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    My Explorations, 3

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In a nutshell The amazing Finnish capital and its architectural marvels are the common thread on an excursion that offers the best of the best without ceasing to surprise: a guided tour of Suomenlinna, the fortress on water located on an archipelago made up of six islets, the bustling Market Square where we enjoy some shopping or a snack, a thrilling sightseeing tour with pleasant stops for photos and a visit to a spectacular modern church carved in rock.

Main stops
  • Visit to the Suomenlinna fortress
  • Free time in Market Square for lunch or for some shopping
  • Sightseeing tour of Helsinki: Senate Square, Parliament, Finlandia Hall, Monument to Sibelius (Stop for photos)
  • Visit to the “Rock Church”

The programme
  • We leave the ship behind us and reach the ferry that, in just a few minutes, takes us to an entirely different side of the capital.
  • We arrive at the spectacular Suomenlinna fortress dominating the sea and defending the city from its privileged position on six connecting islands. Built during the 18th century under the Swedish dominion, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Once there, we enjoy a thrilling guided tour of the fortress and realize immediately that this extraordinary place is not merely a military fortress, but a true city within the city that boasts a library, shops, a fire station and a school all located in the buildings that used to be the garrison’s lodgings.
  • After the guided tour, we have some time available to explore Suomenlinna at leisure: it is the perfect opportunity to discover the perfectly tended green areas, lovely beach or fascinating galleries most of which are open to the public.
  • The ferry then takes us back to the city and we stop in the lively Market Square, which is busy throughout the day and teeming with stalls where we find the best fruit, vegetable and handicrafts. Here, we have some free time to have lunch or enjoy some shopping.
  • In the afternoon, we embark on a sightseeing tour of Helsinki on a comfortable coach ride along the city streets to showcase the main sights described by our knowledgeable guide.
  • We stop for photos in the imposing Senate Square overlooked by magnificent buildings dating back to the 19th century including the lovely Lutheran cathedral.
  • We continue our tour to admire other beautiful buildings such as the Parliament, one of the largest buildings in the country built entirely by hand, and the modern Finlandia Hall designed by the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
  • We then stop for a few photos at the Sibelius Monument, dedicated to the famous Finnish composer and made up of hundreds of steel tubes forming a gigantic organ that plays when the wind blows.
  • We end the tour with a visit to one of the most famous and charming places in Helsinki: the Lutheran church of Temppeliaukio, i.e. the “Rock Church”, a modern masterpiece carved inside a rocky hill and an unmissable example of contemporary stone architecture.

Good to know
  • This excursion is not recommended for guests with mobility problems or wheelchair users.