The month I spent in completing my Finland Travel Guide remains to be one of the most memorable moments of my life as far as traveling and tours are concerned. The fond memories I have for Finland is just incomparable to any another place that I have visited in Europe. I must admit that I had no clue of what to expect in my traveling plans, neither did I have any opinion of the place I was going to visit. But in my mind, I wanted to enjoy nature, to enjoy the freshness of it, bath in the sun and even dive in the water. This was what I wished for my vacation.
Not knowing how to go about it, I decided to make use of internet resources. I typed in the browser, “Finland Travel Guide”. Woo!! I guess what I stapled up was the exact match to what I was looking forward to. I came across places like; Turku, Rovaniemi Porvoo, Savonlinna, Kemi, Tampere, Aland Archipelago, and Finnish Lakeland.
Helsinki Travel Guide
I can vouch for Helsinki which I settled on as my number one choice as a tourist destination. Helsinki, Finland’s capital city, which is located in the south at the peninsula in the Gulf of Finland. The city plays host to the National Museum, in which the entire ancient to the modern history of the country is preserved. While here, you are sure to get a perfect tour of Ornate red-brick contemporary museum and the parliament of Finland.
The famous Uspenski Cathedral is also a magnificent site that I had an opportunity to visit. It is strategically located opposite the harbor, and any sailor, sea user or tourist at the beach cannot avoid seeing it. From my amazing tour of Helsinki, I decided to list ten attractive tour destinations that I thought you can also be inspired to check out while in Finland’s capital. In this Finland travel guide, I give you some of the best places that I went to, the things I saw and the foods I enjoyed eating during my trip to Finland.
Finland Travel Guide to Places to Visit
If your choice is Helsinki, then plan to visit the six museums that are spread out in a place called Suomenlinna. You get to buy your entry ticket just at the reception of each museum that you choose to visit. I discovered that the best time to go to the museums was in during the summer season. At this time, you can get a six-in-one ticket that allows you to visit all the six museums using one combined ticket.
Because I was out on a month long vacation and I wanted an adventure of a lifetime, I decided to tour all the six museums. My reason for visiting all the six apart from the Suomenlinna Museum is that the other five only open for visitation in summer.
This was my vacation on a summer, why on earth would I fail to utilize this time and see what is in all of them lest I wait for the next summer? I told myself that I wouldn’t waste the opportunity. My guide depicts what I saw in each of the six as follows.
a) Suomenlinna Museum
This is the major museum and remains open for visitation all year round. In my last summer tour of Helsinki, I noted that the management has clear schedules of the opening a closing times of the museum depending on the season. For instance, in the winter season, Suomenlinna Museum is opened from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm while from 2nd May to 30th September, the operation hours are from 10 am to 6 pm.
What struck me about this exhibition hall is the architecture that was employed in its design. It depicts a lot of consideration for persons living with locomotion disability. There is a ramp for wheelchairs as well as an automated lift for accessing the upper floor.
Suomenlinna Museum is dedicated to showcasing Finland’s history that spans for close to a quarter century. Through a touch-screen operated picture books, I got a chance to learn a lot about the rich history of the country. The tour guides therein explained to me the historical events surrounding the fortress including the culture of the inhabitants of Suomenlinna.
The Love of Antiquities
As a lover of antique items, I couldn’t avoid admiring the mounted exhibitions of ancient tools, weaponry and home utensils on display. The friendly tour museum attendant narrated to me that the items had been rescued from ruins and archeological sites around the metropolis.
Due to the old age, the castle-like museum was at some point renovated to give it the current beautiful face. I was able to see the images of how the restoration works were conducted. If you want to see these, be sure to go up the upper floor which also exhibits the annual events at the Suomenlinna Museum.
I enjoyed the well-programmed short film that documents the history of Suomenlinna. The films are aired in the auditorium after every thirty minutes. The commentaries are in; Finnish, Swedish, English, German, French, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese to cater to people from diverse backgrounds that come to visit the Suomenlinna Museum.
b) Ehrensvärd Museum
This museum is named after the building’s founder Augustin Ehrensvärd. I spent my first afternoon in this castle where officials informed that the neighborhood was the official residence of the fortress’s commandants. It was fascinating to learn that the items therein date to as back to the 1760s. I had a chance to get hold of some of the Gustavian furniture, weapons, portraits, and paintings as well as a wide collection of the miniature.
c) Military Museum’s Manege
This sport is exclusively for exhibiting Finland’s military life, paraphernalia, and history of important events of the army. I learned that the exhibitions focus on the four wars that Finland was engaged in. An official here said that the museum summaries a decade of Finland’s history of war and peace. I was enlightened about the war of independence, the 1919 civil war, the winter war of 1939 to 1940 and finally the Lapland War of 1944–1945.
d) Customs Museum
It is found at Susisaari Island. I had to set aside a full day for this because apart from just visiting the museum, I wanted to feel the ambiance of the island on which it is located.
