The joke about Finns has long been that we are somewhat socially awkward and a shy nation, which is partly true. But at the same time we have a deep appreciation for silences as well as sound. There is a reason why we are the heavy metal country, with more than 53 metal bands for every 100,000 inhabitants – more than any other nation in the world.
Explore Helsinki through sounds. For a spot of peaceful silence head over to the Kamppi Chapel. The chapel offers an opportunity to calm down in the middle of perhaps the busiest area in Finland. If it is an academic silence where you can hear even a pin drop you desire then the National Library of Finland is where you should strike for. Surrounded by thousands of books new and old, you can witness complete silence and reverence for the written word. If you want to feel one with the Finnish nature then how about a walk through the Central Park. Here all you will hear is rustling of leaves, birds chirping and maybe an odd bicycle.
Like the idea of being one with the outdoors and admiring sounds of nature? Well then continue your journey to Kaivopuisto park, perhaps the most popular park in Finland. Here you will hear the sounds of families out on a picnic as well as seagulls eyeing up the snacks. But if seagulls aren't your preferred animal then how about acquainting yourself and perhaps your family with domestic farm animals at the Haltiala farm or spend a day at the Korkeasaari zoo. The farm gives you the opportunity to enjoy countryside even in the city and pet and feed some adorable animals. Nothing can be more soothing than listening to unique urban rapids. If ever in need to shut out all noises from your head then make your way to Vanhankaupunginkoski. The rapids there are 200 metres wide over a 6-metre drop in altitude, excellent way to shut out unnecessary noises.
Got your fill of silences and sounds of nature and now craving a bit of manmade sounds? Well Helsinki is the hub of culture and music. If you want a soul enriching experience then you need to get your hands on some tickets and head straight to the Finnish National Opera and Ballet. You will definitely leave rich with culture. But if you want to be at the hottest party place in town then go to Ääniwalli or Tavastia to get your fix. Ääniwalli is at its best in summertime, when it hosts popular outdoor clubs, nonetheless the place holds amazing live gigs throughout the year, promising you a good time. If it is light background music you want, then have a seat at the stairs of the Helsinki Cathedral and listen to the church bells ring.
Right, we have covered sounds of nature and music, now how about some of the most iconic sounds that form the backbone of the city. Want to people watch and be witness to the hustle and bustle of city life? Then you need to spend an afternoon at the Market Square or at the Hakaniemi Market. These are spots where locals stop by for a doughnut and coffee as well as to buy fresh produce for their households. Everyone has an individual pace and are unaffected by each other. Both market places are good places for spotting another iconic part of the city: the trams. They run smoothly like clockwork and have a nice sound to them as they silently use electrical power, and smoothly slide on the overhead lines. Perhaps the most iconic place in Helsinki that houses lots of sounds is Linnanmäki. Here you will catch shouts of joy, sounds of different rides suspending people in air and dressed up characters talking in the mic encouraging people to make the most out the amusement park season.