Sightseeing: Helsinki, Landmarks Take 1

Helsinki City Travel

Helsinki is compact, walkable and visually appealing in any season. In winter, it’s a romantic, safe city perfect for couples or solo travellers. In summer, you don’t have to go far to find waterfront fun for the family.

There are just too many things to mention about Helsinki but for the sake of this column and take 1, our theme is Landmarks.

1. The Church in the Rock (Temppeliaukio Kirkko)

Church in the Rock

Church in the Rock

Consecrated in 1969, the ‘Church in the Rock’ is one of Helsinki’s most iconic buildings. Built on a place where the once was a church destroyed in World War II, this church is truly different. The Church in the Rock is carved into an enormous boulder and covered with a copper wire dome. Behind the altar, the natural rock is left to ooze water from the outside, forming incredible shapes that resemble a picture of people all moving in distance.

Just a wonderful peaceful change from all the over gilded churches that are found all around Europe. The photos do not do the justice!

You can stop by for a visit, stay for an English-language Lutheran worship service (Sundays at 2 p.m.), or enjoy one of the many classical concerts the church hosts.

Opening Times: Mon and Wed 10:00-17:00, Tues 10:00-12:45 and 14:15-17:00, Thurs-Fri 10:00-20:00, Sat 10:00-18:00, Sun 11:45-13:45 and 15:30-18:00.
Admission Fees: No
Address: Lutherinkatu 3 (entrance is at the end of Fredikinkatu), Helsinki

2. Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)

Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral

Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral

The cathedral was built as a tribute to the Grand Duke, Nicholas I, the Tsar of Russia, and was called St. Nicholas Church until the independence of Finland in 1917. In 1959, it became a cathedral of the Evangelical Lutheran denomination and called Helsinki Cathedral or the Lutheran Cathedral.

The skyline of Helsinki is dominated by the Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral. The green domes, white building and zinc rooftop statues of the twelve apostles of the magnificent Lutheran church stand tall and proud looking over the city to the sea.

Very interesting to see the simplicity and lack of ornamentation. The steps up to the church add to the picturesque nature of the area, Helsinki. For the record, they are quite steep, for an easier time, go around to the side.

The contrast increases on the inside, as the interior has a very somber, non-artistic focus, similar to a monestary. While the typical church articles are present (altar, pulpit, etc.), it’s not very ornate, compared to what you would expect looking at the outside.

Opening Times: Daily 09:00-18:00 (Sep-May); daily 09:00-24:00 (Jun-Aug).
Admission Fees: No
Address: Unioninkatu 29, Helsinki, Finland

3. The National Library of Finland

The National Library of Finland

The National Library of Finland

The National Library of Finland is the oldest and largest scholarly library in Finland as well as one of the largest independent institutes at the University of Helsinki.

The title “library” should not fool you, the interior architecture is really worth seeing; hence the reason of including the National Library of Finland in this column.

It is very easy to get into, just leave your bags in the lockers at the reception. You need to be registered though and given a library card for borrowing books.

Opening Times: Mon-Thu 9:00-20:00, Fri-Sat 9:00-16:00
Admission Fees: No
Address: Unioninkatu 36, 00014 Helsinki

“Sightseeing” is a Finnbay column about sightseeing in Finland that is worth seeing. It appears weekly and monthly depending on the time of the year.

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I (20, male) might have 8hr in between flight time in Helsinki Finland. I've never been to Finland, or Europe for that matter. It would be in mid May. And coming from Vantaa airport. Arriving in the morning around 9am, leaving around 5pm.

1. Is it worth sightseeing? (hopefully yes, what the hell am I gonna do for 8 hrs) Then where? Only in Helsinki? I heard nearby outskirts like Espoo are 'shady' with crimes so might wanna avoid those esp. after watching Taken.

2. Around how much would I be needed to spend? I would take cabs or public transportation if I can figure it out and eat in a decent restaurant.

3. What to buy? Anything Finland-ish item/thing to buy for tourists? Or anything you'd recommend?

3. What is there to do other than sight seeing? If there isn't much to do in a 8hr period, where is the best thing/building/landmark/place/sight to see?

4. If you have visited here or from here and would like to comment, please do so.

I appreciate and thanks in advance!