A lads trip to Helsinki: "I Rate the City a Solid Ten"

We joined a group of mates from Norway on a weekend trip to Helsinki. "I rate the city a solid ten. There's a reason why the Finns are so happy," says Alexander, a Norwegian visiting the Finnish capital for the first time.

  • His mate Espen quickly adds:

  • "I thrive in this kind of city. The distances are short, yet it's a metropolis with excellent restaurants, great shopping, and cool bars. It's brilliant here!"

  • "There are loads of exciting and authentic bars and restaurants, like Fly AF bar and Grotesk," insists Espen.

  • The group of friends, consisting of Alex, Espen, Jørgen, Tord and Mathias, have chosen Helsinki as their destination for this year's lads' trip.

  • In addition to good weather and great watering holes, the weekend can be summarised by sauna, Michelin-starred restaurant, pub tram, authentic Finnish karaoke... and feeling weary in body, mind, and soul.

  • Here's what you do on a lads' trip to Helsinki, according to the group of mates:

Pub Crawl with a Tram

This experience is a dream scenario for a lads' trip. Sit down, enjoy good beer or wine, eat snacks – all while taking in all the key attractions in Helsinki. The Finns have got it right, combining all this into one single thing: namely SpåraKOFF.

"SpåraKOFF is absolutely top-notch," Espen believes.

The iconic, red tram has a 20 square metre floor area and seats 24 guests. The tram features a bar counter, with a rich menu of wine, beer, Finnish gin, non-alcoholic options, and snacks. And some extra strong choices.

And yes, there is, of course, a toilet on board. A tour lasts about 45 minutes, or you can book a private round, as Espen and co. have done.

"We could ride this tram all day," says Alex.

A Must-Visit Museum

Helsinki is packed with great and exciting museums, but if you have to choose just one, go for Kiasma. This museum attracts art lovers from around the world with its impressive collection of contemporary artworks and intriguing exhibitions. When the group of mates visited, Tom of Finland was the main exhibitor.

The artist's real name was Touko Laaksonen, and he is known for his iconic and ground-breaking homoerotic drawings that helped shape the history of LGBTQ+ art. Read and see more at Hotel St. George.

  • Sauna at Löyly

    You can't be in Helsinki without a steamy sauna - the ultimate purifier of life, post-pub tram, but pre-nightlife.

  • Alex, Jørgen, Espen, Tord, and Mathias had heard about the legendary Löyly Helsinki. The place is a fantastic architectural gem by the sea, offering a relaxing experience with its blend of traditional Finnish sauna and modern design.

  • The lads booked a private sauna with access to the outdoor area, bar, and sea.

  • With only six degrees in the sea, it was a freezing yet refreshing visit.

  • Fortunately, the group was entertained by some local Finns taking their weekly sauna visit at Löyly:

  • "The Finns are a really nice people. They're super friendly and outgoing," says Tord.

“Insanely Good Restaurant”

It might sound strange to find the world's best Thai food in Finland, but at star chef Tomi Björck's restaurant Boon Nam, you'll embark on a culinary journey through the Land of Smiles. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the luxurious Hotel St. George, and is well worth a visit during your Helsinki stay.

Here, the focus is on Thai food from different regions, with aromas from the Asian spice market.

"Along with the Finnjävel Sali restaurant, I think this might have been the best dining experience of the weekend," says Alex.

"An insanely good place," the mates agree.

And we should quickly explain that Finnjävel, which has a Michelin star, is known for its unique interpretation of traditional Finnish dishes.

  • Karaoke in a Public Toilet

    The Finns know how to pull out all the stops in the Eurovision Song Contest, and they certainly know how to go all out at the karaoke bar too.

  • "There's no karaoke like Finnish karaoke," is the verdict of the Norwegian group of friends, on the Finns' passionate tradition.

  • A great tip is the Karaoke Bar Restroom. The bar is located in what used to be a public toilet, and offers cold beer and friendly service. If the "artists" become too much, there's a small outdoor space where you can rest your ears.

  • And as the weekend drifts into the early hours of Sunday, a hoarse Tord exclaims:

  • "There's a reason why the Finns are so happy. The city exudes high standards and is a Nordic gem. Finland is so much more than the Moomins and sauna!"

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