HEL Yeah! I

HEL Yeah! I’m Heading to Helsinki, Finland for a Week!

Last year, Visit Helsinki [HEL] (alongside Visit Finland, Finnair, and so many other travel organizations) launched the #HelsinkiSecret Residence campaign in which they aim to invite social influencers worldwide who are interested in living like a local in their city.

Naturally, I expressed my interest for this, especially because I haven’t been to Finland yet. So… imagine my delight when I was notified in November about how I was one of the chosen residents! They asked me if I would want to stay during February 22 to 28, and well of course, I said YES in a heartbeat.

Right then and there, I became so excited at the thought of exploring a new destination for a week! Besides, not only will my accommodation, meals, transportation, and activities be provided for free but I will also have the chance to bring along a companion. Yep, it is that awesome. HEL yeah! (As for my +1, surely, I chose to tag along a friend of mine.

HEL Yeah! The 5 Reasons Why I’m Excited to See Helsinki, Finland

#1: The Winter Snowscape & Activities!

Hel YeahPhoto by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki
I am currently based in Belgium and as the recent weather reports would have it, we have zero snow for the past winter months (at least, up here in the north, Flanders). Therefore, you can say that I’m truly ecstatic on how I’ll soon be staying and seeing a blinding white kind of landscape when I land in Helsinki! (You see, ever since I experienced my first real ‘winter wonderland’, I have been somewhat “spoiled” — whenever the winter months are upon me, I start asking, or better yet: demanding, for snow… I bet in a few years, I’ll be like most of the Europeans I know who wouldn’t wish for the cold snow.)

As of late, there have been several travelers who have already managed to experience the #HelsinkiSecret Residence and I have seen photos of how lovely the city looks like while it is draped in snow. Plus, they have even been able to enjoy some winter activities too like skiing, doing a snowmobile safari, and meeting reindeers along the way!

#2: The “Secrets”

HelsinkiSecretPhoto by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki
A part of the fun by staying in the Helsinki Secret Residence is that we don’t exactly know yet what we will be doing there for a week… which absolutely adds an element of surprise to this affair!

Rest assured, their team will be preparing a Helsinki Survival Kit upon our arrival which will collate all the hand-picked local tips, experiences, and items that are suggested especially for us. This is because while I was conversing with their coordinator, she asked me about our preference when we’re traveling and what we are expecting to do during our stay in Helsinki. I guess they’re going to base their suggested itinerary for us on my response, as well as on the contents of this blog and how I travel. All in all, I’m eager to see it!

#3: The Week-Long Stay

AallonkotiPhoto from Aallonkoti Website
I really can’t stop saying “HEL yeah!” for this trip because I can’t contain my excitement at how amazing everything has been planned for.

First of all, in order to try and be a part of a local lifestyle, I believe that a traveler would need at least a week in a new destination. Visit Helsinki thought about this very well, and that’s why they are offering their residents the chance to do not only that, but more!

By “more”, we won’t actually be just staying at any place. We will rather be accommodated in a typical cozy Finnish home and it will be in the centrally-located Aallonkoti apartment hotel. By the looks of it, such will surely be our new ‘home away from home’!

#4: The Food

Finnish CuisinePhoto by Sampsa Parnanen / Ampeeri Filmi
Dubbed as the “New Nordic Cuisine”, I have been told about how there are a lot of good restaurants and food-related events in Helsinki.

This will be my first time in trying out Finnish cuisine too so I’m excited for the kind of dishes that they will be introducing to us. As per my research, the must-try food during my stay this February would be: runeberg tarts, pea soup and laskiaispulla (shrove buns).

NOTE: One of my readers have recently told me about their food brochure called as ‘Food Helsinki? HEL YEAH!’ which can already tell me a lot about Helsinki’s food culture — and that’s quite interesting! Nevertheless, if you’re Finnish, please feel free let me know of dishes that you think I should try. I’d love it if you would!

