Arrival in Helsinki
Discovering the Finnish Capital – Culture, Nature, and Design
Day Trip to Picturesque Porvoo
Days 1 Through 3 – Helsinki & Porvoo | Click For Summary
Welcome to Helsinki, the capital of Finland – a bilingual country – where all street signs are written in Finnish and Swedish. Your friendly driver will meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel in the heart of this perfectly clean city, where design is king, nature is an integral part of life and culture and education are taken very seriously. The next day, join an expert local guide on a 3-hour tour along Helsinki’s major landmarks and spend the rest of the day exploring on your own. Your third day in Finland will take you on a private tour of picturesque Porvoo, an old Finnish town where you will be charmed by its many shops, cafes, and attractions.
Main attractions: Helsinki Senate Square, Temppeliaukion Church (excavated in a huge rock), Suomenlinna Fortress, Sibelius Monument, Upenski Cathedral, Porvoo Old Town
Guided activities: 3-hour Sightseeing tour Helsinki (walking or biking, small group or private); Day trip to Porvoo
Accommodations: Clarion Hotel Helsinki
Arrival in Turku, a “Capital of Culture”
Sights, Sounds & Flavors of Turku
Days 4, 5 - Turku | Click For Summary
A 2-hour train ride from Helsinki will deliver you to Turku, clearly a medieval European town. You see it in the riverfront, the market square, the castle, and the cathedral. Turku, a vibrant modern city of many events, proudly holds the title of European Capital of Culture- 2011. Along the Aura River – the Plough River – you can walk through medieval cobblestone streets. The river is the heart of the city. During the summer, the riverbanks come to life when people gather here to eat, drink, and listen to music. There are old sailing ships moored in the river, and you can take cruises out into the archipelago or to nearby Naantali. You can go on a guided tour with a local expert that will take you to the town’s main landmarks, and you will also have plenty of time to explore on your own.
Main attractions: Turku Castle, Forum Marinum maritime center and its museum ship fleet (including the full-rigger Suomen Joutsen), Pharmacy Museum, Qwensel House, Market Square, Turku Art Museum, Market Hall and the magnificent Main Library.
Guided activities: 2-hour Sightseeing tour Turku (walking, small group or private)
Accommodations: Park Hotel Turku
Arrival in Tampere – Industrial Beauty
Exploring Tampere’s Treasures
Days 6 Through 8 – Tampere | Click For Summary
Another short train ride, this time from Turku, takes you to the lovely town of Tampere, where the balance between “industrial” and “natural” is well preserved. A large city by Finnish standards, with more than 200,000 inhabitants, Tampere has managed to keep the small town feel. The city center is compact in size, and the atmosphere is friendly and casual. Tampere is located on a scenic spot on a narrow isthmus between two lakes. The Tammerkoski rapids and their riverbanks form the backdrop for old industrial buildings, and ridges formed thousands of years ago by ancient seas and retreating ice offer fantastic views over the two lakes. Original architecture and innovative urban development blend together to please both viewers and users of the built environment.
Your Finnish adventure ends with a train ride back to Helsinki.
Main attractions: Särkänniemi amusement park, Näsinneula observation tower, Tampere Planetarium, Tampere Aquarium
Guided activities: 2-hour Sightseeing tour Tampere (walking, small group or private)
Accommodations: Continental du Sud