We took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn for the day. After exploring the Old Town for a bit, we stopped for lunch at V, a vegan restaurant that was ideally located in the city centre and had the best food (lunch for two including drinks and tip for 30€).
Our next stop was St Olaf’s church – you can climb up the tower to get amazing views over the centre and the bay. Tickets cost only 2€ per person, so it’s definitely worth a go.
We continued exploring the city centre, finding the Orthodox cathedral and another viewing point nearby. We stopped for a drink at Bogapott, then explored some more of the little corners and alleyways of the Old Town (which is a Unesco Heritage site).
We stopped at the Holy Spirit church, went across St Catherine’s passage and then climbed up Hellemann tower and walls (tickets cost 3€ per person). We then headed to Cafe Inspiration for some more yummy vegan food (a light dinner for two including drinks and tip for 26€) before getting back on the ferry to Helsinki.
Tallinn is definitely worth a visit – what a picturesque place!
HOW TO DO IT:
- Getting there: Helsinki and Tallinn are very close, so you can take one of the many ferries available. We chose Linda Line which seemed to have the fastest options (1h30 on the way there and about two hours on the way back). Prices can go up, so it’s best to book in advance (we paid about 40€ return per person). We left Helsinki on the 10am ferry and took the 8pm service on the way back, which gave us plenty of time to explore.
- Money: Tallinn is very cheap as compared to nearby Helsinki. Drinks at the Old Town for about 3-4€.
We decided to take advantage of the bank holiday and go to Helsinki. We arrived quite late on the Friday, so we decided to stay at Glo, a hotel conveniently located inside the airport terminal.
In the morning we headed to the city centre. We visited the popular Market Square across the harbour. Nearby is the Design District, full of cool (but expensive) shops. There are a few Marimekko shops too, with its amazing prints and all sorts of objects (again too expensive).
We stopped at Pizzarium, a great place for a quick lunch – they had many options of veggie and vegan pizzas (lunch for two for 15€).
After stopping at our flat for a bit, we decided to go to Kallio for the evening as we had heard good things about it. We had a drink at Oiva, a karaoke bar; then we headed to Siltanen, a great place where all the cool kids hang out listening to DJs, drinking and eating Asian food.
Our final stop for the night was Pub 3 Linja, a local pub that was probably not used to receiving many tourists as we got a lot of local attention. This was by far the cheapest place we found, with beer for 4€.
On our second day in Helsinki we left our flat and walked south to Kaivopuisto park. It was a hot sunny day, so it was perfect for lounging about in the sunshine before heading to the airport.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Go: We flew with Norwegian from Gatwick on a Friday after work. The trip takes 2h30 and tickets cost around £90 return.
- Stay: We arrived quite late, so we decided to stay at airport hotel Glo. This was a great decision as the place is located within the airport terminal and it is very good. We paid £93 for two including breakfast. In Helsinki we stayed at an Airbnb flat which I definitely wouldn’t recommend. But there are lots of other Airbnb options for around £50 per night.
- Food: Finnish food isn’t particularly veggie but most places had some options clearly labelled. Helsinki has lots of international restaurants, so it’s very easy to find good alternatives.
- Drink: We found lots of places offering a wide range of local and craft beers. These were generally very nice, but prices can be a bit steep, with bottles costing around 6€.
- Money: Helsinki is not as expensive as some other Scandinavian capitals, but it’s still more expensive than most European cities.
- Transportation: Most places in Helsinki are within walking distance from the city centre. Alternatively, the metro is easy to navigate (tickets cost 2.70€) and there are also lots of trams available. The fast train from the airport to the Central Station takes 30 minutes and runs every 10 minutes throughout the day. Tickets cost 5.50€ and can be bought in ticket machines or aboard the train.