Flying into Helsinki from Stockholm, it was fun to see the vast birch groves, brilliant blue skies, and abundant shoreline. I’ve mentioned a few times since we’ve been in France that we really miss the ocean. It is definitely a part of me, and we can’t imagine not living permanently by the sea. So although the landscape in Helsinki is quite different from our west coast, it really felt good to be able to look out to the water and see nothing beyond but the great wide open.
There are loads of tiny islands dotted around Helsinki’s coast. We enjoyed wandering around Uunasaari and Liuskasaari in particular, both easily accessible from a footbridge right off the seawall on the mainland. The kids had a ball climbing on the rocks and checking out tide pools.
There’s a long seawall that runs along the coast, and I love how there are gorgeous cafés dotted around so you can have a drink or lunch with an incredible view. We lucked out again with fantastic weather while we were in Helsinki, so we definitely took advantage and had a beer and ice cream for the kids at Café Ursula, which was such a cool spot.
On our last full day we took a boat out to Suomenlinna Fortress. A Unesco Heritage site situated on a few islands just off the coast, Suomenlinna was built in the Swedish era in the mid-1700s. There were tunnel-like passageways under the ramparts that you could walk through, sod-covered huts dotting the hillside, and star shaped fortified walls that were common in these fortresses. It was a very brisk and windy day, but with the amazing vivid blue skies typical of Helsinki.