I wish Vision of the Seas has more docking time in Helsinki. Thankfully, despite the very limited time, I still managed to visit various places using their superb transport facilities.
Below are some proof that Helsinki might just be the most Instagrammable city in the world.
Helsinki Cathedral (Helsingin tuomiokirkko, Suurkirkko)
Hop-on/Hop-off city tour buses start their journey in front of this distinctive landmark in Helsinki. The white edifice composed of tall, green dome is adorned with four other smaller domes, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, and built in the neoclassical style. A feature that stands out among other Engel-designed smaller buildings surrounding the Cathedral at the Senate Square.
Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church)
Directly excavated into natural solid bedrock, this church on Kampi District was completed in 1969. The copper lined dome covering the church hall is one of its unique features that attract visitors from around the world. The interior walls are made of rugged rock and rubble. An ice-age crevice serves as the altar where the light coming from the outside peeps through. The church’s excellent acoustics attract performers to hold various concerts in this venue. There were musicians playing violin, with piano accompaniment when we visited. It was such a soothing experience.
Sibelius Park is a lush green haven named after Jean Sibelius, a Finnish composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern eras. The park features an exquisite monument of wave-like steel pipes cluster, sculpted by Finnish artist Eila Hiltunen, in honor of Sibelius. Along it’s side is a sculpture of Sibelius himself, another Eila Hiltunen creation. It is said that Hiltunen wanted to capture the essence of Sibelius’ music through this monument. Hiltunen’s work with a similar concept can be found in NYC’s UN Headquarters, and a mini version of the monument is on display at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
The Market Square
At the South Harbor, adjacent to the Esplanade Park, is Helsinki’s internationally famous Market Square. Tent plant and flower shops add color and attraction to this vibrant harbor-side market. Traditional market foods and treats, as well as handicrafts and souvenirs are on sale at various booths. There are also heated café tents where you can comfortably drink steaming hot coffee to warm up on chilly days. Sensing our curiosity, a nice vendor made us taste their local deep-fried anchovies.
Helsinki is a beautiful pleasant harbor city of Finland where all these beautiful landmarks are within reach via a hop-on/hop-off unguided sightseeing tour buses that take you to a scenic drive around the city.