My sister, Marian, and I are going on a Viking Cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow this July. As usual, I am planning ahead. Here’s what’s going on in Helsinki (admittedly not very much, but, hey – its Finland!)
Transfer to the superior first-class Radisson Blu Plaza (or similar) in the heart of Helsinki, close to the city center, shopping, museums and other attractions.* Take the afternoon to explore on your own; the beautiful Old Town area is easily accessible on foot.
This morning, a guided city tour shows you highlights such as Senate Square, Government Palace, the landmark Cathedral, the Parliament building and the Olympic Stadium. You will also visit the Sibelius Monument, an abstract piece dedicated to composer Johan “Jean” Sibelius (1865-1957) and designed to express the essence of his music. You have the rest of the day at leisure to discover more of the city.
Market Square, Uspenski Cathedral, Presidential Palace, Senate Square, Opera House, Finlandia Hall, Parliament House, Maybe a museum?, National Museum, Didrichsen Art Museum
Suomenlima Island Fortress – the Gibraltar of the North (http://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/)- – You have a full day to further explore this “White City of the North.” Consider taking the ferry to Suomenlinna (“Castle of Finland”), once a fortress called Sveaborg, then a penal colony, but now a thriving artists’ enclave and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also ferry over to Korkeasaari Zoo. Tonight, enjoy some local cuisine—try reindeer or elk, Arctic char (fish) or Russian dishes, and make sure to sample some delicious cloudberry liqueur or jam.
Outside of Helsinki
Ainola – home of Sibelius – (http://www.ainola.fi/eng_index.php)