24 Hours in Helsinki – a whistle-stop tour of things that cannot be missed
Originally a fishing town, Helsinki in Finland is full of quirks and sights to see. The harbour is guarded by an old fortress, whilst the centre of the city is dominated by majestic cathedrals and museums. Picking out some of the highlights was definitely a task; there is so much to do and see that 24 hours could just be the tip of the iceberg! Join us as we explore a day in the capital city of Finland.
Also known as Sveaborg, Suomenlinna is a fortress built across 6 islands to protect the harbour of Helsinki. Heralded as a UNESCO world heritage site, it is often used as a picnic site – we can see why – the panoramic views are just outstanding!
Visit one of the Cathedrals
There are two notable cathedrals situated in the city; the Uspenski and Helsinki Cathedrals. Built between 1862 and 1868 from the bricks of Bomarsund Fortress in Aland, Uspenski is a Russian Orthodox Church and is the largest in Western Europe. Perhaps the most outstanding feature is the 13 golden domes that sit on top of the roof, which represent Christ and the twelve apostles. As the centrepiece to the Senate Square, Helsinki Cathedral dominates not only the surrounding buildings with its stunning neoclassical architecture, but the Helsinki skyline as well. Head inside and see how the interior is decorated with many orthodox icons, or the views of the marketplace.
House of the Estates
Located quite near to the Helsinki Cathedral, the House of the Estates was built in 1891 and is used for government meetings or sessions of the High Court of Impeachment. It is worth going to see the building simply for the fact that it is a fine example of Finland’s history as well as its quality architecture.
Visit one of the Museums
Since there are a large number of museums, if there are only 24 hours to see the city then picking just the one would be the best way to manage time. The Museum of Finnish Architecture is dedicated entirely to, you guessed it, architecture! There’s also the Finnish National Gallery that showcases some beautiful art, ranging from classic to contemporary. If discovering military history is your thing, then you can always visit the Military Museum, and for the history buffs, the National Museum showcases history from the beginning of time to the present.
Visit the train station
We understand that it is not the first thing to spring to mind when figuring out your day plan for sights to see, but Helsinki Central Railway Station is absolutely, outstandingly breath-taking. As a landmark of central Helsinki, it was built in a most ornate fashion and is definitely something to look at.
Built in remembrance of the famous composer Jean Sibelius, the Sibelius Monument is a rather odd-looking structure – this was an incredibly big factor in the public debate following the fundraising campaign.
Kirsikkapuisto (Cherry Tree Park)
With over 150 trees donated by the Japanese community of Helsinki, Cherry Tree Park certainly lives up to its name. It is dog friendly – there is a specific closed off area for your dogs to run about in. In the spring season the Japanese festival of Hanami is celebrated here, just as the trees start to blossom.
Rock out at Tavastia Club
Now it is time to relax and chill out at one of Helsinki’s most popular bars. Situated in a historic house built around 1931, what was once a venue for theatre productions and dances is now primarily a rock club.