Temperatures may be cold, but there’s plenty to do in Helsinki in the winter months
Helsinki’s climate displays a combination of continental and maritime characteristics. The proximity of the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic create cold weather, while the Gulf Stream brings in warmer air. Winter can begin in either November or December and the average temperature will drop to between 0 and -4°C. Despite the cold weather, there’s plenty to do in Helsinki in the winter months, before the days grow longer and warmer, usually during April.
One of Helsinki’s most popular attractions, the Suomenlinna Fortress, is open all year round. Built in the 1700s on 6 islands, Suomenlinna Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a range of museums, shops, cafes, and restaurants to suit every tourist. You can take a ferry from Helsinki’s Market Square direct to Suomenlinna Fortress.
Many visitors to the city are struck by the historic city centre which dates back to the 1600s and includes a number of sites of interest including Helsinki: City Hall, Helsinki Cathedral, the Market Square, the Old Market Hall and the Presidential Palace.
If the weather is fine, it’s worth taking a trip to Helsinki’s very own Central Park. This green lung traverses Helsinki from south to north, and covers a thousand hectares. The park celebrated its 100th birthday in May this year. The year has been marked by a number of special events, one of which is an exhibition in Laituri entitled Central Park 100 which runs until 3rd January 2015. .The exhibition showcases the diversity of the Central Park over the century of its existence by means of photos, videos and maps. Entry to the exhibition is free.
Anyone with an interest in art will want to make a point of visiting the Edvard Munch exhibition “The Dance of Life” at the Didrichsen Art Museum. Munch is considered to be one of the major visual artists in Northern Europe of the 20th century. This exhibition comes mainly from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, with additional works from the Norwegian National Museum and the National Gallery Ateneum in Helsinki. It runs until 1st February 2015.
Anyone taking a city break in Helsinki between now and Christmas will want to visit Helsinki’s Christmas Market in Senate Square. Here you can find more than 100 stalls selling Finnish crafts, foods and sweets. The Lucia Parade is another seasonal favourite. Starting from Senate Square the parade features elves, horses and historic cars and is sure to get anyone in the Christmas mood!