The last stop on my Baltics trip was Helsinki, Finland. Although Helsinki wasn’t originally included in my itinerary, I found a fantastic flight deal from Helsinki back to the USA that I couldn’t resist.
I took the early morning ferry from Tallinn, Estonia to Helsinki, arriving to port around 9 a.m. Although my time was limited (I flew back to the States the following morning), I was excited to have some time to explore Finland’s capital. Should you find yourself in a similar situation, here are my recommendations for how to spend your day in Helsinki:
Exploring Helsinki in a Day
Wander the Design District
Helsinki’s Design District consists of twenty-five blocks stretching from Kamppi and Esplanade, to the core of the area called Punavuori. The district consists of 200 different businesses with a focus on design and art, including interior design shops, fashion boutiques, jewelers, antique shops, galleries, museums, restaurants and hotels. You could easily spend a whole day within the Design District, but if you’ve only got 24 hours, you better keep moving!
Visit Market Square
Head to Market Square on the waterfront. The Square certainly caters to tourists, but it’s still a fun place to purchase some Nordic souvenirs (you’ll find most anything you can think of made from reindeer antlers) and try some salmon soup or reindeer meat.
Get Out on the Water
It’s no secret I love getting out on the water and on a boat whenever I can! Market Square serves as a great jumping off point to hop on one of the tourist boats for a scenic ride or a trip to nearby Suomenlinna Island to explore the sea fortress.
Explore Senate Square
From Market Square, head to Senate Square, just a short walk away. This beautiful, historic square is home to Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, University of Helsinki and the Sederholm House. The Square and it’s surroundings are the oldest part of the city.
Visit the Rock Church
Temppeliaukio Church (often referred to at the “Rock Church“) was built directly into solid rock and is often considered a Helsinki “must-see.” Okay… I’m going to keep it real, guys. Undoubtedly, the church is a unique architectural feat and neat to see, but personally, I wouldn’t consider it a must-see. Especially if you only have one day in Helsinki. The church was a trek from the other city sites, so maybe after walking and searching for it my expectations were heightened, but when I finally arrived, I was a bit underwhelmed.
Where To Stay in Helsinki
While in Helsinki, I chose to stay at the Klaus K Hotel. This was my first stay at a “design hotel” and it was fabulous! This unique hotel is located in the Design District, walking distance to the majority of the city’s sites. Since Klaus K is a designated “Design Hotel” the interior and rooms are as innovative and gorgeous as you would expect.
Aside from the design aspect, my favorite thing about Klaus K was the hotel’s attention to details – when I arrived, my television had a personalized welcome message projected on it, there was a bottle of wine waiting and a fully stocked mini bar, and the bathroom was filled with a high-end, organic toiletry products (which even included hair ties and bath salts). I can also vouch for the hotel’s food. After a hectic day of sightseeing (in the rain) on the tail-end of my whirlwind Baltics trip, I was too exhausted to venture out again for dinner, so I ended up dining in the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Toscanini, which was delicious!
Have you been to Helsinki? What else would you add to this list?
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Although I was a guest of Klaus K Hotel, my love of the innovative design hotel is all my own. I thoroughly, enjoyed my time at the hotel and would absolutely recommend it to my readers! *Hotel photos courtesy of Klaus K Hotel.