It’s amazing what we managed to cram into two days in spite of the heavy snow we had to contend with.
Central Railway Station
Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2019, The Central Station is a striking building. The granite walls and the huge four sided clock tower is imposing enough on its own but the four solemn giants guarding the station are really impressive. There was an ice rink in front of the station when we visited and ice carvings were being created.
Kamppi Chapel of Silence
Right in the centre of town is this unusual church with its curved wooden construction. It is the place to be if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle outside.
I was so looking forward to seeing this monument to my favourite composer. The monument, on the outskirts of the city in Sibelius Park, is made from hundreds of steel tubes and weighs 24 tonnes. We trudged there through the snow which took ages so we decided to get a bus back into town after our visit.
Temppeliaukio Rock Church
We popped in to the Rock Church, which was completed in 1969, on our way to the Sibelius Monument. Yes, it is a church, and it is built into a rock for some reason which much have been a bit of a challenge. It is topped by a large copper dome with a skirt of skylights which looks great. The acoustics in the church are superb.
Suomenlinna Fortress is one of the biggest sea forts in the world but despite this I had never heard of it before planning this trip! The fortress was crucial to the defence of Helsinki over the last couple of centuries and not surprisingly it is UNESCO listed. You can get there by small boat or waterbus from Market Square.
You can easily spend the whole day there exploring and visiting the museums. We contented ourselves with following the signposted paths, exploring the fortress, church, fortifications as well as the visitor centre. The snow made walking around hard work but it was rewarding. It would be a great place for a picnic in warmer weather.
The boat ride there and back through the ice was wonderful.
This striking 19th Century Orthodox Cathedral is the largest in the Western World and is just as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside.
This large square is flanked by great examples of 19th Century architecture and is dominated by Helsinki Cathedral which can be seen from miles around. The square was carpeted in snow when we visited and it looked stunning.
This newly renovated gallery near Central Station is set in a weirdly shaped glass building. The exhibits were varied, sometimes challenging, but always interesting.
Statues and Monuments
There are loads of interesting and unusual statues and monuments dotted around Helsinki. Here are a selection of my favourites.