Helsinki, the present capital of Finland on the southern tip of the country, Turku, the city in the southwest that once held the title, and Tampere, a bustling community on the confluence of two central lake systems, offer first-rate options for uniquely rewarding city breaks. The cities come into their own at the glorious height of summer, when the sun hardly sets.
Helsinki and Turku are important passenger and commercial ports, and in both the presence of the sea is never far away. The biggest passenger ferries in the world serve their harbours, berthing close to their centres. Tampere spans a series of rapids between the sprawling Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi lakes. Modern and efficient international airports serve all three cities.
Each of the cities is big enough to offer all the facilities and attractions of a lively metropolis, including excellent island, riverside or lakeside restaurants and luxurious hotels. Yet they are also sufficiently compact to explore on foot or by using some of the best-planned public transport in the world.