Not that many sights in Helsinki…
Around 9:30 AM I arrived in the easternmost Scandinavian country, and after walking about fifteen minutes I could drop off my heavy backpack at the hostel.
The difference in prices with Tallinn could not be greater. Easily doubled, but usually tripled or even more. Doing a culinary trip around the restaurants of Helsinki like I did in Tallinn won’t make it this time, I think…
A friend who had lived in Stockholm warned me: there is extremely little to see in Helsinki. And yes… he was right!
Fortunately ‘not so much’ doesn’t mean nothing and I could still fill a few hours with watching all the touristic views in Helsinki.
What to do in Helsinki?
You can go almost anywhere by walking, because the center of Helsinki is not particularly big. Handy for people who like to use their feet!
The most famous building of the Finnish capital is undoubtedly the white Helsinki cathedral that towers over the city. From the port you get an nice view of the church, and if you get through some smaller streets you’ll soon arrive on a large square (senate square) where you can stare at the great cathedral from a little closer.
Since Christmas is only a few weeks away, there are a lot of christmas stands and stalls, selling all sorts of souvenirs like mulled wine, christmassy foods and other specialties.
From the square it’s also an easy walk to the other church that is another familiar sight in Helsinki: the Uspenskin cathedral.
This orthodox cathedral stands on a rock and especially the outside looks very nice. Inside, it is quite sober compared with the beautifully decorated exterior
Feel free to walk some more around the harbor, there is always something going on and there is always something to see. From the port, you will almost immediately go to the esplanade. In the middle there is a small park which is quite nice to walk through, but it is mainly the many shops and shopping centers that steal the attention.
During the winter, these shopping centers indeed are heaven on earth if you want to warm up for a bit or use the free WI-FI connections.
From the harbor you can take the ferry to Suomenlinna, six small islands floating before the coast of Helsinki. These islands have played a very important role during several wars (during world war two as well!) Because here a gigantic sea fort was planted.
By ferry it takes you fifteen minutes and you can easily walk around for several hours.
There is still a lot to see from the original fort, but also the nature on and around these islands is breathtaking.
When you return to the mainland, you’ve already seen most of the sights of Helsinki. A little further you may still visit the rock church. A kind of church that is carved out of a large rock formation. The outside isn’t impressive, but the inside all the more.
From here you can walk on to Sibelius Park. A large, pleasant park where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the Finnish capital for a while.
It is also here that you can see the special Sibelius Monument.
Short visit to Porvoo
Three nights in Helsinki is really too long. As a day trip to Tallinn is obviously not among the possibilities, I decided to head towards Porvoo.
Porvoo is a small town about an hour from Helsinki. It is best known for its picturesque old town. Currently, it is even considered to be put on the UNESCO list.
Helsinki has a direct bus to this city and you pay between €8 and €11 for a single ticket. Remain seated until the last stop and from the main bus station it should only take five minutes to walk to the old part of town.
Porvoo is fun to walk through, especially the part along the river.
Don’t only see the lower built houses, but also clim up a bit. Because you get a nice view of the city and surrounding countryside.
Perfect for a day trip, but honestly, you can see everything in about two hours.
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.