Helsinki is truly located at the crossroads of Western and Eastern culture and this is reflected everywhere in this green and lively small city. Helsinki was founded in 1550 by the Swedish King Gustav Vasa, as a trading post to compete with Tallinn, to the south. In the beginning of the 19th century Finland became part of Russia, and Tsar Alexander I made Helsinki the capital in 1812. Your tour arrangements include accommodation, guided sightseeing by coach and boat, and a 72 hour Helsinki Card. After visiting Helsinki, perhaps add the overnight ferry to Stockholm, and a stay there with our Stockholm Classic Break.
Upon arrival, make your own way to your hotel, and time at leisure. Use your Helsinki card to explore - the card offers use of public transport and visits to many attractions. The many parks, museums and churches are well worth a visit, as is a trip to the charming Suomenlinna Fortress, since 1991 on the UNESCO's World Heritage List, and a unique monument to European military architecture. 3 nights at Sokos Albert Hotel (4*) or Radisson Blu Aleksanteri (4*) or similar.
Today enjoy a panoramic coach tour of the city, showing you the 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.
On this sightseeing cruise*, see the most beautiful shorelines in Helsinki and many fabulous sights, including the historic Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress, Helsinki Zoo on Korkeasaari Island, the impressive fleet of icebreakers and Degerö Canal. Along the way you will also learn about Helsinki's fascinating history and culture. Remainder of the day at leisure.
Your tour arrangements end after breakfast.
*Canal Cruise is only available May-September.
Add more nights and other guided excursions:
Visit Tallinn (8-12hrs): Visiting UNESCO Listed Tallinn is quick and easy. After a two hour ferry trip across the Gulf of Finland, your guide will meet you at the ferry terminal, for a 3 hour private walking tour of this small, medieval town. Wander along ancient streets past St Olav's Church, before heading to Toompea Hill for majestic Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Parliament Buildings and great views across the rooftops. In Town Hall Square see the old Guild Houses, an Apoteek and the Town Hall, where your tour ends. Walk back to the ferry for the return trip to Helsinki.
Old Wooden Town of Porvoo (4hrs): Guided bus excursion to the idyllic town of Porvoo with its well-preserved wooden houses and cobble-stone streets, approx. 50kms from Helsinki.
Finnish Lakes and Forests (4hrs): Guided bus excursion from Helsinki to the Nuuksio National Park. Guided forest walk and visit Haltia Nature Centre.
Suomenlinna Fortress: Pre-book a return ferry trip (15 mins each way) to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site on foot. Suomenlinna Fortress is located on 6 linked islands just outside of Helsinki. A guided walking tour is included with your 72hour Helsinki Card.