Gay Helsinki Guide

Wedged between Russia and Scandinavia, Finland is mostly for gay people the homeland of the famous Tom of Finland.

Gay Helsinki Finland

This country often unknown to gay tourists, has long formed a bridge between the Soviet bloc and Western Europe.

gay finland

Since its independence just a century ago, the country forged a very strong identity, and has become one of the most prosperous countries in Europe, with an unequaled quality of life.

Note that as often in Scandinavia, prices are very high, so it will not be the place to have a cheap holiday.

Surrounded by the sea, hundreds of islands and immense snow-covered forests, Helsinki marries the forms of the Baltic Sea and seems to merge with the nature that surrounds it.

The 600,000 inhabitants of the capital enjoy a splendid living environment and an impression of open space that is rarely found in Europe.

Helsinki, a capital of 20th Century architecture

Helsinki is a City of great architectural quality. The Market square aligns the neoclassical buildings while other areas reflect this sense of design and purity that seems innate to the Scandinavians.

Gay shop Helsinki

The Central station in particular will not leave you indifferent, its entrance being protected by imposing statues of sexy but frightening muscular god-men.

Among the must-see places are the Museum of Design, Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art and a walk to admire the refined and fluid architecture of 20th century buildings.

You must visit as well the Lutheran and the Orthodox Cathedral, the latter one reflecting the breathtaking beauty of Russian architecture, that you can find at its full scale a few hundred kilometers further, in the mythical St. Petersburg.

Helsinki has become a unique stage in terms of gastronomy. You will be able to taste very unusual dishes such as roast bear.

To complete your stay in this little-known yet beautiful City, a day trip to Tallinn, the magical capital of Estonia, is a must do. To get there, a simple one-hour ferry cruise will take you through the icy cold waters of the Gulf of Finland.

Gay Tallin

If Finland is not on the usual to-do-list of gay community, it was the homeland of one of its most famous contemporary and controversial artist, Tom of Finland.

Tom of Finland, from gay erotism to MOMA-New-York

Tom of Finland, whose real name is Touko Valio Laaksonen, is a Finnish draftsman and painter, who was born in 1920. He died in 1991 in Helsinki.

His work is an integral part of the gay culture, through his fantasy and fetishistic representations.

Tim of Finland Helsinki

In Finland, homosexuality was considered a mental illness till 1981. A heroic officer of the Second World War, Tom of Finland had to live discreetly to avoid risking two years in jail.

Nowadays, the artist is promoted to the rank of a great national figure, and a source of proud for the country.

Tom has long wavered between his freelance advertising job and his “pig drawings” as he called himself. It is by sending his drawings to an American bodybuilding magazine that he meets a crazy and immediate success.

From 1973, he entirely devoted himself to his erotic drawings. He was the first gay artist to break the erotic codes of gay culture of the time. In his works he depicts powerful bodies with protruding muscles dressed in leather, and prominent crotches.

Tim of Finland Helsinki

At the time of the Aids epidemic, his eroticism was often blamed and accused of playing the virus game. The artist refuted that view and advocated his hedonistic vision of life.

“Bursting, dancing, drinking and kissing,” reports I-D, director Dome Karukoski. Proud to be gay, the artist refused to give into the ambient doom and guilt.

His posterity is undeniable with his works part of the permanent collections of the MOMA in New York, and his erotic heroes being declined in all possible forms in the shops of Helsinki.

Since 2014, the Finnish Post has transposed his works on stamps.

Gay bars Finland Helsinki

Gay Bars and clubs in Helsinki

Cafe Cavalier 

DTM Nightclub 

Hercules Gay Club  

Kaiku 

Mann Street

Gay Sauna Helsinki Finland

Gay Sauna in Helsinki

Sauna Vogue 

Finally, Helsinki is a strategical position to visit Scandinavia and Baltic countries, as it is only a few hours trip by car to enjoy fascinating and gay-friendly Baltic cities such as Vilnius or Tallinn. And now that you are used to the cold, you can as well consider a trip to Warsaw, Helsinki, Berlin or even Oslo and Stockholm. Or get crazy and fly to Iceland.

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