Coming from a tropical nation, I’ve come to like the winter season in any vacation spot — so when the tourism board of Helsinki invited me to remain for every week of their great metropolis throughout the “white” month of February, it wasn’t arduous to say YES! (Helsinki Winter Itinerary)
Proper then and there, I began daydreaming about all of the potential issues that I might be doing… however when I requested about my itinerary, the tourism board stated that it was a ‘secret’ and that I might know why as soon as I get there. For positive, it was a artful approach of constructing suspense in me.
twenty second of February — I landed in Helsinki they usually lastly divulged why they didn’t give us a journey plan in the beginning. Apparently, it was as a result of they’ve been amassing quite a lot of sponsors up till my arrival, and with the pack of free tickets that they have acquired for us, I can then have the liberty to plot my very own week-long itinerary!
They slowly sprawled out all these ‘goodies’ on my residence’s desk — invites from varied sights, tour suppliers, and eating places all all through town — and I couldn’t assist however really feel that it was Christmas once more!
You guess that I had a troublesome time plotting my actions at first (there have been simply far too many superior issues to do!). In the long run, I managed to squeeze all the highest issues that I desired to do in my 7-day keep. Right here’s the way it went for me!
» Fast Journey Planning
Faroe Islands Itinerary
» Day 1
After a 2-hour flight, I used to be ushered into my Helsinki Secret Residence for the week: an Aallonkoti residence that was positioned within the coronary heart of town.
It was straightforward to fall in love with this house as a result of although the room was modernly furnished with a contact of a creative ‘quirk’ because it nonetheless retained the coziness and heat of “dwelling“.
I particularly beloved how there’s a enormous balcony as nicely that gave me a transparent view of town skyline that was wrapped in white velvet snow. Actually, I spent a while resting on the balcony as I savored how fortunate I used to be to have been capable of begin off my Helsinki winter itinerary on an ideal notice!
Afterward, I proceeded to plot my itinerary for the following days as I joyfully flipped via all of the tickets that got to us. Because it was already nighttime at this level, I made a decision to take a leisurely stroll across the metropolis as I went off and seize dinner in one of many eating places that wished to supply complimentary meals beneath the Helsinki Secret scheme.
I felt like consuming ‘consolation meals’ and so I picked a restaurant known as: Naughty BRGR… and OMG their burgers and fries have been divine!!!
A number of Finnish folks have been additionally crowding up this place so it actually appeared like a type of locations that locals frequent to. If I’ve to present you a tip, just be sure you order their candy potato fries as a result of these have been sinfully good.
After the hearty meal, I proceeded to walk across the metropolis throughout the evening and I used to be completely blown away by how picturesque and ‘hip‘ Helsinki was.
In all honesty, I anticipated town to be olden; and although it nonetheless has its previous infrastructure, it was straightforward to see how the metropolis has such a novel and energetic vibe what with all the fashionable architectural wonders, cafe tradition, and bustling crowd.
I used to be positively off to an excellent begin!
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» Day 2
Since I’m an outside buff, my agenda for the day was to go and hike via the world of Nuuksio. The Helsinki tourism board offered me with a thick parka for the entire of my Helsinki winter itinerary keep and it was a positive lifesaver for the chilly!
I took an hour-long bus first to Haltia Nature Centre the place I obtained to be taught extra in regards to the wildlife not solely in Helsinki however the entire of Finland.
I realized right here that the north of Finland which is above the Arctic Circle normally doesn’t have any solar (only some hours of twilight round midday) for a month or extra throughout winter. It’s sometimes known as a polar knight during which the Finns name it as ‘kaamos’. (I severely can’t think about having no solar for months!)
As soon as I had my fill of data, I sought out a close-by mountain climbing path. The workers on the nature middle advised me that there was one which passes via Lake Pitkajarvi. As I set off on this journey, each step I took within the snow made me understand how I would truly want mountain climbing throughout winter as an alternative of the opposite seasons as a result of the environment regarded extremely magical and mystifying — and better of all: I don’t sweat!
On my path, I chanced upon a spot the place a number of different hikers have been consuming or taking on some heat from a hearth. In a while, I even discovered a lodge by the facet of the street that I savored for myself!
At one level, nonetheless, I ended up strolling within the fallacious route. The path was speculated to be on the opposite facet of the street over the thicket of bushes, and so I had an concept that I can simply traverse via it to be able to find yourself on my desired path.
It seemed like a superb plan — however as I walked via it, I couldn’t assist however begin laughing as a result of I didn’t take note of that there can be tons of contemporary snow piled up. So think about, each step I took would make my ft plunge proper via the ice, and the trouble it took to maneuver my ft felt like I used to be threading via water! Briefly: it was a bit tiring.
Fortunately, I managed to undergo and get on the appropriate path. Although it was enjoyable and ‘adventurous’, I ought to by no means try this once more. *laughs*
Proper earlier than the path ended, I made it to a viewing platform that gave me an ideal view over the lake, and I certainly took my time savoring the picturesque panorama. It was actually spectacular and as I stood there, I distinctly felt how I used to be slowly falling in love with Helsinki.
Afterward, I headed off to the bus cease and it was right here that I instantly remembered how I’ve by no means constructed my very own snowman but! I took benefit of this ‘free time’ as I proceeded to construct a small white man — isn’t he cute?!
