This past fall we visited Tallinn, Estonia and decided to hop a short ferry ride to FINLAND! Definitely on my list, we looked into the journey, it seemed simple enough and we booked a few nights in Helsinki. Helsinki currently has the title as “happiest” people in the world. I’m still boggled by this title, I didn’t really notice that, but we were there in cold, windy, gray November. Might have been an influencer.
If you follow me, you know I don’t place a ton of merit on “when to travel,” the answer for me is “now,” now is always the answer. With cheaper tickets to this area of the world during the fall and early spring Jon and I jumped at it. From Stuttgart to Tallinn, Estonia we paid about €120/person round trip on Lufthansa.
He had friends talk about Tallinn at work and I thought, hmmm, let’s combine them. I’m really glad we did. Even though our weather was less than ideal. I’ve got a few stories to share, being a storyteller that’s awesome.
- Flying into Tallinn is much cheaper than Finland
- Same day ferry tickets
- Have your passport ready
- Enjoy the “cruise/ferry” – lots of amenities and entertainment
- Once you arrive in Helsinki, public transportation is really easy to use and in English
- Book your accommodations in advance
- We stayed at Scandic Helsinki Simonketti hotel right in the heart of the city
- Our room was not fancy, but perfect for our short stay
- Book as early as you can, Helsinki is expensive.
- Breakfast was fantastic with views of the city
- Location was perfect for walking the city and seeing all the sights
We made an entire day of walking around Helsinki so I’ve created a picture itinerary for you here of some of our highlighted spots.
Senate Square & Helsinki Cathedral
The Helsinki Cathedral was built in 1852 as a tribute to Czar Nicholas of Russia. It is a magnificent piece of architecture and sits atop the Senate Square so photo ops are plentiful.
Rock Church – one of my favorite spots for sure this church resembles something from pre-world design. I loved that it was carved out of a rock. Really cool and the inside is just as neat. The acoustics make this a show-stopper too as anywhere you are sitting you will be moved to tears by the music playing. Super cool stop!
Finnish House of Nobility – this massive building is on one of the main streets bordering the Senate Square. Originally this was the Swedish nobility building where they pledged allegiance to Sweden and although today it is all Finnish Nobility. It is mostly used today for special events and weddings.
Flying Cinema Tour of Helsinki – this might have been the freakiest ride, tour I have been on in a little while. When Jon and I arrived on this rainy day, there were only a few people in the building. Cold November day, I get it. This virtual reality flying tour of the city is INCREDIBLE.
*If you love roller coasters this is the quick tour for you. HA! Thankfully, I decided to move to the bottom of the theatre. A big RED flag is that you get buckled into your seat. There is a discount if you buy your tickets on-line ahead of time. You should do that. I think this tour is a great pre-view before you hit the pavement and walk the city. It was fun too, despite the nausea.
SkyWHEEL – similar to the EYE of London, this Skywheel is a great ride and about €12/person – it is ferris wheel on the harbor with some fantastic views. If we had been there during the summer it would have been GREAT! It is open all year round but it was a super nasty day for us.
Old Market Hall of Helsinki on the Harbor
We found this market just walking around the harbor. It looks like it was modeled after many indoor markets I have seen around Europe. Lucky for us, we found a coffee/cocoa shop inside to warm up. It was filled little restaurants, food vendors and tourists shops. I would think during the summer it would be really hopping. Lucky for us it was easy to walk through and admire all the different foods available in this part of the world.
Need more ideas ~
Finding affordable eats in this cool town can be a challenge. Jon and I love burgers and we hadn’t tried one yet, so I used GoogleMaps ~ Explore to find Naughty Burger. Their reviews came in at a 4.3* out of 5. You can check it out. Mine is a more recent review – don’t forget to follow me too.
Hard Rock Cafe ~ Helsinki
Day Trip from Helsinki – TURKU
Because I couldn’t just sit still and admire Helsinki, we hopped the train and headed up the coast to Turku. This town is considered to be the gateway to the west, and I thought would be super interesting because it had a medieval castle, beautiful gardens and baroque architecture. I know, sorry, it just doesn’t get old for me.
The train ride to Turku was about €20/person round trip. With 16 routes a day we figured we would just sit back and enjoy the countryside.
Despite Finland being a very expensive country to visit ~ Helsinki. It seems the country we rode through was not as affluent. Even Turku that was building everywhere seemed to have depressive parts that needed better infrastructure and upkeep.
We did enjoy our visit to the Turku castle (super cool) and our walk around town and along the river. This will soon be a stop along the cruise route and I can see why. I would travel to Turku again just to chill away from the city folk. The Turku University is located right in the heart of town and was filled with young people, so a re-birth is probably going to happen too.
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!
PIN ME FOR LATER!