going to Skiffer and Boathouse to get there.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Una cerveza, por favor!

The weekend starts again. And that is always a good opportunity to try out new places in the city.
My recommendation for today is Los Cojones. This Spanish bar was opened not long ago and is already one of the most popular places for drinks in town.

busy night at Los Cojones

Los Cojones is decorated with attention to details. The Spanish theme can be seen in every part of the bar. You can even sit in a small bull fight arena. You also find the Spanish influence in their selection of drinks. You won’t find such a wide range of beers and wines that you might be used to from other places in the city but almost everything they offer comes from Spain. So time to try something new.

Oh, and be there early. Especially on weekends it gets crowded in no time.

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Perfect sushi in Punavuori

You might have read my review of Sushibar + Wine calling it THE place you should go for sushi in Helsinki. Well, that is not entirely true. You can also get the same great sushi at Sushibar in Punavuori by the same owners.

sushibar in Punavuori

Located in Uudenmaankatu this small sushi place offers the same quality and the same wonderful wines you also find at Kampintori. All together there are now four of their places in Helsinki. For directions check their website.

Tip: Try the EDAMME soy bean next time as a starter while you wait for your sushi. They are delicious!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The summer comes back

After some cold and windy days the summer will come back today according to the weather forecast. During the thermometer should be at around 23° and should rise to over 25° during the next days.

rocks at the shore of Helsinki

So think about your plans for this week’s afternoons already. Maybe have a picnic on the rocks next to the sea. There are countless beautiful places along the shoreline of Helsinki and Espoo.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The bike fixer

Nothing is more annoying than a broken tire during a cycling tour along the sea side. Luckily during the summer time there is help waiting. Right in front of Carusel you find the small caravan of the Bike Fixer. Here you can get all minor and major bike repairs done in short time.

Bike Fixer at Carusel

The Bike fixer is open on weekdays from 17:00 to 22:00 and on weekends between 9:00 and 22:00. The caravan will still be at its place till the end of September. For more information visit the website (Finnish).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

That was The Tall Ships Races Helsinki 2013

The tall ships are on their way to Riga for the second leg of the competition now. Here are some pictures of the last four days with those impressive sailing boats.

STS “ Fryderyk Chopin” (class A) from Szczecin, Poland
STS Fryderyk Chopin (class A) from Szczecin, Poland

The Tall Ships at Länsisatama, Helsinki
The Tall Ships at Länsisatama

STS MIR (class A) from St. Petersburg, Russia
STS MIR (class A) from St. Petersburg, Russia 

crowds passing by the stands and shops
crowds passing by the stands and shops

Götheborg (class A) from Gothenburg, Sweden
Götheborg (class A) from Gothenburg, Sweden

the crew parade on Bulevardi
the crew parade on Bulevardi

awarding the prizes for the first leg of the TSR 2013
awarding the prizes for the first leg of the TSR 2013

daylight fireworks for the first time in Finland
daylight fireworks for the first time in Finland

the vessels in the harbor
the vessels in the harbor

Alexander von Humboldt II (class A) from Bremerhaven, Germany leaving the harbor of Helsinki
Alexander von Humboldt II (class A) from Bremerhaven, Germany leaving the harbor of Helsinki

the Cuauhtémoc (class A) from Acapulco, Mexico sailing with the crew standing on the masts
the Cuauhtémoc (class A) from Acapulco, Mexico sailing with the crew standing on the masts

last tall ships leaving Helsinki escorted by countless small boats
last tall ships leaving Helsinki escorted by countless small boats

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Adventure at Serena

Are you up for some fun water activities this weekend but the sea is a bit too cold? SerenaWaterpark in Espoo might be an alternative. Especially for families there is a lot to do there. The water park has in and outdoor attractions like a big wave pool, Jacuzzis, a wild stream, playgrounds, a Tarzan rope and lots and lots of fun slides. If you prefer something a bit quieter you might enjoy the sauna area.

serena waterpark

Day tickets are 24.50€. If you book online you save 1 €. If you want to spend the whole weekend you can also book a hotel room or a cottage next to the park.

Have fun! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Over the rooftops

The highest level of Kamppi Kauppakeskus is now home to the new cool restaurant, bar and club Maxine. Formerly part of The Tiger it was taken over by new owners and completely renovated.

view over the city from Ravintola Maxine

Maxine is a great place to just have a drink and look over the rooftops of the city or to party all night long. Maxine is divided into the more modern lounge style front part with a big dance floor playing club music and the library style back part that plays more golden oldies.

