10 places in Helsinki that will not be shown to “package ” tourists
According to various social surveys, Helsinki is one of the most boring cities in the world…
Walking along narrow shopping streets, sandwiched between laconic, strict modern buildings, tourists complain about the lack of attractions. Basically, people come to the capital of Finland for one day to make stylish purchases in the design quarter and try local cuisine, then go to other Scandinavian countries or return to Russia. Meanwhile, the city’s attractions are not only Aleksanterinkatu street, the Senate square with the Cathedral and the Market square. If you turn off the tourist trails, Helsinki will be pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the sea scenery and a calming atmosphere, and photos against the background of little-known attractions will decorate your Instagram profile.Unfortunately, you will not be able to see the most interesting places in Helsinki as part of a tour group – most of them are located outside the center. To see all the sights from the list, it is most convenient to buy a travel card for 2-3 days and use comfortable public transport.
The 18th-century Bastion system of fortifications, also known as the Sveaborg (“Swedish fortress”), is located on seven Islands three kilometers South of the Market square. The fortress was built after the end of the Russian-Swedish war in 1743 and initially served as the main base of the army fleet. In 1808, Sveaborg was captured by the Russian army, and a year later Finland became part of the Russian Empire, and the fortress was used to protect Helsingfors and the approaches to Petrograd from a possible German invasion. In 1917, the independence of Finland was declared, after which Sveaborg was renamed Suomenlinna – “Finnish fortress”. Until the end of the Second world war, the fortress was used for its intended purpose, then it was abandoned. In 1973, Suomenlinna received the status of a district of Helsinki, and in 1991 it was included in the UNESCO world heritage list.
Bastion system of fortifications of the XVIII century, also known as Sveaborg
The main attractions of the Islands are the remains of fortifications, Royal gates, ancient cannons and bunkers that resemble hobbit houses. No less interesting are the Suomenlinna museums, wooden houses of the XIX century and the Church where an Orthodox Church once stood. And on the coastal stones still preserved “autographs ” of the inhabitants of the fortress, carved more than 150 years ago.
The main attractions of the Islands are the remains of fortifications
How to get
From the pier near the Market square from 6:00 am to 2:20 am, there are regular ferries with the inscription “Suomenlinna-Sveaborg”, which are part of the Helsinki city transport service. You can buy a ticket to the fortress with a turnover of 5€ or use a travel card. The ferry route and departure time are displayed in Google Maps. Entrance to the fortress is free.
Vallisaari island was known to seafarers long before the Foundation of Helsinki thanks to a fresh water pond. The first buildings appeared here in the XVIII century – Vallisaari was then used to serve Sveaborg. On the island, cattle were grazed, wood was cut for firewood, and fresh water was collected in the lake. Soon, pilots settled in the North-Western part of Vallisaari and guided ships through the Kustaanmiekka Strait. There were no defensive structures on the island , which is why in 1808 Russian army troops easily captured Vallisaari and fired at Sveaborg from it. Since then, the Russians have repeatedly used the island for military purposes. When Finland gained independence, the Finnish military placed artillery here. At the same time, there were more than 300 people living in Vallisaari who were engaged in agriculture. There was a school, a store, and even a scout group and drama club on the island, but over time people started moving to cities. In 1996, the last inhabitants left Vallisaari. Until 2013, the island belonged to the Finnish defense forces, then it was transferred to the Main forest administration. In 2016, the island received its first tourists.
Vallisaari island was known to seafarers for its fresh water pond
Now everyone can visit Vallisaari: here you can see the lake, the homes of pilots, the remains of the fortress and ancient cannons. The observation deck offers a beautiful view of Suomenlinna. The island of Vallisaari is connected by a sand bar to the island of Kuninkaansaari, where the remains of ancient fortifications are also preserved.
In Vallisaari, you can see the lake, the homes of pilots, the remains of the fortress and ancient cannons
How to get
A small JT-Line passenger ship runs between the main Wharf of Vallisaari island and the Market square several times a day from may 1 to September 30. A ticket worth 10€ is valid for one day and allows you to visit three Islands at once: Lonna, Suomenlinna and Vallisaari. Your stay on each island is unlimited.
