Long weekend in Helsinki

Helsinki is a fun place for a relaxed August long weekend, especially when the sun is shining. The CBD is clean, functional and perfect for strolling. There is a UNESCO world heritage site at Suoemenlinna Island fortress, pretty churches to enjoy, and then all of these activities can be punctuated with frequent stops at excellent cafés serving mouth-watering delicious cinnamon buns and strong coffee.

The Finns were all lovely and could not have been more helpful. I managed to leave my jacket on the bus from the airport but getting it back was no trouble at all. The city’s popularity as a cruise ship stop does mean it is worth trying to find out when the the cruise ship tour parties will be present at the major attractions and avoiding them.

We flew direct from Gatwick with Norwegian airlines, who have two services per-day to Helsinki. The smart modern aircraft was very nice, and featured free onboard wifi, although it appeared not to work with any smartphone app that was not a browser. Charging €3.50 for a cup of nescafé and not having any free water are standard, but irritating. Intriguingly the aircraft had the ability to stream video to any wifi-enabled device. It cost €7 for one film or a package of TV programmes, but since I had brought my own entertainment, it is not clear if the experience would be an improvement over seat back viewing.

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