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Arto Sivonen

Urban activist and marketing designer Arto Sivonen is founder of the Måndag design studio.

I host a lot of visitors each year, and more often than not I take them straight away to a sauna. I don’t go to the same one each time, because I like to test different ones. Each sauna has its own special character and atmosphere.

1. For a traditional urban sauna experience, check out Arlaa, Sauna Hermanni or Kotiharju.

2. For new urban alternatives, check out Kulttuurisauna and Löyly – or even Sompasauna. All three of them are great for swimmers too.

3. For a classic and historic alternative, try the Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall or Sauna Kaurila, an old wood-heated sauna in Meilahti that has its own historic vibe.

The food scene in Helsinki is really dynamic right now, and interesting new restaurants are popping up all over the place. Helsinki also has lots of great places where you can enjoy a picnic outdoors. Just pick up all the ingredients at one of the market halls and try one of the following spots:

1. Lapinlahti’s rocks and sunset. A peaceful and beautiful place close to the city centre. You can even go for a swim there!

2. Winter Garden. Enjoy brunch beneath the palms in the beautiful Winter Garden. Rain or shine, it’s always summer inside! hel.fi
Hammarskjöldintie 1

3. Historic sites. Check out the abandoned villas in Kruunuvuori or climb the Viking rocks at Vartiosaari. Invite yourself over!

The best way to get into the vibe of the city is to visit local homes and meet interesting people. Getting to know Finns can take a while, but fortunately you can get a head start with the internet.

1. Home swapping is a fun and interesting way to travel. Check out, for example, homeforexchange.com or lovehomeswap.com.

2. Couch surfing is a classic way of staying overnight on someone’s sofa. It’s also a great way of meeting new people. couchsurfing.com

3. The best option is to combine both. Swap your home for a home and invite locals back to your place for some couch surfing!