(Helsinki)If you arrive in the city for a stopover and you have a few hours, do not miss the opportunity to visit the city of Helsinki instead of wasting time at the airport, it is quite simple in the distribution of its streets as well as its distances.
The international Vantaa airport is about 25-30 minutes from the city center. To get to this is very simple, you can take the line buses or those of Finnair’s own company, the latter has a cost of 5.90 euros, without a doubt, the best option compared to a taxi since these are considerably more expensive.
Historical Center (Helsinki)
The buses leaving the airport drop you off at the Railway Station (one of the most famous architectural monuments in Finland and with an interesting interior aesthetic to deserve a view); From there, you can start exploring the historic center, where the Cathedral is located and the Senate Square, the neoclassical cathedral, is one of the best-known buildings in Finland; the Town Hall and the Market Square, in this market you can see original traditional crafts and products; next to it, there are the statue and the Havis Amanda fountain, it is a bronze fountain designed by Ville Vallgren; the Old Market(A visit inside it is interesting to see the delicatessen that the different stalls have, although this is not as spectacular as the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid or the Boquería in Barcelona), in this you can taste great variety gastronomy and specifically, Lappish dishes, is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm and on Saturdays from 8 am to 4 pm.
Next to the Old Market is the Paseo Esplanadi, this is a fairly touristy park, where locals and backpackers with stopovers mix in Helsinki, there are good parks to have a picnic.
The Uspenski Cathedral is the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe, the truth is that it does not have much to envy those that we can find in Moscow and/or St. Peterburg, you will have to climb some stairs and from there you have good views of the Helsinki city.
The Kampi neighborhood, where you can’t leave the city without seeing the Church of Temppeliaukio, is carved out of the rock and concerts are held there; the Lasipalatsi Building; the Parliament; the Kamppi Center and Narinkkatori Square, where you will find a good selection of shops, restaurants, bus and metro stations.
A very interesting area in terms of architectural and design aesthetics is the Design District Helsinki (not surprisingly, Helsinki was chosen as the design capital of the world for 2010). If you have some time to spare, this area is highly recommended to visit for shopping and to discover the Finnish design culture in antiques, furniture, clothing, jewelry, galleries, and museums.
The visit to the Design District can be done on foot through the Design Walk, in two hours, you can have visited the most interesting places in the area.
Tour of the islands
In the Market Square, you can find a variety of companies that carry out boat tours around Helsinki Bay, the main points through which the boats pass are: Klippan Island, Suomenlinna Fortress, King’s Gate, Vasikkasaari Island, the Katajanokka district, the zoo, or the icebreakers. They last an hour and a half and have cost € 19. Tours are guided in Finnish and English.
From Market Square to the railway station (where the buses for Vantaa airport depart) are approximately 15 minutes walk, this can help you to adjust your tour of the city and get the most out of this city.
Although the city of Helsinki is simple from an architectural point of view (very similar to some Moscow neighborhoods and less attractive than Stockholm or Oslo), it can be very attractive with the neoclassical style of its buildings, the modern touch of its shops, and the aesthetics of its inhabitants. By the way, if you go in August (at the beginning) it is extremely humid, however, at the end of August the weather changes radically and the temperatures drop to 15-17 degrees Celsius.