Helsinki is the capital of Finland and has a population of around 1 million in the metro area. Like most of Scandinavia, the population generally speak very good English making communication no problem. Helsinki is a lively and cosmopolitan city and is a great place for a city break. It is a good option to combine a trip to Helsinki with a trip across the Baltic to Tallin in Estonia.
Air: Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is 15kms north of the city. The cheapest way into the city is by public bus from outside the terminals.
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Ferry: This is a popular way to get to Helsinki with connections to Sweden, Estonia, Russia and Germany.
What to See and Do
Helsinki's numerous attractions include the following:
Islands: Helsinki city centre is surrounded by an archipelago. This beautiful group of islands can be visited on a cruise or by ferry. Don't miss Suomenlinna which is a sea fortress and is a significant piece of military architecture. The site is considered a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Lutheran Cathedral: The Cathedral is a well known Helsinki landmark and towers over Senate Square in the city centre. The church is open daily with no admission charge.
Serena Water Amusement Park: This large water park has over 2000m of heated indoor pools. A popular choice for the kids.
Sibelius Monument: A popular tourist attraction, this monument to the great composer Jean Sibelius is a must see when in Helsinki.
A good option for the tourist is the Helsinki Card which gives unlimited use of public transport in the city. Available for 1, 3 or 5 days, the card can also be used to access museums at a cheaper rate.
Tram: Tram 3T is the best for the tourist as it travels round the heart of the city.
Buses: An extensive bus network covers the city if you need to travel to the suburbs.
Ferry: The ferry to Suomenlinna leaves from Market Square and is a great way to see the islands on a summers day.
Taxis: Although convenient, taxis are an expensive way to get around Helsinki.
Bike: Helsinki is a cycle friendly city with an extensive network of routes. Bikes can be hired in the city centre.