Helsinki seems too quiet, too tranquil to be a capital city. Spread across bays, peninsulas, and islands, it has one of the lowest population densities of any major European city. Summer is lovely here, with a full 18 hours of daylight and temperatures that are moderated by the sea.
The city is best known for its Art Nouveau, but it’s also strong on contemporary architecture – expect clean lines. Classical composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) is the city’s musical hero and his name is everywhere, but expect to hear a lot of jazz, too.