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Cruise day in Helsinki

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Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
Cruise day in Helsinki

This is a thread regarding the information one needs when visiting Helsinki for one day (about 10 - 17 o'clock) from a cruise ship. It is based on the numerous questions asked in previous years, but feel free to ask more if you can't find it in this thread.

I understand it's daunting to write extensive reviews about every town you visit, but we and other visitors would appreciate a short note explaning what sights you ended up visiting and what you recommend for others.

BEFORE YOUR TRIP:

Search Trip Advisor :-) Read the Things to do and Restaurants sections for reviews from other travellers.

Change some euros. It's the official currency of Finland. Though plastic is very very common too. Visa and Master Card are accepted virtually everywhere excluding some ice cream kiosks, market place vendors and Cafe Regatta. Diners Club and Amex are accepted mostly, but not that extensively.

Check the weather: http://www.foreca.fi/Finland/Helsinki en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/weather/helsinki or current rain scan http://testbed.fmi.fi/

39 replies to this topic
Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
1. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

HOW DO I GET TO TOWN FROM MY SHIP?

It depends where your ship docks. Check the cruise arrivals at ports here: portofhelsinki.fi/passengers/expected_cruise…

A map of harbours can be found here: portofhelsinki.fi/passengers/international_c…

Helsinki has an excellent public transport system, that covers the ports too. A day tickets costs 8€ (2014) and allows you use of all trams, buses, local trains, the metro (subway) and the public ferry to Suomenlinna (there is a commercial one too, where this HSL ticket is not valid on). Plan your routes with the Journey Planner http://www.reittiopas.fi/en/index.php Google maps knows the pulic transport connections too.

WHERE CAN I BUY THE TICKETS?

From drivers with cash (note that notes bigger than 20€ not accepted) or some stops have ticket vending machines that accept credit cards. The

What kind of tickets are there? https://www.hsl.fi/en/tickets-and-fares For a day around Helsinki centre you need an internal ticket. The day ticket is valid 24h and allows limitless journeys. If you are sure you only take tram rides back & forth, you might opt for 2 tram tickets (2,20€ only from macines). A tram ticket allows you one tram ride without a change.

Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
2. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

WHAT SHOULD I SEE & VISIT?

Have a look at these:

The official Helsinki Tourist information: http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en

Trip Advisor Things to do in Helsinki: tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g189934-Activiti…

Helsinki Spotted by locals: http://www.spottedbylocals.com/helsinki/

The Design District Shopping & Sights: http://www.designdistrict.fi/news

When asking for recommendations, please give a hint about your special interests, budget , time frame & age.

Edited: 1:39 am, May 01, 2014
Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
3. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

POPULAR SIGHTS

A first time visitor usually ends up strolling along the Esplanades, the park & boulevards in the heart of the city. The park is great for lounging on the lawns, enjoying coffee or ice cream and people watching. Along the streets are several Finnish and international boutiques, including Marimekko, Marja Kurki, Pentik, RIL's, iittala and Finlayson. Kankurin tupa is one of the few purely tourist oriented shops, it offers a wide range of scandinavian design & souvenirs. Remember to drop by at cafe Esplanade for a traditional korvapuusti cinnamon bun or at Karl Fazer cafe on Kluuvikatu for some cakes or the famous "blue" milk chocolate.

The "Espa" leads to the Market Place on the sea front. Here you can find fruit & vegetables, fish, flowers & cafes and food stalls selling Finnish food. There are also vendors selling handicrafts, jewellery, furs & clothing. Another must for food enthusiasts is the Old Market Hall (reopans the second wee on June). Sample some cold smoked reindeer or enjoy a plate of salmon soup.

The ferries to Suomenlinna fortress island leaves here. The HSL public transport ferry leaves from the easternmost end and has a small terminal building (roundish, covered with wood panels). The day ticket (and other HSL tickets exept the tram ticket) is valid on this ferry.

There are commercial boats at the western end, closer to the Espa. These go to Suomenlinna or for sightseeing tours around the archipelago. The HSL tickets are not valid on these.

The novelty of this year is the Helsinki Sky Wheel, rising to 40 metres, situated at the waterfront at Katajanokka. Apparently the ride will cost 12€ /adult and the 3 rounds will take about 15 minutes. Opening hours noon to midnight daily. This info is from newspapers. I'll add an official link as soon as there is one.

Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
4. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

On your way back stroll north along the museum street Sofiankatu to the Senate Square and the white Cathedral. Head back along the Aleksanterinkatu shopping street to the statue ot the Three Smiths. Next to it is the largest department store Stockmann.

Edited: 3:35 am, May 01, 2014
Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
5. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

SUOMENLINNA FORTRESS ISLANDS

One of the most popular sights is the former fortress Suomenlinna a 15 minute ferry ride from the Market place http://www.suomenlinna.fi/en

The TA reviews can be read here: tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189934-d1…

There are TWO DIFFERENT FERRIES TO the islands: the municipal HSL one that arrives at the Main pier is covered by the HSL tickets (like the day ticket). The commercial boat by JT-line arrives at the Visitor centre in the middle of the islands and has another stop at the King's Gate at the southernmost point of the islands. The distance from the main pier to the Kings gate is about 1,5 km = 30 minutes for a fit adult. See details of the two here: suomenlinna.fi/en/…how_to_get_there Sometimes when the way back feels daunting or the schedule is just too tight, I pay the private journey back for convenience just to skip the walk back.

