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Finland's Fascinating Cities and Lakes by Train
Tour Southern Finland's major cities by train and stay at hotels nestled in a beautiful natural setting near water, providing a taste of the enchanting Finnish landscape at its most typical. The highlight of the tour is a scenic cruise on a blue lake.
Helsinki is a city of contrasts, a high-tech metropolis by the sea with proximity to peaceful and quiet natural surroundings. Guided excursions are arranged to the pristine evergreen forests, and the best way to see the beautiful archipelago scenery is to take a sightseeing cruise. The city offers a wide selection of museums, exhibitions, culture and shopping. Highlights include the Suomenlinna sea fortress, built on six islands off the city shore.
HĂ¤meenlinna, the birthplace of Finlandâ€™s greatest composer Jean Sibelius, is a small lakeside town. Its main landmark is the HĂ¤me Castle, dating back to the end of the 13th century.
Tampere, a city of blue lakes and green parks, had an important role in the early stages of industrialization in Finland. It grew by the surging rapids on a neck of land between two large lakes and is the largest city in the Thousand Lakes area, yet with a small town feel. Many of the old red-brick factory buildings today house interesting galleries and exhibitions.
The river is the heart of Turku and in summer the riverbanks are pulsing with life. Finlandâ€™s first capital is home to some of the countryâ€™s most remarkable medieval landmarks, the Cathedral and the Castle. Also worth a visit is the unique open-air crafts museum at LuostarinmĂ¤ki, which contains original timber houses and workshops offering an insight into work and life in the early 19th century.
A City by the Sea
Arrive by flight on own. Pick up your 48 hours Helsinki Card at the airport. The Helsinki Card is an easy and economical way to explore Helsinki. It provides you with a complete guidebook and excellent maps, free travel on public transport (trams, metro, buses, train, and boats to islands), free entrance to many museums and major sights. Helsinki was founded in 1550 by the Swedish King Gustav Vasa, as a trading post to compete with Tallinn, to the south, in Estonia. In the beginning of the 19th century Finland became part of Russia, and Tsar Alexander I made Helsinki capital in 1812. Since the beginning of the 20th century Finland has been independent, and today Helsinki pulls off the trick of being something of an international metropolis while still retaining a small-town feel. The many parks, museums and churches are well worth a visit. We also warmly recommend a visit to the charming Suomenlinna Fortress, since 1991 on the UNESCOâ€™s World Heritage List, as a unique monument to European military architecture.
Discovering the Capital City
With the Helsinki Card, city tours are available free or at a discounted price.
Rural Lakeside Town
Breakfast at the hotel. Train 2nd class Helsinki â€“ HĂ¤meenlinna (duration approx. 1,5 hours). HĂ¤meenlinna is a traditional and vibrant educational and cultural town at the junction of nationally important rail, road and waterway network. Living up to its vision, HĂ¤meenlinna is a lively, beautiful and pleasant beach town in Southern Finland, which strives for sustainable development and offers visitors and citizens a variety of services. The city's landmark is its medieval HĂ¤me Castle. Overnight at Rantasipi Aulanko Hotel or similar.
Scenic Lake Cruise
Breakfast at the hotel. Boat (Note! Departures on Tuesdays only) from HĂ¤menlinna to Tampere where you will see best lake views of Vanajavesi and PyhĂ¤jĂ¤rvi, just sit back and enjoy a day on the lake without any hurry. Along the way you will see the medieval castle of HĂ¤meenlinna, the picturesque houses located in the slopes of Pispala and Pyynikki and many other beautiful sights that the Finnish lake nature has to offer. We will also make a longer stop in Visavuori museum, where you have a chance to enjoy the artworks and atelie of Finnish sculptor Emil WikstrĂ¶m and his grandson, cartoonist Kari Suomalainen (duration approx. 5 hours).
City With an Industrial Heritage
Take a break in the hotel's surroundings, a peaceful pine forest park, and enjoy spectacular views from an old red-brick observation tower situated on top of the impressive Pyynikki Ridge. The city's sights, museums, shopping and nightlife are within a ten-minute bus ride.
Breakfast at the hotel. Train 2nd class Tampere â€“ Turku (duration approx. 2-3,5 hours), the oldest town of Finland and a former capital. Turku is located on the shores of the river Aura. The southwest of Finland offers ancient cultural traditions as this is where the recorded history of Finland begins and where the oldest traces of habitation have been found. Turku is famous for an active cultural scene and maritime atmosphere. We recommend visits to the Castle of Turku from the XIII century, the LuostarinmĂ¤ki outdoor & crafts museum, and the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum complex. We can also recommend a visit to the Ruissalo Island and the Botanical Gardens of the University of Turku.
Back to Helsinki
Return by train to Helsinki. Overnight at the centrally located Sokos Hotel Vaakuna only a few steps from the railway station and the airport shuttle bus terminal.
Day 8 HelsinkiMeals: Breakfast
After breakfast, transfer on your own to the airport.
Available on request from June to 08 - August 24, 2019 with departures Saturdays.
Price IncludesHelsinki Card for 48 Hours
Rail Travel Per Itinerary
Boat Travel Per Itinerary
Price Does Not IncludeTour Escort
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