There's something about Nordic cities that just seems to set them apart from most other metropolises, with the town planners in the northern reaches of Europe having nailed the art of designing major capitals that are in perfect harmony with nature. In Helsinki's case, however, there's an extra layer to discover, as the entire city was redeveloped in the 18th and 19th centuries in order to resemble the famously picturesque Russian city of St Petersburg, while still maintaining its idyllic natural charm. Set across an archipelago, Helsinki is essentially a collection of islands, with much of the action situated by the waterfront. Because of this, it's especially picturesque in the summertime, and this is also when the activity tends to reach its peak. Among the city's many stunning landmarks is the Suomenlinna fortress, which was once the most formidable fort in the Baltic, but was eventually conquered by the Russians. These days, it serves as both a museum and an entertainment complex, with a range of restaurants, bars and performance spaces to be found within its walls. The Finnish capital also boasts a fantastic array of museums, among them the Ateneum Art Museum and the Design Museum - where visitors can get a taste of the famous Nordic propensity for innovative design concepts.
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