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About Helsinki

Surrounded by the sea and its own archipelago, Helsinki, the Finnish capital, retains its nautical feel with many sailing events during the summer. Exploring the fascinating sights of Helsinki, cruise guests will discover the city is also the country's main cultural focus, offering dance, ballet, opera, and other festivals.

The striking onion-shaped cupolas of the Uspensky Cathedral (modelled on the one in Odessa) are just one example of the Soviet influence on a country which achieved independence less than 100 years ago. Highlights of cruises to Helsinki also include some of the traditional Finnish building in the Senate Square and the North Harbour.

Helsinki is a compact city - 'a pocket-sized metropolis', as it was once described - so it is easy to get around, especially in the historical centre. Or you can take the touring 'pub tram' and drink in the views, including the colourful flower market near the harbourfront.

After months of dark, cold winter, it is hardly surprising that the Finns pull out all the stops to celebrate the genuine warmth of their summers with outdoor events all around the city such as the Coming of Spring, Midsummer, the Helsinki Festival, and the Annual Night of the Arts.

 

Shore excursions in Helsinki

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

A Taste of Finland

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

A scenic city tour followed by a Finnish food tasting at a local restaurant and free time to explore at your leisure.

Your scenic journey will take you from Helsinki’s bustling harbour, to its fascinating city centre. This unique city blends old, new, Eastern, and Western influences and yet maintains a distinctly Finnish flavour.

A panoramic drive will take you past the iconic Sibelius Monument, the modern opera house and the imposing Parliament House. During the drive your guide will bring the city’s history to life. Discover the influence of architect Carl Ludvig Engel, known as ‘the creator of neoclassical Helsinki’ as you view his Presidential Palace and City Hall. Admire the fine shops and open air restaurants of Esplanade Street, a local’s favourite.

Reaching Senate Square, it’s time to head to a local restaurant, where you will learn about Finnish food and have the chance to taste some local sweet and savoury delicacies such as smoked fish, cheese and a Finnish pastry.

Complete your tour with some free time to explore the square and nearby Market Square, before returning to your ship.

Beauty on Water

Activity lowShoppingFamily

Duration: 3 hours

Surrounding the city of Helsinki is an archipelago of beautiful green islands surrounded by blue seas.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a 1½-hour-long narrated cruise through the beautiful island-studded sea surrounding Helsinki. Begin by passing the old Yacht Club, a landmark of the city and view the diplomats’ area, located on a peninsula jutting into the sea. Continuing out to sea, you’ll cruise by the old Suomenlinna Fortress, built during Swedish rule to defend Helsinki from the Russians; today it serves as an outdoor museum. As you glide through the Finnish Archipelago, enjoy views of cottages, villas and waterfront saunas.

A stop will also be made at the open-air market, where you’ll have approximately 1 hour of free time to browse for souvenirs and local products.

Essential information

A coach will take you on the short journey from the pier to the landing area to board your sightseeing boat. Return to the ship will also be by coach. Operation of this tour is weather dependent. Numbers are strictly limited and early booking is recommended. There are a few steps to negotiate when embarking/disembarking the sightseeing boat. Refreshments can be purchased on board. If the Market Square is closed, an alternative shopping venue will be visited. The order of sites may vary.

Finnish Archipelago Escape

Activity highMeal included

Duration: 4 hours

Enjoy an exciting RIB ride, a nature walk, a taste of Finnish food and a traditional sauna in a beautiful setting.

Nature, wellbeing and a dash of adrenaline – this adventure has it all. Safety briefing over, it’s time to hold tight and feel the wind on your face as you escape into a coastal wilderness of over 170,000 islands. Soak up the scenery as your guide tells you about summer life in the cottages of the archipelago and the wildlife that surrounds you.

After about an hour on the water, you’ll reach the Norrkullalandet island for a tranquil nature walk as you discover more about the native plants and animals. You can tuck into a tasty ‘cottage’ lunch of local dishes, then there’s free time to saunter or swim. For a truly authentic Finnish experience, why not unwind in the sauna?

Finally, it’s time for the return trip on the RIB back to the city – an invigorating way to round off your archipelago escape.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by RIB and on foot. There is approximately 1 hour of walking on this tour. This tour is not suitable for those with injuries or conditions, which may be affected by the bumpy ride. Pregnant women and children under 12 may not participate. Survival suits are provided and must be worn. Please take waterproof footwear and warm clothing. This tour is dependent on weather conditions and may be cancelled at short notice. Please bring swimwear if you wish to use the sauna or swim.

Finnish Archipelago Escape

Free Time at 3 Sites

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 5 hours

The perfect way to explore Helsinki independently. Enjoy free time at 3 of the main visitor areas.

Once onboard your 3 stop transfer, you will be provided with a map of Helsinki, so you can plan your free time.

Venture into the heart of the city centre to indulge in a spot of retail therapy or visit the famous Temppeliaukio Church. ‘The Rock Church’, as it is more commonly known is an architectural masterpiece, the interior was excavated and built into the rock and the ceiling clad in copper.

At Sibelius Park, view the magnificent Sibelius Monument dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, which caused some controversy when it was first unveiled; the 600 hollow steel pipes in a wave-like pattern capture the spirit of Sibelius’s music. Enjoy some time to make your own mind up about this piece of abstract art.

Enjoy refreshments of tea and biscuits at a local hotel with a difference, formerly the local prison the historic building has now been converted into a modern hotel but has retained many of the original features which you will have a short time to ‘break out’ and explore.

Finally call at the thriving Market Square where you can discover a myriad of local produce and goods for sale or take a short walk to the neo-classical Senate Square with its elegant public buildings and imposing Lutheran Cathedral.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. A tour assistant will be on hand to provide practical information about where and when to meet for the onward transportation. Please note that the assistant is not a tour guide. The entrance fee for the ‘Rock Church’ is included in the cost of your tour, all other entrance fees are not included and are payable locally. A map of Helsinki will be provided. There is a 5 minute uphill walk to reach the ‘Rock Church’ from the drop off point. The order of stops may vary.

Helsinki & Tea Tasting – Small Tour

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 4 hours

See Helsinki’s most stunning sights on this panoramic tour, and enjoy a tasting of fresh Finnish teas and snacks.

Your scenic coach tour heads straight into the heart of Helsinki, pausing for photos at Senate Square, in the oldest part of the city. As you marvel at the neo-classical square, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, you’ll find that the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace and the main building of Helsinki University all provide wonderful backdrops for memorable holiday snaps.

Back on board your coach, you’ll pass the verdant Esplanade, before driving to Mannerheim Street, passing several historic buildings and parks which your guide will point out. You’ll also pass by idyllic Töölö Bay and the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, which hosted 70,000 spectators for the 1952 summer games.

Now, it’s time to experience the Finnish tea culture! What is a Finnish cup of tea like? How has the culture in Finland developed? What kind of local herbs and berries are used to make the deliciously healthy tea blend? At Forsmann, the largest tea store, factory and tea school in the northern countries, you’ll find out the answers to all these questions and more.

For 40 years, Forsmann has been a pioneer in crafting its own unique blends of high-quality, loose leaf tea. You’ll taste 5 varieties, along with some small sweet and salty local snacks.

Take some time to browse the factory shop to purchase souvenirs, before the return journey to the pier.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot There is minimal walking required on this tour.

 

A selection of cruises to Helsinki

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