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Top 5 European Spring Flings from Helsinki Airport

Article published
13.3.2014 at 08:28
These cities are all within easy reach of Helsinki Airport, with an under-three-hour flight.

Alluring Moscow

Every spring, the Russian capital wakes from its winter slumber and turns eager eyes toward the coming summer. Moscow exhibits some of the extremes typical of Russia: you can easily escape the hurried throngs of its modern streets, with the quiet peace of massive ancient churches. Side by side with these centuries-old houses of prayer and history rise rows of brand-new skyscrapers and immense shopping centres. One way to experience the two sides of Moscow is to walk a pair of streets, both called Arbat, from one end to the other. Along the first, Arbat Street, stand beautiful buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, with the road sprouting several charming lanes animated by buskers and market stalls. Right next to it, Novyi Arbat seems to belong to a different era, one of wide, straight pavements and tall office buildings made of glass and concrete. The new Arbat tells the story of the Soviet Russian era, still echoing in personal memory.

Daily flights from Helsinki Airport: Finnair, Aeroflot, and S7 Airlines. The flight time is 1 h 50 min.


Flamboyant Madrid

Thanks to its continental climate, Madrid boasts red-hot summers and springs that are balmy and full of promise. In a way, the nights too are hot in Madrid: it is said that the people of Madrid, madrileños, cannot tell the time. You might start your evening at a tapas bar, then, after a suitable number of glasses of wine, move on to the night clubs in the small hours. The long night ends with hot chocolate or coffee at one of the numerous coffee bars. A well-known local saying is ‘de Madrid al cielo’, which translates loosely into a reminder that only heaven could be better than Madrid. Though less famous, there is a continuation to the saying: ‘...y un agujerito para verlo’: even if you would reach heaven from here, you’d still want to have a small hole from which to peek at Madrid!

Daily direct flights from Helsinki Airport: Finnair. The flight time is 4 h 20 min.


Fashionable Milan

It’s hard to think of a single fashion house that isn’t represented by a shop in Milan. This metropolis in northern Italy is home to top designers such as Armani, Versace, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana. Even window shopping is quite an experience here! One of Milan's greatest advantages is the compact city centre: it’s easy to visit the most famous tourist attractions on foot. You can start from Duomo, the Gothic‑style cathedral with a statue of the Madonna atop its highest tower, protecting the city and its visitors. From Piazza Duomo, you can step into the luxurious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to admire the wares in designer shops’ windows. The other end of the gallery opens right in front of the La Scala opera house, the ‘home’ of composer Giuseppe Verdi.

A daily direct flight from Helsinki Airport to Milan: Finnair. The flight time is 3 h 15 min.



Surprising London

London is known for its musicals, football, pubs, and… the list is endless. A less commercialised but increasingly popular part of London is the East End. Once notorious for its unsavoury environment – for example, it is believed that Jack the Ripper committed several murders here – its local flavour is very much in vogue today. For example, London's oldest market, Spitalfields Market, is open every day, and once a week it hosts a market event dedicated to style, Saturday Style Market. There can be more than a hundred stalls here, selling everything from vintage fashion items to jewellery, and from music and toys to fine decorative items. The market area is also home to many independent shops, pubs, coffee houses, and award-winning restaurants.

Several daily flights from Helsinki Airport to London: Finnair, British Airways, and Norwegian. The flight time is 3 h 10 min.


Charming Paris

Paris is known the world over as la ville lumière, or the city of light. The term refers both to the city’s role as a centre of education and innovation during the Enlightenment and to the atmospheric street lighting – Paris was among the first cities to boast such a system. On your first visit, you won’t want to miss world‑famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral. Once you’ve seen these, you might walk to the Musée d’Orsay, on the banks of the Seine – not just for the art it houses but for the building itself. Built for the 1900 World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle), it used to be a striking railway station, with a highly memorable huge clock, and that grandeur hasn’t faded: the museum has found impressive ways to respect the original architecture. But whatever you choose to do, the city’s enchanting ambience is sure to delight.

Several daily flights from Helsinki Airport to Paris: Finnair and Norwegian. The flight time is 3 h 5 min.

Text: Tiia Soininen
Photos: iStockphoto