Helsinki was founded in 1550 by the Swedish king Gustav VAZ. Then the city center was located at the mouth of the Vantaa river – in the North-Western part of the modern Finnish capital. In 1647, a port was built on Cape Vironniemi, and the city began to grow around it, and Vanhakaupunki (”old town”) fell into disrepair. The buildings of the XVI-XVII centuries have not survived to the present day, but this place is one of the most picturesque in Helsinki. Where the Vantaa river splits into two branches, a powerful artificial waterfall has been built. There is a hydroelectric power station on one side of the river, and a mill on the other. The banks of Vantaa are connected by a bridge that offers beautiful views.
Where the Vantaa river splits into two branches, a powerful artificial waterfall has been built
Another attraction of Vanhakaupunki is the Technical Museum, founded in the middle of the XIX century. Its exhibits tell the story of the development of technology and industry in Finland. Now you can interact with many exhibits: for example, you can ride an old Elevator and turn the dial of a dial phone.
Technical Museum, founded in the middle of the XIX century
How to get
The Tekniikan museo bus stop is located near the main attractions of Vanhakaupunka and can be reached by bus no. 55, 57 or 78. Most likely, you will have to go with transfers, so it is most convenient to buy a pass for zones A and B. you Can also take the tram number 6 or 8 to The arabianranta stop and walk to Vanhakaupunki along the path that runs along the Bay and elite residential buildings. The cost of a ticket to the Technical Museum is 8€. Discounts are provided for children, pensioners and students. On Thursdays, admission is free.
4. Tolenrance (Tokoinranta) and Kaisaniemi (University of Helsinki)
In the heart of Helsinki, on the shore of the eläintarhankahti Bay, the Tokoinranta city Park is located. The Park was created in the 1960s and named after a prominent Finnish politician, Oskari Tokoy. Enjoying the views of the Bay with a large boat stop and the Workers ‘ House on the opposite Bank, you can truly relax from the city’s bustle. City residents ride bicycles and scooters here, and some walk friendly dogs. The Park has a Playground, a restaurant, and a free toilet. In warm time of the year here trained sapserver.The city theater is also located on the territory of the Park.
Enjoying the views in the Park Tolenrance you can really relax from the urban bustle
Kaisaniemi Park is situated opposite Tolenrance. Almost all of its territory is occupied by the Botanical garden of the University of Helsinki with a glass greenhouse of the XIX century. Another attraction of the Park is the ” Mason’s Grave”, where the Swedish Royal knight Fredrik Granatenhelm (1708-1784) is buried. The southern part of the Park is decorated with an artificial square pond. Kaisaniemenlahti Bay (Kaisaniemenlahti), on the shore of which the Kaisaniemi Park is located, smoothly passes into Elayntarkhanlahti. On the Western side, the Bay is crossed by a railway that fits harmoniously into the urban landscape.
In Kaisaniemi Park-Botanical garden of the University of Helsinki with a glass greenhouse of the XIX century
How to get
Next to Tokoinranta Park, there is a metro station and tram and bus stops, all named the same – “Hakaniemi”. Kaisaniemi Park is closer to the “Kaisaniemenpuisto ” stop, where both the tram and the bus also stop. There is a car Park next to each Park, but if time allows, it is more interesting to walk from one Park to another along the cozy embankments and pedestrian bridges.
5. Toolo (Töölö)
This cozy, quiet area is located on the West coast of the Helsinki mainland. It is here that a huge number of attractions are concentrated, but tourist groups are usually shown only the monument to the composer Jan Sibelius. The best place to start a walk around Toolo is the Congress Palace, which stands on the shore of the Töölönlahti Bay. Then you must see the amazing building Of the national Museum of Finland, and those who are interested in history can buy a ticket. The Museum’s exposition is small, but very interesting: a lot of interactivity, ancient exhibits can be touched with your hands.
Amazing building Of the national Museum of Finland in Toolo