What could be better than cruising in the archipelago on a sunny summer day! With over 300 islands and 100 km of sparkling shoreline Helsinki, the daughter of the Baltic Sea, is at its best on the water during the summer months.On a sunny Saturday afternoon last weekend, I decided to go on a sightseeing cruise in Helsinki archipelago on a whim. Most tour boats leave from Helsinki Market Square in the city centre. I opted for a 1,5 hour Historical Helsinki sightseeing cruise by Royal Line. Tickets were 23 € (a bit pricey for my taste).
While waiting for the boat to go out it was fun sitting on the upper outdoor deck and watching the hustle and bustle of the Market Square from above. This must be one of the liveliest spots in Helsinki during the summer months when tourists and locals alike flock at the food stalls and shop for fresh berries, fruit and vegetables.Leaving Helsinki Market Square we had fantastic views over Helsinki city skyline from the sea. We headed towards Kaivopuisto along the shoreline passing by Silja Line cruise ships and the small islands of Valkosaari and Luoto (aka Klippan), both accommodating a summer restaurant in gorgeous old mansions very pretty from the sea.In Kaivopuisto seaside cafes were filled with people enjoying the sunny summer afternoon and taking easy strolls along the waterfront promenade.The colourful buildings of Eira together with the marina dotted with hundreds of boats is always easy on the eye.We passed by several little islands with marinas and the cute island restaurant of Skiffer on Liuskaluoto Island. Here you can actually get the best pizzas ever.From the sea views over to the upscale residential areas of Eira and Eiranranta were magnificent with church towers looming in the horizon.Next we approached Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, which is an inhabited historic sea fortress built on six islands and also a Unesco World Heritage Site. In Suomenlinna Sea Fortress we saw the inner bay, the last surviving Finnish submarine Vesikko, massive fortifications and walls as well as Kings Gate, the iconic symbol of Suomenlinna.After Suomenlinna we passed by two former military islands Vallisaari and Lonna, which I loved exploring last summer. Both islands were recently opened to the public and are well worth discovering.Then we cruised pass Oil Silo 368, a retired oil silo in the district of Kruunuvuorenranta that a couple of years ago was transformed into a permanent urban light installation.We saw the new redevelopment area of Kalasatama, Korkeasaari Zoo island as well as Merihaka’s grey high-rise blocks of flats in a distance.We got to admire the gorgeous facades of the seaside residential buildings of Kruununhaka and Katajanokka areas as well as one of the most famous landmarks of Helsinki, the orthodox church of Uspenski Cathedral standing high on a hilltop.On the way back to our starting point at Helsinki Market Square we saw three famous Finnish icebreakers named Otso, Urho and Woima enjoying their summer holidays at Katajanokka.After cruising 1.5 hours in Helsinki archipelago we slowly approached the harbour and were given ample time to take photos and admire the stunning cityscape of Helsinki before arriving back at Helsinki Market Square.
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