Helsinki

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Finland’s 5.3 million people are spread over nearly 151,000 square miles, slightly smaller than Germany and slightly larger than Vietnam, both of which have populations over 80 million. Plus, over 80 percent of Finns live in urban areas, which leaves a whole lot of nature to explore. Over 75 percent of the land comprises lakes or forests. Come summer, much of Helsinki clears out to enjoy the country-cottage life. Excursions range from seaside villages to historic capitals – and even quick trips across the Baltic.

Day Trips from Helsinki

Espoo

Finland’s second-largest city is just outside Helsinki city limits, but already you’ll get a taste of the countryside. Look for the museum housing the work of Finland’s most renowned painter, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, and a small national park.

10 miles west of Helsinki, www.espoo.fi
Tags: art | outdoors | culture | history | day trip

Porvoo

A historic and charming getaway, Porvoo’s Old Town dates from 1760 and is noted for its cobblestone streets, bold red, ochre-painted former warehouses, medieval cathedral, and craft shops.

36 miles east of Helsinki, www.porvoo.fi
Tags: architecture | history | day trip

Tallinn, Estonia

It’s an easy 100-minute trip by ferry or jet foil to this capital (often called the Baltic’s most beautiful), a former Soviet state that’s taken capitalism to heart. It’s worth a trip just to stroll the medieval city center.

52 miles south of Helsinki, www.tourism.tallinn.ee
Tags: art | culture | history | day trip

Turku

Finland’s oldest city (1229) and former capital until the Russian era is known for its hulking castle and great museums covering art, handicrafts, and Finland’s signature composer, Jean Sibelius. The Turku Cathedral, inaugurated 1300, is the national church of Finland.

110 miles west of Helsinki, www.turku.fi
Tags: art | culture | history | day trip

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