Helsinki: would like to know.......

Jan 17th, 2006, 08:55 AM
  #1  
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Helsinki: would like to know.......

hello! it's me again!! LOLOL!!
I would like to know your own personal impression and your top 10 must see suggestions in Helsinki.
thanks.
marti1 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 09:50 AM
  #2  
 
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Planning a trip to Helsinki too- ttt
padams421 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 09:55 AM
  #3  
 
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have you clicked on "destinations" above and looked at the info that's available to you? Also, by typing in the city name in the search field you'll find posts ansering your question.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 10:26 AM
  #4  
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yes, I have done my homework.
I have check, fodors also the DK books,inyourpocket,the univers. of Finn.website etc...
I just wannted to hear some personal
experiences and opinions...
Thanks.
marti1 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 10:48 AM
  #5  
 
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It's been at least 10 years since I've been there, but I remember:

- the Hotel Torni: centrally located in Helsinki, with a tower restaurant and terrace you could go out on (not recommended in winter) for a great view of the city, harbor, etc.; also, there was an Irish-pub themed bar on the ground level that was very lively.

- Stockmann Department stores; interesting Scandinavian stuff for sale

- a restaurant in the top of a water tower in Espoo (can't remember the name, but there can't be that many of these); it had a great smorgasbord.

- restaurants serving Russian, Finnish, or Swedish cuisine (serving reindeer, game, etc.).

Helsinki is a rather small city, without a lot of the architectural charm of places like Stockholm or Oslo. Of course, I was there in March, and it was pretty bitter cold. Other than eating, drinking, and listening to classical music (Sibelius?), I don't remember seeing much else to do.
chuut_riit is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 11:46 AM
  #6  
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thanks.
marti1 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 12:07 PM
  #7  
hsv
 
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Hopefully fellow poster elina will post on this and provide some local in-depth knowledge.

I only was in town once for a day, but I thought that the Church in a Rock was quite intriguing.

I also enjoyed visiting the dome and the nearby Russian Cathedral.

A stroll down Esplanadi (sp?) was also fun.

The Sibelius Monument memorating the famous Finish Composer is also high on my list (esp. for its peaceful surroundings).

I extremely appreciated the fact that local stores (including the famous Stockmann department store) had absolutely no "kitsch" on display. In general I thought Helsinki was one gorgeous and very stylish town.
hsv is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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Things we liked:
City of Helsinki Museum
Church in the Rock
Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Senate Square
Lutheran Chucrh
Market by the waterfront
abram is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 04:32 AM
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There are no "must sees", rather more "nice to doīs". If you follow chuut_riitīs tip and go to hotel Torniīs Ateljé Bar, do pay a visit to womenīs toilet (I mean, if you are a woman). I think you could well get the worldīs best "wiew from a toilet seat". BTW, hotel Torni used to be KGB headquarters after WWII.

The restaurant in the water tower in Espoo is called Haikaranpesä (Storkīs Nest). You donīt say is your visit summer or winter. There are different "nice to do" things every season.

1) Suomenlinna island fortress. It is a popular picnic place (plus UNESCO World Heritage site), so take a picnic with you.

2) Seurasaari outdoor museum. Old houses from all over Finland, and a real 1800īs style wedding every Midsummer.

3) National Museum.

Sorry, now I have to rush. A meeting. I come back with the rest.
elina is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 04:48 AM
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Elina, thanks for the insights.
We have been thinking of taking a long winter week-end break to do some cross country skiing in the parks around Helsinki and combining that with some sightseeing. My husband is the type who gets bored after more than an hour or so of cross country skiing ("oh look. Another tree. Looks just like all the other trees we've seen."). He is not the true outdoorsy type. Would this be doable? We saw such a week-end recommended on a travel program and were intrigued.
BTilke is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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Sorry I posted twice. I wrote the first one and it seemed to have disappeared into thin air. And I was pissed, since I had not copied it anywhere. So I just started to write it all over for the second time. But now I see I donīt have to continue.


