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Cool things to do in Helsinki

Do you fancy a more adventurous holiday for your next trip?  With more airlines flying to more places, a new holiday experience is much more achievable than ever before.  The hardest part is often deciding which destination will cater to your interests as well as those of everyone you’re travelling with; particularly if you are in a large group or, like increasing numbers of us, taking a trip with your immediate or wider family*. This all-too-common dilemma was highlighted by recent research from American Express.  For example, the study** showed that British parents are forgoing new holiday experiences, like city breaks (26%), due to concerns about whether they can cater for all ages. However, considering something more adventurous isn’t as difficult as you think. To help you, we’ve partnered with American Express and found some great things to do in Helsinki whether you’re there with your partner, friends or family.

The water’s edge in Kaivopuisto

Café Ursula 

An unbeatable location, Café Ursula sits on the water’s edge in Kaivopuisto, one of Helsinki’s oldest and most beautiful parks. Serving great laidback Finnish food suitable for the tastes of all ages, the café is the perfect place to eat, drink and watch the world go by. The best time to visit for some people watching is on 1 May, Vappu Day. On Vappu, the park is packed with thousands of Helsinkians who dress up, bring music and food and drink to celebrate the previous evening’s Hexennacht, literally “witches’ night”, part of Germanic folklore. 

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Design Museum of Helsinki

The world-renowned Design Museum celebrates industrial art and handicrafts from the second half of the 19th century to the present day, with everything from classic Finnish design to international thematic exhibitions. It’s a great day out for the family, with lots of interactive events and workshops specifically tailored to kids.

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Treffi Pub and Bistro

Treffi Pub & Bistro

Having built up an appetite for a massive burger and decent glass of Malbec, head to Treffi Pub & Bistro, 10 minutes from the city centre by metro. This laid-back, cosy gastropub is the kind of place you can relax for hours. With home cooked, family-friendly food and an extensive well-stocked bar it’s the perfect way to while away an afternoon – and there’s live music in the evenings.

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Hotel Lilla Roberts

This hotel calls itself the home of ‘hygge’, a Nordic word with no direct English translation but which roughly means: creating a warm atmosphere to enjoy the good things in life with good people (surely the English translation is ‘pub’?). Anyway, this hotel has nailed ‘hygge’ with the stylish design creating a cosy, friendly atmosphere in which to relax – parents can request interconnecting rooms for children for peace of mind too. Also, the restaurant boasts some of the freshest fish around, having been caught that day.

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The ‘fortress of Finland’

Suomenlinna

Jump on a ferry from Market Square for a 15-minute ride to Suomenlinna – the ‘fortress of Finland’ – built in the 18th century on a group of six islands at the entrance of Helsinki's harbour. It’s a great place for kids (or grown-ups) to run around and play out castle and knight fantasies, and the guided walks offer the opportunity to find a little more about Finnish history at this World Heritage site. You’ll discover how the fortress’ landscape and architecture have been shaped by defending three different sovereign states over the years: the Kingdom of Sweden, the Russian Empire and the Republic of Finland.

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Savotta Restaurant

This Finnish restaurant has an interior reminiscent of log cabins with waiting staff dressed in traditional local costume, but the food is anything but hammy (apart from the ham, obviously, otherwise that would be weird). The Arctic char comes from local lakes, smoked and served with juniper berries, and we highly recommend the roasted rump of reindeer fawn.

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Source references:

*Mintel: The Rise of Multigenerational Tourism in Europe, February 2015

**Research by American Express from 4 March to 8 March 2016 of a survey size of 2000 parents with children aged from 0 – 18 years of age
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HAVE FAMILY, WILL TRAVEL 

American Express helps smooth the path for family holidays

A family holiday needn’t be a compromise – long haul, multi-destination or city trips can all be manageable and fulfilling options for every age group.  For help with making your choice, check out our mini travel guides to Long Haul Destinations, A to B Family Adventures and Emerging City Breaks, which have been designed to help you to get even more out of your trip, whoever you are travelling with and wherever it is that you’re going.

What’s more, if you’re an American Express Cardmember you have access to:

•Over-the-phone advice to get connected with an approved English speaking doctor or lawyer almost anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, with Global Assist®¹

•Discounts or complimentary wine or treats when dining at any of 400 specially selected restaurants – each one has been specially handpicked by locals²

•The opportunity to redeem Membership Rewards® points on eligible car hire with Europcar, Hertz and Sixt³

For family travel tips and to find out how we could help you on your way, visit americanexpress.co.uk/whyamex

1. Exclusions apply. American Express Services Europe Ltd. Part of our Global Assist Service. Not available with the Costco TrueEarnings Card or Harrods Card.

2. Terms and Conditions apply. More information and full Terms and Conditions can be found at americanexpress.co.uk/taste

3. Only applicable to Cards enrolled in the Membership Rewards program. Terms and Conditions of Membership Rewards apply and can be found at https://catalogue.membershiprewards.co.uk/aboutTerms.mtw. Points are not earned on American Express Travellers Cheques, Foreign Exchange and other Account Charges including Membership Rewards fees and annual Card fees. 

American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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