I’ll be honest, Finland wouldn’t top my list of Scandinavian countries to visit, but when the Eurogames is being held in Helsinki, you follow the football.
Less said about the sport itself – in terms of performance and organisation – the better, but how was the Finnish capital itself? In a word, expensive. In three words, very bloody expensive.
You hear about Scandi countries having great standards of living, with the high taxes and costs that come with it, but when you’re there in person, good lord! And this is coming from someone who lives in London, so if it was expensive for me, I dread to think about others – no wonder so few teams attended.
Expensive pints weren’t filled to the top due to the metric system and it was €7 for a small can of cider. €7?! That’s pretty shocking, particularly after the pound’s post-Brexit crash, but fortunately, the convenience store across the road from where we stayed was much more reasonable – €2.69 for the same can. Pre-drinking ftw.
The sushi joint on our road wasn’t bad either – €21.50 for a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet is good value in any language, and I certainly managed to get my money’s worth. Kudos, Kin Sushi.
It’s worth mentioning that if you want traditional Finnish food, you may struggle – plenty of chains, pubs and things like pizza and sushi, but the closest I got to local was having fish at Kitch. Maybe they hide the Finnish stuff from the tourists?
Not that we had much time to be tourists, just a single free day in which we walked along the eastern coast of the city, took in the two cathedrals and enjoyed the green oasis on Tervasaari island.
There are other parks in the south and west that we didn’t have chance to see, while I was particularly jealous of the people I saw on paddleboards and taking jetski tours around the waterways.
Is it worth a visit? Sure, take a long weekend there sometime so you can tick it off your to-do list (in the summer if you want to enjoy 20 hours of sunlight), but I wasn’t as blown away as I was by other trips.