Helsinki is a vibrant, modern capital that – despite its compact size – offers exciting sights, events and experiences for every age, taste and interest. It’s the perfect destination to choose for Easter weekend with your teenage daughter, as both of you can quench your unique thirst, whether in art, architecture, music, nature or shopping. On top, you can get out of your comfort zone by trying a few of the Finnish traditions such as the sauna or the suspicious-looking, malt-based Easter dish, mämmi.
CrunchyTales gathered the best sights and events for your energizing and fun long weekend. Tervetuloa Helsinkiin!
Visit Ateneum, a must for art-lovers
Finland’s best-known museum, Ateneum, is the home of Finnish art and culture; a must for any art-lover who visits the Finnish capital. The paintings at the museum are ingrained in the collective memory of the Finns, from the 19th century to the modern age and the permanent exhibition guides visitors through the development of Finnish art, from 1809 up until the 1960s. On display, side by side, are Finnish and international masterpieces such as Le Corbusier’s Two Women, Hugo Simberg’s The Wounded Angel, Edvard Munch’s Bathing Men, and Vincent van Gogh’s Street in Auvers-sur-Oise.
At Easter, you can admire the works of Natalia Goncharova (1881–1962) who is known as a central figure in Russian avant-garde art, inspiring experimental artists in both Russia and Western Europe. You can also visit the Modern Identity small-scale exhibition that presents works acquired for the museum’s collection between 2016 and 2019. The exhibition includes works by 17 different artists
Get your kicks at Helsingin Musiikkitalo and Finnish Hall of Fame
Musiikkitalo, located in the heart of Helsinki, is a concert venue and meeting place open to all. Worth a visit just for its modern architecture, Musiikkitalo hosts several events and concerts every day, offering Divinely in tone with Easter, on Black Friday you can enjoy two Stabat Maters by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi and Antonio Vivaldi.
If your daughter would rather beat into modern rhythms, Fame, the new Music Museum offers a multisensory experience for all music lovers, covering genres from three centuries, from symphonies to Finnish rap music to folk and heavy rock among many others, made possible by utilizing the newest technologies available.
Shop ‘til you drop, whether vintage or the latest fashion
If you’re a big-time shopper, Helsinki won’t leave you cold. It boasts dozens of vibrant, in-door shopping centres where you can pleasurably stroll from shop to shop without having to poke your nose out in the open air; a favourable choice if the weather is not at its best. One of the historical, high-end department stores located in the heart of Helsinki is Stockmann. It offers eight floors of shopping heaven, with sections ranging from international brands to Finnish classics like Iittala, Marimekko and Artek. Depending on the size of your luggage, you can go crazy and bring home lots of treasures for both yourself, your daughter as well as the rest of the family.
If you’re a vintage fan instead and prefer to recycle for the sake of the planet, you can visit the cosy and relaxed fleamarket at Korjaamo Culture Factory, open on Saturday April 11th from 11am until 3pm. Korjaamo is not only a fleamarket, but one of the largest culture centres in Scandinavia. It produces entertainment and art events across various fields including music, talks, fine art and theatre. Korjaamo has its own movie theatre and there are premiers every week with special movie events. Finns love to recycle so you can be sure to find some gems to add to your unique, classic look!
Enjoy Finnish flavours at Saaga and Juuri
When your stomach starts growling, you can hop in at Saaga Restaurant, which gets its inspiration from old stories and beliefs, creatures of Mother Nature and a pinch of the “magic madness” of Lapland. The word saaga means story; a meal at the Lappish Restaurant is an enjoyable combination of tastes, tales and sensations. You will find a slice of the rugged and beautiful nature as well as regional dishes and an atmosphere full of the exotic charm of the North.
For a more modern meal that your daughter will certainly appreciate, visit Juuri. Authentic flavours, crazy ideas, love for artisan produce and the skill and passion to make incredibly tasty food are the key elements of this restaurant. Since restaurants might be closed on some of the Easter days, it is a good idea to book the table beforehand.
Admire nature’s beauty at the Winter Garden – Suomenlinna
If you’re a lover of plants, you should visit the Winter Garden. Founded in 1893, it has been a recreational meeting place for the residents of Helsinki for over a century. No matter what season, the elaborate oasis of exotic plants invites you to take a tour of the greenery. In summertime and even in autumn, you can admire the marvellous Rose Garden in front of the Winter Garden. During Easter is the time of daffodils and tulips that colour the entire garden yellow.
Suomenlinna is a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Finland. Visitors are not charged an admission fee – you only need to pay for the ferry crossing over to the island. The main sights include Russian merchants’ quarter, Church Park, Great Courtyard, Piper’s Park and the fortifications of Kustaanmiekka, but it is equally pleasurable to just sit down on the banks of the island, admire the clear-blue sea and enjoy a picnic of fresh berries and delicious sandwiches that you can buy at the Kauppatori market square where you catch the ferry.
Get relaxed with the gentle steams at Löyly
Now, who would visit Finland without trying the magic atmosphere of a true sauna? Löyly is a public sauna and restaurant complex in the Hernesaari district, on the southern tip of Helsinki. It includes a traditional Finnish smoke sauna, two wood-heated saunas, a year-round terrace and a restaurant. It is possible to take a swim in the sea, also in the winter. There are separate changing rooms and shower facilities for men and women, but as the saunas and other public areas are mixed, this means that customers are respectfully asked that swimming costumes are worn at all times.
Dive into Easter spirit, watch the ecumenical play: Via Crucis
If you’d like to include a religious event in your itinerary, the ecumenical Easter procession Via Crucis – the way of the Cross – sets out at 9pm on Easter Saturday. The procession will pass from the Kaisaniemi park to the Bank of Finland and further to the steps of Helsinki Cathedral, where the event culminates in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This year’s procession is the 25th organized in Helsinki and past editions have hosted by thousands of viewers. So make sure to take your spot well in advance.