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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?