#5: The Culture & The Whole City in Itself

HelsinkiPhoto by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki
We might not know yet about the things that we will be doing in Helsinki, and we honestly don’t know a lot of things either about the city (yet), but that doesn’t stop me from prying around as I search for facts and things-to-do!

What my search has told me so far is that Helsinki will be an historical and wondrous place. I tried not to pry too much though… so that I will still be surprised once I’m there; however, as some sort of “gist”, below are some interesting facts that I’ve learned:

  • A traditional Finnish sauna is a must-do as it is apparently an important part of the Finnish culture.
  • The Finnish have a huge affinity towards coffee and they seem to love drinking coffee a LOT! Regrettably, I’m not much of a coffee person; but who knows? Maybe I’ll be converted once I’m there.
  • Helsinki was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012. This would mean that the city has great sense of design in areas of architecture, fashion, and so much more.
  • Contemporary music prevails in Helsinki. Other than jazz music and dance music, they are really known for their love of metal music!



And it’s pretty clear! Now, as I post this article, it would mean that my flight to Helsinki is set for tomorrow. If you want to follow my adventure, keep an eye out on my social media channels (I will be using the hashtag #HelsinkiSecret). You could also follow my adventures LIVE on Snapchat! (My username is iamaileencom)

Top cover photo by Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

How about you?

  • Have you been to Helsinki before? Or any part of Finland? How was your experience?
  • Do you have any recommendations for Helsinki?

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  1. Hello :), what is it that you do? Is this website your living? or what you do as a digital nomad? Very interested to know :)

    1. Hey Christian! Blogging is actually just a hobby of mine that I enjoy (since I love writing so much haha). What I actually do to earn before was work online as a freelancer. Though, since 2014, I’ve since became an online entrepreneur that helps me maintain my lifestyle now (but my blog also helps me gain more travel opportunities with the sponsored/free trips that I get from it, like this one!)

      1. I see, I found what you did now. Good luck with your business :) I have one more question, the oarat “where I’ve been”, I like the map very much, Is that WordPress or some add on you found or did?

        1. It’s an add-on WordPress plug-in. You can find it here: Interactive Maps

        2. Thank you very much :)

  2. Finland Wow!!! amazing place to escape for holiday trip.

    1. Especially for a winter holiday trip ;)

  3. Suomenlinna Fortress is a must see… Went there in December when it was covered in snow and it was breathtaking… Excited to see it in the spring when I return :) The market where the Suomenlinna ferry goes from is perfect for souveniers and a quick bite to eat.

    1. Oh yes, I’ve heard great things about it. :D Thanks and yeah, I think you’re referring to the Old Market too? That place was amazing — I’ve just visited there.

  4. Aileen, Finland is such a great country to visit. It is so clean and beautiful. Plus the people there are extremely friendly. I have been there a few years back and I am sure you will love the place. I will recommend you try reindeer and mash potatoes there. I will be following your post to see what happened there…

    1. I’m already here for 5 days now and what you say is absolutely true. The people here are amazing — and the food, I’ve just tried those too (especially the buttered mashed potatoes they usually pair with the meat) and it’s so good! Thanks for the tips nonetheless ;) I’ve been updating daily on my adventures here in my Facebook page; come follow me there if you haven’t :D

  5. What a great opportunity for you to taste Helsinski for a week! Looking forward for your blog posts abt it.

    Btw, I love how the apartment looks like! Haha!

    1. True, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity. I’m already here for 5 days now and everything really is amazing

  6. HEL Yeah! Haha! I’m sure that’s overplayed, but I’m excited for you! Looking forward to seeing your adventures in Finland!

    1. Haha yeah! :)) But indeed, it just perfectly depicts how I feel. Thanks Joe! <3

  7. Finland is one of my ultimate dream destinations! So excited for you! Can’t wait to read about your experience!

    1. Then you should come visit soon Leslie ;)
      Thanks as well — I really appreciate that! I hope you get to be here sometime soon.


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