Helsinki is the capital city of Finland which is located in Scandinavia and is part of the EU and Schengen community. Helsinki offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- Suomenlinna (views of Helsinki from the boat)
- Senate square and Helsinki cathedral
- Temppeliaukion church
- Seurasaari (An open air museum on an island)
- Uspenski cathedral
- Railway square and surrounding buildings
- Ateneum art museum
- Market square (near the boat to Suomenlinna)
The points of interest listed above are just the tip of the iceberg as far as Helsinki is concerned. It’s the capital city of Finland, there’s a lot going on! You’ll find lots of great places to photograph, I took the panoramic of the city from the boat coming back from Suomenlinna. If you’re going to Suomenlinna on the boat, then get up on top of the boat, even if it’s cold! It’ll be worth it. That’s Helsinki cathedral rising from the city.
To get to Suomenlinna you must take a boat which leave from Kauppatori regularly. Suomenlinna is a UNESCO world heritage site and the Suomenlinna website claims that a visit here is comparable to a visit to the great wall of China, the grand canyon or the Acropolis in Athens. I wouldn’t put it in the same bracket as these but it’s definitely worth a boat trip over from Helsinki.
In 1748 the Swedish ruled Finland, they built this fortress which was originally called Sveaborg or in Finnish, Viapori. In 1808 the Russians took over this part of the world and the Sveaborg fortress. It wasn’t until 1918, shortly after the independence of Finland that this island became part of Finland and renamed Suomenlinna which means castle of Finland.
For more information on the island, there is a free information leaflet on the boat and you can also visit the museums which are on the island.
I would say that the best way to photograph the fortress would be from above on a helicopter tour or with a drone camera. If you don’t have access to these then you’ll have to explore the island for the best place to take photos!
In winter, in Railway square, there is an ice rink which you can use to get great reflection photos of the buildings surrounding the square, the national theater in particular. You could also use it to go ice skating! Most of Helsinki’s points of interest are within walking distance of railway square. Something very unique which you’ll find in Helsinki is the rock church (Temppeliaukion church). Its a church built directly into a solid rock, you’ve got to see it to believe it!
From Helsinki port, which is a 20 minute walk from downtown Helsinki, you can take a passenger service on a cruise ship to Tallinn, Estonia. The crossing is 2 hours, I used the Tallink Silja line which has regular crossings. There are restaurants, a Burger King and a supermarket on-board as well as free WiFi.
I have to mention St Peter Line foot passenger service. If you use this service it’s possible to visit St Petersburg, Russia for up to 72 hours without a visa. If you’re in this part of Europe and want to add a country to your list, then a St Petersburg visit will be perfect for you. You need to plan it well with the cruise ship times though!