Helsinki 2012: sights of Helsinki, day 1

by | Oct 4, 2012 | International Travel, Travel

In 2002 I traveled to Helsinki for a conference (my first passport stamp!) but Leandra had to stay in Georgia. Ten years later we were finally able to get Leandra to Finland when we found a good deal for Labor Day weekend. We arrived on Friday morning and after a bus ride to town and a quick shower at the hotel we were out exploring the city.

Our first destination was the Temppeliaukio Kirkko, also known as the Rock Church because it is built into a large chunk of granite. It can be touristy but still worthwhile to visit since it different than the standard European cathedral.

the rock church dome

rock church panorama
inside the rock church

church  an open gate

National Museum of Finland (former church)

After exploring the area we wound our way south to have lunch, then walked across the city to explore the east side near the harbor.

train station
Central train station

Helsinki street
Aleksanterinkatu, one of the main shopping streets

Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral

organ in Helsinki Cathedral
Helsinki Cathedral organ

From the cathedral we walked to harbor with its enormous ferry ships and the open-air Market Square.

market tomatoes

end-of-summer veg

indoor market

The neighboring Old Market Hall has stalls selling vegetables, cheeses, seafood, meat, sweets and even cutlery.

Finnish delicacies
seafood of every stripe

scoping out the smoked reindeer
Leandra waiting for smoked reindeer

By mid-afternoon we decided to retire for a short nap. Feeling recharged afterwards, we made our way to Kasvitieteellinen puutarha, the Botanical Gardens.

Kaisaniemi Park - botanical garden

alium   astilbe

flowers bigger than me!
20 hours of summer sun produces large plants!

[ Leandra’s Note: As is common in many foreign cities I was stopped in the gardens by two women asking if I was a local and could I help them pick out a place to eat that evening? I happened to have a list of places with me to recommend based on research we did before we got there. We spoke for a few minutes and I encouraged them to try Juuri even though it’s tiny and might be full. Serendipitously, the owners had a last-minute cancellation, so after their meal they came over to say thanks for the great recommendation! I love when things work out that way. :) ]

With our dinner reservation approaching we left the garden and turned south, along the way stopping to admire Johanneksenkirkko (St. John’s Church).

St. John's Church

Helsinki is a fairly compact city that rewards exploring, and we tried to make the most of our first day in country.

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Valencia, Spain (Mar)
Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)</br />Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)