By this time, I had made a few friends from the previous day while at the Military Museum. Together, we climbed the steps at the entrance of the hall and were pleased to hear that it did not charge any entrance fees. What a sigh of relief! The reception desk narrated that the museum showcases the history of customs and smuggling in Finland. From the smuggling tales I heard, I came to the conclusion that it must have been the reason why the museum was set up in the high seas.
e) Submarine Vesikko
Among the museums that I toured, I realized that submarine Vesikko was somehow crowded with visitors. It is popular among locals and thus attracts many tourists. The place is associated with the Second World War. It is actually a restored submarine vessel.
Anyone perusing through a Finland tour guide ought to earmark the submarine Vesikko as a MUST visit destination. It gives you a connection to the happenings of wars in the high seas. Visiting the museum is in its own a form of physical exercise because there are no lifts but stairs. I used the same ticket that I bought at Military Museums Manege which is closely located to one another.
f) Toy Museum
Finally, let me introduce the powder-colored wooden villa. This has been named the toy house because it holds a collection of thousands of Wartime toys, old dolls and vintage teddy bears that were collected from way back in the 19th century.
This is a perfect place to tour with your kids for leisure. I was amazed by the nicely made flower pots, colorful paint works on the outside walls, and the eatery that is located just next to the entrance. I was tempted to taste the Runeberg Torte. These are small circular rum cakes with icing and jam on top, which I bought at the Café Samovarbar.
Finland Travel Guide to Tasty Foods
Food To Try
The taste of the Runeberg Torte that I ate while visiting and seeing remarkable vintages in the museums triggered my appetite for more. The following are nine local and international cuisines that every tourist to Helsinki should sample as well.
This is a Finish name for cabbage rolls. They are a blend of beef, onions, and assorted spices rolled cabbage leaves. My vacation times in Finland made me understand that Kaalikääryleet is one of those dishes that complete a tourist’s trip to Finland. You definitely will have to return for more once you take your first bite out of it.
b) Pea Soup
Out of curiosity, I asked what the green colored soup was made of. As the name suggests, cooked peas are pounded to make the soup. The delicacy is served along with Finish cake as a dessert. The soup has really been entrenched in the Finish culture to the extent that it is mostly eaten on Thursdays. For my case, I preferred taking it with rye bread.
c) Baltic Herring
The Baltic herring fish is famous in Finland because of its widespread availability in the nearby Baltic Sea. I was informed that feasting on the fish comes to its peak during the Baltic herring festival that is held in October each year. When it came to the Baltic herring fish I wanted to eat it along with what was somehow familiar with. I chose to munch the wet stew fish with roasted Irish potatoes.
This is actually sausages that have been grilled. I appreciated the richness of culture in Helsinki. It is so normal to find roadside open grills dedicated to grilling sausages. You can choose to buy your sausages from the supermarket and bring them along for grilling by yourself in any open roadside grill. You can alternatively buy already grilled ones from the street vendors.
Bread rolls that are iced and usually served with tea. I did not find a big deal in enjoying these buns because they are less similar to donuts. However, in Helsinki, they come with some cinnamon flavor which makes eating them a remarkable affair.
Sweetened pancakes with toppings of sour cream, mayonnaise, onion, and jam. The aroma that comes from the mix of the ingredients makes them edible as afternoon snacks.
g) Lingonberry Pie
The plenteous lingonberries made me an addict of these juicy berries. They are a favorite of the people of Finland who never miss it on the menu at every meal. You can have them chilled during winter or fresh from the farm in summer when they are normally picked.
h) Crayfish is sea delicacy that is eaten by most people that are close to the sea. Lovers of this cuisine can continue having it while in Finland in restaurants, fish stalls and more so during the host crayfish party times. I noticed that the delicacy is a little costly. The pie is decorated with aromatic herbs like rosemary.
i) Salted Licorice (Salmiakki)
Buying a bar of chocolate for yourself, your loved one or even your worst enemy is a show of infinite love. In my travel time, I had to ensure stoke enough chocolates that would last me awhile upon leaving Finland to my home country. It is chocolate with a little salt. You would not notice unless you are very keen with your taste buds.
My experience in Finland travel revealed to me how towns and cities like Helsinki are so wonderful. There are plenty of natural wonders, historical places, nice restaurants, and lively people.
If you are a hyper kind of person, then you should look at no other destination than Finland. You will enjoy swimming, go fishing, enjoy barbeques, and bathe in a steamy sauna. If you want travel destinations that will give you a lifetime of vacation nostalgia just like I did, then consider places like; the Finnish Lakeland, Levi, Tampere, Aland Archipelago, Kemi, and Porvoo.
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