Situated on the northern shore of the southern peninsula of Finland is Helsinki, the county’s capital city. Initially set up as a trading post by King Gustav I of Sweden in 1550, Helsinki became the official capital of Finland when the country gained its independence in 1917. The smallest of the European capitals, Helsinki is also known as the “white city of the north,” because many of its buildings are constructed from local light-colored granite. In the winter, you won’t find the city’s streets and sidewalks covered in snow either. Granite slabs were installed to heat the paths and roads, so snow and ice melt immediately, making it easy to travel around the city in the winter. Be sure to always ask for tap water when you visit Helsinki. The tap water comes straight from the mountain by the Päijännetunneli, the longest water tunnel in the world. The quality of water in Helsinki is so high that it is exported to other countries.