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-   -   Two days in Finland? (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/nordic-region/1904792-two-days-finland.html)

wandering_fred Apr 19, 18 7:07 am

Two days in Finland?
 
To complete a xONEx, I elected to have a two day "connection" in Helsinki before heading to the Middle East to complete. Then I looked at the price of hotels in Helsinki city (mid May).

Are there any areas/cities which are relatively easily reached from HEL which would be an interesting two day stop. I am aware that Tallinn is a possibility (and adds a country to "my list"), but the choices in Finland (bus or air) are less clear to me.

Any suggestions?

Wanting to continue happy wandering
Fred

ikeatroll Apr 19, 18 9:34 am

Depends on what you like, but other cities in Finland are quite small. Turku and Tampere are the next largest and can be easily reached by train. You could also check Rovaniemi in the Finnish Lapland, but you'd need to fly (Finnair or Norwegian) and May is very much off-season in Lapland.

For nearby foreign destinations, you could also take a cruise to Stockholm (Tallink Silja) or a train or cruise (St.Peter line) to St. Petersburg in Russia. With train you need a Russian visa, cruise passengers can enter without a visa for up to 72h.

If it's just hotel prices that are putting you off from staying in Helsinki and you want a hotel room specifically, the Omenahotels.com chain might be a bit cheaper. They have a couple of very well located hotels in Helsinki. There's no staff on site (you get a PIN code for the doors), but you get to stay in a normal hotel room. They also give a 15% discount on your next stay if you sign up for their newsletter, though not on their English pages (Google translate is your friend here).

:D! Apr 19, 18 10:51 am

See if you can book an "overnight" ferry to Tallinn. (It takes 2 hours but I think you just stay on board until you wake up)

Do you have any hotel points you can use? The IHG, Hilton and Radisson properties can be reasonably priced as redemptions.

It seems like a waste of time to cruise to Stockholm or Russia if there are only 2 days.

ikeatroll Apr 19, 18 1:16 pm


Originally Posted by :D! (Post 29660345)
It seems like a waste of time to cruise to Stockholm or Russia if there are only 2 days.

Depends on what one likes to do with one's evening/night. Those cruises are very efficient for some activities.

If it was me, I'd find the best-price option to stay in Helsinki. Even a trip to Tallinn will eat several hours in travel and waiting time roundtrip.

Peregrine415 Apr 19, 18 2:38 pm


Originally Posted by ikeatroll (Post 29660941)
If it was me, I'd find the best-price option to stay in Helsinki.

I second this. There are a number affordable hotels in Helsinki; you should check out Cumulus, Scandic or Sokos brand of hotels in Hakaniemi, Kallio, Kaisaniemi, etc. Also Forenom has several apartments that they let for 1-2 days. I use my Avios points to pay for my hotel stays in Helsinki. There are a lot of things you can do in Helsinki for two days.

wandering_fred Apr 20, 18 9:05 pm

I found a Forenom hostel on a bus line that starts from the main train station (I hope I read that right) In the end simpler than trying schedule in flights to connect with the xONEx...

Thanks while I am wandering
Fred

PS Any suggestions on navigating the Helsinki bus routes?

Peregrine415 Apr 21, 18 8:10 am

Helsinki is easy to get around. Download HSL mobile ticket app on your phone. Ticket allows you to travel up to 80 minutes (100 minutes if you bought a ticket for more than one zone) including transfers on trains, metros, trams and buses. Which Forenom hostel are you looking at?

wandering_fred Apr 22, 18 3:29 am

Marihaka which should be on (just off) bus route 55

Looking up a schedule is on my to do list.

Just wandering
Fred

Peregrine415 Apr 22, 18 8:02 am


Originally Posted by wandering_fred (Post 29669772)
Marihaka which should be on (just off) bus route 55

Nice. A less complicated way of getting there is to take the 615 or 617 airport bus and get off at Haapaniemi station.

wandering_fred Apr 22, 18 8:35 pm

Haapaniemi would seem to be a better choice when not dealing with luggage and "wandering"around Helsinki....

