After a wonderful few days spent visiting one of the world’s best saunas, Löyly, and a great evening in Helsinki, it was time to do a little more exploring. With so much to see and do in Finland’s capital, it was important we made the most of our last day in the city. We woke up early to pack and check out of our adorable little Helsinki apartment. It was then time to grab a tasty breakfast before heading out to do some sightseeing in Helsinki.
Breakfast at Cafe Ekberg
Having tried the previous day to go for brunch at Cafe Ekberg but not being able to get a table, we made sure we did on our last day. A traditional cafe, Ekberg is Finland’s oldest bakery and cafe. It has a lovely, extensive spot on Helsinki’s vibrant Boulevard. Luckily for us, we were given a table immediately.
There were some lovely festive decorations in the cafe, and friendly staff. We settled in with a coffee for starters and relaxed. At the weekends, they serve a leisurely brunch buffet until 2.30pm for a fixed fee. Included is freshly baked bread, pastries, cheese, fresh meat, salads, cereal, eggs, and dessert. All juices and coffee are also included – it’s a great deal.
After filling up, we popped into the aesthetic shop next door for a look round. From the fresh pastries to the juices, everything looks delicious in Cafe Ekberg.
How tasty do these cakes look too? I’d highly recommend a visit while you’re in Helsinki.
Afterwards, we popped into a couple of shops next door to Cafe Ekberg. We were drawn in by the striking posters stuck up in the window. Ruslania is a bookstore that opened in 1986, importing Russian books, movies, and paraphernalia.
There are some bizarre and interesting pieces of memorabilia, so I found it interesting to look around. Look at these matches, for instance.
We left Ruslania in search of some sightseeing in Helsinki – this time, the impressive Temppeliaukio Church.
Temppeliaukio Church, Helsinki
One of the top attractions when it comes to sightseeing in Helsinki is Temppeliaukio Church. The unique feature of this church is that it’s excavated directly into solid rock.
The church was completed in 1969, and is found in central Helsinki at the end of Fredrikinkatu. This makes it super easy to access from elsewhere in the city.
For just a small fee, visitors can pay to visit the impressive interior of the iconic Temppeliaukio Church. One of the most famous churches in the world, it’s covered with a copper dome, and supported by the rock walls.
The array of windows means that before noon, light spreads all across the church for incredible illumination. An ice age crevice forms the alterpiece, and you can spot the glorious organ. Because of the church’s unique acoustics, Temppeliaukio Church is also a great venue for concerts. I loved it because even though it dates back to the 1960s, it’s still so contemporary and looks as though it were built recently.
After sitting on one of the pews and taking in the impressive architecture, we headed on for our next spot of sightseeing in Helsinki.
Oodi, Helsinki Central Library
Another impressive contemporary building, Oodi is Helsinki’s new Central Library and meeting spot. Located in the city’s central Kansalaistori Square, Oodi is an architectural landmark. Described as more than just a library, it’s an events venue, and a place to read and experience the city. We admired the architecture on our way in, and checked out the cafe. For a few Euros, you can grab a huge bowl of soup and salad. Delicious and excellent value.
Oodi is intended to provide its visitors with learning facilities, and a place t work as well as relax. It’s such a progressive Scandinavian concept, and one I really admire. It’s also a beautiful, modern structure.
Just outside of Oodi, across Kansalaistori Square, you’ll find the iconic My Helsinki neon sign. It’s a symbol of the city, so be sure to grab a photo.
After a good explore around Oodi and the surrounding area, we headed back into Helsinki’s city for more sightseeing. I saw the cool neon sign along the way. Amos Rex is an art museum, showcasing a variety of displays from contemporary to ancient. Although we didn’t get time to visit, it looks like a great attraction in Helsinki.
One attraction I really wanted to visit was the Moomin Cafe. Home to the Finnish cartoon, Moomin Cafe is an adorable Moomin themed cafe on Helsinki’s central Fabianinkatu. It’s perfect for families as well as Moomin fans. We settled in to people watch from the window and grabbed a coffee.
Look how adorable it turned out, with a Moomin stencil in the latte foam! The perfect finish to all the Moomin memorabilia. Make sure you give Karl Fazer chocolate a try while in Helsinki too – it’s delicious.
Our final spot of sightseeing in Helsinki before our flight brought us to Helsinki Cathedral. It’s an icon of the city, and rises high on the northern side of Senate Square. Crafted by Carl Ludvig Engel, the church is part of Helsinki’s Empirical era, a landmark for visitors coming from the water.
Although we didn’t have time to look around the inside of Helsinki Cathedral, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s an imposing and iconic structure, and its colours are pretty unique.
We meandered around Senate Square in all its festive decoration, not far from Helsinki Christmas Market.
Helsinki is a lovely place to visit at Christmas – even more so if you tie it in with a day trip to Tallin Christmas Market in nearby Estonia. The lovely pastel coloured buildings make the square so pretty.
Sadly for us, we had to say our goodbyes to wonderful Helsinki. It’s been a wonderful introduction to Finland, a country I want to explore in so much more depth. We hopped back on the airport train, which really couldn’t be easier to navigate. Unfortunately, this was the state of the flights.
Very luckily for us, our flight to London was one of the few not cancelled. We boarded our three hour flight, and smiled at all the amazing memories from our visits to Finland and Estonia. I’ll be back!
Have you been sightseeing in Helsinki? What are your favourite attractions? Let me know in the comments below.