Helsinki – Happiest Country in the World

Helsinki – Happiest Country in the World

Helsinki is a diverse city that can be enjoyed at all times of year. The aurora borealis shimmers in the winter skies and the Saunas at the lakes are a must do.

Visiting Helsinki is best any time you can go.

Certainly if you are looking for sunlight and warmth, a great time to visit Helsinki is from May to July a month either side of the summer solstice when you can experience the Nordic white nights with 18+ hours of sunlight. Willing to handle some cold, visit October to March and see the Aurora Borealis in its glory.

My last visit was in middle May and it was about perfect. The wee hours of the night were starting to be more light than dark, the Baltic Sea was warming up, and the lakes were calling to be paddled.

If you’ve ever considered visiting this fabulous city here are some quick ideas.

Any city worth its salt requires at least three nights to discover. Arrival and departure days don’t count so plan on a minimum of three nights giving two days to explore; a day for history and a day for food and art. [Let’s be honest, two days is the bare minimum for any destination].

When in a city only a short time, always consider the location of the hotel. Stay central, walkable to the cool stuff, and make sure it’s comfortable. Sometimes this means staying in slightly higher priced option for the best location but a great location can stretch a short timeframe.

My go-to in Helsinki for old school well positioned accommodations is the Hotel Kämp. Hotel Kamp is a classic 125+ year old hotel set in the perfect location on the Esplanade. Walk to the shops, to the waterfront, or stay at hotel

Virtuoso Amenities

For 2023:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom served in restaurant
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Eat: Grön

I sometimes hesitate to give specific restaurant recommendations because there are so many factors in a good restaurant experience but Grön ( is an exception.

This cosy restaurant holds a Michelin star and whether you choose the standard or vegan menu the 2 ½ hours eating through its preset menu is time and money well spent. 


When in Finland it’s the best time to do Finnish things and a traditional Finnish Sauna (sow-na) experience is a must. There’s a reason why the Finns are the happiest people and I hold it is because of their love of a good sauna.  My favorite public sauna is Löyly. This beautiful spa sits on the edge of the Baltic Sea and is the perfect place to experience the euphoria that comes after the heat of a sauna followed by a plunge in the sea.  The architecture and the essence of this place will make you want to come back for more of the gentle peace it offers.

Picture of Loyly Sauna in Helsinki, Finland, Photo from Loyly website
photo by Loyly

Certainly, no trip to Finland should exclude the middle and north of the country. The timeless beauty of the lakes and gentleness of the rugged beauty makes the hectic pace of real life seem a very distant reality.

To truly experience Finland we recommend adding 4 nights in Lakeland, and 2 nights in Lapland. To round out your two week trip, add 3 nights across the Baltic Sea in Tallinn, Estonia. If the weather is right – as in a ridiculously cold winter, there’s the possibility of traveling on the longest ice road. Talk about a happy adventure.

There’s much to be said about the happiest place on earth but to really understand one best go for a visit. After you discover the pleasure of a true sauna or hiking in lapland with reindeer, the reasons this is the happiest place on earth become clear. In fact, you might just stay a little bit longer. I recommend you do.

Martha Day Headshot, owner of Opal and Finch Travel Company

Martha L. Day, CTA is the founder of Opal&Finch, a luxury boutique travel company. She is the senior designer and writes as a travel expert for the Katy Trail Weekly, CityLife, Preston Hollow Life, and Vibrant Connections. 

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