Helsinki is the capital of finland and is found on the shore of the gulf of finland. Helsinki has one of the highest urban standards of living in the world. Which to me is not so different in terms of how expensive it is from its counterparts the other two Scandinavian cities.
We got to Helsinki via ferry from Tallin- Estonia which takes less than 2 hrs. The Helsinki Tallinn ferry route connecting Finland and Estonia is operated by 3 companies : Tallink Silja, Viking line and the Eckero line. This ferries ply this route up to 6 times a day. This makes it very convenient to visit this two countries and you can even take a day trip to Tallinn and back if you are in Helsinki. Ferry prices vary depending on when you book the tickets and how fast the ferry is.
I love exploring new countries and getting a feel of things which requires spending more time there. However sometimes time is never on our side. So here is a list of things that we got to do for the one day we spent in Helsinki that you could draw inspiration from.
The finnish people take Saunas very seriously. So serious is the Sauna culture that in a country that has about 5 million people theres atleast 3 million Saunas. It is very normal for finns to be completely naked in the Saunas which are usually Gender separated.So when in Rome do as the Romans do….or atleast try Lol. However if being naked is too much for you towels are allowed.We started our day with some Sauna therapy at Allas Sea Pool and geuss what they even had Sauna yoga!! Can I hear an Amen!. I was elated when I read online about the Sauna yoga and the class was so good , I highly recommend it. While in Helsinki you should definitely visit a Sauna ,Try visiting Yrjonkatu which is the oldest swimming pool in the country.
- Ice Swimming.
You are probably thinking why in Jesus name would I want to swim in extremely cold water!. Let me tell you, Ice swimming is a thing and people actually even compete . In the Sauna I met a 50 year old lady that told me how she had been competing for a few years and even had 3 Gold medals!. I felt challenged and of course proceeded to try as they had a sea pool!. I FAILED!HORRIBLY. When we were in Helsinki it was winter and the weather was already minus , so the weather plus the extremely cold water just wasn’t for me. Maybe it could be your thing, you never know until you try :).
- Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral is a stunning whitewashed neoclassical cathedral and its tall green dome towers over Helsinki city scape and at night it glows like a Beacon. This is one of the most famous Landmarks in Helsinki and a must see. Its beautiful.
- Uspenski Cathedral
Uspenski cathedral happens to be the largest orthodox church in western Europe and is found in the Katajanokka area and seems to be overlooking the city. The cathedral is one of the buildings in Helsinki that clearly illustrate the history of Russia’s past relationship with Finland. The outside of the church is made up of red-brick towers and golden cupolas. Stunning!.
- Old market Hall
The old market hall has been around since 1889, and is the first of its kind in Helsinki. This is because before its construction Helsinki markets were always open air and held in squares. You should definitely visit the town hall and while there you can even get to try various Finnish delicacies.
Locally known as “Espa“ is a park right in the middle of the city where Tourists and locals come to take Picnics and relax in warmer weather. In summer events like the month long jazz festival take place there. Take a walk around the park and pop into one of the many Cafes around this park for some hot beverages like we did if you visit over winter.
- Eat around Helsinki.
One of the most baffling thing about the finns is their love for Salmiakki or Salted Liquorice which is usually black and comes in different shapes and Sizes. Salmiakki is something of an acquired taste and if you have never tasted it, theres a 99% chance you will probably spit it out. Did I mention that they even have Salmiakki ice cream!!. Yep they take salty liquorice very seriously. While at it make sure you also indulge in traditional Finnish food.
- Take the tram and get lost around the city.
Helsinki is such a pleasant city and there is so much more we wanted to do and see like Suomenlinna which is a UNESCO world heritage site. I think that it would really be wonderful if we could visit again when the weather is much warmer.
Is Helsinki a city you would love to visit?. Would love to know what your thoughts are on Helsinki or Finland. Thank you so much for reading this post :).
Yogie On the Move (IG : @yogieonthemove)