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Places of Interest in Helsinki, Finland

July 16th, 2010

helsinki-finland-travel.jpgIf you have just 24 hours to spend in Helsinki, Finland, here are the most important Helsinki tourist attractions: the Helsinki Cathedral and the neoclassical Senate Square, the historic Suomenlinna sea fortress, the shops around the Esplanade park, and for families the Korkeasaari Zoo and the Linnanmäki amusement park.

The Senate Square and Helsinki Cathedral

The Senate Square and the Helsinki Cathedral are probably the most famous sights in the city, and the image of the white Lutheran cathedral by the square is known from many Helsinki postcards. The 19th century cathedral was designed by the German architect Carl Ludvig Engel, and several buildings around the Senate Square also represent Engel’s neoclassical style.

The cathedral is open for visitors daily throughout the year, and concerts and other events are often held in the crypt. The nearby Café Engel is a very popular place to have a cup of coffee.

Take a Boat Trip to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

The 18th century sea fortress Suomenlinna stands on an island just outside the city, and frequent ferries to the island leave from the Helsinki Market Square (Kauppatori). The Market Square is located near the Senate Square, and you can easily walk here after visiting the Helsinki Cathedral.

Once you have explored the Suomenlinna fortress and the museums on the island, have a relaxed lunch in one of the charming restaurants and cozy cafes that are dotted around the area or enjoy a picnic by the sea on one of the beaches. Guided tours around the island are offered in several languages, or you can just walk around and explore the fortress independently.

As you wait for the ferry on the Market Square, have a stroll around this market area. Many vendors here sell mainly overpriced souvenirs, but you can also sample some smoked fish and, in the summer, fresh strawberries and cloudberries.

From the Market Square to Shopping on the Esplanades

As you return from Suomenlinna, walk from the Market Square towards the Helsinki city centre via the Esplanade park. In the summer the park often hosts events and concerts, and in the winter you can find a traditional Christmas market here. If the weather is nice, get a coffee or an ice cream from one of the kiosks in the park, or sit down for a drink in one of the restaurants around the North and the South Esplanades. These are great places for sitting down and watching the world go by.

There are some interesting shops and small boutiques in the neighbourhood, and you can browse through Finnish design in the Iittala, Aarikka and Marimekko stores. The nearby Aleksanterinkatu is one of the biggest shopping streets in Helsinki and is lined with shops and department stores.

A variety of good restaurants can be found around the area, including the Finnish restaurant Aino on North Esplanade (Pohjoisesplanadi 21) and Kappeli, one of the most famous Helsinki restaurants, on South Esplanade (Eteläesplanadi 1).

Helsinki Attractions for the Whole Family

Families can head straight to the Linnanmäki Amusement Park or to the Helsinki Zoo in Korkeasaari. The dozens of exciting rides in Linnamäki include a wooden roller coaster from the 1950s. Entrance to the amusement park area is free but admission costs to the rides vary. There are also restaurants and food stalls, and a stage with regular theatre performances and concerts.

The Korkeasaari Zoo, or Helsinki Zoo, is home to over 200 species of animals and over 1000 plant species, and it is one of the world’s oldest zoos. The zoo is open around the year and closes only on Christmas Eve. A ferry leaves from the Market Square to Korkeasaari in the summer, or visitors can hop on the Zoo Bus (bus number 11) from the main railway station.

Cheap Helsinki Sightseeing by Tram

An easy and very cheap sightseeing tour in Helsinki is provided by public trams number 3T and 3B. Both drive around the city in a loop, and along the route are many Helsinki tourist attractions including Linnanmäki, the Kauppatori Market Square and the Senate Square. A round trip costs around €1,80 (approximately $2.25) for an hour of travel time, or you can use the tram for affordable transport from one Helsinki tourist attraction to another.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for a good choice of hotels with discounted prices, you can go to Hotels in Helsinki at HotelTravel.com for more information.

This article was supplied by “SR” from Constant Content.

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