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Welcome to Helsinki


City Breaks to Helsinki

The Finnish capital of Helsinki is one fascinating city to visit and it is a city that can be easily explored on foot. This vibrant seaside city that is spread over a group of promontories and  penninsulas is known for its many historical buildings, phenomenal architecture and its beautiful parks. Helsinki is the perfect destination for an action packed city break any time of year.  


Information & Facts


With city breaks to Helsinki from Dublin you can visit Market Square, home to one of the city’s most famous markets. Located close to the Helsinki city centre you will be able to explore this open-air market, haggle with the market sellers, try delicious local produce or purchase souvenirs.

The neoclassical Helsinki Cathedral, which towers over Market Square is one Helsinki attraction that is not to be missed. Modelled on St. Petersburg’s Saint Isaac’s Cathedral it is one of the city’s most popular attractions. The Suomenlinna Fortress, which is built off the Helsinki coast, is an intriguing fortress to visit. Originally it was built to protect Helsinki from Russian attack and today it is world renowned as one of the biggest sea fortresses in the world. It is very popular with locals and visitors alike and with a super selection of restaurants, cafes and a museum onsite, what’s not to like.

Thinking of cheap weekend breaks to Helsinki from Ireland? Well, if you are this might sway you if you haven’t made up your mind. The Linnanmäki Amusement Park is the best place for a fun day out. Famous the length and breadth of Finland, it has more rides than any other Scandinavian amusement park. It is a fantastic day out for the entire family. For all your shopping needs you will have to visit Aleksanterinkatu Street – one of Helsinki’s famous shopping streets. Open all-year round, Helsinki Zoo, located on Korkesaari Island is one of the oldest zoos in the world (established in 1889) and it is where you will find animals from the arctic tundra to the tropical rainforest. When in Helsinki don’t forget to call into this famous zoo.

Call Abbey Travel today to book last minute city breaks & short break deals to Helsinki.


Helsinki has a climate that is transitional between maritime and continental. Summers are warm and bright, temperatures ranging from a cool 59°F (15°C) up to a hot 86°F (30°C) in the warmest month of July. Days are long and sunny, with up to 19 hours of daylight. Towards the end of September temperatures cool down drastically as days grow shorter, and by November the weather is at freezing point as the cold, snowy winter sets in. The city is blanketed by snow in winter, temperatures plummeting well below freezing to the point where the sea itself freezes over, and it is never fully daylight. Spring arrives late, in early April.


Finnish and Swedish share status as Finland's official languages. Sami is spoken by the isolated population group in Lapland. English is taught at schools and is widely understood.


The Euro (EUR) is the official currency of Finland. One Euro = 100 cents. Banks, ATMs and bureaux de change are available in all cities and airports; banks are closed on weekends. American Express, Diner's Club, Eurocard, Access, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in hotels, restaurants, and larger shops. Travellers cheques can be cashed in Helsinki and large cities, but ATMs are the easiest and most economical way to get cash.


Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

Situated on the popular island of Korkeasaari, the Helsinki Zoo is one of the best family attractions in Helsinki. Home to more than 200 different animal species and five times the varieties of plantlife, the zoo makes a great stop for anyone travelling with children in Helsinki. Visitors can see Finnish wildlife like musk ox, reindeer and snowy owls, or more exotic flora and fauna from all over the world. The zoo also offers rest areas, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

The bustling Market Square in Helsinki is not only where traders set up shop selling food and various other goods, but it is also the central meeting point of the city, sandwiched between the sea and a row of impressive historic buildings which include the City Hall, the Swedish Embassy and the Presidential Palace. Trams and waterbuses converge on the square, where visitors gather to watch the changing of the bulkily clad guard at the Palace and admire the Havis Amanda mermaid statue at the west end of the Square in front of Esplanade Park.

