Helsinki, capital of Finland, is a great Scandinavian city with home to over 300 islands and 120 kms of coastline. It even has a underground church blasted out of rock with only the tomb visible over the surface and a UNESCO World Heritage inhabited sea fortress: Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. And when you are in such a lovely city for less than a day (6 hours to be precise), you really have to make it count!!
We visited Helsinki during the summer month of July on a warm summer day with temperature of around 30°C….that’s hot as per Scandinavian standard!!
We took return trip on the Viking Cruise Line from Stockholm. Our cruise ported at around 9:30 Helsinki time, with a scheduled departure back to Stockholm at 16:30. With such a small travel window, walking around was definitely out of question. So, we opted for Hop-on Hop-Off service to cover major attractions.
We started off with Market Square, which is the main open market. Just behind Market Square, is Senate Square – which has the iconic landmark built during the Russian rule, the Cathedral. Seeing the Cathedral from inside is a must and also entry is free.
From Senate Square we took our hop on-hop off bus.
Next stop was Rock Church – one of it’s kind in Finland, built into the Bedrock and has the immersive interior. A little further, we were at Sibelius Monument – an impressive stainless steel monument. Both of these had free entries. After visiting the monument, we headed to Olympic Stadium – we didn’t really got down here, but, have heard that the city views from the tower are fascinating.
Continuing further we ended up in Hietalahti Flea Market/Market Hall – great and cozy food market, where we had the lunch. It was already around 13:30 by the time we finished our lunch.
As part of hop on-hop off package, we had a 1hr 30 mins boat ride as well which would have taken us around the Helsinki coastline and Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. We initially decided to take the take the 14:00 hrs tour, but we messed up with time zone and ended up thinking that we would get late for our cruise and hence cancelled the plan. Instead we went to Uspenski Cathedral before heading back to the cruise. As soon as I stepped inside the cathedral I realised my mistake of time calculation and felt pity of myself of missing the boat ride, which could have been one of nicest thing to do in Helsinki!
Helsinki is the lesser known city in Scandinavia when it comes to travel. Even though it has lot to offer, it doesn’t fit into many’s travel list. But I can assure you that even though we were in the city for a very small, we loved every moment spent and would definitely be visiting the city allowing more time to immerse and explore.
Until next time, hyvästi 🙂