is a city of the sea. Streets and avenues curve around bays, bridges arch across to nearby islands, and ferries reach out to hundreds of islands farther offshore. Numerous parks and waterside walkways weave past a stunning combination of architectural styles, the result of a neoclassical building scheme in the early 1800s and the efforts of modernist Finnish designers in the mid 20th century. As a result, Helsinki is as eye-catching as it is distinct from other European capitals--a city that has been called the last in Europe to be built as art.
Some 1 million Finns, nearly one-fifth the nation's population, enjoy this sprawling masterpiece; visitors will find the city equally amenable, as most of the sights, hotels, and restaurants cluster on one peninsula, forming a compact city center that's easily explored on foot.