Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Finland travel tips: Helsinki (Suomenlinna), Vantaa, Espoo

Stories / Cultural tourism / Finland

“The Greater Helsinki Area”. This is the name for the final chapter of the journey in Finland. Yes, we have reached the end of our journey in this country and we saved the best for last! The reason for naming it this way is that we are going to take a quick look at the two major municipalities, which make Helsinki big and as one.

Where: Helsinki, Finland
What:Travel Smart” series

Vantaa (or “Vanda” in Swedish) has great importance as part of the Greater Helsinki Area because of its Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport. Now it has its own commuter train line (the Ring Line) with the stop at the airport. If you look at the map, you can notice that it was designed to look like a shape of a heart. The airport is quite comfortable and offers a wide range of services, for instance, checking if your bag fits the allowable size and weight, but no wrapping up services, which can be extremely useful in certain situations. The two terminals are easy to find.

Airport station
Airport station
Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport
Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport

In addition, Vantaa has its major production district, which is called “Tikkurila” (“Dickursby” in Swedish) with a big train station. There is a Ring Road 3 nearby, which makes it quite convenient for the travelers to reach their destination.

Tikkurila train station
Tikkurila train station

If you follow the Ring Road 3, you will get to Espoo (“Esbo” in Swedish), another big municipality of the Greater Helsinki Area. It is famous for its nature, also University, and some world-famous companies, for instance, Rovio (which created Angry Birds).

Aalto University in Espoo
Aalto University in Espoo
Microsoft office (previously, Nokia) in Espoo
Microsoft office (previously, Nokia) in Espoo

Espoo has a beautiful shoreline and lots of green places. At this moment, it is considered as a VIP municipality, as the concentration of immigrants is the lowest in the area. Obviously, the Greater Helsinki Area is not limited by the three municipalities only, but Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa are the largest in the area.

SeaLife Helsinki
SeaLife Helsinki

Now we move back to the city of Helsinki (“Helsingfors” in Swedish) and explore a few more places. We start from the SeaLife, a nice and attractive oceanarium. It is located within the amusement park (mentioned in the first chapters of the journey in Helsinki). It is a really lovely place and worth visiting.

 St. John’s Church
St. John’s Church

There is one more place I would like to recommend, which is the St. John’s Church. It is located in the western part of Helsinki, i.e. quite close to the Olympia Terminal. The church is on Korkeavuorenkatu. There is a small park next to it. The name of the church derives from its old tradition of celebration of Juhannus, mid-summer event. I should say it is the most beautiful church in Finland, though it is not the largest and not the most well-known; find some time to see it.

Korkeasaari Zoo
Korkeasaari Zoo

Another lovely place for visiting would be the Zoo. It is located on the island. The feature of the island zoo is that some birds, which do not fly, walk around the island along with the visitors. You can see cute animals and also have something extreme, for instance, getting close to predators or smelling the odor of a skunk. Dedicate some time and have this place on your bucket list! The place is easy to find, it is the metro station "Kulosaari" ("Brändö" in Swedish). Then you can either walk or take a bus. But walking will be nice. Kulosaari is already an island; so to get to the zoo, you need to get to another one, and the next one will be your destination. You can also take a boat going to the island; everything is enjoyable. 

The lighthouse church (Suomenlinna fortress)
The lighthouse church (Suomenlinna fortress)

Finally, we are going to visit the place, which makes Helsinki so different from other towns of Finland, its fortress on an island. It is called “Suomenlinna” (“Sveåborg” in Swedish). There are four islands but only two large ones are the most interesting, but I would still recommend visiting all four. 

Suomenlinna fortress
Suomenlinna fortress

The church there is also a lighthouse, so you can see it in work at night. What comes to the fortress, it has some underground walkways with no light at all. They are also quite small, so if you are very tall and not feeling comfortable being in a place like that, please, avoid it; otherwise, I would strongly recommend this experience. 

Suomenlinna fortress
Suomenlinna fortress

There is a nice souvenir shop and a few museums on the main island, so you can always bring home some memory with you. Definitely, the Suomenlinna fortress will become the best ending of the journey in the city of Helsinki and in Finland, in general. Being the city (and the capital), as well as the country, by the sea, this island and fortress truly represent the spirit of the place. I wish you all to have this journey now for real and to experience the different sides of Finland. Our journey will be concluded by the follow-up review of Travel Smart Finland and then we are going to explore new destinations with new Travel Smart stories! Enjoy the experience and get ready for the final ride! 

Suomenlinna fortress
Suomenlinna fortress

Kirill “Traveler” Malyutin


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About Travel Smart series:
“Travel Smart” is a section, narrating about different countries and good travel tips, advised by the author, Kirill Malyutin. The series contains recommendations, including selected places to visit, character accommodation, and reasonable shopping. Simply get inspiration!
All stories of the series →  

О серии «Travel Smart»:
«Travel Smart» – раздел, в котором автор Кирилл Малютин рассказывает о разных странах и дает необходимые в путешествии советы. Серия включает в себя рекомендации по посещенным автором местам, характерным средствам размещения, а также разумному шопингу. Вдохновитесь приключением! 
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1 comment:

  1. I returned yesterday from a trip to Helsinki! I needed a translator and translated write my paper for me all my text and my speech quality

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