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Often said to be the happiest country in the world.  

Maybe it is because there are 2 million saunas for 5.5 million people.

Maybe it is the largest concentration of heavy metal bands in the world, or that they are the greatest drinkers of coffee in the world.

I think it is because the country is 75% forests. 

Helsinki Cathedral 2.jpg


Helsinki has some marvelous cathedrals. You must spend some time visiting these places or worship.

Plazas and parks of Helsinki

Enjoy so many places to just sit and watch the world go by including Senate and Railway Square, Esplanadi Park, Tähtitorninvuori Park among many others. Helsinki is set up to enjoy the great weather when it arrives.

Rautatientori Plaza.jpg

Things to see in Helsinki

Helsinki Cathedral

Towering over Senate Square, this neo-classical  church has a 1300 seat capacity. Planning begun in 1818 and the church was consecrated in 1852.  The church is built in the shape of a Greek cross. The statues of the twelve Apostles adorning the north, south, east and west pediments comprise one of the world’s largest uniform collections of zinc sculptures and the bells of the cathedral are restored from the previous church here (Ulrika Eleonora Church) that was demolished in 1727 to complete Senate Square.  

Temppeliaukio Church

A must see if you like unique buildings. The interior of the church was carved out of the solid rock. This is supposed to be provide great acoustics. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to find out during my visit.

Visits to the church are 8 Euro, but are included with the Helsinki Card, Museum Card or Helsinki Pass.  

Suomenlinna Fortress

Regular ferries (9 Euro) take you over to the island where you can explore the history of the fort that is a world heritage Site.  The ferry leaves from the Kauppatori stop in South Harbor.  

The history of the fort dates back to the 18th century. You can take a guided tour, or you can simply explore on your own. But, there is an app for that...

Uspenski Cathedral 


The second cathedral in the skyline of Helsinki.  This one is red brick with 13 copper domes, and gold cupolas. Uspenski Cathedral is considered the largest Orthodox church in Northern and Western Europe, and is made more imposing by its elevation of the rocky hill.  The Uspenski Cathedral was inaugurated on October 25, 1868. At the time of the construction, Finland belonged to the Russian Empire as an autonomous Grand Duchy. At the request of Emperor Alexander II, the church was consecrated to the memory of the Mother of God's death sleep - uspenis.

Getting to and around Helsinki

Getting around is easy.  The metro includes rail lines, trams, busses and even ferry lines.  Simply download the HSL app, set up a payment method, and every time you want to buy a ticket it just takes a couple of clicks. And transfers go between all types.  Even the ferry to Suomenlinnan was included.

Normally, there are no tickets checks to board (eg turnstiles) like most city’s metro systems. However, if the transit police check on board and you don’t have a ticket, the penalties here are high. And, they are pretty strict.  For the train lines, as an example, the rules are you are not allowed to descend the escalators to the train platform without a ticket.

The metro can be a little pricier than most cities (about US$ 3-4 per ride), but the quality and frequency of the transit makes it worthwhile.  The entire metro system is based on Zones. A,B,C,D.  to get around tourist areas, you will use AB tickets (2.8 euros as of 2022). To get out to the airport, it is an ABC ticket (4.1 euros as of 2022)

From the airport

To get to central, just use the train and buy an ABC ticket. The I line takes you to the center (with stops along the way); and is just over US$ 4. This is one of the most affordable and easier ways to get from the airport to city center in all of Europe.  It is the same metro system you will use for your entire visit.  So, download the HSL app first.  

Another way to get to Helsinki from neighboring countries is the ferry. There is a ferry from Stockholm which takes about 16 hours and I am told is a local favorite for a fun trip.  However, I took a plane as the flight was quite affordable at the time of my trip; and is very fast (actual flying time around 40 minutes).

Between Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia, there are 3 companies that run ferries so there are 4 or 5 trips each day with cost starting between US$ 17 and US$ 32.  This ferry is only 2 to 2.5 hours, so a great option. I took the Viking line from Helsinki to Tallinn, and it leaves from the docks next to Market Square (on the east side of the docks).  The ferry has about every service you can imagine from food, drink, to entertainment and gambling.  You can also buy upgraded tickets to lounge areas, even cabins if you feel the need on this short trip. 

Helsinki Pohjoisesplanadi
Helsinki Senate Square
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