For the last 2 days we’ve been parked on a little headland with a mini beach and flat, calm waters of the Gulf of Finland just to our side. Surrounded by trees and a few big boulders, it is hard to believe Helsinki is just a couple of kilometres to our rear. Thanks to Europe by camper for the GPS position, we are just around the corner from where they parked in 2011.
We found Helsinki to be a pretty, compact city. A mix of old and new and a few other bits in between. Many museum’s including some great iconic buildings and a nice and easy place to explore. The locals still refer to Helsinki as the big village and whilst it may have increased in size over the years, it still has an informal and casual air about it. With all its bays and islands, it is surrounded by water and a haven for summer yacht and boat owners.
Helsinki is the perfect summertime retreat for folks like me who suffer in temperatures that rival the surface of the sun. You can beat summer and a wee breeze from the sea. Right down by the harbour is a market where you cold down and do lots of shopping, taste some local food and buy fresh summer berries and cherries. This place was busy with tourist and locals alike soaking up the atmosphere. There’s also an market hall tastefully restored inside where you can find pastries, fish, meat, and cheese. With plenty Soup Kitchen’s aimed at Japanese tourist.
In the Sibelius park is the world famous composer Jean Sibelius monument. It was unveiled 7 September 1967. The Sibelius Monument, resembling organ pipes, is made of welded steel. To the right, the bust of the composer and loads of patiently waiting photo clicking tourists.
East over the bridge crossing over the tiny island of Katajanokka is the prominent landmark Orthodox cathedral.
Somewhere in the middle of our 2 day trip we ventured to the ferry terminal. There are 3 ferries that run from Helsinki to Tallin. We found the best price with Viking Line who operate 3 crossings a day. One thing we noticed is it significantly cheaper if you sail at weekends, so guess what we are sailing at the weekend! Our ferry crossing for 2 adults, motorhome (they charge on length and height) and 2 dogs €142. Now back to Helsinki!
A nice stroll, hand in hand, up the great promenade street, Esplanadi. With endless arcades and malls with designer brands to unique malls. The tree lined avenue with odd park square was haven for ice cream sellers and lunch in the sun.
Senate Square is dominated by the Lutheran cathedral. The most magnificent cathedral in all of Scandinavia. Externally, beautiful but internally, quite cold, uninspiring and disappointing. In front, the monument to the russian tsar alexander II. Across the way, the exterior of the Land of Estates building caught our attention.
The maritime fortress of Suomenlinna is a popular destination. The exhibits share Helsinki’s story as a city once belonging to the Swedes and the Russians, before becoming the capital of Finland in 1812.
The one place we kept passing no matter where we went, the train station. This iconic building is so representative of Helsinki with its art nouveau feel. So many buildings around the city are similar in style and colour. At the side of the station, a ‘dine in the air’ experience. For €178 pp you can be crane lifted in to the skyline of Helsinki and enjoy a fine dining experience. Hopefully, only people with a head for heights try it.
Bumble Verdict: Helsinki is a vibrant seaside city with some great landmarks and plenty shops. The city has a laid back feel but quite refreshingly active come night time.
Our sleepy spot: For 2 nights we stayed at headland but tonight, we moved to a small free car park at the side of the port. You can park here for 10 hours, which will do us just fine and dandy for tomrrow morning we set sail for Estonia
See you in Baltics folks…once we suss out the wifi.
Wild Camping GPS position N060.166834 E024.979084