Maxine is mainly targeted towards a 30+ audience and that way a good addition at Kamppi the Tiger one level below. For more information visit their Facebook page.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ullanlinnanmäki in July

So far is has not been an extremely hot but a nice and warm summer. Let’s hope it stays like that still for a while.

Ullanlinnanmäki in July

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Tall Ships arrive

Today the Tall Ships Races Helsinki 2013 starts. The TSR is an international regatta of sailing boat of different sizes from all over the world that takes place yearly. The ships sail two races between different ports. This year’s first leg was from Aarhus to Helsinki. At 10:00 the last big ships arrive at Länsisatama.

The Tall Ships Races Helsinki 2013

Before the ships continue they will anchor in Helsinki till Saturday accompanied with a big celebration. The whole area around Länsisatama is closed for traffic and is filled with stands, tents and two big stages. For the upcoming four days there will be a full program everyday including music acts, theatre, workshops, artistic performances and even daylight fireworks at Friday night. It is also possible to come on board most of the bigger ships during this whole time.

After the last day of their stop in Helsinki the ships will cruise together to Riga to start the second leg for the competition from there towards Szczecin in Poland where the Tall Ships Races 2013 end.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sauna on the sea

You can even find floating saunas here in Finland. One of them is located at Skiffer on Liuskasaari for this summer and can also be rented for private events.

floating sauna at Liuskasaari

Check it out and visit Helsinki’s mostbeautiful summer terrace at the same time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Finland by bus

There are lots of interesting cities and towns to visit in Finland. If you don’t have a car and find the train tickets a bit too pricy check out the bus connections.

One possibility is Onnibus. The company connects all mayor cities in Southern Finland and even operates connections to Oulu. You can buy the tickets from the driver or if you want to save some money buy your ticket online in advance. The price is based on the demand but can be as low as 3€ for each connection.

summer discounts by Onnibus

During the summer you can buy discount gift cards giving you a lot more value for your money (see picture). So if you are interested keep your eyes open in the center next to the Stockmann clock.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Refreshment in the lake

With this warm summer weather who wouldn’t like a refreshing swim to cool down from time to time? The sea water around Helsinki is still quite cold though and if you prefer something a bit warmer the surrounding lakes are probably more of your taste.

Myllyjärvi in Espoo

Many wonderful lakes are just a few kilometers away from the capital in the surrounding cities and towns. One of them is Myllyjärki in Espoo. The beautiful small lake in the shape of a horseshoe lies in the middle of the woods. You can enjoy a picturesque and really typical Finnish landscape.

Myllyjärvi is the perfect location for a relaxed Sunday trip. Have a great day!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Beatwave at mbar

Cold drinks and great music on a hot summer night. Could you imagine any better combination? No? Then come to the Beatwave Festival at mbar this weekend.

Today and tomorrow Finnish and international acts will rock the open air stage at mbar’s terrace. The music varies from organic sound to electronic music. And as always the entrance at mbar is of course for free. Today the festival starts at 18:00 and won’t end before 4:00 in the morning. On Sunday it will be from 18:00 till 2:00. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Vin-Vin for a good glass of wine

What better way could there be to start into the weekend than with a glass of good wine? And if you happen to be in the center of Helsinki the Vin-Vin wine bar is the perfect choice for that occasion.

Vin-Vin wine bar in Helsinki

The small bar in the corner of Kalevankatu and Yrjönkatu is well known for its excellent wine selection. At Vin-Vin you will most of all find organic wines from small producers. For that reason you can be sure to find get some wines here you most probably won’t find at Alko.

Ask the bar tender for a recommendation. There will surely be something to suit your taste. Vin-Vin of course also has other drinks than wine but for anything else. Wine is their specialty though and for anything else you will probably find something more suitable elsewhere in town.

Especially if you consider coming here during the weekend try to be early. The place doesn’t have too many seats and it get’s crowded here pretty fast. I managed to get in only after the fourth try.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

News from Nokia

Today the Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia will present its newest release in New York. What exactly it’s going to be is of course still a secret.

Nokia HQ in Espoo

Insiders already have some guesses and expectations what Nokia is going to show today. ZNETdid a nice roundup of the rumors spread so far. There are many indicators that the first Windows Phone with 41 Megapixel PureView camera will be presented today. 

But to really find out more you will have to wait till 18:00 Finnish time. For more information and to watch the press conference live click on Nokia Conversations.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sun and rain

The weather next to the sea here in Helsinki can change rapidly.