Visitors who enjoy getting to know the country they are exploring will enjoy the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki, which depicts Finnish life from prehistoric times to the present. Housed in an impressive Romantic style building, the museum's permanent exhibition is divided into five sections, including the 'Treasure Trove', a display of coins, medals and weaponry. The archaeological section features some rare Stone Age finds. Also interesting are the folk costumes, textiles and furniture displays that make up Finland's cultural heritage collection. The museum also has a café and shop.

It's Christmas every day of the year in the rather commercialised (but quaint) 'Santa's secret hideaway' in Lapland, northern Finland, where the redoubtable Mr Claus spends his time preparing gifts for the world's children, and meeting and greeting an estimated 500,000 delighted visitors a year. Co-incidentally the valley inside the Arctic Circle where Santa's Village is set is shaped like an ear, so, it is said, Santa can listen to all the children of the world. At the village all sorts of activities are on offer at Santa's office, the reindeer park and the Santa Park theme park, and of course you can use Santa's personal post office to mail a letter or card home with the coveted postmark. The highlight of any visit, though, is of course meeting the great man himself, and whispering your wishes into his friendly ear. Santa's Village and Santa Park are located just a mile from the international airport of Rovaniemi (capital of Lapland), and is also easily accessible by bus or car from Helsinki.

Architecture buffs will enjoy sitting in a café admiring the buildings surrounding Helsinki's lively Senate Square, renowned as Europe's finest examples of the neoclassical style. The square is dominated by the city's main landmark, the Lutheran Cathedral, designed by Carl Ludwig Engel and consecrated in 1852. The interior is as perfect as the exterior design, and is open to the public daily for no charge. Other buildings on the Square designed by Engel are the Palace of the Council of State, built in 1822, and the University buildings (1832), including the library, regarded as Engel's finest masterpiece.

The Seurasaari Open-Air Museum allows visitors to step back in time and glimpse the traditional way of life in the Finnish countryside, and all this in the heart of the capital city, Helsinki. The museum, situated on a lovely green island accessed from the mainland via a footbridge, consists of a collection of cottages, farmsteads, parsonages, rural churches, manor houses and other old buildings, all preserved and relocated from their original sites around the provinces of Finland. The 86 buildings currently on the museum site have been arranged to form a complete replica of a country district, reflecting what life was like in various levels of rural society between the 18th and 20th centuries.

The historically significant Suomenlinna fortress is not only a major military monument worthy of the UNESCO World Heritage List, but also home to about 900 Finns who live in the renovated barracks. The entire site is a fun, multi-faceted attraction for Helsinki residents and visitors. The fortress, built during Swedish rule in the 18th century, is situated on an island at the entrance to Helsinki's harbour. The fortification became a strategic military shipyard with one of the biggest dry docks in the world, comparable to the fortress at Gibraltar. Apart from admiring the architecture there is plenty to experience at Suomenlinna, which contains seven museums, galleries, restaurants and cafes, several parks, beaches and nature areas. Guided walking tours are offered and there are always events taking place like exhibitions, jazz shows and theatrical performances, particularly during summer.

This awesome and unique piece of architecture, the Temppeliaukio ('Church in the rock') was designed by brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and carved out of solid granite as recently as 1969. It has become one of Helsinki's most famous attractions, its rock walls roofed over with a massive concave copper ceiling, which gives it excellent acoustics. The church is often used as a venue for musical events. English services are conducted Sundays at 2pm.

Many travellers have compared Helsinki to the beautiful Russian city of St Petersburg (a close neighbour across a short strait of water), and the exotic red-brick Orthodox cathedral Uspenski, designed by Aleksei Gornostayev of St Petersburg in the late 1800s, cements the Russian connection. The cathedral sits atop a rocky outcrop on the Katajanokka peninsula opposite the fish market, fronted by a statue of Tsar Alexander II, as a memento of Russia's occupation of Finland until 1919. The magnificent Byzantine edifice is topped with a characteristic golden onion dome, and the interior is opulently decorated with valuable icons.

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