For our first adventure outside of Copenhagen, my group and I decided to follow our desire to explore some of the more untouched corners of the tourist world in Europe. Settling on a weekend in Helsinki, Finland, the two days we spend in the city was the perfect amount of time to be introduced to what Helsinki had to offer. We were able to discover many of the gems of Helsinki, Finland!
Day 1: The Mainland
During our weekend in Helsinki, we spent our first day exploring the mainland and the central areas of the city. Having done our research ahead of time, my girlfriends and I had purchased the Helsinki Card (for about 65 USD) for our trip. In retrospect, while many cities offer such a card, Helsinki was the only place we felt actually gave you the bang for your buck in regards to purchasing this little card. Almost every site we could have wanted to see, with our limited amount of time, was on it.
Open Air Market
With our Helsinki Cards and a plan of action in hand, our first morning in Helsinki we walked down to the wharf and began the day (sort of) with a boat ride cruise. We were met with an unexpected, yet happy surprise when we were met with our first gem, an open-air market to explore before we boarded for the cruise. The market was a combination of food and crafted goods, and we thoroughly inspected all that the booths had to offer; including a crepe breakfast, a moose meatball lunch, and a quick tour of all the handmade trinkets!
A Canal Cruise
What would become the first of many on our adventures, the canal cruise that we took in Helsinki was an awesome introduction to the diverse landscape that in Finland. Fortunately enough for us, we made our trip to Helsinki in early September and were able to catch a ride before offseason (October-May) began for the year. On the ride, which was only about an hour and a half long, we were able to see much of the coastline of Helsinki while gaining an introduction to the cities history as we went.
The Orthodox Church
Our third stop of the day was to the Uspenski Cathedral. This Orthodox Cathedral is the largest orthodox church in Western Europe and it certainly did not disappoint. Set high up on its hilltop, this church’s exterior and interior are of equally exquisite design.
The Market Hall
The Kauppatori Market Hall was our stop for an afternoon snack. At the time of our trip, this historic market was actually celebrating its 130th year! In our exploration of this great this expansive building, we found every imaginable cuisine on display. Our certainly tried as many as we could!
The Helsinki Church
The last stop of the day was to the Helsinki Cathedral. Located on Senate Square, this Cathedrals exterior is a stunning work of architecture. Inspired by such beauty we spent much of our time at the site taking in the beautiful work and capturing many a photo to remember it and our first day in Helsinki by.
Day 2: Suomenlinna Island
During our second day, we chose to explore one of the most historic islands off of Helsinki, Suomenlinna Island. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this island was originally home to a Swedish fortress, back during the times when Finland was actually a part of Sweden. During our day on the Island, we took both an informative guided tour as well as did a little exploring of our own. Sorry Suomenlinna security, we may have tracked a little off the beaten path (whoops!) This island was the perfect last find in our journey of discovering the gems of Helsinki, Finland.
Sights of Suomenlinna
~For more photographs of Guatemala, check of Travel Along’s Photo Gallery.