The tour starts from the round end of the Svenska Teatern (address: Mannerheimintie 1, 00130 Helsinki). We stroll down the beautiful Esplanade Park towards the Helsinki old town. This Park avenue is the best place to spot Finns taking the most of those rare summer days. Along the way you will find the high end shopping joints.
We will stop at the Old Market Hall where you can experience Finnish cuisine displayed in all its color, tastes, scents and nuances. We sample the essential Finnish flavors and you have a possibility to purchase more for later.
For the brief historical review, we walk to the Senate Square, which has been the central gathering place for centuries. You will learn how the city was transformed from a small village to modern capital by a single German from Charlottenburg.
We continue to the Market Square where you can see the most visible sign of our Russian past, the Uspenski Cathedral. Other sights in this area are the Presidential Palace and the modern sauna / sea pool recreational centre.
The Tour continues with a 20-minute ferry ride to Suomenlinna, the no 1. attraction of Helsinki. This Sea Fortress has been in key role in development of Helsinki since 1700s. Your guide will reveal the secrets of this mysterious place.
Suomenlinna Island is home to around 800 locals, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This, one of the worlds largest sea fortresses, dates back in the mid-18th century and has been upgraded many times ever since. Built to be one of Stockholms outposts against the Russians, then conquered by them without even a shot and later having served as a prison this island has had many faces.
On the way, you will see many forts and bastions as well as the courtyard. On your way you will see the Russian orthodox church which was later altered to be a Lutheran church. Later during the tour you will also see the dockyard where old wooden boats are being repaired even nowadays.
Finland has been under Swedish and Russian rule and you will be told how to recognize the different historical layers on the buildings and sites on Suomenlinna Island. Why are there only 2 crowns left of the 3-crowned Swedish arms on the gate?
This old garrison has something to offer for everyone. If you are not interested in focusing on the history, you will also be able to feel the sea breeze and meet the nature there and have many great opportunities to take magnificent photos.
The excursion ends on Suomenlinna Island, where you can stay as long as you wish. Maybe a picnic or one of those many museums on the island will maximize the fun after the tour? It is up to you! The ferry runs until very late so you can spend as long time as you wish on the island.
The tour is organized in co-operation with Ehrensvrd-seura and your guide will be authorized Suomenlinna guide.
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