Finland doesn’t need fireworks to celebrate 100 years of independence, they’ve got something better–– the Northern Lights. And saunas. Lots of them. 3.3 million for Helsinki’s population of 5.4 million people, to be exact. The sauna’s revival includes modern twists on the old indulgence that will delight even the most pampered travellers.
An architectural gem, Löyly (steam in Finnish) is an eco-friendly, Kebony pine-clad contemporary three-story seafront sauna with a small lookout on the upper level and an expansive main deck at sea level. What’s on deck for the pre-game? The National Opera and Ballet team up in 2017 for a special performance that celebrates Finland’s future while paying homage to her past. Art aficionados might like to marvel at the recently renovated Helsinki Art Museum’s exhibit of Finnish modernism.
From the Northern Lights to the Midnight Sun, Finnair makes it easy to spoil your inner Finn. Their inaugural A350 flight from Singapore to Helsinki took off this October. Walk onto the airplane and into a full-on Nordic experience from Marimekko designs in open cabins to Northern Lights inspired mood lighting. The home of Santa Claus and the magic of Christmas time are closer than ever with the shortest connection between Asia and Europe. In a little over half an hour, connect to European destinations like London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Take an enchanted stroll down Aleksanterinkatu, famous for its display of holiday lights, and revel in the romance of Helsinki’s carolers and markets.
StopOver Finland has put together fast-paced tours for seekers who need a high fun factor on the fly. Stretch your legs with an English-speaking running guide on the best layover of your life with a Running Between Flights tour. A two-day stopover in Lapland finds the curious awestruck on a Spot the Northern Lights Tour. Those wanting to cross countries off their bucket list in a hurry will enjoy the Two in One tour, a one-day, two country boat trip with travel to Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki.
For those with an urge to splurge, Helsinki’s intriguing boutiques nestled in the Design District offer much more than inspired collectable art, the perfect antique accent or the latest fashion trends. Awarded City of Design status by UNESCO, Helsinki’s commitment to design includes a local initiative that explores its role in building a better city and improving the life of its citizens. From Alvar Aalto stools to Littala glasses, Marimekko prints to iconic Jopo bikes, design is a way of life for Finns. So is adventure. Greenery and an impressive 130 km of shoreline provides the ultimate destination for thrill seekers with a wide-range of experiences to choose from––cross-country ski routes, fishing tours, wake boarding, horseback riding or cycling. Visit Helsinki for her time-honored traditions and stay for the adventure. For more information check out visithelsinki.fi/en.
And if you liked this story, subscribe to our bi-monthly World Travel Magazine, a handpicked selection of editorial features and stories from Global Destinations, Inspire Me, Insider, Style File, Wellness & Travel, City Travel, Suite Life, At Leisure, Short Breaks and much more.