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Helsinki, Finland

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Helsinki, Finland's capitol, offers a 100 Kilometer shoreline on the Baltic Sea and approximately 300 islands off the coast. The compact, vibrant city is both highly cultural and incredibly relaxing, with great possibilities for many outdoor activities. It is a compact city easily explored on foot and features large park areas, forests, lakes, and the coastline with numerous islands. It is great city to be explored outdoors.

The fortress of Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Finland’s most popular sights. I was build to counter the growing threat from Russia in the 1700's. The beautiful island is only a 15-minute ferry ride away from Helsinki Market Square. A day trip away is Porvoo, is the second oldest city in Finland. Its long history can still be felt on the charming cobblestone streets, past the iconic red wooden shore houses. Porvoo is full of small shops, lovely museums, galleries and cafés.

The Olympic games in 1952 created an international reputation for Helsinki as an efficient and friendly host city. Helsinki is recognized as a city in which many differing views can interact in a constructive atmosphere. Helsinki was one of nine European Cities of Culture in 2000. Helsinki was chosen as World Design Capital for the year 2012.

The reason to visit Helsinki are many. A trip to Helsinki offers an alternative to a traditional action packed European vacation. Here you can kick back and relax by getting off the beaten path, do something your friends haven't done, play in the snow, swim in an icy pool, buy a Finnish design classic, rent a cottage by a lake, take a walk in an old wooden town (Porvoo, Rauma), meet a herd of reindeer while skiing in Laplandor or even meet Santa Claus.

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