Helsinki for New Year: your worst choice

That is a kind of funny story about our New Year holidays in Helsinki with small 1-day escape to Stockholm. This will not be a travel guide in its classic way and I won’t give any advice except one and only – do not do that! Do not even think, that it is a good idea to spend your New Year holidays in Helsinki. Finland is a magnificent country with great nature, but even standing in empty room for a week can be more exciting, than vacation in Finland. You want details? Just scroll…

How to get to Finland

 A travel to Finland is like alcoholism – at first, it seems nice and funny and promises a lot of pleasure. Just imagine:

  • Flight tickets are rather cheap. Direct flights from Moscow for the New Year period were about 130$ for round trip ticket.
  • Finland gives visas for at least 6 months;
  • They give champagne aboard on the 31st of December. This is not only about Finland, but it attracts a lot and in cooperation with first two points it can make you decide to go to Finland.

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Then, after arriving at the airport you can get to the city by regular bus. Nothing special.

Let’s pretend, you are finally in the center of Helsinki, you are staying with your luggage and, looking on people and buildings, you start suspecting, that it is not the capital of entertainment, but just the capital of Finland. But you still doubt.

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OK, what’s next? You should decide where to stay, right?

Where to stay

All hotels in Helsinki are normal. Again: nothing special. We decided to separate our trip and booked two hotels. Average price was 92 Euro per night. The only thing I remember about our hotels was the fact, that there was a street market in front of one of them, where you could buy gloves, some pants and other warm clothes. “So much fun!”

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What to do

To walk and enjoy, looking on the sights… did you believe? Ha-ha! Sights exploration will take a couple of hours. These couple of hours it will be cold and windy and wet. Then you will go to see the harbor and it will be much more windy and much more wet.

OK, OK, it is not so bad. To be honest, the city is quite beautiful and comfortable for life. With illumination and trams in the evening, it looks like even sweet. But seriously, there is nothing to look to, no sights and interesting places.

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A little remark about walking, be careful: the roads and sidewalks are all covered by small stones. It is made to avoid sliding, but it is absolutely impossible to roll your suitcases – you will have to carry it.

To taste an elk

Yes, here, in some restaurants, you can officially order a meat of elk. And it is quite delicious. After that, you can tell everybody, that you ate an elk. But do not tell elks about that, they do not like that.

Instead of eating an elk you can by an elk. They sell it everywhere. Near the harbor, there is a small market of souveniers, where you can find little toys of elks. They are very nice and it would be a good souvenier.

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To drink alcohol

There are two reasons to drink in Helsinki:

  • It is tasty. Ordering a dish with elk meat it will be just right to take also a glass or…six glasses of fortified wine. It is very good, no kidding,
  • Sometimes it is so sad, dark and so…nothing to do in Helsinki, that even your conscience and you doctor will recommend you to drink a couple of glasses of something, which contains alcohol.

Going to Sweden

That is a really nice option. There are a lot of ferries between Helsinki and Stockholm. They make trips at night, that is a very good opportunity to visit Stockholm. Tickets are sold in the harbor.

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Ferries are very big and comfortable. I recommend not to take a cabin with a window because everything you will see is dark. Do you want to pay for that?

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Your typical evening at the ferry

Just for information: the fact, that you are in international waters doesn’t mean that there is no law and you are allowed to pirating. For me, it was a surprise…

OK, to be honest, there are many things to do on a ferry:

  • Duty-free shops;
  • several restaurants;
  • casino;
  • shows and concerts;
  • several decks to walk and breath the sea air.

Actually, it is much more fun on the ferry than in Helsinki. But several recommendations for you in accordance with my experience:

  1. Do not play in Casino. May be I am used to playing in Las Vegas, but special “Nordic rues”  work on the ferry. Briefly – casino always win.
  2. Go to the show only if you are a 50+ person. They are boring.
  3. Beforehand buy a voucher for a dinner for a buffet. It is sooo great, it is delicious, it can be 30 or 40 euro, but it totally worth it. I love the way they serv alcohol: there are two faucets for red and white wine. I love the idea! And, by the way, this wine is rather good.
  4. In the morning go to the deck. Your ferry will already sail in coastal waters, and the view is extremely beautiful.

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Your typical evening at the ferry in case of seasickness

My condolences…

Actually, the usual ferry is big enough for you not to feel sick. But in the case of a storm, that would not be your best trip. Your only desire would be to stay close enough to a bathroom, lying on a couch. The most distasteful is the fact, that you miss the dinner buffet, and of course, no refunds.


Oooh, this is sweet. Stockholm is very clean, cozy and pretty…and expensive. If you stop eating for a couple of days you could probably save money for a coupe of tickets to Vasa museum. That is a museum of big battle ship of 17th century. It worth its price, no kidding. The ship is wonderful and I bet you spend a couple of hours in that building, which is rather important, because of the cold wether in Stockholm. Also you will defenately meet Garik Sukachev (Russian famous rock musician) in that museum. I am not sure, but I have been in Vasa museum once and in 100% of cases I met Garik Sukachev.

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We did not visit other museums because we prefer eating: in Sweden, prices are soo high that you have to choose between food and museum tickets. But I have to admit, other museums look like very attractive.

And also swans in Stockholm are really cool…and the old city…but swans are cooler.

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After this productive day in Stockholm, with bags full of souveniers you will get back to your ferry and return to Helsinki. That will be a good trip with quiet New Year celebrating. Oh, sure, a couple of words about New Year celebrating: 2-3 thousand people on a central square, a concert, and fireworks. Again, a bit boring.

Total cost for 2 persons for 6 days:

  • Flight tickets: 239 Euro;
  • Hotel: 584 Euro;
  • Food+drinks+restaurants: 231 Euro;
  • Ferry to Stockholm: 108 Euro;
  • Buffet on ferry: 128 Euro;
  • Museum: 40 Euro;
  • Visa: 35 Euro + 35 Euro;
  • Public transport: 12 Euro;
  • Transfer from/to airport: 32 Euro

Total: 1444 Euro

More pictures in Photo Gallery

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