It is an actual and very much living part of the city with permanent residents so in a way it's always "open" for a walk around. Check the opening hours of the museums, visitor information centre and restaurants & cafes from the website.

Note that there are mostly cobbled stone ways or gravel on the island and some paths are very steep, so it is NOT the easisest place for people with ACCESSIBILITY ISSUES OR PRAMS. Also CONSTANTLY KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR KIDS! There are steep cliffs and not all dangerous premises have fences for protection. Kids have been seriously injured in accidents in previous years. After all the place was built for a war, not as a 21st century sightseeing venue.

And last but not least: it is located a bit at sea. It means it is very much exposed to the elements, especially to the winds blowing straight across the Baltic sea. Prepare with proper (= at least wind tight) clothing.

Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
6. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

THE SIBELUS MONUMENT

It really is a shame that the only reminder of our greatest composer is the monument pretty much outside the centre. The distance from the Market place is about 5 kms and takes about half an hour to reach. The closest bus/tram stop is a 10 min walk away. Read the TA reviews and decide for yourself wether it is worth it tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189934-d4…

If you go, there's the lovely Cafe Regatta nearby tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189934-d1… or a bit run down mini golf course. For a heavier lunch the restaurant Lehtovaara tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189934-d7… Or bring a picknick and a frisbee and enjoy the lovely park around the monument.

If you are a fan of his music, I'd suggest you rather drop by the excellent music shop Fuga in our brand new Music Hall next to the House of Parliament http://www.fuga.fi/myymalamme.html. Or save even more time and do it like JS himself: have a drink (or ten) at the Kämp hotel on the Esplanade.

Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
7. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

TEMPPELIAUKION KIRKKO or the ROCK CHURCH

The famous church carved inside the rock surrounding it is another populas sight for visitors. Sometimes so popular as atourist sight, that people forget it is still an active place for worship. "Opening hours" 1.9.-31.5.: Mon-Sat 10-17, Sun 11.45-17. 1.6.-31.8.: Mon-Sat 10-17.45, Sun 11.45-17.45. Closed during church ceremonies. More specific opening hours can be heard at (+358 9) 2340 5940

Links: helsinginkirkot.fi/en/churches/rock-church-t…

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189934-d1…

It is situated in Töölö district, a walkable distance from the Market place, but if you are coming by tram 9 it stops pretty close to this curch. Step out at the stop called Kampin tori (names of stops are displayed above the driver) and walk along Fredrikinkatu straight for about 800 metres until you reach the church. Again plan your routes with the Journey planner http://www.reittiopas.fi/en/

Other churches visited a lot are the Lutheran Cathedral tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189934-d2…

the Orthodox church Uspenski tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g189934-d2…

and why not the Chapel of Silence in Kamppi visithelsinki.fi/en/…kamppi-chapel-silence

Finland
Destination Expert
for Helsinki, Finland
posts: 3,609
reviews: 46
8. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

"It really is a shame that the only reminder of our greatest composer is the monument pretty much outside the centre. The distance from the Market place is about 5 kms and takes about half an hour to reach. The closest bus/tram stop is a 10 min walk away. "

Where did you get that??? Sibelius Park and Monument is less than 3 kms from Stockmann's department store. Bus 24 drives from Mannerheimintie to Mechelininkatu in front of the park in less than 15 mins. Walking required is minimal. Walking from the center takes some 45 mins.

Helsinki
Destination Expert
for Helsinki
posts: 1,153
reviews: 6
9. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

I got these from the The Journey Planner. I must admit I used the Market square as the starting point and the route the planner gave was with tram 3/2 wich is the longest option. The 20 min interval of bus 24 hides it well among the tram options in the results, so I stand corrected. Maybe we should copy this to a wiki page where we could edit it.

But I must say that as one living smack in the middle I never count for any distance less than 10 minutes, not even from Kaisaniemi to the Railway station. As a local it is easy to synch one's journeys to the seconds. When travelling in a new town it takes time to navigate where bus stops etc are and thus even normal walking is not so efficient as when using a route daily.

Missouri City, Texas
posts: 6
reviews: 29
10. Re: Cruise day in Helsinki

I will be in Helsinki by cruise in June. Here is my plan and questions.

Buy day ticket and take tram 9 to Central railway station , then we walk to Senate Square and Market square .

Take ferry to Suomenlinna, after back to square, we visit churches, city hall, museums etc.

Take tram 2 and get off at Sammonkatu to visit Rock Church, from the Rock Church to Sibelius Monument, my questions are :

To minimum the time and less walk, which bus I should take? Which stop is near the monument ? Which bus/tram is quick from the monument to West Harbor?

Thank you for your time and kindness.

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