Helsinki is the capital of Finland and is affectionately known as the ‘Daughter of the Baltic’ or ‘City of the sea’. The harbor is the heartbeat of this southern coastal city built on the peninsulas and islands of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. Helsinki is a modern, clean, well planned city with a small town feel; its tallest city center building being only 12 stories high. It is a great summer destination with many open-air cafes, green parks, waterways and a busy market square.
The city has a distinctive ‘East meets West’ culture which can be seen in the contrast between the cool, clean lines of Finlandia Hall and the rich golden ‘onion’ dome of Uspenski Cathedral. The center of the city, the Neo-Classical mini-St Petersburg built by German-born architect Carl Engel, is easily explored on foot and most of the main sights are within walking distance of the center.
Cruise Season – March - Oct
Currency – Euro (€)
Language – Finnish, Swedish
Land Area – 686 km’s
Population – 560,000
Electricity – 2 round pins European style
Time – GMT plus two hours
International Country Telephone Code – + 358
Port Location – There are 3 ports in Helsinki, two of which are used regularly by cruise ships. Smaller ships dock at the South Harbor, which is the largest passenger port and is located downtown so everything is within walking distance. Larger ships usually dock at the Hernesaari Cruise Ship Dock in the West Harbor. From this port, the distance to town center is approximately 2 miles. Shuttle service is usually provided, but metered taxis are also available at the pier.
Transport Links – The airport, with two linked terminals for national and international traffic, is located at Vantaa, 20km (12 miles) from the city center. Helsinki is served by direct flights from many major European cities and International destinations. International coach options include destinations in Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic countries. There are rail links between Helsinki, Russia and Berlin.
The public transport system is excellent and most of central Helsinki is accessible on foot.