A 4-day trip to Helsinki, Finland

I just did a 4-day trip to Helsinki, Finland. It’s a very pretty city. Ultra clean, friendly people and great food! I give it 5 out of 5!

Getting from the airport to the city

It was quick and easy getting through immigration at Helsinki airport, after arriving on a British Airways flight from London. It took about 15 minutes. It was quite a long walk though from the gate, through immigration and to the baggage carousel.

You can take a taxi or Uber from the airport to Helsinki city for around €40 (that’s AUD$70) — it will take about 25 minutes. But the smarter choice is to take the train to Helsinki Central Railway Station — it will take about 40 minutes.

The airport station is just a few minutes walk from the baggage carousel. It only costs €4.10 (AUD$7) each way. Download the HSL App to your phone (from your App Store), register your details, add your credit card, and then you can buy your ticket in the app the day you arrive.

Like most European cities, the transport network is broken down into zones. The airport is in zone C and Helsinki Central Railway Station is in zone A. So you need to buy a single ticket that covers travel zones ABC.

Screenshot of the buy a ticket screen in the Helsinki HSL app.
Open the app, and tap “Single ticket”
Screenshot of the buy a ticket screen in the Helsinki HSL app.
Then select travel zone ABC, start the ticket “now” (it lasts 90 minutes) and pay

Getting around Helsinki – walking & public transport

Helsinki is a very pedestrian friendly city. It’s very flat so it’s easy walking.

The city also has a great public transport system comprising metro/subway, trams and buses. They run at very frequent intervals and they are modern, safe and very clean. Just use Google Maps and its public transport feature to tell you where to get your next metro/tram/bus as well as live times so you know how long you have to wait (particularly helpful if traveling in winter). Again, using the HSL App, purchase a single ticket, or, better still, purchase a multi-day ticket. For travel in and around the city you only need a multi-day ticket that covers travel zones AB. For example, a 3-day ticket will cost €16 (AUD$28).

Screenshot of the buy a multi-day ticket screen in the Helsinki HSL app.
Choose how many days you want to buy. And you’ll only need Travel zone AB.

Where to eat

Having great food when I travel is very important. That doesn’t mean dining at fancy restaurants or only eating the “local” cuisine. Europe is such a melting pot of cultures, which means you can get great food from different countries.

Tip: at most cafes and regular restaurants you usually order and pay at the counter and take a number and then your order is brought to your table (i.e., generally no table service).

Here’s a few places I ate at:

Breakfast: Story Kamppi (https://kamppihelsinki.fi/en/retailer/story-0)

Location: on the very top floor of the shopping mall above the Kampin metro station (go right to the very top, to the level above the Muji store).

What I ate: I had a delicious eggs benedict, with a side salad and a side of avocado, orange juice and a tea. This cost me €25 (AUD$43). So it wasn’t cheap, but it was delicious food — very fresh tasting and great friendly service.

Photo of breakfast at Story Kamppi. Eggs benedict, side salad, avocado, orange juice.
Delicious! And a great view!

Lunch: Taqueria Lopez y Lopez (http://lopezylopez.fi)

Location: on the very top floor of the shopping mall above the Kampin metro station (go right to the very top, to the level above the Muji store).

What I ate: I had a delicious vegetarian flautas and a soft drink. This cost me €18.20 (AUD$32). The food tasted very fresh with authentic Mexican flavours. Even the American family sitting next to me were talking about how it tasted really good.

Photo of lunch at Taqueira Lopez y Lopez. Vegetarian flautas and a Coke zero.
Very authentic flavours!

Dinner: Viking Restaurant Harald (https://www.ravintolaharald.fi)

Location: opposite Helsinki Central Railway Station.

What I ate: I was expecting the restaurant to be quite kitsch and the food average, but it was quite the opposite! Although the restaurant had a viking theme, it was subtle and well done. And the food was excellent! There are a number of different set menus, as well as a la carte.

I had the “Voyage of Vinland” set menu which had a delicious salad starter (one of the best salads I’ve had in a while!), my main was chicken with potatoes, grilled goats cheese, vegetables and rhubarb jam and my dessert was chocolate cake. It was all presented very nicely and it was very delicious. I also had a soft drink (in a huge mug!) and a tea. It cost €49.60 (AUD$85).

Photo of the menu at Viking Restaurant Harald.
Photo of dinner (salad starter) at Viking Restaurant Harald.
The viking horns gave it a great atmosphere
Photo of dinner (chicken main course) at Viking Restaurant Harald.
This was delicious!
Photo of dinner (chocolate cake dessert) at Viking Restaurant Harald.
A great chocolate cake. Not overly sickly sweet. Delicious!

Fresh juice bar: Jungle Juice. They’re at various locations — often in metro stations. Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. A large juice cost €5.50 (AUD$9.50).

Things to see and do

Here’s a few places that I recommend you include on your sightseeing in Helsinki:

Kamppi Chapel: it’s also known as the “Chapel of Silence”. It’s a weird looking round structure located in the middle of Narrinkkatori Square. You wouldn’t know it’s a chapel from the outside. No holy events are held there (like baptisms or weddings), and the space is devoted to providing some peace and quiet. Entry is FREE.

Photo of Kamppi Chapel (elevated from nearby shopping mall).
Photo of inside Kamppi Chapel.
Photo of outside Kamppi Chapel.

Bad Bad Boy: this is a gigantic 8.5 metre tall statue commemorating the sneaky pees we’ve all had in our lives. Usually it’s urinating onto the ground but today it was snowing, so it wasn’t peeing, presumably because it might have frozen!

Photo of Bad Bad Boy statue.
Photo of Bad Bad Boy statue.

Temppeliaukio Church: this underground church is built right into the bedrock in the centre of Helsinki. The walls are exposed rock and sometimes water still seeps down the walls. Entry is €3 and you can pay with a credit card or cash.

Photo inside Temppeliaukio Church.
Photo inside Temppeliaukio Church.
Photo inside Temppeliaukio Church.

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