viernes, 3 de abril de 2015

FINLAND: HELSINKI



Helsinki is a rather small city. What is large is its metropolitan area. So the center of Helsinki can be seen quietly in a day, and even, in one morning. However I think that it's essential to visit the Suomenlinna Fortress on an island only a few kilometers from Helsinki and easily accessible by ferry. From the pier of Suomenlinna you can see actually the Lutheran cathedral of Helsinki. The ticket of the ferry is cheap because it cost the same than a bus ticket. It takes about half an hour and the ferrys depart quite often. Therefore, visiting Helsinki would take 1 or 2 days depending on the time available.


Lutheran Cathedral beside Senate Square
Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki is a landmark of the city and the Senate Square the most elegant place



We were actually in Helsinki 4 half days. We did not wake up and go to bed in Helsinki the same day. We were the afternoon we arrived, the next morning, the afternoon before leaving and the morning we left. So we visited the city at times the first two days of our trip and the two last days.


Below you can see what we visited in Helsinki:


Day 1
  • Aleksanterinkatu Street
  • Senaatintori
  • Lutheran Cathedral
  • Esplanadi Park
  • Kappeli Cafe

Day 2
  • Sibelius Monument
  • Olympic Stadium

Day 8 
  • Senaatintori and Kauppatori (Senate Square and Market Square)
  • Lutheran Cathedral
  • Suomenlinna (Sveavorg)


Day 10

  • Buying souvenirs near Senaatintori (Senate Square)


Day 1


Unfortunately, the first two days the weather was bad, rainy and cold, so we visited some places but we didn't enjoy them. I revisited the downtown places the last two days because they were close to our second hotel (near the Orthodox Cathedral).


Aleksanterinkatu Street



Aleksanterinkatu Street in Helsinki
Aleksanterinkatu Street in Helsinki. Walking along this shopping street we reached the Senate Square





Senaatintori (Senate Square)




Senaatintori in Helsinki
Neoclassical building beside Senaatintori in Helsinki



Senate Square in Helsinki
Senate Square in Helsinki from the top of the staircase to the Lutheran Cathedral


Esplanadi Park



Esplanadi Park in Helsinki
Buildings beside Esplanadi Park in Helsinki




In the first two days in Helsinki, my best memory is the afternoon we spent at the beautifully decorated Cafe Kappeli in the Esplanadi Park near Kauppatori, with live music and a hot cappuchino coffee.


Kappeli Cafe



Cafe Kappeli in Helsinki
Cafe Kappeli in Helsinki


Day 2




The second day we walk through the park of the monument to Sibelius and around the Olympic Stadium, a remote area of the city. It was a weekday and it was raining so this area was quite lonely. We took this tour because it was not far from our first hotel in Helsinki, located near the Parliament.


Sibelius Monument




Sibelius Monument in Helsinki
Sibelius Monument in Helsinki



Olympic Stadium



Olympic Stadium of Helsinki
Olympic Stadium of Helsinki



Day 8


We returned to Helsinki after our Finland route the day before coming back to Barcelona. We left the rental car in the Europcar Office and the luggage in the Apartment. As the afternoon was lovely I went to revisit the places we visited under the rain some days ago. I began by Senate Square: large, stately, and limited by neoclassical buildings and the imposing Lutheran Cathedral.


Senaatintori (Senate Square)



Government Palace in Helsinki
The Government Palace in Helsinki is one of the buildings beside the Senate Square



Government Palace in Helsinki
Built in Neoclassical style, the Government Palace is the executive office building of the Government of Finland




University of Helsinki
Main building of the University of Helsinki beside the Senate Square



Senate Square in Helsinki
Baltic Sea behind the Senate Square from the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki




Lutheran Cathedral




Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki
Senate Square and Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki



Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki
The Lutheran Cathedral is a landmark in Helsinki because it can be seen even from Suomenlinna



Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki
Staircase to the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki



This elegant square has a Soviet look of Tsarist times, similar to the buildings and places I saw in St. Petersburg a few years ago. Then I went to Kauppatori, the market square, just a few meters away. This large square is bounded on the south by the Baltic Sea and on the North by several elegant buildings. Among them is the Palace of the Prime Minister of Finland and the City Hall.


Kauppatori (Market Square)







Palace of the Prime Minister in Helsinki
Palace of the Prime Minister of Finland beside Kauppatori




Kauppatori in Helsinki
Elegant buildings beside Kauppatori in Helsinki




City Hall of Helsinki
City Hall of Helsinki beside Kauppatori (Market Square)




In addition, at one corner of the square, near the Presidential Palace is the Orthodox Cathedral, built in the same style like the ones of St. Petersburg and Moscow. Seeing these buildings I realized that Finland is a very young country (it became independent from Russia in 1918) and it has a very clear Russian past. Helsinki was founded actually by Russia to compete commercially with neighboring Tallinn, taking the capital that had historically held the city of Turku. While I was waiting for the ferry departure to Suomenlinna I amused myself taking some pictures to these buildings and enjoying the nice afternoon.




