Helsinki was founded in 1550 by the Swedish King Gustav Vasa, as a trading post to compete with Tallinn. Tallinn is one of the oldest cities of Northern Europe with its winding cobblestone streets, red roofs, watchtowers in the Old City walls that surrounds the Old Town, a whole storybook of medieval houses. These two cities are easily connected with short ferry trip across the Gulf of Finland.
Upon arrival into Helsinki make your own way to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure.
During today's panoramic coach tour of the city you will see Helsinki's most interesting sights including the historical centre, City Hall, Senate Square, Uspenski Cathedral, the Parliament Building and Finlandia Hall, and if possible, Temppeliaukio Church (the Rock Church). If the church is closed for a service, you will instead stop at The Sibelius Monument. Remainder of the day at leisure, or perhaps an optional excursion.
Today make your own way to Helsinki Tallink Sija ferry terminal for a 2hr ferry trip across the Gulf of Finland. Upon your arrival into Tallinn you will be met by your guide and taken on a panoramic tour of the city by car/minivan. Then you will be driven to Toompea Hill to start the Old Town walking tour of the old quarter, taking you to Toompea Castle, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Dome Church, the medieval Old Town Hall and the Great Guild Hall. The remainder of the day is at leisure to wander the town centre's many shops, galleries, souvenir markets, outdoor cafés and restaurants on your own. From to late November to early January each year, wander through the beautiful and extraordinary Christmas Markets for unique festive gifts. Late afternoon walk to the Tallinn Tallink Silja ferry terminal for your return journey to Helsinki.
Breakfast at the hotel and end of arrangements.
As the ferry service Helsinki-Tallinn-Helsinki operates several times a day (varies according to season) you can choose the ferry times that are suitable to you. Upgrades to the Business Lounge on the ferry are also available for an additional cost - please enquire.
Extra nights and optional excursions in Helsinki and/or Tallinn can be added to this tour - please enquire.
After visiting Helsinki and Tallinn, perhaps add the overnight ferry to Stockholm, and stay there with our Stockholm Classic Break.
Optional excursions in Tallinn (in conjunction with extra night/s):
Kadriorg Palace & KUMU (3hrs)
Visit the award-winning Estonian art museum KUMU, with its collections of classic & contemporary fine art, and see a variety of Estonian and foreign art, as well as the great modern Kumu building with its sharp angles and sleek façades. Also explore the 18th century Kadriog Palace with its Baroque flower garden, Swan Pond and parks, with the beautiful summer House, Kitchen House and Guard House surrounding the palace.
Estonian Open Air Museum (3hrs)
Just 15 minutes from the city centre of Tallinn is the Estonian Open Air Museum, showcasing the country's rural architecture and way of life. The 12 farms in the museum provide an overview of how families from different strata of society lived in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. As in any proper village, here there is a church, a tavern, a school house, mills, a fire station, a shop and fishing sheds by the sea. You can buy handicrafts, ride horses and try traditional Estonian dishes at the tavern.
Laheema National Park (6hrs)
One hour by bus from Tallinn will bring you to Estonia's most popular nature reserve with its jagged coasts, vast forests, wetlands, Palmse Manor and Vihula Manor.