Surrounded by the sea and its own archipelago, Helsinki, the Finnish capital, retains its nautical feel with many sailing events during the summer. Exploring the fascinating sights of Helsinki, cruise guests will discover the city is also the country's main cultural focus, offering dance, ballet, opera, and other festivals. The striking onion-shaped cupolas of the Uspensky Cathedral (modelled on the one in Odessa) are just one example of the Soviet influence on a country which achieved independence less than 100 years ago. Highlights of cruises to Helsinki also include some of the traditional Finnish building in the Senate Square and the North Harbour. Helsinki is a compact city - 'a pocket-sized metropolis', as it was once described - so it is easy to get around, especially in the historical centre. Or you can take the touring 'pub tram' and drink in the views, including the colourful flower market near the harbourfront. After months of dark, cold winter, it is hardly surprising that the Finns pull out all the stops to celebrate the genuine warmth of their summers with outdoor events all around the city such as the Coming of Spring, Midsummer, the Helsinki Festival, and the Annual Night of the Arts.