Helsinki, Finland | Baltic Cruise

The next stop on our Baltic Cruise was Helsinki, Finland. Stefan was most excited for this stop because he has previously lived here and I was glad to have my own tour guide again. Helsinki is very accessible by public transportation. My guide to using Helsinki public transportation will be at the end of this post.

Our first stop was Stockmann Department Store. This would be similar to a Harrod’s but less expensive. Unfortunately, our ship stopped in Helsinki on a Sunday, so most things didn’t open until noon. We had a short stop here, so we bypassed going in, but you can shop and eat here and apparently the food is really good.

Outside of Stockmann is the popular Three Smiths Statue.

Next we went to the main train station because I wanted to see the outside of it. A lot of people talk about the architecture here. It reminded me of the Hall of Waters in my hometown, same kind of decor.

Next we went to Senate Square. This statue of Alexander II sits out front of Helsinki Cathedral. As with Tallinn, Estonia, Russia has a large hand in the history of Finland.

Of course we had to get our pictures taken in front of Helsinki Cathedral. Since it was a Sunday we didn’t go in as services were going to start soon. This is a popular place for locals to hang out and eat lunch.

Also located in Senate Square is the Government Palace.

 Next we walked to Uspenski Cathedral. Again, services were about to start so we didn’t go in. It was a very pretty walk along the water to get here though.

Our next stop was to the International School of Helsinki where Stefan attended school from 7-10th grade.

We walked around the surrounding areas and I saw where little Stefan used to hang out with his friends.

We sat in the garden and ate some chocolate. Fazer chocolate is famous here and it is good. We bought a TON of it from a convenience store in the main train station. We paid around €2 for a big bar and €1 for the size pictured. The price for the bar pictured in the cruise terminal was €5, so if you want to try some (and you really should try some) definitely buy it at a convenience store or grocery store. There are also a few Karl Fazer Cafe restaurants around Helsinki. If you are there on a day where they are open it would be worth stopping by for a hot chocolate.

Next we went to the Sibelius Monument. This was pretty far out of the way and it was swarmed with people; the only other cruise ship passengers we had seen all day! This monument is dedicated to the composer Jean Sibelius, a Finnish composer.

Our last stop for the day (besides just walking around and shopping) was to Temppeliaukio Church, or The Rock Church. This church is very cool as it is built within a rock. If you aren’t looking for it, you could almost walk right by it. This is a view from the side of the church. Had I not seen pictures of it before we wouldn’t have found it.

The church has a large copper dome. It is €3 for adults to get in and children are free.

As you can see it was quite crowded inside. That is because the church doesn’t open until noon and all the tour groups strive to be there about that time. We were only in port until 2, so we also had to deal with the crowds, but if you have longer in port I would highly suggest going here later in the day so that it would be less crowded.


My Guide To Helsinki Using Public Transportation

Helsinki is a very easy area to navigate using public transportation. You can buy an all day ticket for €9 from an automated machine located near most tram stops, or you can buy it from the driver on trams or buses. All day transit tickets are valid for unlimited use of trams, buses, metros, or the ferry to Suomenlinna.

From the cruise terminal you can easily reach the center of town utilizing public transportation. Depending on which terminal you book at will depend on your options. If you arrive at West Terminal, there is a tram stop fairly close to the exit of the terminal. If you arrive at Hernesaari terminal you can take the bus #14 into town. Alternatively, you can follow the line painted on the pavement into town. It is about a 2 mile walk. We arrived at the West Terminal. I recommend looking HERE to see where your ship will arrive and that way you can plan on how to get into town.

Because public transportation routes can always change due to new stops added or construction, please double check the routes. A good website to check to make sure these routes are still accurate can be found here.

From the West Terminal walk until you get to the tram stop. Take the 6T Arabia tram to Ylioppilastalo (9 stops). You will see Stockmann’s Department Store from here.
From Stockmann’s take the 7B Pasila tram to Hallituskatu (4 stops). Once you get here, you will see Senate Square and Helsinki Cathedral. Take your time here and climb up the steps to the cathedral if you wish.
From Senate Square it is quickest just to walk to Uspenski Cathedral. If looking at the road with Helsinki Cathedral to your back, walk left down the road in front of you all the way until you reach the water. You will see Uspenski Cathedral perched up on the hill.
From here, I would go out to the Sibelius monument, so that hopefully you will miss out on the large tour groups being there. Walk to the Tove Janssonin p. stop and take the 4 Munkkiniemi tram to Töölön halli (9 stops). Then you need to walk about 10 minutes to get to the monument. Head southeast on Mannerheimintie to Salligatan. Turn right onto Humalistonkatu, turn left onto Fältskärsgatan, turn right and the monument will be on your right. The Sibelius monument is pretty far out, honestly.
From the Sibleius monument head east towards Mechelingatan. Take a slight left onto Mechelingatan and then another slight right to stay on Mechelingatan. Turn right onto Topeliuksenkatu and get on bus 14 towards Hernessaari via Kamppi(M). Get off at stop Apollonkatu (3 stops). Head south on Runeberginkatu towards Ilmarigatan. Turn left onto Ilmarigatan, right onot Runeberginkatu, left onto Sammonkatu, left onto Tempelgata, and then you will see the Temppeliaukio Church (rock church). It WILL be crowded here as it doesn’t open until later in the day and all the private tours, cruise ship tours, and DIYers will be here. It is worth it though and is the top tourist attraction in Helsinki.
From here you can head to Market Square. From the rock church head northwest toward Tempelgatan. Turn left onto Tempelgatan, right onto Sammonkatu, left onto Runeberginkatu. Take tram 2 towards Olympiaterm and get off at Kauppatori (8 stops). From here head east on Esplanadi and you’ll see all the stalls set up.
From the Market square going back to the cruise ship (West Terminal) turn right wards Norra Esplanaden and turn left onto Norra Esplanden. Take tram 2 towards Urheilutalo via Kamppi (M) to Rautatieasema (4 stops). Get off and switch to tram 9 Länsiterminaali and get off at Länsiterminaali (7 stops).
Map for public transportation can be found here.
I highly recommend getting the app Moovit from the App Store (picture below). This is our favorite app for navigating new cities if we didn’t plan ahead. I know the route above seems daunting with all of the long words. It isn’t hard at all, though. Finns learn to speak English in school, so if you ever need help or get lost, just ask for help. They are helpful and friendly people.

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