What’s the best day trip from Helsinki?

Nirvana Bhatia

If you’re longing to spend more time out on the water, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors recommend boarding a ferry for Tallinn, Estonia; prepare to be delighted by this Baltic capital’s winding Old Town. After a few hours of visiting the soaring churches and posing by the panoramic views on Toompea Hill, head to Elevant, a unique Indian-Estonian fusion restaurant that serves tangy wild boar curries and moose kebabs. After a bit of shopping, stop for a latte and chocolate truffle at Kehrwieder Café in Raekoja Plats before jumping back on the ferry in time for a stunning sunset over the sea. Several tour operators in Helsinki offer packaged excursions to Tallinn, but most of the ferry companies also have special rates for day trips if you’d rather set your own agenda.

  • On December 19, 2013
    Pascal Gaudio answered the question: Pascal Gaudio

    Where is the best shopping in Helsinki?

    Kimmo Brandt / Helsinki City Media Bank Especially during Christmas time, Helsinki spoils you with shopping opportunities.

    Beside world renowned bran shops such as Louis Vuitton, Marimekko and Iittala just to name a few, you can find gift ideas, treats, souvenirs and high quality design items from all over Finland at Christmas World & Christmas markets.

    Altogether Christmas World has 24 market stalls selling high-quality textiles, delicious seasonal treats and gifts. You can visit Santa Claus in his own cosy cabin, where you can have your photo taken and write in his guestbook.

    Helsinki has numerous Christmas markets offering great gift ideas souvenirs, seasonal specialities throughout the city. The biggest Christmas markets are the St. Thomas Christmas Market in Senate Square, the Ladies’ Christmas Market at Wanha Satama in Katajanokka, the Old Student House Christmas Market at Vanha Ylioppilastalo opposite Stockmann’s and Ornamo’s Design Christmas Market.
  • On September 19, 2013
    Pascal Gaudio answered the question: Pascal Gaudio

    What are the best places for hockey in Helsinki?

    Finland is a must destination for any ice hockey fan. Helsinki alone has two teams playing in the national league: founded in 1897 the HIFK team playing in the small with only 8200 seats but atmospheric Helsinki Ice Hall and founded in 1967 the JOKERIT team playing in the modern Hartwall Areena with 13349 seats. Beside a match of NHL calibre, you will witness a real crowd war wearing their favourite team colours and fighting with partisan songs. 
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What is the Design Museum like in Helsinki?

    Deeply entrenched in Finnish culture is design, some of it practical, some of it not so practical but always distinguishable for its simplicity and shape.

    The permanent exhibition at the Design Museum has an impressive collection of items designed by noteworthy names from the 19thC to the present day. Fiskars scissors are not only attractive but also some of the best on the market, Eero Aarnio’s bubble chair is fun to look at, tactile in its shape and comfy to sit in, Richard Lindh’s Solifer scooter/motorbike from 1960 personifies retro with its rounded blue shape. Not only is this exhibition about beautiful things to look at but it also gives an indication of how life in Finland has changed over the past 200 years.

    Celebrating its 140 years of existence, a special exhibit called Parallel Histories is currently running with some top level international designs from Finland arranged thematically according to perspectives of otherness, sexuality, failure, gender, power and other thought provoking issues. The magnificence of Arabia glass and ceramic ware is in the spotlight of this 140-anniversary exhibition as is the Habitare collection showcasing interiors and furniture.

    Contributions to the Let’s Build the City project are highlighted by a children’s plan to build a garden in the courtyard of the museum. Let’s Build a Garden invites kids to cultivate all things edible – vegetables, plants, flowers and herbs over the summer months.
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  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the most romantic restaurants in Helsinki?

    The fairytale island of Katajanokka right in the heart of Helsinki is where you’ll find Nokka. Distinctive in its maritime atmosphere, it’s housed in what used to be a redbrick warehouse, beautifully converted and right on the seashore. You can’t miss it for the huge anchor displayed outside. Sit at the water’s edge in the open air, or cosy up inside, the mood is all about romance. Head chef Ari Ruoho has created a menu using the best of local ingredients. Try the Helsinki Menu which consists of bream from the Baltic, smoked and served with dill cucumber and rye, lamb from Bovik with thyme sauce, Finnish cheese and organic strawberries.

