How to spend a day in Helsinki, Finland
We spent a day in Helsinki as part of our 12 night Baltic Cruise with Norwegian Cruse Line (NCL). Although we would have liked to have spent more time in this gorgeous city, a day is enough to see all of the main sights that Helsinki has to offer.
We joined the Hop on Hop off red bus as it was the quickest way to get around the city and learn about each of the sites. We started and ended our bus tour at the cruise terminal which made it super easy for us. Tickets can be purchased on the bus.
Some of our highlights of Helsinki were…
Temppeliaukio Chuch (also known as Rock Church)
As the name suggests, the church is made out of rock and is probably Helsinki’s most popular tourist attraction. The church opened in 1969 and the interior walls are created naturally by the rock. The church has great acoustics so is very popular for concerts. The church is well worth visiting – I’m not sure you can find another church built with rock anywhere else in the world!
Completed in 1852, the Helsinki Cathedral is an Evangelic Lutheran Church and is probably one of the most recognisable sights in Helsinki. It is located in Senate Square and its surroundings are located in the oldest part of central Helsinki. It is absolutely picturesque, bright white and makes a perfect contract so those perfectly blue skies. This is also where the hop on hop off bus starts and finishes.
Market Square is Helsinki’s most international and famous market. It is located in the South Harbour at the beginning of Esplanade Park. If you’re looking for some traditional food or handcrafted souvenirs then this is the place to go. You will find plenty of seafood on the menu as well as reindeer (yep, Jenna didn’t like the fact that people at Rudolf!!). You could spend a bit of time here just relaxing, or grabbing a bite to eat by the water.
Located a short stroll from Senate Square,Uspensky Cathedral is perched up on a little hill. The church is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and is just beautiful. It is worth a wander through
Located in Sibelius Park, you will find the world famous composer Jean Sibelius’ monument by Eila Hiltunen which was unveiled on 7 September 1967. As you can see from the picture, the monument resembles organ pipes and is made of welded steel… it comprises over 600 pipes and weighs a whopping 24 tons! The whole monument is 8.5, high, 10.5m wide and 6.5m deep. It’s definitely worth a visit to check it out!
We had to stop in at the award-winning Bryggeri Brewery of course for some fine beer. There is an awesome beer garden out the back, a restaurant which showcases local Finnish meals as well as a bar which serves regular lines of beer plus seasonal brews and snack food. It was so incredibly relaxing to sit back and enjoy some local cuisine and local beer whilst talking about our day and what we most enjoyed about Helsinki. If you enjoyed yourself as much as we did, you can head down to the front of the brewery where they have a shop, and you can pick yourself up a nice beer glass as a memento!
The best bit is all of this can be done on the hop on hop off bus, no driving required!!!
“A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Carlo Goldoni