In March I spent a week staying in an apartment in Helsinki in my best attempts to experience it like a local.

If you travel as much as I do and you are giant homebody on the inside like me, you really value unpacking your suitcase for a week and tossing your crap absolutely everywhere. I like to think of myself as almost a turtle traveler – I like to take it as slow and mellow as possible. What’s the rush? You’ll miss the best bits.

After I spent a week exploring Lapland in the Arctic Circle, I was beyond stoked to put my feet up and kick back and relax in Helsinki. And while you can’t really ignore the more well-known tourist attractions in Finland, I did my best to see what else this metropolis had to offer beyond saunas and reindeer soup – because trust me, there is SO much more to Helsinki that what you might imagine. I spent my days wandering around the different neighborhoods, following my nose wherever it led me (thank you stretch leggings!) and peeping inside every cute cafe and colorful shop I could find (thank you FinnAir extra baggage allowance).

I was curious to see what I could find out on my own about Helsinki and see what made the capital ofFinland tick. Spoiler alert, Helsinki is full of surprises. Here are my best Helsinki travel tips.

Check out 10 things that surprised me about Helsinki. Enjoy!