    In another glorious area called Kruununhaka where Jugend and Classic architecture stand side by side, is Restaurant Ask. It’s small, it’s intimate and it requires a booking if you want to make sure to get a table. Small farmers and producers are the source of inspiration for Filip and Linda who own the restaurant, cook the food and serve it together with their trusty team. Most products are organic except for the wild and foraged ones and the menu is dependent on what is now, what is fresh and what the chefs feel like creating on that specific day. Closed for July.

    What could be more romantic than an island setting, a short ferry ride from the mainland with your table set on primary rock with a expansive view of the sea? On the island of Sirpalesaari, there’s Restaurant Saari with its intimate, homely atmosphere inside and seating space outside, depending on the weather. Sit next to the porthole-style window and order some fish delicacies including slightly salted salmon with pine tar syrup followed by beef fillet on dark shallot sauce only to finish with a pancake with rhubarb, strawberries and Finnish ice cream.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best stores on Aleksi Street in Helsinki?

    Stockmann’s has pride of place at the beginning of Aleksanterinkatu or Aleksi Street as we fondly call it. It’s our version of Harrod’s in London and it’s got a deli that rivals it any day with huge varieties of local and imported fish, fresh meat and marinades that make your mouth water. But that’s not all. There’s a superb display of Finnish design all of which you can purchase of course and the international couturiers are well represented.

    Monki’s ethics are sound – the group cares about who makes the clothing and what happens to our planet. The range includes easy to wear, loose-fitting funky dresses, coats, shoes, accessories and are pretty much aimed at the more youthful amongst us.

    For out of the ordinary, unique, colourful and truly Finnish, go for Minna Parikka’s shoe shop. Transparent heels carry the platforms, femininity and elegance is the norm, shape is highlighted and you can wear her shoes everywhere from the office to the beach.

    My O My comprises hand-picked pieces of clothing and shoes from the likes of Tsumori Chisato, Stella McCartney, Henrik Vibskoy and Nanamica for men. Each item stands out, the buyers are clever in their selection and you have to exclaim with delight when you see what they’ve got.

    For the hardcore there’s G-Star Raw and Superdry Store for the dress-down, street wear look, both carrying jeans and plaids, leather jackets and boots and of course it’s for both the guys and ladies.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best kid-friendly restaurants in Helsinki?

    You will be hard pushed to find a restaurant in Helsinki that does not have a high chair to pop your baby into or a waiter that will not willingly heat up your jar of baby food. Generally, restaurants are more than happy to provide the young ‘uns with half portions of whatever’s on the menu and quite a few hotel bistros even let them eat free as long as they’re accompanied by adults who are also partaking of a meal. These include the Bistro at Kämp Hotel as well as all Sokos Hotels.

    The usual greasy spoons that you might find at amusement parks have been replaced by high quality fare provided by various top Finnish chefs at Linnanmäki. These include some Michelin star restaurants like Demo with chef Tommi Tuominen’s clever meatball bar called Kuula, Postres who serve up Meditteranean cuisine at Coccola and Hans Välimäki, from Chez Dominique fame, whose North American food will amaze you. There’s sushi, Finnish and of course a buffet to delight kids and adults alike and may I add that none of these will break the bank.

    Theme restaurants are fun and Harald The Viking is just such a place. Be served by buxom maidens in traditional dress, sit in a Viking boat and eat and drink from boards and crockery from the olden days. The Hard Rock Café’s smokehouse sandwiches and legendary burgers are just the thing for fussy teenagers while the music keeps them rocking and bopping.
  • On July 29, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best stores for designer clothes in Helsinki?

    Making their mark firmly in the world of fashion are some hot, young talents from Finland.

    Samu-Jussi Koski is the creative mind behind Samuji on Northern Esplanade. His designs are simple yet chic, girly, feminine and intriguing. Changing Patterns is the title his summer collection and he’s not afraid to use models that are real and don’t make the rest of us feel like going on a starvation diet.

    Acolyth on Iso Roobertin Street has a collection for both men and women. The curved lines are elegant and comfortable, clothes to be worn at the office, lounging at home or going out to dinner. They’re timeless.

    Asuna carries an impressive line of clothing for women with strong Finnish designers such as Anna Ruohonen as well as international names like Commes des Garcon, Linda Toye and Eley Kishimoto. Not a hint of overdressing can be seen in the no-nonsense collection of plain colours and comfort garments. Visit the store at Frederikinkatu 24.

