Friday, September 30, 2011

TRAVEL PLAN 1: Helsinki (Finland)


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  1. Senate Square
Monika Csapo- All Rights Reserved

How to get here: Take the tram  3T from the Central Railway Station (Rautatienasema) until the stop „Senaatintori” (3 stops).

Facts and History: The Senate Square and its surrounding is a good example for the architectural style of Neoclassicism. The four main buildings on the square were designed between 1822 and 1852 by Carl Ludwig Engel, these are: the Helsinki Cathedral, Governmental Palace, the main building of the Helsinki University and the Finnish National Library. The Helsinki Cathedral is utmost the most famous building of Finland  and the most common subject of photos taken in Helsinki. It had its 150th anniversary in 2002. You find the oldest building of the square, the Sederholm-house in the southwest corner. If you want to get to know more about Helsinki, visit the Helsinki City Museum (free entrance). 

Opening hours Cathedral: in general Mo–Tue 9h–15h, Wed 12h-17h, Thur-Fri 9h-12h
Entrance free: no entrance fee

2 . Suomenlinna Fortress:

Facts and History:
The Suomenlinna Fortress is one of the biggest sea-fortresses in the world. It was founded and built  in 1748 by Augustin Ehrensvärd on the shore of the islands which are surrounding Helsinki. You do not have to pay an entrance fee to enter the island, although you have to buy tickets for the boat which gets you there. There is people living on the islands, otherwise there is a museum to visit, walking roads and a nice cafe and a restaurant.

How to get there: choose the boat at „Kauppatori” which belongs to the public transportation system. It  goes frequently and is cheaper than the tourist boats. You have to buy the tickets on the way there and back as well from the ticket machines. Prepare for it, that there will be a big crowd who wants to get to Suomenlinna, so if you are tight of schedule go there in time to ensure your place.

Boat tickets: 4.00 EUR there and back (2x single ticket („kertalippu”))
Seasonality: it is better to visit in the spring/summer or autumn

5. Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral 

Facts and History: The Uspenski Cathedral is the biggest orthodox church in Western Europe, it was finished in 1868 and is located in the district named Katajanokka.  It is the most obvious symbol of the Russian influence on the Finnish history.

How to get here: from the „Rautatieasema” by 3T until the „Kauppatori” station (take that direction which is „opposite” the Railway Station and not on the side closer to it)
Entrance fee: no entrance fee
Opening hours: Winter season 1.10-30.4.: Mon closed, Tue-Fri 9.30-14, Sun 12-15. Summer season 1,5-30.9.:Mon-Fri 9.30-16, Sat 9.30-14, Sun 12-15 (exceptions to the opening hours on the web page of the church)

6. Finnish National Museum

Facts and History:
The Finnish National Museum is presenting the Finnish history from the ancient times until nowadays.  You can see archeological findings, numismatic and ethnological collections. The ethnological collection has been collected during the last 170 years. The museum shows the changes in the Finnish society and culture from the beginning to nowadays.

How to get here: 900 m by walking from the Railway Station, opposite to Finlandia Hall
Entrance fee: Adults € 7,00 Discounts € 5,00 (students, pensioners over 65, conscripts and groups of over 10 members), under 18-year-olds and assistance free of charge.
Opening hours: Tue 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., Wed-Sun 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Mondays closed

7. Olympic Stadium

Facts and History: It was built in 1938 in functionalist style based on the plans of Yrjö Lindgren and Toivo Jäntti. The Helsinki Olympic Games was held in 1952.

How to get here: by tram 3T from „Kamppi” until the „Ooppera” station
Entrance fee: 2 EUR, groups more than 10 people 1,5 EUR

8. Church on the Rock

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Facts and History: It is a very interesting church, where they hold classical music concerts too. It is wort to walk in the surrounding streets and have a look at the nice buildings. Close to the church there is two souvenir shops, where you can find small present for the family and friends.

How to get here: one station by tram 3T from Kamppi
Entrance Fee: no entrance fee

Design Walks

Design Museum and surroundings

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Stockmann-Interior design section
dark-red brick houses in Tööllö
Monika Csapo- All Rights Reserved

Monika Csapo- All Rights Reserved

Eira (nice small shops and cafes)
Punavuori (nice small shops and cafes)
Ateneum (museum)
Kiasma (museum for modern arts)

Alvar Aalto-related:

Villa Aalto

Facts and History:They lived in this building between 1936 and 1994, later it became a property of the Aalto Foundation.  It was renovated between 2000 and 2002 and opened again in 2002 September for the public.

How to get here: Riihitie 20, Bus 18 from „Rautatientori” until the stop „Munkkiniemen aukio”, after this 700 m walking
Entrance fee: adult 17 EUR, student 7 EUR, groups (more than 10 people) 10 EUR/person. The prices include the guided tour.
Opening hours: 1.10-30.4 Tue-Sun 13-17 (guided tours starting at full hours, have to book a tour per email here: ), 1.5.-31.9. Tue-Sun 13-18, in August Mon-Sun 13-18. Max. person/tour: 20 people

Headquarter of the Enso corporation designed by Alvar Alto between 1959 and 1962

Finlandia Hall

History and Facts:  Designed by Alvar Aalto, built in 1971, the Congress area in 1975. Alvar Aalto was responsible for planning the interior design and designed the furniture. 

How to get here: 2 stops bt tram 4 from „Lasipalatsi” until the stop „Kansallismuseo” (Finnish National Museum)
Opening hours: open only when events. Still worth to watch from outside if you are interested in Aalto-buildings.

Excursions from Helsinki

Tallin (Estonia), Stockholm (Sweden), St. Petersburg (Russia. visa needed!)

Food I like

Kamppi pizza place, Picnic, Amarillo, Cafe Ursula, Fazer Cafe, Memphis


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Favorite bar

Teerenpeli, Praha, Dubliner

Shops and shopping centers

Sello-Kamppi-Forum shopping centers, Aleksi 13, shops in the Aleksanterinkatu

The Helsinki Travel Guide © Mónika Csapó- All Rights Reserved


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