The capital and cultural center of Finland, Helsinki offers Royal Holiday Cruises visitors an elegant mix of old and new sensibilities. Marked by wide boulevards gracefully curving along the complex shoreline and bridges and ferries connecting its islands, Helsinki is a neat, well-planned town with strong neoclassical and modern architectural influences. A historically influential northern European city, it is widely recognized today for its design innovation as well as for its excellent standard of living. As such, Helsinki’s many unique attractions, restaurants, and markets have much to offer Royal Holiday Cruises guests.
The epicenter of neoclassical design in Helsinki, the Senate square was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel. Flanked by buildings belonging to Helsinki University as well as old merchants’ homes that have been converted to shops and restaurants, the Square is also the site of the spectacular Helsinki Cathedral.
This park in the Toolo district of Helsinki honors Jean Sibelius, one of the most influential composers of the late Romantic period. Here, Royal Holiday Cruises visitors can view an imposing monument crafted of steel pipes in a compelling wave-like form inspired by his music.
Locally known as Temppeliaukio, (or “Temple Square Church”) the Rock Church is carved into living stone. Crowned by a shimmering copper dome, the building resembles a strange space-age monument when viewed from the outside. Inside, where sunlight filters in from above, visitors from Royal Holiday Cruises are greeted by a cavernous space filled with wooden pews and dominated by a great pipe organ.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this picturesque seaside fort is a lovely place for a visit, with fine views, eateries, and craft shops.
National Museum of Finland
Beneath the stately tower of the National Museum of Finland, the long history of Finland is laid out, from the Stone Age to the modern era. Among the permanent exhibitions, visitors can view the displays dedicated to different historical eras, as well as the intriguing Treasure Troves exhibit, which features coins, weapons, jewelry, and military decorations. The museum also includes innovative interactive displays, as well as an extensive collection of Mesa Verde artifacts from Colorado.
Known for its elegant yet unpretentious ceramics and housewares, this company also produces a rage of imaginative gifts and cards that make ideal souvenirs for Royal Holiday Cruises guests.
Beneath a sea of gold and orange awnings, countless stalls hawk everything from fresh fish to flowers to fine crepes. Market Square is as much a stop for locals to sip a coffee and chat with friends, as it is a place for tourists to get up close to Finnish arts, crafts, and culture.
Finnish National Gallery
As the largest art museum in Finland, the Finnish National Gallery includes a number of excellent smaller museums to delight Royal Holiday Cruises guests. The striking steel edifice of the Kiasma Modern Art Museum houses a stunning collection of contemporary works from the 1960s and beyond. The Ateneum Art Museum is especially renowned for its exhibitions of traditional Finnish artworks.
An intimate and understated restaurant, Kosmos is a favorite of executives by day, and journalists and bohemians by night. It serves a modern take on traditional Finnish fare.