If you ask me how many days should you spend to travel around Poland - I would say at least for a week so that not only you able to cover both Krakow and Warsaw, but Gdansk (one of the oldest cities in Poland) and Wroclaw. Unfortunately for me, I was pressed for time and therefore, only managed to spend four days in Krakow and Warsaw and yet, I found it's still insufficient enough.
HOW TO GET TO WARSAW FREDERIC CHOPIN AIRPORT
HOW TO GET TO WARSAW FREDERIC CHOPIN AIRPORT
My flight from Warsaw to Helsinki was estimated to depart at 9am. Therefore I decided to leave my hostel earlier. Luckily the bus stop is located just right in front of Dream Hostel and I don't have to worry about catching up the bus. Took bus #175 heading to the airport using the 24-hour ticket I bought a day before. The trip took about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic and hence, it's advisable to plan your journey well.
#1: The bus stop in the Old Town "Plac Zamkowy" but then, this is not the bus heading to airport. (For illustration purposes only)
After taking everything into account, I decided to fly with airBaltic from Warsaw to Helsinki. Of course to be frank, it's the most expensive ticket I ever bought throughout my Europe trip. One way ticket cost me RM600 - it's really painful one but then, it saves a lot of my travelling time with a short transit in Riga.
#2: Flying with airBaltic from Warsaw Frederick Chopin Airport
#3: Short transit at Riga International Airport. Riga is capital city of Latvia and I wish someday I could visit this country "finger crossed"
FROM HELSINKI AIRPORT TO CITY CENTRE
Landed in Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport around 1.35pm and after collected my red little baggage, immediately I walked to the airport train station (just follow the train icon signboard) heading to the city. Bought the ticket from the machine before entering the platform and from the machine itself, choose the one that state "regional" and it cost €5 for a single trip. Please take note that the ticket bought from the machine is valid immediately and therefore, once you done straightly heading down to the platform and wait for the trains P and I.
#4: Helsinki Vantaa International Airport and it's airport train heading to the city
#5: Helsinki Central Railway Station - Besides taking trains here to airport, it is also the main station for commuter rail and long-distance trains to the neighbouring cities.
In Helsinki, I stayed in Hostel Diana Park. Alright, one thing I like to stress here is the reason behind I pick this hotel it's not mainly cause of its name which similar to mine but because I came this hostel from one of my favourite travel blogger, Kaki Berangan. After reading all the reviews here and there, instantly I booked cause at that particular moment only one bed is available and if I don't make a move, for sure it sold out quickly. At the end of the trip, I glad I made a wise choice due to its location, location and location.
#6: Hostel Diana Park, less than 10 minutes walk from Central Railway Station
Date Stayed: 21 September - 23 September 2017 (2 nights)
Room Rate: €34 for a bed in basic 4 bed mixed room (Booked via Hostel World)
Directions: Trams number 6 and 3 in front of Central Railway Station and stops at EROTTAJA in Bulevardi street which is the street next to the hostel.
SIGHTSEEING AROUND HELSINKI ON FIRST DAY
As usual, I always randomly wandered around the immediate vicinity without travel farther away on the first day. It's like get to know more about the respective city first, before kicking off on the following day.
#7: Tram - the most convenient and scenic means of travel around Helsinki besides bus
#8: Some random buildings nearby Central Railway Station
#9: International Grand Market was held while I was there and I stumbled upon few Asian stalls like Thailand, Philippines and even Malaysia. Price wise, like expected - pricey!
#10: Finnish National Theatre - it is the oldest Finnish speaking professional theatre in Finland.
#11: Forum - a shopping centre and I did window shopping here until day turned into night.
EXPLORE HELSINKI'S ATTRACTIONS & LANDMARKS ON SECOND DAY
I met two friendly and helpful guests who stayed in the same room as mine and they gave me few suggestions of where I should visit in Helsinki. Obviously, I didn't do my research beforehand. One of them suggested to visit museum but too bad, I'm the type that not into history so I purposely skip them. The following are some of the interesting attractions they suggested earlier:
This abstract monument is dedicated to Jean Sibelius, a Finnish symphonic composer. Resembling organ pipes, Sibelius Monument is made of welded steel with over 600 pipes and with the bust of the composer on one side. This unusual but fascinating sculpture is built in Sibelius Park.
Old Market Hall
Unlike our local market which is wet and dirty, I kinda love to visit Western countries market. The Old Market Hall of Helsinki was recently renovated and it houses Finland's best collection of gourmet food boutiques. Here, you can find everything ranging from cheese, fish, vegetables, fruits, spices and even coffee and tea.
Suggested by my roommate, Suomelinna is a World Heritage Site and can be accessed by ferry only. It was once the greatest sea fortress in the Baltic built by the Swedish at great expense to protect their eastern flank. Today's Suomenlinna is still living in its own time with only old buildings with lots of old fortifications, catacombs and cast iron cannons. Entry to the island itself is free, but not for the ferry ride which the fare cost €5 for 12-hour tourist return ticket. The HSL ferry from Market Square is the cheapest and most convenient way of getting there. So if you have an HSL Day Ticket, it includes the ferry travel and you don't have to pay any additional fee.
Striking with its deep-red brick walls and green and gold onion domes, Uspenski Cathedral is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary). Its names come from the Old Church Slavonic word uspenie, which denotes the Dormition (death). This eye-catching cathedral which built on the hilltop can be easily spot from the Market Square.
Helsinki Senate Square
Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki. Landmarks and well-known buildings surrounding the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki and Sederholm House, the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757. It seems like this place is the popular among the tourists because by the time I was there, it was crowded with foreign tourists especially.
Market Square (Known as Kauppatori in Finnish)
It's a central square in Helsinki and it's must-see zone for most tourists in city centre. This open-air market sells fresh fish and produce from all over Finland. I even came across few stalls selling souvenirs and traditional treats such as reindeer burger.
Market Square is also the site of the Havis Amanda fountain.
I can't believe I have the guts to try this unusual meat and it cost me €7 (approx. to RM36). My verdict? Let your imagine run wild.
Here are the total expenses I spent throughout my 2 days and 2 nights trip in Helsinki:
airBaltic from Warsaw to Krakow
Hostel Diana Park – 2 nights
Airport train to city centre
HSL Day Ticket
Food & Beverages
Souvenirs – magnets, postcards, stamps
One way to describe Helsinki - expensive! Initially I plan to include Rovaniemi which is known for being the official hometown of Santa Claus but after browsing through the airfares flying out from Helsinki, it's absolutely cutting throat. Maybe next time *another fingers crossed again*
Previous Posts on my 2017 Solo Trip to Europe
- Solo Trip to Europe (Sneak Peek)
- 3D2N in Budapest, Hungary
- Great Market Hall of Budapest, Hungary
- Vienna. Austria Travelogue
- Salzburg, Austria Travelogue
- The Magical Town of Hallstatt, Austria
- Brief Stop in Cesky Krumlov
- Hello Prague Again
- Overnight Train from Prague to Krakow
- 3D2N in Krakow, Poland
- From Krakow to Warsaw & It's Hell Day For Me
- Warsaw's Attractions & Sightseeing
- Dream Hostel of Warsaw - The Best Hostel I Stayed in Europe