Helsinki: The Monocle Travel Guide Series is your guide to the Finnish capital and the delights it has to offer, including vibrant cultural life, Nordic dining and architectural pieces by Alvar Aalto and more contemporary names. The guide also covers the highlights of local nature, nearby islands and, obviously, all the best saunas. Published by Gestalten, the Monocle travel guides provide a comprehensive and compact package of facts, colour photos, maps and suggestions for neighbourhood walks. Besides the must-see places, the books guide you to going beyond the conventional and discovering the hidden spots.

Meet the artists shaking up the cultural scene and leaf through this literary hub’s many libraries – did someone mention the Moomins?

Helsinki is a tale of two cities. Arrive mid-winter and you’ll find a frosty wonderland of deserted, snow-caked streets, the residents holed up in cosy, impeccably designed cafés. Come in summer, when the sun refuses to set, and you’ll catch locals partying merrily into the early hours and leaping gleefully into the Baltic Sea.

The Finnish capital is used to being eclipsed by its older – and perhaps trendier – Nordic neighbours but it has far more to offer than the first-time visitor might think. We’ve taste tested both the classic restaurants serving heartwarming dishes (reindeer fillet, anyone?) and those taking new Nordic cuisine to all-new heights. 

We’ve mapped out runs along the waterfront and sized up the visionary structures of design icon Alvar Aalto. Plus, one or two saunas to kick back and relax in – it’s up to you whether you sweat it out in your swimsuit or the buff. Whatever the season, Helsinki’s streets, forests and islands are ripe for exploring. So pull on your snow boots – or your sandals – and join us for a tour of this confident and cultured city.


The Monocle Travel Guide Series: Helsinki


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Tyler Brûlé, Andrew Tuck, Joe Pickard
Publication year
148 pages
14 x 21 cm