Sun and pouring rain in Helsinki

From time to time it even happens that the sun shines and at the same time is pouring with rain.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

From Finland with love

You are a visitor in Finland and before going back home are searching for a nice souvenir to remind you of the Finnish summer? Or are you searching for a nice Finnish gift to take with you abroad when visiting family or friends?

Feels like Finland at Stockmann

Then check out the 5th floor of Stockmann in the city center. Till the end of August the Argos Hall hosts the Feels like Finland department. Wonderful Finnish products are waiting here for you. You find a wide selection of Finnish design products from e.g. marrimekko or iittala, Finnish candy and chocolate and of course kids products from the Moomins and Angry Birds.

Have fun browsing through Feels like Finland!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The mobile sauna

Sauna belongs to Finland like water, trees and rocks. Every house has one. But who says that a sauna has to always stay in one place? Why not for a ride in a sauna?

rent a sauna

Rent e.g. thiss small blue sauna. It is pulled by a minivan that functions as a kind of dressing room at the same time. And prices are quite reasonable – especially for bigger groups. You can get this one for 150 € per day or 250 € for the whole weekend.

Have a nice sauna trip!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunset over the Baltic Sea

During summer the sun sets late and very slowly. Especially on a boat tour on the sea it is beautiful to watch.

sunset over the Baltic Sea

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Breakfast at Kauppatori

The weather is nice and you’d rather have a nice breakfast outside in the city than preparing and eating at home? Then try the delicious and healthy breakfast at Café Köket at Kauppatori next to Havis Amanda.

Breakfast at Café Köket on Kauppatori

Here you can choose between a small and a large breakfast. The prices are very reasonable especially taking into account that this Café Köket is located at the probably most touristy place in Helsinki. Included in the big breakfast are fruit salad, yoghurt, sandwich, coffee, juice and a sweet surprise for just a bit over 10 Euros.

And the location is exactly what makes Köket’s so special. Its terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a wonderful breakfast while observing the vivid life on the square around you.

FYI breakfast here is not just available on the weekend but every day.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Jean Sibelius in Helsinki

He is undoubtedly the biggest and most famous Finnish composer of all times: Jean Sibelius. To his honor a memorial was designed by Eila Hiltunen and built in 1967. This impressive monument consists of over 600 holow steel pipes arranged in a wave-like pattern to resemble his music. It is located in Töölö in a park also named after the great composer: The Sibelius Park.

The memorial is one of the big sights of the city and attracts visitors from all over the world every day. If you visit Helsinki make sure not to miss it.

Jean Sibelius bust at Sibelius Monument in Helsinki

And here is one small fun fact on Sibelius. Even though he is known as Jean he was actually born as Johan Julius Christian. For his family and friends though he was “Janne”, a very typical Finnish name. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Watch the boats pass by

If you like boats and the sea you will definitely enjoy Café Carusel. The well known café is the perfect place to enjoy the summer while watching sailing and motorboats entering and leaving the harbor at Kaivopuisto.

terrace at Carusel

Inside Carusel has a self service bar where you can buy cold and warm drinks, pastry, snacks or whole meals. If the weather is good head for the big terrace to enjoy the sunshine.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Budget accommodation in the heart of Helsinki

If you are searching for a reasonably priced accommodation in Helsinki you should check out Omena Hotelli. There are three different Omena Hotels in the center of the city (Eerikinkatu, Lönnrotinkatu and Yrjönkatu) all within walking distance to the city center.

Omena Hotel in Helsinki

Prices vary of course depending of the season but you can get a room starting from 50 to 60 €. All rooms can accommodate up to four persons which makes it a really good deal for small groups. Omena Hotels have no reception though (you get a door code via e-mail) and no breakfast included. All rooms are well equipped though.

You can also find Omena Hotels in other bigger Finnish cities as well as in Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

From Baana to UrBaana

Baana, the new cycling and walking path connecting Ruoholahti to the center has improved the way of moving around in Helsinki for pedestrians and cyclists a lot. But there are plans to make Baana even more attractive.

urBaana exhibition at Laituri

Experts from the fields of architecture, ecological city planning, art, traffic engineering and design have envisioned new ways to connect Baana to other cultural centers in the city and to make the area even more attractive.

To find out more about the plans visit Laituri on Narinkka (exhibition still open till August 29) in the center or take a look at the project’s website.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer at the sea

A ferry ride in the evening is a great way to see the city from a whole different perspective.

view over the city from the sea

Ferries operate to several smaller and larger islands around Helsinki like Uunisaari, Liuskasaari, Suomenlinna and many more.