Visit Helsinki on a budget


First, buy a one-day Helsinki transport ticket for $10 and head down to the south harbour, where you can buy a cheap fishy breakfast at the famous Kauppatori market square (salmon soup, a herring sandwich and coffee for about $12), before taking the ferry to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress ( Spend a few hours wandering through the parks, museum exhibits and decommissioned war machinery, then sail back to town for a Russian lunch at Blinit ($10,, and a world-class sauna at the long-standing, wood-burning Kotiharjun steam room ($15, Nearby, Pub Sirdie has good, cheap beer and a decent jukebox, (, then you can pick up a great falafel or kebab around the corner at Fafa's ($10,, before taking a room at the Omena Hotel (from $75,

TOTAL: $142


The coffee and pastries are outstanding at Johan & Nystrom, a red-brick cafe in Tullinge ($20, Spend the rest of the morning at Kiasma, one of Europe's better but lesser-known modern art galleries ($18, Then take a lunch cruise and guided tour of the offshore islands, eating your way through a Nordic buffet while sailing across the gulf of Helsinki ($45, Sit quietly for a bit at the beautiful Kamppi "chapel of silence" (free,, then head out for a noisy evening at local rock venue Tavastia (about $25,, ideally preceded by artisanal beer and Finnish tapas next door at Ravintola Ilves ($30, The Scandic Paasi is the best of the city's modish mid-range design hotels (standard rooms from $135,

TOTAL: $273


The splendidly named Krulla's Wiener Kaffeehaus has become a Viennese-style institution even when set against the very high standards of Helsinki's growing gourmet coffee culture, and does a fantastic cakey breakfast with Austrian cappuccino ($25, Take a private sailing tour to see the city and surrounding archipelago from the water and acquire some yachting skills while you are at it. ($460, The city's design district around Dianapuisto Park has tours to guide you according to your taste (set aside $300 to spend at design store Artek in particular, Go the full nine courses for dinner at Chef & Sommelier, with a bottle of Cumieres organic champagne ($230,, and take a "luxury" room at the wonderful Hotel Fabian ($340,

TOTAL: $1355