Helsinki tours and excursions
Helsinki Expert, Lönnrotinkatu 7B, offers a variety of tours around Helsinki, including a two-hour guided city walk focusing on Finnish design. You can book at the City of Helsinki Tourist Office and Hotel Booking Centre at the railway station.Tel: (09) 2288 1222.
Year-round sightseeing bus tours of Helsinki are available from Helsinki Expert, Lönnrotinkatu 7B. Options include a one-hour-and-a-half audio tour with a pre-recorded commentary in 12 different languages, and a one-hour-and-45-minute tour with a live commentary in English and Swedish. Extra tours run in the summer months.Tel: (09) 2288 1222.
Royal Line and Sun Lines offer 90-minute cruises around the islands and inlets surrounding Helsinki harbour, with food and refreshments, starting from the quayside in front of Kauppatori. With more time to spare, consider the boat trip to Suomenlinna sea fortress.Tel: 020 711 8333 ; 020 741 8210.
Imagine an undulating landscape peppered with hills, valleys, lakes, tranquil villages and manor houses. Less than an hour's drive from Helsinki, Vihti offers a refreshing countryside break from the city and for those looking for rustic accommodation, there is a plethora of barns, loggers' cabins and lean-to shelters to stay in. Meanwhile, there are tons of activities: horse riding, golfing, gliding, snow mobiling, canoeing, cycling, hiking and cross country skiing.Website: http://www.vihti.fi
Hamina's unique circular-planned town is a boon for visitors - it's impossible to get lost. At the centre lies the Town Hall, visible from every street corner. An amazing star-shaped, 18th century fortress takes centre stage however featuring six bastions named after other Finnish cities. Parts of the structure today are still used by the military, while it also hosts the Hamina Tattoo, a military music event, held bi-annually in the city. Other places of interest include wooden houses, churches and museums plus fishing villages.Website: http://www.visithamina.fi
Rich in history, Porvoo's unique Old Town is less than an hour by bus from Helsinki. Framed by charming wooden houses, gardens, boutiques and cobbled streets, it is enchanting all year around. In summer, enjoy cruises in the archipelago, guided walks and plundering little markets and boutiques. Good restaurants and atmospheric cafes mean there are plenty of places to rest your feet. During the winter, the town comes alive with Christmas markets and concerts.Website: http://www.visitporvoo.fi
About 4km west of Helsinki's city centre, the peaceful island of Seurasaari is an open-air museum of traditional Finnish life. The island is dotted with 18th- and 19th-century houses and wooden farm buildings, relocated to Seurasaari from around the country, alongside the wooden Karuna Church, constructed in 1686. Guides in period costume demonstrate traditional crafts and folk dances, but the museum has been open for more than a century, and the experience is informative and actually rather charming. A bridge links the island to the mainland, and bus 24 and tram 4 run here from Erottaja.Tel: 4012 86374.