Helsinki, Finland

What's the largest city with the highest latitude, meaning it's the northernmost city with over 500,000 people?

And the answer: Helsinki.

Photo credit: Alvesgaspar.

With over 1.2 million people in its metropolitan area, Finland's capital city of Helsinki is the world's largest city with the highest latitude. Located near the Gulf of Finland, Helsinki has picturesque islands and green urban areas, despite its cold winters.  

Helsinki is actually a part of an archipelago of around 300 islands— a feat most unlike other nation's capitals. Many of the islands are only accessible by boat, making the capital city highly dependent upon water travel. In fact, Helsinki was actually shifted about three miles in 1640 to its present day location so that the city could be closer to the water. Today, the design of the city boasts easily navigable streets with pedestrian friendly travel and extensive public transit.

Did you know?

As the largest, northernmost city, Helsinki winters get pretty darn cold. As such, the government has installed heated granite sidewalks throughout the city to prevent slipping on accumulations of snow or ice.

Helsinki's infrastructure also promotes extremely clean drinking water. Most of the raw water for the Helsinki metropolitan area comes from Lake Päijänne through a tunnel which runs over more than 74 miles. As such, Helsinki is actually a large exporter of bottled water!

Helsinki boasts one of the highest standards of urban living in the world. From arts to cuisine to natural landscapes, learn more about Helsinki's history and culture here.


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