Come evening time, I headed off to dinner at Kappeli to be able to attempt Finnish dishes. This restaurant was conveniently positioned in one of many large parks within the metropolis and it was a chic institution. I ordered a traditional tattikuorrutettua or reindeer fillet and it was an excellent dish with a really gamey style. (I used to be a bit apprehensive at first about consuming reindeer meat; however I believed, as soon as must be sufficient! I’m glad nonetheless that I attempted it.)
To cap the evening off completely on my Helsinki winter itinerary, I went on to attempt a typical Finnish sauna expertise.
DID YOU KNOW? Finns have an immense love for saunas! It has turn out to be a considerable a part of their tradition — NOT as a luxurious however extra of a necessity. So it’s a must-do must you ever head to Finland. Aside from non-public saunas which are positioned in accommodations and residences, there are additionally public saunas unfold out throughout the nation.
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» Day 3
For at the present time of my Helsinki winter itinerary, I went off to tour the city. I visited locations just like the Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Church), Sibelius Park, and the Finnish Museum of Pure Historical past.
Come afternoon, I went on to Radio Helsinki to be interviewed about my expertise within the metropolis — YES. You learn that proper! I did a radio interview and it was my FIRST time doing such a factor. It was even finished LIVE and you can not think about how nervous I used to be! I used to be fairly positive that I used to be going to journey over my phrases or say one thing extremely silly on air.
To chop the story quick: it went wonderful. However boy… was I a bundle of nerves! And since I’m extraordinarily shy, I cannot share the hyperlink to the interview — ha!
As if that wasn’t sufficient, on the following day, I used to be known as by the Helsinki Secret workforce they usually requested if it’s alright for me to undergo one other interview with a distinct station, Radio Suomi. Each fiber of my being didn’t need to do one other one once more, however I didn’t need to be impolite so I stated sure. Fortunately, this interview went so much higher than the primary. Regrettably although, it was not recorded… boo!
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» Day 4
On at the present time of my Helsinki winter itinerary, I went to town’s traditional cafe: Ekberg. I grabbed some pastries for takeout after which I ventured into the remainder of Helsinki’s symbolic must-sees: Senate Sq., Outdated Market Corridor, Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral, Kiasma Museum, Ateneum, and so on.
When the evening crept in, I used my free tickets to look at a music present at Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo).
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» Day 5
Alas, the day has arrived for my snowmobile safari expertise on this Helsinki winter itinerary! I used to be ecstatic about this as a result of I’ve by no means tried using a snowmobile — or any winter exercise for that matter.
I’ve written about my expertise with this intimately and you may examine it right here:
For dinner, I took up the free eating supplied by Meripaviljonki, a seemingly ‘floating restaurant‘ by the river. And since I can’t get sufficient of tattikuorrutettua, I ordered this dish but once more for the evening.
As I headed again to the residence, I seen the Kallio open-air ice skating rink. Well timed, the snow simply began to fall too at the moment so I believed: “I’ve by no means skated in an open-air ice skating rink whereas it’s snowing… Now ain’t this a bucket record that must be checked off?“
Evidently, I went on to hire skates and had my enjoyable!
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» Day 6
Have you ever heard of the Baltic States? They’re 3 underrated locations in Europe — hidden gems if I could say so myself given how they’re among the least visited nations within the continent. So when the Helsinki Secret workforce gave me roundtrip cruise tickets to be able to attain Tallinn, Estonia in only a matter of two hours from Helsinki, I jumped on the chance to take action!
Come examine my journey in Tallinn right here:
» READ: Day Journey to Tallinn, Estonia: A Brief Cruise Away
Briefly: town was a DREAM and I’m positively planning on exploring extra of Estonia sooner or later, in addition to exploring the opposite 2 Baltic nations: Latvia and Lithuania. It’s best to, too!
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» Day 7
This was the final day on my Helsinki winter itinerary, and earlier than I hopped on to my flight again to Brussels, I went on to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress to witness this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Website deemed to be one of many greatest sea fortresses world wide.
Really an iconic place in Helsinki, that is an exercise in your itinerary that you shouldn’t miss!
Relaxation assured, this place I simply explored this on foot so it could possibly be simply achieved in simply an hour as an illustration. (You possibly can at all times take a guided tour so as to be taught extra particulars in regards to the fortress and its historical past.)
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Different Helsinki F.A.Q.
As a rule, service is already included in your invoice while you’re in Finland. As such, tipping will not be necessary nor anticipated within the nation; nonetheless, additionally they don’t thoughts being tipped in case you’re feeling beneficiant.
Finland sometimes makes use of two plug sorts: sort C (two spherical pins) and kind F (two spherical pins with two earth clips) they usually function on a 230V provide voltage with a frequency of 50Hz.
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From my seat within the airplane again dwelling, I regarded over fondly at Helsinki because it slowly dissipated from my view. I’ve written for in all probability so many occasions now about how I’ve fallen in love with the locations that I’ve been to in my travels — and that may at all times maintain true. I DO fall in love with each place, and Helsinki is a type of.
However as Fitzgerald would put it: “There are every kind of affection on this world however by no means the identical love twice” and positive sufficient, the best way that I fell in love with Helsinki as I stayed there for every week was a novel form of love that I’ll eternally cherish.