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.