Friday, December 19, 2014

Helsinki seasons: Winter!

Perhaps you read my earlier post Helsinki all year round and Helsinki: Autumn? Now it's time to look into one of my favourite seasons in Helsinki, and Finland: WINTER!!

Winter in Helsinki!

Finland, the land of four seasons. If you're an inhabitant of Helsinki, you'll probably have a love-hate relationship with winter. You look forward to the snow that lights up the city during the dark months. And you dread the days when it's pouring rain, sleet or snow horizontally onto your face, temperature suddenly drops -25C and for the fifteenth time dig your way out of your house/to your car/to the tram. I have to admit though: I love winter!

Some of the best of Helsinki during winter: Scenes (left:) Töölönlahti, Kruununhaka, Esplanade, (right:) Meilahti, Töölönlahti, Hakaniemi from Eläintarhanlahti and harbour towards Suomenlinna.

Winter basically starts when the daily average temperature goes below zero Celsius. You can expect the winter weathers to arrive sometime between end of October and start of January, and end sometime between the start of March and end of April. You'll most likely see the picture postcard type of snow frosted sceneries in Helsinki in January - February. But as the the climate change is affecting Finland as well the weather can be quite fickle. From December to mid March you can expect anything from +10 and rain, to -25 and 1+ meter of snow. So check for forecasts before arriving to Helsinki!

Despite the extreme weather  conditions public traffic is quite reliable in Helsinki (though the locals complain even about 1-2 minutes' delays) and the roads remain open. Just be careful driving & walking out on the roads when it's dark and slippery!

While the end of autumn and early winter (Oct - early Dec) can be quite gloomy with short daylight hours, the mid and end of winter (End of Dec - Feb) are typically much more pleasant, even truly terrific times to visit Helsinki! When the snow covers the city and the daylight hours quite rapidly start to increase after the winter solstice (22nd Dec), you can experience the magical winter wonderland, right in the capital city with all its activities and services! The weeks before Christmas certainly are a great time to experience the city with its holiday lights and Christmas markets. If you want to try out winter sports, you can do all of that in Helsinki as well! Check below for more details.

If you're interested to make a Lapland visit on your winter trip to Finland, then read more on my post Fun winter week in Lapland!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Make most of your travels: 10 best tips

There are a few things I've learned while traveling.... like never ask for "spicy" food in Mexico or Thailand and don't fall asleep on the beach without 50+ sunscreen. Well, you probably know these already, don't you? Below some a bit substantial life lessons I've picked up along the way: my tried and true notes to make the most of your travels!

If you are planning a long tip, feel free to read the summary of my round-the-world trip with the FAQs and my favorite spots, or take a look at the Travel index page!