On a recent trip to Estonia, I was adamant to visit Helsinki while I was there. These two countries are surprisingly only an hour and a half apart by boat when you take the Linda Line Express. This ferry which costs €35 return is for passengers only, but there are plenty other ferry lines which carry cars back and forth.

Port in Helsinki
Helsinki Port

Upon landing in Helsinki, you are greeted with everything you would hope to see. Usually when you land in an airport you are outside the city and away from the sights, but landing at the port meant you are dropped off in the heart of the action.

The first place we visited was the Old Market Hall ‘Vanha Kauppahalli’ whic is filled with stalls to buy food and drink. This was my first experience of seeing Reindeer on offer which was interesting (but tasted horrific!).  As well as the Old Market Hall, there are also a huge range of stalls outside just a short walk from here. If you are looking for somewhere to pick up a present for someone this is the perfect place to go! We found Helsinki to be surprisingly cheap for a Scandinavian country both in these markets as well as stores. I got a handmade gem stone necklace and earrings for only €30 in a personalized wooden box in a market, a Nike gym pants for only €28 in a sports shop! Even our coffees came in around the €3 mark.

Market Hall
Old Market Hall

We then walked around the city taking in the views. As we walked we stumbled upon the Helsinki Senate Square which has the Helsinki Cathedral as well as the Uspenski Catheral, a Russian-designed Orthodox Cathedral. These are both two majestic buildings and are hard to miss as you walk around the city.

Uspenski Catheral, Helsinki
Uspenski Catheral

We then went on the Finnar Skywheel – a huge Ferris wheel on the water front. This wheel gives you spectacular views of the city and feels pretty safe. It is steep at €12 per person, but you brought around about four times in it which I’m impressed with. Unfortunately, the windows are tinted blue so any pictures you take within your carriage come out really badly!

Helsinki Port
The Port In Helsinki

The cafés in Helsinki were in a world of their own! Because I work in catering supplies I pay a huge attention to detail within cafés and restaurants (It’s sad, I know!) and these cafés definitely did not disappoint. My all time favourite café that I have EVER been in was Paulig Kulma. Their interior is copper heaven, they have hanging bucket seats, their coffee is amazing.. It was just an over all brilliant experience! We ate mostly in the market places to keep costs down but I would recommend going into a café or two along your way if you are in Helsinki.

Paulig Cafe
Paulig Kulma

Once we were done shopping we sadly felt done with the city. The weather wasn’t in our favour for the day which meant doing anything outdoors was going to be an issue, and we didn’t really have the time to explore the smaller islands off the capital so we took the ferry back home. We found that a day was enough to see Helsinki. We were happy with what we got to see and were never rushed, but once we were done we felt done and were happy to go back to Tallinn again. This being said, it would be foolish to completely miss the opportunity to see the city if you are in Tallinn as it is still a great day out!

Have you been to Helsinki? Would you go, or did you enjoy it?

25 thoughts on “A Day In Helsinki

  1. I lived in Finland for 2.5 years and frequently visited Helsinki. I think there’s nothing special about it, especially when you compare it with other Scandinavian capitals such as Stockholm and Copenhagen, but I liked it anyway 🙂 I liked the forests and parks, the seaside and a fort on an island called Suomenlinna. Helsinki is so magical during summer, and it’s unfortunate that it wasn’t sunny when you were there 🙂 Enjoyed reading this post! I was also in Tallinn for a day by the way, a short ferry ride from Helsinki 🙂 Looking forward to your Estonia post!

    1. Yeah it was a pity we got such a gloomy day for it, but that’s just how the weather goes! If I was to go back I would love to explore the countryside a bit more 🙂 thanks for the comment!

  2. When did you go? I feel like Helsinki would be magical in the summer sunshine, especially at night or pretty in the snow, but anything in between would be a let down.

  3. I’ve never been to Helsinki, but after reading your post it is definitely on my list now! Seems a lovely place to visit! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  4. I have never been to Helsinki and your pictures make it look really cool! I’m not in the same industry as you, but I think I would also love that copper coffee shop. Finding great coffee while travelling is it’s own little adventure!

  5. This sounds like a great day trip! I didn’t realise how close Helsinki is to Estonia. I’ve heard how amazing the cafes are in Helsinki, so I would definitely be excited to visit that. Sadly, I have never been to Scandinavia or Northern Europe, but I can’t wait to visit both Finland and Estonia!

  6. Oh Helsinki is so much fun. Like you I had a great time exploring the old market. Can’t wait to go back and explore more

  7. Helsinki is a stop on our upcoming Baltic cruise. I think my husband will want to try the reindeer…..I will take your word that it was horrific!

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