Helsinki to Tallinn by Ferry

A visit to Helsinki and the points of interest including 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) before taking the ferry to Tallinn

What to see and photograph in Helsinki

Helsinki is the capital city of Finland which is located in Scandinavia.  In Helsinki you’ll find plenty to see and do including;

  • 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)

Similarly to all of Scandinavia, hotels in Helsinki can be incredibly expensive.  Definitely check out prices on Airbnb.

Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral and the Helsinki skyline, Finland

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.

Suomenlinna (UNESCO site)

Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland

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 on foot to find the best place to take photos!

National Theater, Railway Square

National Theatre, Railway Square, Helsinki

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, especially  the Helsinki National Theater.  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!

How to get from Helsinki to Tallinn by ferry

Passenger Ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn

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 and costs about €15.  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 another country to your list, then a visit to St Petersburg will be perfect for you.  You need to plan it well with the cruise ship times though.

Tallinn to Helsinki

2018-03-31T07:30:19+00:00December 20th, 2016|Finland, Northern Europe|11 Comments


  1. Punita Malhotra February 17, 2017 at 4:14 am - Reply

    2 hours on that cruise ship seems like a good way to get across…Tallin is on my list and thanks to your post, I have some more information in my databank now.

  2. Bhushavali February 17, 2017 at 6:33 am - Reply

    Oh Hell!!! Why did I miss Finland when I was in Europe???!!!! How the hell did I not know of Suomenlinna UNESCO Site??!!! Too bad, I missed it!!! I really really hope I’ll get another chance in Europe…

  3. neha February 17, 2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Just 2 hours on that cruise ship and you reach another land!! Wonderful. Helsinki seems to have so many things to do. By the way, noticed from your pic, it has something like the london eye. What is it called?

  4. Elena February 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    I want to visit Finland so bad! I think I will have the time of my life when I finally get there! By the way, I didn’t know that it is possible to visit St Petersburg without a visa if you’re there for a short period of time. It goes for other cities in Russia too?

    • James Smith February 17, 2017 at 6:39 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately it’s just for St Petersburg and only when arriving on the ferry company I mentioned.

  5. SindhuMurthy February 17, 2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    I have always dreamt of visiting Finland in deep winter to enjoy snow trek and the amazing views it has to offer when everything is so white. After reading your post, I learned that Finland is beautiful even when there is no snow. I would love to explore the world heritage site .

  6. Clare February 17, 2017 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    I visited Finland in late september last year and wasn’t prepared for how cold it would be. I had only taken a fleece and no coat!! I did the trip to the fortress, it was amazing to walk around but I was so cold and constantly looking for shelter from the wind. It’s a great city though and I did enjoy my visit there from Tallin.

  7. kathy February 18, 2017 at 12:45 am - Reply

    I love Helsinki, it is such a lovely city and full of friendly people. I have visited twice, once in summer and once in winter. I was planning on taking a trip to St Peterburg but ended up taking an epic road trip north.
    The ice skating near the train station was really fun. I think that next time I visit I will head into Russia for a visa free trip and then take the boat over to Tallinn to the rest of Europe

  8. Swati & Sam February 18, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

    Helsinki is a such a beautiful place. Would love to visit this place during winters. The photo of the castle in the background looks amazing. We are so interested to visit the igloo hotels as well. That’s a great tip to visit three countries at one go. 😉

  9. Isabel February 22, 2017 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Short and sweet! I like how you summarised the main attractions of Helsinki. I ought to visit that place soon!

  10. Paula - Gone with the Wine July 3, 2017 at 1:06 am - Reply

    I hope you enjoyed my home country. Hopefully you get to visit during summer time next time and enjoy the midnight sun. Taking a ferry to neighbouring countries is definitely always fun!

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