Finland, Finland
  • Helsinki The old fortress of Suomenlinna watches over modern Helsinki. Credit: By Michal Pise, [CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Helsinki
    The old fortress of Suomenlinna watches over modern Helsinki.
The northern most capital in Europe, Helsinki is a town of almost 600,000 but manages in many ways to feel like a small town. With a dark, cold winter than often lasts from October through April, Helsinki thrives in the summers when people shed their coats for sun and fun at the community's many festivals. Just across the sea from Copenhagen, Denmark, Helsinki is a thriving international city known as a miniature St. Petersburg after it was rebuilt by Russia's tsars in the 19th century. The city is green and a modern design mecca where people have many travel options -- plane, train, automobile, helicopter, bus, tram, boat and bicycle. Among its many area attractions are "Suomenlinna," a great sea fortress built by Sweden; Esplanadi Park; the Lutheran Cathedral, the unofficial symbol of the city; Senate Square and several major museums. And, of course, you can go to any of the city's public saunas for a good, long steam.


  • Hot summer continental


  • Local film festival
  • Ethnic restaurants
  • Active club/bar/music scene
  • Major public college in downtown
  • Local community theatre
  • Local professional ballet
  • Fine art museum
  • Local professional symphony


  • Leaning liberal


  • $$$$ -- Things cost more than you'd expect


  • Public golf course
  • Professional sports
  • Biking, hiking, running trails
  • Casino gaming within 25 miles
  • Year-round fitness swimming center
  • Snow skiing within 50 miles
  • Downtown yoga studio


  • Working farms within 25 miles
  • Vibrant public transportation system
  • Safe bike corridors
  • Public squares
  • International airport
  • Lots of downtown living space
  • Mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods