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Helsinki for a day on a cruise stop

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We have looked at the tours offiered on the cruise ship - that aren't that many and the ones they do offer do not really sound appealing. The cruise is in port from 10 am - 6 pm on a Sunday. Are there shops and food options close enough to the cruise port to walk?

Would anyone have suggestions of a few places for lunch? I have read it's expensive but we will only be having lunch in the city and dinner back on the ship so I am thinking how bad can it be?

Should be take public transportation to see any specific sites? Or consider hiring a taxi? There will be 5-6 adults in our group and none of us have ever been anywhere in this region for travel (the cruise also stops in Latvia, Visby, St. Petersburg, Gdanske, and Riga).

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    Look for Tram 3B or 3T which does a figure 8 through Helsinki.

    The 'rock' church is definitely worth a visit.

    For lunch, there is a fish market with lots of stands with intriguing things to eat.

    There is also a restaurant, Cafe Kapelli which is a nice spot to stop for coffee and a pastry.

    Helsinki is very walkable.

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    I agree with Barbara that Helsinki is very walkable - and is worth seeing that way because that's a great way to see its very pleasant architecture. And I agree that the Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko) merits a visit. And I had a very memorable and pleasant meal at the Cafe Kapelli many years ago - definitely worth checking out, as it is in a lovely setting in Helsinki's Esplanade Park:

    http://www.kappeli.fi/index.php?id=terrace_english

    Enjoy!

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    twosassyk:

    Since this is from a cruise you perhaps should have posted this on the Cruise Forum ..as you would get more help there
    from people who have done this cruise.

    I did the Baltic Cruise and here is the segment of my Trip Report on Helsinki:


    In Helsinki you dock about 2 miles from downtown.
    ( Can you walk it ...Yes ,if you know where you are going , but this wasting time if you do not .
    ( I can tell you how to get there ( Market Square) if you want to walk....but I would not :) )


    Almost everything centres around the Market Square right in front of the main harbour.
    If people watching is for you , this is the perfect place.!!!

    First have some coins available in case you have to go to the bathroom.

    50 cents ( 1/2 euro will do).

    Right beside the Blue City Hall across the street ( from the Market Square) are the bathrooms...they always have the white CW sign..now you will not have to squirm around !!!!

    I think that this is way to use up the day here:

    1.First go to the Sebelius( Say Bay Lee Us) Park ( see the monument to this famous composer.
    This will be short and sweet and a photo op only.

    2.From here go to the Rock Church(you really should not miss this.)
    It is a church carved right our of solid granite rock.
    It has this huge Copper Dome...see an aerial view on this place on a postcard.

    It is in a busy area and parking is at a premium.!

    After seeing it inside,go up to the second floor and then outside ,and walk up the mound and see the views of the City from here.

    You cannot walk to the above two places.

    3. Now you can go back to the Market Square which is loaded with shops and eating places ...it is from here that you can walk to all the other places.

    Okay let us get orientated a bit from this location...just in case you are doing a tour on your own or a private tour.

    You are now standing in the Market Square with your back to the water (behind you.),

    That blue building across the street is the City Hall...now scan a bit to your right and next ...that light chocolate brown building is the Swedish Embassy...

    okay a bit more to your right and to the rest of the block , this is the Royal Place, you cannot miss this nice building with the guards and gold ornate gate.!!!

    Okay now keep looking to your right, over , over and up the hill a little...ahhh... you see that huge lovely towering Onion Domed Church..

    that is the Uspenski Catherdal( 1868)... before your day is over go inside here,not only is it gorgeous inside but the views from outside looking back down at the Market Square is very nice.

    Okay we are still standing in the Market Square.
    See that Obelisk( to your right or left) depending on exactly where you are in the Market Square)...well that is the Monument to Czarina( 1835) the wife of Nicholas l..it has a gold double headed eagle on top( The Russian Emblem).

    Okay to your left for sure now you will see this lovely statue of a lady...this is Havis Amanda, she has four seal fountains at her base spouting water and fish fountains at her feet.

    This is what you should do to begin your walking tour.

    1. From your spot in the Market Square, turn left to walk towards Havis Amanda.

    2. See that nice green tree lined park just ahead.! that is The Esplanade and is about 3-4 blocks long , with Statues and Monuments.

    Before you reach the first monument ...on your right is the Kapelli Cafe .

    The first monument you will see is that of the Patron Muse of Finnish Poetry.... she has six books at her feet...a nice statue.
    She is at the base of another Statue ... of which Runeberg is standing on top.

    Who is Runeberg?.... Well he wrote the National Anthem for Finland , so he derserves to be here.

    Okay keep walking until you come to the number #1 street in Helsinki...The Mannerheiminte( yes,yes ,I know it is a long name, just remember Mannerheim that is good enough).

    When you arrive at Mannerheim, you are at the end of the Espanade.....that White Building right beside you is the Swedish Theatre....

    Okay stop here for a moment...look to your LEFT, in the middle of the street about a half block down is a Square called Erottjala....

    This Square is the Official Geographic "Zero Point " in Helsinki.
    All distances of other cities in Helsinki are measured from here.

    Now turn LEFT and start walking down Mannerheim

    You will see on the corner the biggest department store in Helsinki ,the Stockmann( go in if you want to see and browse.)

    It is on Mannerheim street that you will walk down and see all the famous building in the next 4 -5 blocks.

    But first are you a little thirsty and want a beer.?!!
    Okay, here is the best place.

    Walk a few blocks down Mannerheim( cross the street to your left...you have to cross it anyway a bit further up.

    Ask anyone for the Torni Hotel(it is just another block to your left after you have crossed the street but just in case..I am giving you the name.

    At the Torni Hotel take the elevator to the top floor...you are now in the Ateljee Bar..... get a beer and sit OUTSIDE in the open air lounge...Wow!! terrific views from up here isn't it !!

    From up here you can see all the places a few blocks further up that you will be seeing back on ground level.

    Remember ..The Torni Hotel.!

    Okay back down and back to Mannerheim.
    These are the places you will be seeing as you walk along over the next 3-4 blocks:

    The Parliament Building
    The National Museum
    The Kisama Museum (modern curved building)
    The Finlandia Hall.
    The Olympic Stadium and Tower( The Olympics Games were here in 1952...was to be in 1940 but postponed due to WWll).

    Now cross back over Mannerheim to the other side and go to the Central Train Station.... what a building with it's 160 foot clock tower and those four tall stern look men holding those lanterns in their hands... they are the Gurdians of Travel.

    Now ..

    next to the Central Station is the nice Square....that building set back at the Square is the National Theatre and that statue in front is Alexis Kivi...the Romantic Poet writer of Helsinki!

    Now as you are facing the Kivi statue turn 180 degree and
    look across the street....
    nice building isn't it!!!
    that is
    The National Gallery

    Okay time to head back toward the Market Square.
    You can find your way back because all you have done is made was one large loop...so you are on your way back.

    But don't go back to the Market Square because one block straight ahead of the Market Square is the famous Senate Square ...

    this square has the most photographed church in Finland.

    Okay you are at the Senate Square...Wow!!! look at that White Luthern Church perched up on the hill.
    That statue in the middle of the Square is of Alexander II.

    What is Alexander the II doing here when it was Nicholas I was was Tsar at the time ...it is because Alexander II was the Chancellor of the University ( as Finland was under Russian rule at the time)

    This Square is Helsinki's Times Square every New Years Eve.
    So when you see that ball coming down in Helsinki on TV..this IS the place.

    Climb those tall stairs to the Catherdal and go inside the church..the price is right FREE!!!

    When you come out of the church you are facing the Senate Square.
    Okay now, with your back to the Church...that yellow building to your LEFT is the Council of State Building...

    that yellow building to your RIGHT...is the University building ...they look almost identical BUT how many difference can you pick out!!!!(I did 7 !!!)

    I will stop here ,the rest is just sightseeing and note that the Market Square is just one block straight ahead from the Senate Square.

    Pssst!!!
    Wanna see a another nice building..go one block back of the nice White Church to see the Bank of Finland.

    Okay back at the Market Square.
    Wait we are NOT finshed yet.

    It is time to take the 15 minute ferry ride to Suomenlinna Islands.
    Yes you have time!!..
    This is UNESCO World Hertigae Site.

    The Swedes built these fortresses in the 16 century.

    Take a walk around here ,many places to see and the views back toward Helsinki are great.. from the top of several hilltop location.

    The ferry runs every 15 minutes so you can come back anytime.

    Okay that is it.
    You are back from Suomenlinna Island and just about time to head back to the cruise ship...maybe just some last minute postcards or little gift

    Oh yes one more thing...if you take the Cruise shuttle ...you will be dropped off at the Swedish Theatre...

    remember ,I mentioned it above ...it is at the end of the Esplande by Erottjala Square and the beginning of Mannerheim street.

    Another point:
    If you are from America.....don't be afraid to spend a few dollars in Helsinki ....because
    Finland is the ONLY country to fully repay America ( USA) all of the World War II debt that it owed the USA !!!

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    The hop-on-hop-off bus around the Helsinki area is well worthwhile - goes to the Sibelius sound sculpture in the park, and the underground church, plus many other sites. See http://www.stromma.fi/en/HOME/ for details.

    You may be able to combine this with the walking suggestions above.

    The day we were in Helsinki was quite wet, and this was an excellent way to get around and stay reasonably comfortable. Di

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    twosassky:


    I made an error here so please re-read this part.!


    "When you arrive at Mannerheim, you are at the end of the Espanade.....that White Building right beside you is the Swedish Theatre....

    Okay stop here for a moment...look to your LEFT, in the middle of the street about a half block down is a Square called Erottjala....

    This Square is the Official Geographic "Zero Point " in Helsinki.
    All distances of other cities in Helsinki are measured from here.

    Now turn LEFT and start walking down Mannerheim"
    Correction here.


    IT SHOULD BE TURN TO YOUR RIGHT and start walking down Mannerheim.

    Sorry about that :)

    If you have question about other places on your Baltic Cruise it might be better to post under Cruises
    Have a good time.

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