Helsinki

Finland, the Daughter of the Baltic, is sandwiched between Sweden and Russia and for centuries was their battleground. You’ll find the Swedish influence dominates. From its founding in 1550 by King Gustav Vasa to its declaration of independence in 1917, Finland stoically dealt with turmoil, famine and war.

Built on a peninsula, Helsinki flaunts its beautiful scenery framed by rough seacoast and an unforgiving climate. Modern Helsinki is a city of 580,000. On August 16, 2010, Newsweek Magazine ranked Finland as the World’s #1 (Best) Country to live in. Based on education, health, life quality and economy, the Finnish have a lot to boast about. But, they won’t! Because the people are a bit shy; they speak little but say a lot. They are hearty souls noted for their honesty and trust-worthiness.

Fortunately for us, in addition to Finnish (a difficult language), most of the Helsinki population speaks English and Swedish. This multilingualism makes it easy to interact with the population (i.e., ask questions and directions) and enjoy the Finnish culture. May-October are the best months to visit Helsinki.  Our walking guides include best places to visit and fun things to do.

Friday:

Time Venue
9-9:30pm

Rautatientori (Railway Square)

9:45-11:00pm

Ateneum (Art Museum)

11:45- noon

Kansallisteatteri (The National Theatre)

12:00-1:00pm

Kiasma (Museum of Contemporary Art) 

8-9:30pm

Restaurant Loiste (No video)

1:00-2:45pm

Kiasma (Museum of Contemporary Art) 

Kiasma (Museum of Contemporary Art)


The building was designed by the American, Steven Holl. It's design mimics the Greek letter Chi. Experimental theater is located on the 3rd floor. The Kiasma has elicited both praise and criticism from locals.Visit website

Rautatientori (Railway Station)


Located in the center of the peninsula is the Helsinki Rail Station and Square. Outisde the main entrance are two large statues holding lanterns (created by Eliel Saarinen). This is the hub of Helsinki.Visit website

Kansallisteatteri (The National Theater)


The Kansallisteatteri presents spectacular productions, most of which are in Finnish. The statue in front of the theater is Aleksis Kivi, Finnish poet and playwright.Visit website

Anteneum (Art Museum)


The Ateneum features art from the Golden Age of Finland from the 18th century through the 1950's. This building was constructed in 1887. Open Tues-Thurs from 10-6; Sat-Sun 11-5 (Closed on Mondays)Visit website

Saturday:

Time Venue
10:00-11:30 am

Aleksanterinkatu (Aleksi) shopping street

noon-12:30 pm

Esplanade Park

12:30-1:30pm

Kappeli Restaurant

2:00-2:30pm

Havis Amanda fountain (Manta)

3:00-4:30pm

Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall)

5-6:30pm

Uspenski Cathedral (no video) 

Aleksaterinkatu (Aleksi) - Shopping Street


Aleksi is just off the main street, Mannerheimintie. In addition to local shops, you'll find international haute couture shops, such as LVN and Channel.Visit website

Esplanade Park


This is a four block green space in the heart of Helsinki. Benches allow you a place to rest your feet and do some people watching.Visit website

Kappeli Restaurant


Built in 1867, this gazebo style restaurant is a "must do" for a snack or lunch. The atmosphere elicits the romance of a Dr.Zhivago movie.Visit website

Havis Amanda Fountain (Manta)


One of the icons of Helsinki is Manta, a nude statue that sits atop a fountain over looking the port. On May Day, college students adore her with a small white cap on her head.Visit website

Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall)


Stroll through this old market and select smoked fish, coffee, desserts and warm soups. The locals pack the old market for traditional Finnish food.Visit website

Sunday:

Time Venue
10:00-10:45am

Senaatintori (Senate Square)

11:00-noon

Hesinki Cathedral

12-1:00pm

University Library

1:00am-2:30pm

Savotta (lunch)

3:00-evening

Suomenlinna Fortress of Findland (near-by island)

Senaatintori (Senate Square)


The equivalent of Russia's Red Square or NYC's Times Square, Senate Square is the heart of Helsinki's historic district. Here is where locals celebrate important occasions like Independence Day in December and May Day. The statue you see in the center is Alexander II.Visit website

Helsinki Cathedral


The Crown of Helsinki is this Lutheran Cathedral. Steep steps on the north side of Senate Square lead to the entrance of the cathedral. Five green cupolas and lines of white Corinthian columns plus a sprinkling of statues make this an imposing building. Open Mon-Sat from 9-6; Sunday 12-6.Visit website

University Library


Built in 1844, this is one of the many buildings designed by C. L. Engel. The white corinthian columns compliment the design of the Helsinki Cathedral. Inside the painted cupola ceiling will take your breath away. Open M-F 9:00-8:00 and Sat 9:00-4:00.Visit website

Ferry to Suomenlinna Fortress


In 1748 Sweden built this Unesco World Heritage site to protect the area from Russian invasion. But, in 1808, the Russians were victorious in defeating the Swedes. Suomenlinna is a 15 minute ferry ride from the Kauppatori dock. A ferry leaves every 20 minutes and the cost is the same as a metro tickets.Visit website

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