Helsinki, the capital of Finland is a beautiful city. Just because the city is not connected to the other countries by rail or road, Helsinki is less traveled. But once you visit the city as a week end trip or just as a day out, you will surely fall in love.
The city is calm and quiet. The “sound of silence” will give peace to your ears. Secondly the architecture. By virtue of the location, Finish architecture is influenced by both European baroque architecture and Russian architecture. If noticed carefully, Russian influence can be observed in Finish culture though Finland is not a socialist country but politically a social democratic country.
People only visit this city either as a stop over while going to Rovaniemi (Santa Claus’s village) or people add Helsinki with their trip to Scandinavia. The second option is very popular. Helsinki is connected with Stockholm by cruise service on Baltic Sea. Two different shipping companies run this service – Tallink Silja Line and Viking Line. Both have some pros and cons. Personally I liked the Tallink Silja Line but it depends on the travelers’ own choice.
Though it was a weekend long tour , but actually 6 to 7 hours are there for the travelers to explore Helsinki. I wish to visit Helsinki again and stay there at least for 3 days. But in this travelogue, I will guide how to utilise these seven hours effectively.
Set the map:
Except Suomenlinna, all the attractions of Helsinki can be reached by walking. Please set the Google Map accordingly. Suomenlinna can be reached by boat.
Built in the 19th century as a tribute to Czar Nicholas I, Helsinki Cathedral is the most recognisable thing in the city’s skyline. Structurally this senate style cathedral is different from any other cathedral in Europe and a major structure of neo classical style. The white cathedral has a tall big green dome surrounded by four other domes.
The surrounding area of helsinki Cathedral is known as Senate Square.
The magnificent massive cathedral is set upon a hillside on the Katajanokka peninsula overlooking the city. The eastern orthodox church is built in baroque style but a strong Russian influence is observed in the architecture. The brick red church has large green domes with gold crosses. It’s interior is extensively decorated with eastern orthodox iconography.
Get lost in the fortress Suomenlinna:
Located at the entrance to Helsinki’s harbor Suomenlinna can only be accessed by boat. Suomenlinna Fort was constructed by the Swedes in 1748 and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Nowadays, it’s a park and residential area. There are a lot of interesting buildings that give the feeling of time travel to the 18th century.
Please check the timetable in the morning and plan for the entire day accordingly. The fare of the boat is 5 Euro but free with a Helsinki card.
Visit the archipelago:
Helsinki Archipelago is made up of 330 islands. The cute little islands can be travelled by opting for a trip from Helsinki Port. The 1-2 hours trip (Cost approximately 20 Euro) will give you the beauty of small green islands during summer. The islands become colourful during fall.
Some of the boats have dining facilities that will give you the pleasure of enjoying a meal on the sea.
Relax at Esplanade Park:
Helsinki is famous for the lush green parks where people hang out, play sports and picnic during summer. Keivopuisto Park and Esplanade Park are the most popular among them. Though Keistopuisto Park is a bit far from the port, Esplanade Park is just beside the port. Get a coffee, choose a bench, relax and enjoy the view of harbor.
During Fall, the viewer can experience a riot of colours.
Shopping and Hangout in Market Square:
Located next to the port, Market Square is the busiest and charming part of the city. Usually this market is swarming with tourists but many local people come here to get fresh vegetables, fish and meat. Tourists like this place to get souvenirs, t-shirts and obviously for a sumptuous meal.
Moose meat is a very famous food of Finland. You can get this dish in the market square.
- Please complete your trip and be in the queue for Stockholm ferry at least 45 minutes before the departure time.
- Plan your Suomenlinna Trip according to the time table of the boat.
- For archipelago Trip, check the timetable of the boat.
- For travelling in winter, please check the sunset time before going to Suomenlinna or opting for the archipelago trip.