From the beginning of 2016, the #HelsinkiSecret Residence serves as a base for international social media influencers reporting from the city center of Helsinki. The #HelsinkiSecret Residence is an initiative by Visit Helsinki and represents a globally unique form of city marketing utilizing social media. The residence comprises a studio apartment in the city center that will be open for the entire year, accommodating up to 100 international social media influencers with expertise in tourism, start-ups, education and the creative industries, for example. The #HelsinkiSecret Residence is a great example of the distinct, multi-sectored and partner-based form of marketing that Visit Helsinki believes in.
In mid-January, the #HelsinkiSecret Residence welcomed American Teri. This blog post showcases her favorite memories of Helsinki.
Teri: My first trip to Helsinki was on a Baltic Cruise in September 2014. After a brief 8-hour-long exploring this European capital city in classic tourist style (racing through major sites), I knew that I wanted to come back as I had barely scratched the surface of all the possibilities of Helsinki. There was just something intriguing and special about this city – it is a thriving city in Europe with all the amenities of a capital city, yet still retained a quaintness. Fortunately in January 2016, I was able to return to discover the #HelsinkiSecret and Europe’s best kept secret. My travel trip planning usually incorporates three elements in each city or area I visit: (1) history, (2) culture, and (3) nature. After a week of exploring places and experiencing Helsinki, I found all three and more as I discovered the #HelsinkiSecret: The #HelsinkiSecret – there is something for everyone to enjoy in this European capital city.
From architecture, design & shopping, history, food, coffee culture, nature, museums & concerts, hockey games, karaoke and other Finnwhackiness, I discovered so many layers to the city of Helsinki to fill a few weeks itineraries and future trips. The history, cultural events and natural places will fill an itinerary quickly, but what makes you want to return and creates the memorable stories are the people you meet. The locals I encountered in Helsinki are some of the nicest people you will meet while traveling. Under their calm and reserved demeanor, I discovered some fun-loving, nature-loving and quirky characters giving me more reasons to return to Helsinki.
Top 3 Places:
1. Helsinki City Center – There were just so many places to go in the city center from the museums, concerts, cafes, stores in the design district learning about the Helsinki history, architecture, design and culture.
2. Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Island – I enjoyed the entire experience of this afternoon from riding the ferry over in the broken ice, seeing the fortress covered in snow and learning the history of Helsinki.
3. Archipelago – As much as I love exploring cities, often my favorite days are getting out into nature in the countries I visit. On a snowmobile safari with Burn Out City Events, I was treated to stunning views as we raced across the frozen lake exploring the islands and inlets. My guide Kenny treated me to a fire in the forest, some smoked sausages and a warm berry drink for a wonderful Finnish experience. I felt pretty lucky to get out into nature so close to the city and enjoy nature as the Helsinki residents do.
Top 3 Experiences:
1. Experiencing the Winter Wonderland – I loved experiencing Helsinki covered in a blanket of snow from seeing the snowy parks, frozen lakes, ice-breakers on the sea and kids sledding down the stairs at Senate Square. Growing up in warmer climates where “if” it snows it barely lasts a day, it was amazing to see and experience a city covered in snow.
2. Finnish Food – I enjoyed trying the Finnish food including the many variations of fish & meats all seasoned wonderfully with herbs. A favorite was restaurant Savotta to experience the traditional Finnish food and the traditional environment of the restaurant. I also become a fan of the smoked salmon after tasting it in the Helsinki restaurants.
3. Hockey – local hockey team Jokerit for the win! I don’t often get to see hockey, so it was not only fun to go to the game and see the teams but also to enjoy it with a crowd of passionate Jokerit fans.
Teri’s social media platforms: