Helsinki – Cathedral & Suomenlinna

I have wanted to visit Helsinki for a while and was initially planning to check it out when on my Scandi trip but due to time couldn’t. As soon as some cheap flights appeared on Finnair I persuaded my friend Lizzy to head there with me for a weekend getaway. We booked a cheerful airbnb and things were set. Finland and Helsinki are very good to travellers like us as everyone speaks English and everything is signed and easy to navigate. From the few days we were there I fell in love with the people, the general atmosphere of the place and also the calmness.

For the start of our trip we walked through the city to possibly the most iconic building on the Helsinki skyline – the Helsinki Cathedral. There are a bunch of churches and cathedrals in the city but this one is the pinnacle of keychains and magnets. It is at the centre of Senate Square, a popular meeting point for residents to host rallies, get togethers and generally hang out. The cathedral is in a neoclassical style and the choice of white and green makes it a really stand out building, you can spot the green dome from miles away. Unfortunately we couldn’t go inside but just seeing how grand it looked was enough. The surrounding streets have a few cafes but are mainly office and residential based. There is another cathedral around the corner called Uspenski that shows the impact of Russia in Finland. The red brick and golden roof is very different to what you’d consider regular Finnish design.

One of the best places to grab souvenirs, groceries and lunch treats is Market Square. The name is very original, would you believe a market happens here? Come and check out the different stalls from hats with the Finnish flag on to magnets with the Finnish flag on. There’s also a selection of grocery stalls to grab your lingonberries and reindeer meat. We arrived as the stalls were setting up but if you aim for midday I’m sure things are more alive and kicking.

From Market Square you can get a ferry to Suomenlinna that takes about fifteen minutes. It’s a series of inhabited islands that used to be a fortress but still with some of the old remains including tunnels and cannons. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon exploring, picnicing and soaking – in fresh air or the water. I really loved the terrain of the edges with the rock pools, I got big Cornwall flashbacks. We saw people jogging, playing football and even drinking on the different grassy hills. Of course you can also check out the different buildings on the fortress from the church (that doubled up as a lighthouse) and the dry dock. If you read my post on the Boston Islands, it’s definitely a similar vibe here.


For a city status, Helsinki feels like a charming village. There aren’t any real skyscrapers or influx of people in suits. It is quite small but that’s what I find most appealing. The locals seemed to know one another and they were happy going about their day to day.


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Day Out - Aphrodite's Rock

Paphos - Castle & Sights

Day Out - Cinque Terre

Florence - Duomo & David

Day Out - Leaning Tower of Pisa

Day Out - Mayfield Lavender Farm

Taipei - Jiufen and Yehliu GeoPark

Taipei - 101

Yangshou - Li River

Day Out - Longji Rice Terraces

Guilin - Sun & Moon Pagodas

Shanghai - Bund and Temples

Xi'an - Terracotta Army

Day Out - Great Wall of China

Beijing - Temple of Heaven

Beijing - Tiananmen and Forbidden City

Helsinki - Seurasaari

Helsinki - Cathedral & Suomenlinna

Day Out - Lantern Festival London

Vatican City - Peter and the Pope

Day Out - Pompeii

Rome 2 - Colosseum and Forum

Rome - Food, Trevi and Pantheon

Madrid - Bear and Tree

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AVE Renfe Train Review

Day Out - La Tomatina

Valencia - Aquarium & Gulliver

Air Europa Review

Adventure - Scandinavia 2016

Bergen - Boats and Fish

Flåm - Hikes and Views

Oslo - Vikings and Ships

Oslo - Vigeland and Ski Jump

Stockholm - Abba & Meatballs

Copenhagen - Land

Copenhagen - Water

Day Out - Frederiksborg Castle

Adventure - Israel 2016

Jerusalem - Places to eat and drink!

Jerusalem - Old City

Jerusalem - Museums and Markets

Day Out - Makhtesh Ramon

Tel Aviv - Places to eat and drink!

Tel Aviv - Outside the city

Tel Aviv - In the city

Day Out - Caesarea

Haifa - Places to eat and drink!

Haifa - Wadi Nisnas & Mount Carmel

Haifa - Bahai Gardens

Day in the Life - Tel Aviv

Day Out - Horashim Forest

#13 - Israel

Barcelona #2 - Montjuic & Barri Gotic

Barcelona #1 - Gaudi

Bristol - Things to eat and drink!

Bristol - Things to do and see!

Day Out - Sherwood Forest

#12 - Xmas

Day Out - Winterville London

Zurich - Outside the city

Zurich - In the city

Day Out - Harry Potter Studio Tour

Adventure - Japan 2015

Tokyo 2

Nara & Hiroshima



Kyoto 2


Tokyo & DisneySea


Boston Islands - What to see and do!

Boston - What to eat and drink!

Boston - What to see and do!

Seattle - What to see and do!

Adventure - British Columbia 2015

British Columbia 3 - Victoria

British Columbia 2 - Vancouver

British Columbia 1 - Whistler

Adventure - Alaska 2015

Juneau - Outside the city

Juneau - In the city

Whittier - Glaciers, Bears & Whales

Anchorage - Outside the city

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Denali - ATVs, Huskies and a Moose

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Little Rock - What to see and do!

Oklahoma City - What to see and do!

Kansas City - What to see and do!

St. Louis - What to see and do!

Memphis - What to see and do!

Great Smoky Mountains #2 - Hike and Fog

Great Smoky Mountains #1 - Bears & Dixie Stampede

Lake Erie Roadtrip #2 - Cleveland, Xmas and Rock & Roll

Lake Erie Roadtrip #1 - Toronto to Detroit

Fargo - What to see and do!

Reykjavik - Outside the city

Reykjavik - In the city

NYC Winter #2 - Markets, Lights and Trees

NYC Winter #1 - The Christmas Cluster

Day Out - The First Thanksgiving

New Orleans - What to see and do!

Montreal - Food Walking Tour

Montreal - Dos and Don'ts

Austin - What to eat and drink!

Austin - What to see and do!

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Bruges in a day

Brussels in a day

Lisbon Day #3 - Tiles and Trams

Lisbon Day #2 - We Hate Tourism and Sintra

Lisbon Day #1 - Parque das Nações

Mountain Roadtrip #6 - Potatoes, Temple and Pride

Mountain Roadtrip #5 - Deer, Lakes and Cowboys

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Mountain Roadtrip #1 - Denver, Snow and Red Rocks

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Las Vegas #2 - The Strip

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Balloon Roadtrip #2 - Flagstaff to Farmington

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