Sights to See in Helsinki
The Esplanade

Whether you call it Esplanadi Boulevard, or Esplanade Park, everyone agrees that this section of Helsinki near the center of town is a tourist delight. Some even refer to it as "the living heart of Helsinki".

A hundred years ago, and for another hundred years before that, Finland struggled to estabish its own identity. Long a province of Sweden, and then later of Russia, with Lapland in the north, it is a land of many cultures.

Nowhere is that better reflected today than in this historic section of Helsinki.

There was a time when on the north side of the main avenue (Pohjoisesplanadi), walked those who advocated retaining Finland's Swedish roots as a guide. Those who dared to argue for breaking away towards a future as a unique land separated themselves onto the south side Etelaesplanadi.

Today, all that upheaval has benn long forgotten, except for the occasional reminders one can see in the sculpture, shops and restaurants of Esplanadi Boulevard and its environs..

Originally planned in the early 19th century, many of those shops, restaurants, architecture and parks date from that period.

Today, whether you're interested in luxury shopping or just some people watching, this is the place to go.

On the pleasant days of one of Helsinki's normally pleasant summers, visitors can enjoy a concert in the park at the bandstand. Check out the Fish Boys and Water Nymphs fountains and sculpture. In winter, you can shop for a fur coat. At any time of year you'll see lovely buildings and streets crowded with activity.

Stretching from Kauppatori westwards to Mannerheimintie Street, a walk down this boulevard will convince even the most prejudiced that Paris and New York are not the only great cities in the world. Running from the harbor all the way to the Swedish Theatre (Swenska Teatern), this gravel-lined street is festooned with trees, foliage and flowers.

From Finland's most expensive and luxurious hotel, the Kämp Hotel, to the free-to-all view of the statue of J.L. Runeberg (1804-1877), Finland's national poet, this is the place to be.

While visiting the Esplanade in Helsinki, be sure to check out Scandanavia's largest department store, Stockmann. Don't miss the Moomin Shop. Even if you don't buy anything the goods and architecture make the stroll well worth your effort.

If you have already had lunch at the Savoy, found at Eteläesplanadi 14, you can go for dinner at the historic Kappeli. Offering fine dining to visitors and locals alike since 1837, the café offers desserts and coffee for those who want to stave off hunger between the two meals. But don't spoil your appetite. You'll want to stay a little bit hungry to savor the traditional Finnish dishes in the main section.

Top it off with a local beer from the on-premises brewery.

After dinner, take a casual stroll down the lovely avenue which is illuminated by historic street lamps. You'll almost certainly be joined by thousands of tourists and natives alike who come to enjoy this essential part of Helsinki. Step into the Teatteri nightclub and have an after-dinner drink and listen to some music.

No visit to Helsinki can be considered complete with a visit to The Esplanade. Located within easy walking distance from Market Square, you won't be sorry if you stroll over and check it out.

Visit Helsinki and see The Esplanade


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Sights to See in Helsinki - The Esplanade

Page Updated 12:02 PM Friday 5/8/2015