"Short days, long nights, frigid temperatures. I had many people trying to talk me out of visiting Finland during winter but what the weather lacked in double digit temperatures the locals made up for in warmth and hospitality."
I'll admit my fascination with visiting Finland during winter became a bit of an obsession as my trip loomed. I became obsessed with proving my friends wrong about not being able to have fun in Helsinki during dead winter. I think if it weren't for the welcoming locals it may have turned out to be a bust after all. The air was crisp, the water delicious and the city functioned fine despite all the snow on the ground. Even a quarter of it would have crippled all of Philadelphia for weeks.
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress
While most waterways were frozen, Helsinki does a good job in keeping the route to the small island of Suomenlinna open year-round. I'm told it's quite crowded during summer so it was very refreshing to be able to walk around and take great photos without people with selfie-sticks. The ferry ride was just 5 euro roundtrip, the view was amazing, and we managed to catch the ferry during sunset. Only bummer is that because its winter there isn't much to do. With the ferry's leaving every 40 mins we were able to leave after a fairly short stay. Still worth it.
I had some issues getting out of Finland due to weather but overall, super pretty city, even more so covered in snow in my opinion. The crisp clear air makes colors come alive when the sun hits them. I'm tempted to come back to visit during summer but I almost don't want to. So I can preserve my fond memories of Helsinki as a winter wonderland.