Helsinki and Tallinn: A Tale of Two Cities

Where did I go: Helsinki and Tallinn

When did I go: December 2016

Our pre-Christmas break to Helsinki and Tallinn seems ages ago.  I came back from the trip with many wonderful memories, a few kilos heavier and a mountain of posts to write. This is a little summary of our trip. I will be doing more detailed posts over the coming weeks, so please keep an eye out.

Our Itinerary

  • 2 nights in Helsinki, 4 nights in Tallinn, followed by 1 night in Helsinki.
  • London to Helsinki (and return) by plane with Finn Air. Flight time of 2.5 hours (each way).
  • Helsinki to Tallinn (and return) by ferry with the Viking Line and Eckero Line – Sailing time: 2.5 hours each way.


Helsinki as a city is exactly how I thought it would be. A modern city, with lots of Swedish and Russian influence. Clean, cold and quiet, not to mention expensive.

Trip Highlights

  1. City tour with Nick at Finland Local Guide




2. Temppeliaukio Kirkko or Temple Rock Church: Number 311 on the Lonely Planet Ultimate Travelist


3. Christmas Market in Senate Square


4. Catching the home coming show of  Finish native Saara Alto from X Factor 2016 on the steps of the Helsinki Cathedral.


4. Staying at Hotel Katajanokka: A converted former prison



In Tallinn I expected to find an old city and I wasn’t disappointed. The walled medieval city looks like something out of a fairy tale. It was smaller  than I expected though. There was a beautiful Christmas Marker in the central town square. Lots of places to eat and drink.  We also ventured outside out of the city with a day trip to Paldiski.  Outside the old town, the suburbs still have a lot of Russian influence.

Trip Highlights:

  1. Beer and city tour with Estonian Experience 



2. Paldiski Countryside Drive with Estonian Experience

3. Visit to the Estonian Parliament


4. Tour of the Bastion Tunnels


4. Visit to the Tallinn Seaplane Harbour Maritime Museum


5. Walking around the old town and the Christmas Market eating and drinking our way through copious amounts of beer, hot chocolate, a medieval feast and a visit to a garlic restaurant.

There are many other highlights I haven’t listed above – the Tallinn Design District, the Helsinki Chapel of Silence, Helsinki Cathedral, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn, the list goes on. There will be many posts over the coming weeks on all these and more.

Have you been to Helsinki or Tallinn? What were your favourite parts? Please leave comment below and let me know.

This post is part of the WeeklyPostCard at Two Traveling Texans

Two Traveling Texans
I’m linking this post to #WanderfulWednesday with Snow In Tromso


  1. I´ve been to Helsinki & Tallin in summer, but it looks so beautiful around Christmas! I remember I´ve bought myself a warm handmade Christmas sweater on the market in Tallin (even though it was summer) – it´s been 5 years since that trip and the sweater looks like a new one…. So I already have a dress code for my winter trip to Helsinki-Tallin, thanks for sharing the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by Anna – Tallin and Helsinki are well worth winter trip – You do need to wrap up warm, but sounds like you are sorted on that front 🙂


  2. I didn’t know Helsinki was so expensive! Living in Norway, everyone always says that Finland is really cheap and most people here in Tromso even regularly drive across the border to buy alcohol and such 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess its a matter of perspective 🙂 whilst we were in Helsinki we learnt that people regularly take the ferry to Estonia to buy alcohol! Thanks for stopping by!


  3. I would love to retrace your steps on this trip!! The fireworks look lovely. I love a good Christmas market and both of these seem to fit the bill!! What was it like staying in a former prison??


  4. I have been to Helsinki but just for a day and I loved the Rock Church. I was there in the summer and we had lovely weather. I haven’t been to Tallinn yet but have been hearing so many wonderful things lately. I think I would prefer to go there in the summer though. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.


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