12/09/2016 11:59 BST | Updated 13/09/2017 06:12 BST

Ten Reasons Why You Probably Shouldn't Go To Helsinki


Nothing to see here. (Credit: Antti Vilppula)

1. There are no Eiffel-towers, grandiose bridges or even a single royal palace in Helsinki. The lack of postcard-worthy landmarks means a lack of opportunities for unique, creative holiday photography: you, playfully appearing to lean against the tower of Pisa or squeezing a pyramid between your fingers. A semi-ironically decorated soviet-themed dive bar owned by Aki Kaurismäki (who), naked swimming in an urban lake in the moonlight or afternoon hipster folk dancing (don't ask) just don't carry the same social currency on Facebook.

2. The locals are plain odd. In fact, according to a recent study, they are genetically unlike anywhere else in the world. Perhaps due to this isolation, they won't flash you a welcoming smile while grabbing your hand (and wallet) before inviting you for dinner as soon as your feet touch the ground at Helsinki Airport. If you don't disturb them, they won't disturb you.


Locals. (Credit: Inga Vitola)

3. This, however, changes when they start drinking - Shoreditch High Street on a Saturday night looks like a Betty Ford clinic compared to Helsinki. The foreign office travel reports in Spain and the US officially warn their citizens of dangerous local drunkards in Helsinki. Enough said. (Sweden just reminds its travellers of the drunk driving limit while Norway has no official warnings about Finland. Make of this what you wish.)

4. Finnish hip hop, austere interiors and Fisu-shots (don't ask) form the holy pinnacle of Helsinki's bar scene - a rather far cry from swanky lounge bars in Stockholm or €2 cava bottles on Las Ramblas. Partying is serious business, practised mostly in oddly named clubs in bleak industrial spaces, fuelled by DJs you've probably never heard of.


Club Kuudes Linja. (Credit: Jonttu Leskinen)

5. The public transport is a bit of a joke - there's only one metro line. Back and forth. You can't hail a dodgy taxi either, and Uber has about three cars in Helsinki.

6. If you go in the summer, it's light nearly around the clock, which means you can't sleep.

7. If you go in the winter...actually, just don't. Really, don't. Early autumn is pleasantly crispy and colourful but no one travels then.


Winter wonderland. (Credit: Esko Kurvinen)

8. Silvio Berlusconi, a man of famously refined taste, once said that Finnish cuisine is an endurance test. Reindeer pate, pulled oats, cloudberry compote, Karelian pies, salty liquorice, colourless fish and rye-anything... He was right. No Instagram filter can save this list. Spagbol and parma ham for the win.

9. Ryanair doesn't fly there twice a day for £20 and booze is not cheap, making the city a terrible choice for stag parties, lads on tour and seekers of 'Benidorm vibes'. Shame.

10. Helsinki, where the hell even is it? Move on. Nothing to see there.