Seize the Moment: 24 hours in Helsinki, Finland

posted on: Wednesday, 11 February 2015

You've seen the video, now see what happened when I arrived in Helsinki with 24 hours on the clock, courtesy of British Airways and with an itinerary from Charlie from The Gentleman's Journal.

So, a word or two about my knowledge of Helsinki. This won't take long - I know nothing. I arrived at the airport after packing a bag with no idea where I was going and was met with a destination that was cold... very cold. I said a silent prayer that I had packed warmly enough and boarded the flight to Finland. 

No surprise here, it's cold in Helsinki in January, very cold. I bundled up in my overcoat and bought an extra scarf at the shop close to my hotel, the Radisson Blu, upon arrival. From there I took off on my first activity of the day, as set by Charlie from The Gentleman's Journal.

Over the course of a day I went ice skating, I sampled the most glorious cinnamon buns in the markets by the water, I dined at Helsinki's most celebrated restaurant, ASK, and I explored every corner of the city I could fit into 24 hours. After dinner I walked home in the snow, feeling as if I had discovered a magical land never before explored (well it's true- I've never explored it before). 

24 hours later I was headed back to London and after returning to my flat, stumbling onto the couch and enjoying the warmth of my home, it was hard to believe that just hours earlier I had been travelling in a faraway land. 

So here's the highlight reel. If you are headed to Helsinki make sure you have the following on your itinerary:

1. Visit the market stalls on the water in the city center. You'll find everything here from wardrobe warmers to tourist gifts that are truly one of a kind.

2. Make a reservation at Ask in Helsinki. The Gentleman's Journal didn't lie when they said it was the best in Helsinki. It's small, but charming.

3. Find an independent coffee shop near your hotel and people watch from the window with a cinnamon roll in one hand and a warm cup of joe in the other.

4. Perfect your ice-skating skills on one of several rinks dotted around the city. Watch out as the locals all seem like pros. I swear they were doing laps around me.

5. Pop into as many interiors stores as you can! There are so many great finds here when it comes to ideas for your home. I left feeling absolutely inspired by the Nordic way of decorating!

Now… wondering where I sent Charlie? Check out The Gentleman’s Journal to follow Charlie’s wild and crazy ride with an FFG itinerary.

Oh, and naturally there were more pictures. Check these out - pics from 24 hours in Helsinki.