Thanks

Happy wandering
Fred

flatlander Apr 29, 18 9:50 am

Tampere has an interesting set of museums in a former industrial site, Museokeskus [Museum centre] Vapriikki

But for two days arriving in Helsinki, i suggest finding an out-of-the-center hotel and just looking around Helsinki. The public transport is good. Things to do include Suomenlinna, Seurasaari open air museum (after 15 May), the city architecture history museum, the Design museum, the National Museum, walk along the streets around Esplanadi, etc.

If you want to go and stay in Taliinn for the night, I suggest taking the ferry there and sleeping onshore in a hotel, rather than sleeping in the ferry when it's docked at the quayside in Talliinn. Not only do many people get off when it arrives, undoubtedly noisily in the middle of the night, but you have to get out by 07:00 the next day anyway. Not the sort of night sleep I would like.

monitor Aug 8, 18 1:59 pm

We are in Helsinki for two days in November with a reservation at the Hotel St George (which seems to be centrally loacated) and tickets for a hockey game at Hartwall Arena. Some transportation questions for the locals:

1 - What are the best transportation options to the St George from HEL, which I understand is in Vantaa about 20km away.

2 - Is there bus or rail from or near the hotel to the Arena arriving before 1900 on a Thursday evening in November?

We are Floridians and a bit older so a lot of walking outside in cold weather is not something we handle very well. If there is too much walking, the budget is flexible enough for some ubers or taxis but getting one after a game at any Stadium is frequently a problem.

Thanks in advance for any advice and help.

Hezu Aug 8, 18 5:45 pm


Originally Posted by monitor (Post 30061996)
We are in Helsinki for two days in November with a reservation at the Hotel St George (which seems to be centrally loacated) and tickets for a hockey game at Hartwall Arena. Some transportation questions for the locals:

1 - What are the best transportation options to the St George from HEL, which I understand is in Vantaa about 20km away.

I would say either the train or Finnair-bus. Both will terminate at the main railway station, which is few blocks away from that hotel, so easily reachable by foot, although you could save few steps by jumping into tram 1, 3 or 6 and take it to the next stop ("Ylioppilastalo", next to Stockmann department store). If you take the train then you can use the same ticket also on trams (and local busses and ferry to Suomenlinna) within the time that ticket is valid (for tickets covering both Vantaa and Helsinki that is 80 minutes).


Originally Posted by monitor (Post 30061996)
2 - Is there bus or rail from or near the hotel to the Arena arriving before 1900 on a Thursday evening in November?

The most straightforward route would be walking (or walking and taking a tram) to the main railway station and pick a train to Pasila and then walk to Areena, once you step out of the train you should see the signs pointing towards Areena and most likely also fellow ice hockey fans heading that direction. And since all trains stop at Pasila you don't necessarily need to be picky about which one you take - or it should be a local train since for long-distance trains you cannot buy a ticket between Helsinki (main railway station) - Pasila.

There are alternative routes using trams and/or busses, but those will be slower and involve some changes. Take a look at https://www.reittiopas.fi which is the routeplanner for Helsinki region, it can suggest the routes and timetables for public transportation use.


Originally Posted by monitor (Post 30061996)
We are Floridians and a bit older so a lot of walking outside in cold weather is not something we handle very well. If there is too much walking, the budget is flexible enough for some ubers or taxis but getting one after a game at any Stadium is frequently a problem.

Helsinki weather in November can be cool, but rarely very cold. Of course, if it is wet and/or windy that may not be the most pleasant time for outdoor activities.

:D! Aug 9, 18 1:16 am


Originally Posted by Hezu (Post 30062663)
Helsinki weather in November can be cool, but rarely very cold. Of course, if it is wet and/or windy that may not be the most pleasant time for outdoor activities.

That depends on personal preferences, I find it very cold (and therefore avoid visiting the Nordic countries between October and February) and I think everyone needs to experience it for themselves before they can know how they will feel.

Better to be prepared for it to be very cold, and leave some layers in the hotel if you find it isn't so bad.