BTilke, yes it is doable. There are ski tracks just about everywhere in the capital area (Helsinki/Espoo/Vantaa) and a big part has lights. But your husband would really see a lot of trees since that is what this country is full of. You have to teach him that it is not just trees, many trees make a forest, and forests are just about the most relaxing places on earth.
elina is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 05:43 AM
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WHAT? Now the first answer has diaappeared AGAIN.
elina is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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4) If you like art: Ateneum for older, Kiasma for modern. Plus dozens of galleries and exhibitions.

5) Central Marketplace + the old brownbrick food market next to it.

6) Walk along the shoreline, starting from the marketplace, heading towards big Helsinki-Stockholm ferries. Youīll end up in Kaivopuisto park where Russian nobility used to come for spa treatments and "healthy waters" in 1800īs. There are often free concerts there. Or go to Hietaniemi direction (near the Sibelius monument hsv mentioned). There is a big sandy beach right in the middle of the town. And next to it is a beautiful old cemetery. For obvious reasons a very quiet place to have a stroll.

7) Porvoo, a little town 50 kilometres from Helsinki. Old Porvoo has little wooden houses that nestle next to a medieval church. In Finland towns were built of wood, and they had a tendency to burn, so there are no magnificient medieval towns, only these tiny red/yellow/blue/green/white houses in Porvoo and many towns on the western coast. You can take a bus (1 hour) or a boat (4 hours). There is lunch on the boats.
elina is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 06:16 AM
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8) The curch in the rock (Temppeliaukion kirkko), The Orthodox Uspensky cathedral, The Lutheran cathedral (remember that Luther wanted to strip religion from all glitter, so the church is simple). And Senate Square where the cathedral is. When St. Petersburg what still Leningrad, Senate Square used to play Russian in some Hollywood movies.

9) Nuuksio National Park only 20 kilometres from the city center. Forests, cliffs, and dozens of little lakes. Markes paths. Even bears, but you will not see them. Or take a boat to some of the many islands. There good restaurants on the islands. Plus beaches.

10) Sauna, definitely. A proper one, not some lukewarm cubicle or sterile hotel sauna. THE SAUNA in Helsinki is called Kotiharjun sauna (Harjutorinkatu 1). It is wood-heated, and has separate saunas for men and women. If you want to become super clean take a washer woman (yes, men too get washer women). Or be adventurous and have some "bad blood" taken out of you.
elina is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 06:28 AM
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In response to Elina's comment on the Lutheran church (and Elina, thanks again for your thoughtful comments 3 years ago when I asked about Helsinki)and the lack of "glitter", while it is simple and elegant on the inside, the dome is, to me, anything BUT. It was repainted before we got there, and it was beautiful with shiny gold stars on the dome.

I liked the open market at the waterfront -- still have (and wear) a pretty little amber bracelet.

We liked the tour on the bus taken from the main square that took us around town (saw people washing and drying their rugs at the waterfront)and up to the Church in the Rock, which was pretty amazing.

We also took a tram that did a circle around town, which was a fun ride in itself.
Surfergirl is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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The tram that makes the circuit is 3T. More fun circuit can be made with Sporakoff, a bright red pub tram.
elina is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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When are you going? My parents went there later in June/early July, and they have a really fun summer festival there. I would love to go then and take that in.

Susie
SusieChef is offline  
Jan 18th, 2006, 12:00 PM
  #18  
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thank you all, I wrote everything down.
Elina, yes I'll have the chance to see
the great view from the toilets. LOLOL!!!
hey, 1 last question :
what is the ESplanadi and how far is it from the city center and the stockman department store is it also near the center? Is it all easy to walk?
thanks, hope to hear from you soon....
marti1 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 12:45 AM
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Esplanadi is a street with a strip of a park in the middle. It is in the spitting center between the main street (Mannerheimintie) and the Central market place. There is also a tourist info on Esplanadi, and in the middle is an old wooden building (a restaurant) called Kappeli (Chapel). It is a place where artists and composers (like Sibelius) used to spend their evenings 100 years ago.

Stockmann is in the corner of Mannerheimintie and Esplanadi. Usually people think that it is the most central point. It, or the statue of three naked blacksmiths. You can walk just about everywhere, even to the beach I mentioned.
elina is offline  
Jan 19th, 2006, 08:18 AM
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thanks; elina.
marti1 is offline  

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