Instagram
Tumblr
LinkedIn

THE LAPLAND SERIES, DAY 1&2

DUBLIN – HELSINKI

Helsinki bike, sauna in the room & Messi. So it’s back on the road again at an unfamiliar time of the year, Christmas and New Year. Rarely would I travel far around this period but the more I do, the more I enjoy it. I’m actually not sure I know many people who enjoy the whole New Years thing at home and where else would you want to spend Christmas than at Lapland!

WELCOME BACK TO COUNTRY NUMBER 113

Also, I’m finding I’m revisiting more and more places which would have been unlike me a few years ago but taking the nieces before they get too old for Santa was too good an opportunity. Not to mention getting mum and dad into an ice lake, but more on that later!🥶

WHERE IS HELSINKI?

Helsinki

HOTEL BULEVARDI

I do try and pay as much attention to the hotel as I would for the main activities and when I found a hotel that offered saunas in the room I knew I had to stay there. The rents, who joined me for the first 5 days before the others arrived didn’t have a clue and the plan was to keep it a secret and see the surprise on their faces as they entered the room. However I didn’t expect the girl at the reception to welcome us with,

“You all have nice rooms including a sauna in each.” 😬

It’s special for us but very common in Finland as there are more saunas in Finland than cars! But being able to come home after a day in the cold to a session in the sauna will make this trip that little extra memorable!

Helsinki bike, sauna in the room & Messi

DAILY INFO….

  • FLIGHTS – Dublin – Helsinki
  • HOTEL – Lapland Hotel Bulevardi, 8/10
  • RESTOS –
    Restaurant Rioni
    Cafe Regatta
  • FOOD – Georgian, Marshmallows, Salmon soup, Italian
  • MILES COVERED – 2,044.5 miles
  • STEPS – 8,491 & 10,088

RESTAURANT RIONI

For a change we chilled out for the rest of the day and headed to an incredible Georgian restaurant. It’s always hard to know if the rents will take to a new cuisine (they will try anything) but when it comes to Georgian food I was never in any doubt! This is a must for any of your visiting Helsinki and might even end up tempting you to a trip to Georgia!

Helsinki bike, sauna in the room & Messi

DAY 2

So the first proper day of the trip and as always the best thing to do is to have a mooch around, preferably with a guide or a bike. This is a great way to get your bearings, understand the city and ask plenty of questions to a knowledgeable local that could come in handy over the next few days.

We had Sammi from Happy Guides who also supplied the fat bikes, essential for winter cycling. Sammi was super, very humorous who told us plenty of interesting stories and tales about the city and of course happy to answer all the daft questions we had for him.

Helsinki bike, sauna in the room & Messi

BIKE TOUR

Almost immediately he had us out the city to visit a famous cafe, Cafe Regatta – something that was on my list! The cafe was original built in 1887 as a shed to store fishing nets next to the owners villa. Here we enjoyed a hot chocolate, carrot cake and melted marshmallows by the fire – another must visit! We had our drinks outside but inside is super cosey if you can get a seat, but try the marshmallows by the outside fire!

Sammi was keen to share how the conflict in Ukraine was affecting Finland. This war has almost acted as a warning that it could well have been them who got invaded but he didn’t seem too bothered at the thought.

I’M NOT SURE WHAT I AM MORE IMPRESSED BY; THE HOTEL ROOM OR THAT FOOTBALL MATCH

“Our military is strong, it seems certainly stronger than the Russians if Ukraine is anything to go by. Every man is required to do 6 months military service and can be drafted at anytime. I am expecting to be called up at some point”

He was confident Finland’s military is one of the strongest in Europe and having a close relationship with various neighbours, he doesn’t see any issues with the possibility of Russia crossing the border – they have their hands full as it is!

Helsinki bike, sauna in the room & Messi

BIRD SONG PARK

Bird song park has an interesting history. During the years of prohibition, men would come here to purchase their moonshine or alcohol. Many would decide to drink here on the spot and return home late the next morning, often when the birds are out in full force – hence the name Bird Song Park. And this name is not a gag between the locals but the actual name of the area which shows up in the addresses of the surrounding homes.

  FINLAND FACTS:
  • Finland aims to be carbon neutral by 2035.
  • There isn’t a word for ‘please’ in Finnish. It just doesn’t exist.
  • The longest word in Finnish is; Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas – It has 61 letters, and it means an airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student.

THAT FOOTBALL MATCH

After an hour or 2 relaxing, we took to the streets to find a bar for the football and as a neutral, would turn out to be the best football match I have ever watched. For someone to score a hat trick 🐢 in a World Cup Final and lose the match is incredible in it’s own right and with plenty of French and Argentinian fans in the bar it is another fond memory I will have of Helsinki.

SUMMED UP….

  • MVP – Sammi, tour guide
  • HIGHLIGHT – Bike tour
  • LOWLIGHT – Not enough time to chill and enjoy the sauna

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s been 5 years since I visit Helsinki and already it’s been a much better experience. I am not sure if it’s the snow, the xmas vibe or not having to do it like a backpacker this time around!!!

NEXT UP

A day trip to Tallinn, back to country number 112!! Click to read.

SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
159/229

This post was part of The Lapland Series. To view my Instagram highlights click here.
If you would rather read the rest of the series from the blog just click here.

Question Time

  • Have you visited Helsinki?
  • What would you suggest a tourist to do?
  • Did you visit during Christmas?

Let me know in the comments below . . .

Send this to someone who might like it
HOW TO VISIT EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
DAY TRIP TO MAGICAL TALLINN

About the Author

Instagram
Tumblr
LinkedIn

Related Articles:

Got a question, some advice or want to tell me about your experience?

I’d love to hear it . . .

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Menu