Peregrine415 Aug 9, 18 3:13 am

I second the advice given by Hezu. Depending on when in November you'll be visiting, Helsinki will be festive that time of the year with streets festooned with lights and Christmas markets.

ikeatroll Aug 9, 18 12:22 pm


Originally Posted by monitor (Post 30061996)
We are in Helsinki for two days in November with a reservation at the Hotel St George (which seems to be centrally loacated) and tickets for a hockey game at Hartwall Arena. Some transportation questions for the locals:

We are Floridians and a bit older so a lot of walking outside in cold weather is not something we handle very well.

You can walk much of the way between the central railway station and your hotel indoors. Starting from the central railway station, you go down an escalator in the main entrance hall and then veer towards the right, following signposts towards the Forum shopping center (in the large underground hall, the correct tunnel entrance is basically right above the escalators which lead from the level below further down to the metro/subway). Once you reach Forum, you go up, up, up the escalators to the top level and exit the building into a courtyard. There's an entrance to a short indoor passageway next to the BR-lelut toy store. Once you exit that, you'll end up at the corner of Hotel Torni, with less than 200 yds to walk straight ahead along the Yrjönkatu street to your hotel.

But the Forum shopping centre closes at 9 PM, so the tunnel route is cut short at that time. It can also get a bit rowdy in the immediate vicinity of the central railway station at late hours.

There are also some other tunnels and covered walkways in the same network that provide some additional shortcuts and shelter from inclement weather - mostly quite utilitarian, but in some parts lined with shops, cafes and restaurants.

meraki Aug 10, 18 7:50 am

I'm debating between going to Helsinki either in late October (2nd or 3rd week) or beginning of November (1st or 2nd week). Is there much of a difference in terms of snow/cold? I live in NE USA so I'm used to cold but I'd like to be able to explore the city by foot.

Any recommendations on great vantage points for cityscape photography?

FlyingJoy Aug 10, 18 9:50 am


Originally Posted by meraki (Post 30067868)

Any recommendations on great vantage points for cityscape photography?

Check out the Allas Sea Pool, which has an elevated bar and deck area. IMO it has a lovely vista over the harbour and nearby buildings.

You can even go to sauna followed immediately by an icy cold winter swim there, if you're game - it's open year round :cool:

For something more high-rise (by Helsinki standards): try the Ateljee Bar at the Sokos Hotel Torni.

Hezu Aug 10, 18 10:12 am


Originally Posted by meraki (Post 30067868)
I'm debating between going to Helsinki either in late October (2nd or 3rd week) or beginning of November (1st or 2nd week). Is there much of a difference in terms of snow/cold? I live in NE USA so I'm used to cold but I'd like to be able to explore the city by foot.

The arrival of snow is rather unpredictable: snow statistics of Finnish Meteorological Institute (these stats are sadly only available in Finnish) tell that since 1961 on average the first proper snow cover in Helsinki has came on November 19th, but then the earliest date recorded is 11.10.1973 and the latest is 12.1.2014, so there is quite some variation and you never know in advance how it is this year. And since the sea still pretty much certainly open that time of year, that moderates the climate in Helsinki a little, so in late autumn the temperatures are not super cold, maybe little below freezing at times. And especially in October the sun may still warm up while it is up, in November less since the daylight hours are becoming fewer each day. But I think that how pleasant it is walk around depends more on how rainy (and windy) it is rather than which autumn month it is. And obviously you can predict these weather phenomena only few days earlier.
Anyhow, since you mention photography, I think October might be a better bet since there is more daylight and you most likely will see more colourful leaves on trees then.

Originally Posted by meraki (Post 30067868)
Any recommendations on great vantage points for cityscape photography?

I'm more into nature photography myself, but few places that pop into my mind immediatly are Suomenlinna (worth a visit in general) and Ateljee Bar on the top floor of Hotel Torni. And for slightly less urban cityscapes you might want to venture further away from the city centre and head to landfill hills either in Vuosaari (in the eastern parts of the city) or Malminkartano (in the north-west).

meraki Aug 12, 18 8:43 am

Awesome, thanks for the recommendations FlyingJoy and Hezu!

Decided on late October (3rd week), do you think we'll be able to catch the changing of the leaves?


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