Your guide will meet you on the pier after your ship clears customs for your tour of Helsinki. Helsinki is a relatively small city but it is one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in Scandinavia. Hailed as the "Daughter of the Baltic", Helsinki’s architecture and culture reflect both western and eastern influences. Originally founded by Sweden in 1550, there are numerous buildings reflecting St. Petersburg’s style as well.
Today, your guide will provide a half day overview city tour, traveling along the shoreline for views of Suomenlinna Fortress’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and past the Esplanade, Helsinki’s famous design street. You’ll pass by the Market Place and the Presidential Palace before continuing on to Senate Square, your first stop. Senate Square, known for its neo-classical architecture, is the center for arts, culture, religion, politics and education. Four main buildings make up the Square and were designed by famed architect Carl Ludvig Engel in the early 19th Century: Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. Helsinki Cathedral is arguably Finland's most famous landmark and photographed building.
Your guide will take you through the bustling Market Square. The rows of tents and stalls selling fur clothing, jewelry, food and souvenirs make for a fun and festive atmosphere. Numerous outdoor cafes are located here, famous for their meat pastries. In summer, you might even see people selling salmon and potatoes from their boats.
Next, you will visit the amazing underground stone church Tempelliaukkio, also known as the Church in the Rock. The underground Rock Church is built inside of a massive block of natural granite in the middle of an ordinary residential square. Natural light pours in from the church's glazed dome and the rough stoned interiors amplify sound, making it an excellent and unique concert venue. From here, it's off to the beautiful and exceptional Sibelius Park and Monument. Dedicated to famed Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, the park and unique abstract monument was meant to reflect the rugged natural beauty of Finland, as inspired by Sibelius' work Finlandia. You will be taken back to your ship after to enjoy the rest of your time in Helsinki.