Helsinki is a tale of two cities. Arrive mid-winter and you'll find a frosty wonderland of deserted, snow-caked streets, the residents holed up in cosy, impeccably designed cafés. Come in summer, when the sun refuses to set, and you'll catch locals partying merrily into the early hours and leaping gleefully into the Baltic Sea.
The Finnish capital is used to being eclipsed by its older - and perhaps trendier - Nordic neighbours but it has far more to offer than the first-time visitor might think. We've taste tested both the classic restaurants serving heartwarming dishes (reindeer fillet, anyone?) and those taking new Nordic cuisine to all-new heights.
We've mapped out runs along the waterfront and sized up the visionary structures of design icon Alvar Aalto. Plus, one or two saunas to kick back and relax in - it's up to you whether you sweat it out in your swimsuit or the buff. Whatever the season, Helsinki's streets, forests and islands are ripe for exploring. So pull on your snow boots - or your sandals - and join us for a tour of this confident and cultured city.
The Monocle Travel Guide Series. The definitive travel guides that make you feel like a local wherever you go.