Rebuilt by the Czars of Russia along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg, today Helsinki manages to offer everything a vibrant international city should, while retaining an inspiringly grass-roots, community atmosphere. In summertime the city has all the best hallmarks of a big, trendy and bustling university campus, with everyone out in the parks and on the terraces enjoying the 20 hours of sunshine. In the winter you’ll meet a very different Helsinki, with mounds of white, powdery snow, icy stalactites and sparkling lights. It’s very small and accessible comparative to most European cities, and it’s best enjoyed by bike (even in winter, if you’re brave enough!) or on public transport. Very easy to get around, you can cycle from one side of the city to the other in half an hour, and once you get a feel for the layout, navigation is reasonably straightforward. To get to grips with the real Helsinki, get out of the CBD and explore the neighbourhoods around the central area.