Before flying back to Germany at the end of May 2016, after spending our semester abroad in Finland, we spent our last weekend in Helsinki.
On Saturday we took the train from Seinäjoki to Helsinki at 10am. One ticket is around 30€ and the ride takes approximately 3 hours. If you fly to Finland from Germany, you will possibly fly to Helsinki anyways.
We spent two nights in the Radisson Blue Seaside hotel.
We can highly recommend this hotel! The location is great. It’s located right next to the harbor and by tramp it takes around 10 minutes to the main station. The room was big and and the bed was very comfortable! The breakfast, which was included in our booking, was very rich and high quality.
When we arrived in Helsinki we didn’t really have a plan for sightseeing. Therefore, we simply grabbed a city plan and took the tram to all the sights. In comparison to other capitals, Helsinki is so small that we sometimes walked the distance of a whole stop of the tram without even recognizing it.
You can buy a 2-day ticket for the buses, trams and trains for 12 Euro.
Info: The ferry to the Suomenlinna island is included in the ticket!
In our opinion, the best season for traveling to Helsinki is spring or summer. But you should take into consideration that Finlands spring starts quite late. At the end of May it was still quite fresh due to the ocean winds (bring a fleece jacket!). When the sun comes out, you can easily go outside with a t-shirt.
In the center of Helsinki, right at the Senate Square you can find the beautiful Cathedral of Helsinki. It was built in the 19th century and we were impressed by the huge pillars, the bright color and the great dome. On the stairs in front of it you can take awesome photos if you manage to frame the whole cathedral :p Unfortunately we couldn’t enter the cathedral as there was a wedding at that time.
Not far from the Cathedral of Helsinki (walking distance) you can find the orthodox Uspenski-Cathedral. From the outside you can already tell that it’s an orthodox cathedral by the golden elements. Even though it appears fairly inconspicuous from the outside on this photo, it is very splendid on the inside with many golden details. It reminded us a lot of St. Petersburg! When we entered the cathedral there was a worship happening. Isabelle used her cloth as a headscarf again to be respectful.
Suomenlinna is a fortress, which is connected on several islands around Helsinki. It was built in 1748 and is an UNESCO world culture heritage. Not only tourists like to visit it! Our Finnish friends told us that a lot of Finns love to spend their spring and summer there having picnics and relaxing. Nowadays around 800 Finns still live on the island. With the ferry, which leaves every half an hour from Helsinki harbor, you can reach Suomenlinna within a few minutes. We spent around half a day there. We followed the signs and walked up to the Kings Gate of the fortress. The Kings Gate is the landmark of the island and is called Kings Gate, because King Adolf Friedrich of Sweden anchored there while the fortress was built. You can easily spend a whole day on the island when the weather is good.
The Temppeliaukio Church is an underground church and we almost walked by, but two nice Finns saw a struggling with our city plan and not only showed us the way, but walked us there. Finns are really nice!
The church is a prime example for the world famous Finnish architecture It was built into a granite rock and its roof is 100% made of copper. The entry is free and it’s absolutely worth a visit. We guarantee that you haven’t seen anything like this before!
The parliament building appears really huge and beautiful on pictures. We really wanted to see it. Unfortunately there was a construction site right when we were there and the whole building was covered.
Have you already been to Helsinki? If so, what did you like best?