    Separating a lady from her shoes can be dangerous. Watch out for Minna Parikka on Aleksanterin Street. She stands tall among the best of the best in shoe design. Feminine with an input of quirky, always striking.
  • On July 23, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best free museums in Helsinki?

    All Helsinki city museums are free of charge and there are 7 to choose from. Hugely popular amongst the kids is Sederholm House, one of the oldest buildings still left standing. Children’s Town allows young and old to play in the shops, sit at a school desk from the 1930’s, scribble on a writing slate and visit Grandma’s 1970’s home. Discover your inner child and join in the fun.

    The Worker Housing Museum depicts living conditions of the employees of the city as it was in the 20thC. The tiny ‘stove rooms’ are authentic in every way and gives us an indication of furnishings and decorations. A short bus ride out of the city takes you to Tuomarinkylä Manor House, pure style in its architecture, it is situated in the beautiful grounds of the riding stables next door. The Elegance Exhibition introduces us to a range of styles from baroque to functionalism. Pop in to the restaurant next door. The food is outrageously good. For all the museums, see http://www.hel.fi/hki/Museo/en/Museums+-+Exhibitions.

    Helsinki University Museum incorporates the museums of Medical History, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry and the Collections of Craft Science.
    Learn more about the administration of the university from Russian and Swedish times to the time after Independence. See the writing case of embroidered silk designed by Helena Westermarck which was presented at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900. The Bank of Finland museum is also free of charge. Follow the route of the old Finnish Markka to Finland’s involvement in the European Economic Community.

    Many art and history museums have free opening times. The Sinebrychoff Museums with its imposing collection of Dutch masters can be visited free of charge on the first Wednesday of every month from 5pm till 8pm. See the Natural History Museum on the first Thursday of every month from 4pm till 6pm (3pm till 5pm in summer), the National Museum every Friday from 4pm till 6pm, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Design first Friday of the month from 5pm till 8.30pm to name but a few. Give them a call, you might get lucky.
  • On July 10, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best farmers markets in Helsinki?

    You want fresh, you got it! Most outdoor markets open at around 8 am and close at 6 pm in the summer, 2 pm in the winter.

    Hakaniemi Market is a hop and a skip away from the centre but worth the short tram trip with its array of fresh fruit, vegetables, potato trucks, flowers, baked goods, cheese, fish and meat. Prices are a little lower than anywhere else and the quality is up there amongst the best.

    The Market Square downtown is filled with orange and white tents, each vendor selling their selection of fresh goodies. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries are in abundance as are the boats that arrive early in the morning from the archipelago with their freshly smoked fish.

    The old abbatoir has been given a foody facelift with exciting restaurants and shops and puts on a pop up organic, locally produced farmers’ market once a month. There’re chillies, cheese and homemade breads and of course veg and fruit. Check out their Facebook pages for more info: https://www.facebook.com/Maalaistentori

    Not exactly a market but offering a fantastic range of locally produced cheese, breads, beverages, jams and other delicious delicacies from Finnish farms, is Maatilatori in Kluuvi Shopping Centre. You simply can’t walk out empty handed, it’s a great gift shop for your family and friends back home.
  • On July 10, 2013
    Violetta Teetor answered the question: Violetta Teetor

    What are the best farmers markets in Helsinki?

    You want fresh, you got it! Most outdoor markets open at around 8 am and close at 6 pm in the summer, 2 pm in the winter.

    Hakaniemi Market is a hop and a skip away from the centre but worth the short tram trip with its array of fresh fruit, vegetables, potato trucks, flowers, baked goods, cheese, fish and meat. Prices are a little lower than anywhere else and the quality is up there amongst the best.

    The Market Square downtown is filled with orange and white tents, each vendor selling their selection of fresh goodies. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries are in abundance as are the boats that arrive early in the morning from the archipelago with their freshly smoked fish.

    The old abbatoir has been given a foody facelift with exciting restaurants and shops and puts on a pop up organic, locally produced farmers’ market once a month. There’re chillies, cheese and homemade breads and of course veg and fruit. Check out their Facebook pages for more info: https://www.facebook.com/Maalaistentori

    Not exactly a market but offering a fantastic range of locally produced cheese, breads, beverages, jams and other delicious delicacies from Finnish farms, is Maatilatori in Kluuvi Shopping Centre. You simply can’t walk out empty handed, it’s a great gift shop for your family and friends back home.
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