Two capitals in one trip! Helsinki in Finland and Estonian Tallinn.
We went while there was music playing, because of the Tuska-festival.
Helsinki is an easy city to navigate as a tourist. Most of the attractions are within walking distance from each other – really! If you are unable or just not in the mood for walking, the trams run across the city and can take you anywhere. The locals and calm, polite and glad to help, and there is a lot of green parks to relax – Helsinki is a great place to spend your holiday if you want to be in a city, but still relax.
If you want a city break with lots of activities, a week might be too much unless you combined it with a visit to Stockholm or Tallinn. Tallinn is only one and a half hour away with the fast ferry, Linda Line.
Here is my travelogue:
Friday the 22nd of July: We arrived in Finland at 11.30 am and took a taxi to the hotel. However there is absolutely no reason to take a taxi, and bus no. 615 drives directly to the centralstation in the city centre.Our hotel, Scandic Hotel Continental – now Scandic Park Helsinki, was a nice hotel within walking distance from the city centre.
After getting our rooms we went for a walk around the city. We saw The Old Church, Mikael Agricola Church and St. John’s Church , we looked at the Observatory, the Market Halls and the Market Square by the harbour. Here is also the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral. We then decided to take a tour with the tram 3T, which is recommended for tourists, but we were disappointed. We took a stroll around the Temple Church, which is built in a cliff, before dinner at an Indian restaurant near the National Theatre.
Saturday the 23rd of July: We went to The Cathedral, and the crypt, as there was an exhibition about the Ravenna Mosaics, and then to the orthodox Uspenski Cathedral. After the churches we went to the Botanical Gardens in the rain. We then went shopping to be inside. We dined at an extremely slow italian restaurant. It took 45 minutes before the food arrived and it wasn’t even good!
Sunday d. 24th of July: We bought a 24 hour card for transportation, as we wanted to see the old Helsinki, which is located 5 km from the modern Helsinki. It turned out to only be a stone with the inscription, that this was the place. We did find waterworks from 1864, which wasn’t in any of our guidebooks, but it was quite interesting. Having the tickets we took the tram in the opposite direction, but there wasn’t much to see either. We returned to the city centre and we went inside the Temple Church. We then took another tram, this time to the Olympic Stadion from 1938, which was quite nice. The tower was closed for renovation.
Monday the 25th of July: We began the day by the closed St. John’s Church. We then went to an antiquities market near by. Anything older than 50 years is considered an antiquity in Finland, and you need a permit to take it outside of Finland. At noon we went back to the church, which was now open. It is very lovely and very big. We then went to the harbour, to find out how to take a cruise to Tallinn. Every other hourfrom 8 am – 10 pm there is a ferry. We then had a nice Finnish Lunch, and a cinnamon bun a café. Then we went to the airport to pick up my mother, who had stayed behind because of toothache. We celebrated her arrival with dinner at Grill It. The service was very slow, but the food was very good indeed!
Tuesday the 26th of July: We took my mother sightseeing: The Cathedral, the National Library and The Uspenski Cathedral. We then went to the Market Square and the Market Halls, a walk through the Esplanade to The Old Church and St. John’s Church. We then took a break to have some cinnamon buns. We then went to the Temple Church and went on a boat trip in the harbour.
Wednesday the 27th of July: We wanted to go on a trip to Tallinn, but there were no tickets, so we booked tickets for the following day. We went to Café Fazer, where we planned our day. We took the tram to Arabia, where we went shopping. It looks like the Ittala factory outlet has since closed. We then returned and went shopping at the Market Square and Market Halls (knit wear and Finnish liquorice). Afterwards we went to the local amusement park and took a stroll along the lake Tööhlö. We had a delicious dinner at a Turkish restaurant, Mèze.
Thursday the 28th of July: We sailed from Helsinki at 8 am, and arrived in Tallinn at 9.30 am. The walk from the harbour to the city centre was very easy. We saw the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the city wall and the City Hall. It is a very nice city with a lot of history (the city being a UNESCO World Heritage site of course). A fun experience for lunch is the café Tristan & Isolde by the City Hall with a medieval atmosphere. We returned with the last ferry at 9 pm.
Friday the 29th of July: We took a swim at the hotel at 7 am. After breakfast we packed and left the luggage at the reception. We then went shopping and had a lunch break at Karl Fazer, before returning to the hotel. We took the Finnair Bus to the airport.