My first trip to Helsinki was in November 2014 to visit a friend over the weekend. I saw the main touristic spots and really liked the overall relaxed and calm environment. Although I found it very hard to remember bus stop names because Finnish is one tough language!
Things to see:
Hietaniemi Cemetery: I might sound a bit morbid but I do find cemeteries very peaceful because to me they symbolize a resting place.
Direct flight from Helsinki to Ivalo and then a short bus ride takes you to Inari where you can spend a few days relaxing, cooking in your comfortable cottage and waiting to get a glimpse of Aurora Borealis. I stayed at Holiday Village Inari with stunning views of the lake and though I stayed there only for a night I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the magnificent Northern Lights under the Finnish Sky!
Turku is a charming 13th century city situated at the mouth of Aura River. I got the chance to visit Turku twice in 2015, once in the summer and once in winter. I spent 4 weeks during summer for a course and 2 weeks in winter for some research collaboration. I had good experiences in Turku and met a lot of interesting people. For some reason both the times I went there, it helped me get over a few things ongoing in my life, Turku always worked as a getaway for me. Due to good experiences every time I visit Finland, it feels very familiar and close to my heart.
The castle and cathedral in Turku are very impressive. Apart from touristic spots, the city is full of wonderful cafes, restaurants and bars. I tried the Old Bank bar and also Pharmacy bar which I really liked.