While most people go to Tallinn for one day from out Helsinki, I did it the other way around. I booked a stay of three days in Tallinn, but because that is a relatively small city I decided to spend one of those days in Helsinki. So that sunday, when I was in Tallinn, I took the ferry to Helsinki for a day and returned the same night back to Tallinn. Now I know that it is pretty impossible to see everything there is to see in Helsinki in just one day, but surprisingly enough I managed to see a lot of things I wanted to see! Seeing the highlights of Helsinki – including a couple of museums – is perfectly doable in one day, even though that means that you won’t see the rest of Helsinki. In this article I am going to show you how I filled my day in Helsinki. Now I am not going to say that you should follow this itinerary exactly ’cause I’m sure that I have forgotten something or skipped some hotspots that other people think I definitely shouldn’t have missed. But I’m sure this post will inspire your planning for a day in Helsinki!
I left Tallinn at 8:00 in the early morning (yes, for me this is early) with the ferry to Helsinki. Maybe you’ll start your day the same or you come from another location or city.. maybe even from a cruiseship. But one thing is sure: you’ll have to start your day early to use it properly.
I arrived in Helsinki at 10:40 and with a short walk from the harbor to the city I would say it was around 11:00 when I arrived in the city, and found myself a map at the tourist center. So at 11:00 my day in Helsinki officially started.
11: 00 – 12:30
Between 11:00 and 12:30 I walked around through the main city center, and through the main city streets. I also entered a sports shop to buy myself some new Nikes – no better way to start your day than shopping – and had some lunch at the Forum shopping center.
12:30 – 13:30
I left the forum and walked from highlight to highlight, I saw a couple of churches, walked through some streets somewhat further out the main area and found a way back to the observatory of Helsinki. Someone told me that there are sometimes pretty cool exhibitions at the observatory so because of that I wanted to take a look at it. I actually couldn’t find something interesting so I left the observatory.
14:30 – 15:00
From out the observatory I found my way to the museum Sinebrychoff Art Museum which I thought would be interesting. So I entered the museum and stayed there for an hour. After leaving the museum I took a quick stroll through the Sinebrychoff Park (which apparently is the park for the ‘hipster crowd’ of Helsinki) and left.
15:00 – 16:00
After seeing the museum – which I didn’t find that impressive actually – I walked back to the city center again, walking through some more streets – making sure I wasn’t forgetting something. I also went to the Kumu museum, which I wanted to enter, but unfortunately it was closed due to renovations. So I walked to the Ateneum Art Museum Of Helsinki instead, where they had an exhibition about Sibelius – a Finnish composer.
16:00 – 17:00
I arrived at the Ateneum Art Museum just an hour before they closed.. seems tight I know, but some of the museum staff told me it was perfectly doable to see the museum in an hour and so I bought myself a ticket. At precisely 17:00 I saw everything there was to see and got kicked out of the museum because they were closing.
Between 17:00 and 18:00 I walked to the Helsinki Cathedral and surrounding streets and after that to the Oespenski Cathedral –and of course surrounding streets
18:00 – 19:00
Around 18:00 I got hungry and started looking for a restaurant. It took me way too long though to find a good restaurant that offered both cheap and vegetarian meals so I decided to head to the McDonalds and stayed there till seven enjoying my fries and an ice-cream;-). When I finished my delicious fries I made my way back to the harbor to departure for Tallinn at 19:40. I returned at 22:30 safely at the harbor of Tallinn and with that my day of Helsinki was officially over.