Orthodox Cathedral in Helsinki
Orthodox Cathedral in Helsinki near Kauppatori



Kauppatori in Helsinki
Selfie in Kauppatori, one of the places in Helsinki I liked more


Kauppatori in Helsinki
From Kauppatori leave the ferrys to Suomenlinna



The ferry ride from Helsinki to Suomenlinna was very pleasant in spite of the cold air of the Baltic Sea. The views of Helsinki with its referent, the Lutheran Cathedral, from the ferry were nice. I got Suomenlinna a little before 6 pm and I wanted to catch the ferry back leaving at 7pm because the next was at 7:45 pm, too late.



Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki
Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki from the ferry to Suomenlinna




Suomenlinna (Sveaborg)


So I only had about an hour, just to go to the Kingsgate (a kilometer and a half away) and back almost without stopping. I walked fast passing beside the church, next to a museum and next to the main square. In this first tranche there were buildings and parks. After crossing a couple of bridges I only saw the walls with guns and a large green area. Almost nobody. I just saw 4 or 5 people in one hour.



Suomenlinna in Helsinki
Pier of Suomenlinna from which you can see on the left the Lutheran Cathedral of Helsinki



Suomenlinna in Helsinki
Suomenlinna (Sveaborg in Swedish) in Helsinki



Suomenlinna in Helsinki
Suomenlinna is a fortress on a set of islands linked by bridges like the one of this picture



Suomenlinna in Helsinki
Going to King's Gate in Suomenlinna



Due to lack of time and cold I just stopped briefly to do some pictures. I was walking through the Kingsgate area about 5 minutes without stopping and then I returned to the pier. Then I would realize that I did not see actually the door even though I was near, but I would not have had time to look. The ferry ride back was short and I enjoyed the views of Helsinki from the ferry at sunset.




Suomenlinna in Helsinki
Green area inside the Suomenlinna fortress in Finland




Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) in Helsinki
Gun in Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) in Helsinki



Suomenlinna in Helsinki
Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) in Helsinki near the King's Gate. My walk of almost 2 km in this fortress ended here



I think that Suomenlinna is an ideal place to spend a sunny summer day. It is a large green space, like a huge park. There is a kilometer and a half from the pier to Kingsgate. There is actually a pier next to the Kingsgate where the ferries stop only in summer.



Helsinki in Finland
Sunset in Helsinki from the ferry coming back from Suomenlinna



Day 10


During the last day in Helsinki barely we had time to buy some souvenirs in a shop we saw the day before near the Senate Square. It was a nice last-minute in Helsinki. The morning was lovely. We took the tram in a stop next to our apartment and in 15 minutes we were looking souvenirs. Before coming back, we took us the last pictures in the Senate Square with Lutheran Cathedral in the background.




Lutheran Cathedral beside Senate Square
Lutheran Cathedral beside the Senate Square in Helsinki



Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki
Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki



Senate Square in Helsinki
Senate Square in Helsinki with the main building of the University of Helsinki behind




This was our trip route in Finland and Estonia:



Day 1 - Helsinki
  • Aleksanterinkatu Street
  • Senaatintori
  • Lutheran Cathedral
  • Esplanadi Park
  • Kappeli Cafe


Day 2 - Helsinki and Tampere
  • Sibelius Monument
  • Olympic Stadium


Day 3 - Lapland


Day 4 - Lapland
  • Country Cross Ski in Ounasvaara Ski resort


Day 5 - Lapland
  • Snowshoes in Ounasvaara Ski Resort
  • Searching for Northern Ligths (Aurora Borealis)


Day 6 - Lapland
  • Rovaniemi
  • Arkikum Museum


Day 7 - Rauma
  • Yyteri Beach
  • Rauma


Day 8 - Turku and Helsinki
  • Castle and Cathedral of Turku
  • Senaatintori and Kauppatori (Senate Square and Market Square) in Helsinki
  • Suomenlinna (Sveavorg) in Helsinki



  • Saint Olav Church. Views from the bell-tower
  • Pikk Street
  • Tower's Square


  • Town walls, Tower's Square and Viru Gate
  • Aleksander Nevski Cathedral
  • Saint Mary Cathedral
  • Kohtu and Patkuli Platform
  • Saint Nicholas Church
  • Town Hall and Town Hall's Square


  • Olde Hansa Restaurant
  • Saint Catherine Passage


    Day 10 - Helsinki



    • Buying souvenirs near Senaatintori (Senate Square)


    1 comentario:

    JamesE Lutz dijo...

    I am very happy to be here because this is a very good site that provides lots of information about the topics covered in depth. Im glad to see that people are actually writing about this issue in such a smart way, showing us all different sides to it. Please keep it up. I cant wait to read whats next. miami office cubicles