With the vast majority of Finland's population residing in its southern regions, it is no surprise that many of its best historic and cultural sights can also be found there. This itinerary was designed to show you a glimpse of Finland's past and present in just four nights. If your group has always dreamt of traveling to Finland, choose this itinerary for a relaxing, interesting dose of Nordic charm!
- Panoramic sightseeing tours of Helsinki, Turku and Tampere
- Walking tour of Porvoo's medieval Old Town
- Visit the "Church of the Rock"
- See Turku's 13th-century castle
- Tampere Cathedral
Helsinki â€“ 2 nights
Day 1: Arrive Helsinki
Upon arrival to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, a local guide will meet your group in the terminal's arrivals hall and then lead it on a city sightseeing tour of Helsinki. Finland's beautiful capital city is home to an interesting blend of historical attractions, modern architecture and design, and unspoiled natural landscapes. Its spectacular seaside location is further enhanced by the fact that an alluring chain of islands surrounds it. During your panoramic city tour of Helsinki by private coach, the guide will tell your group about the history of Finland and explain what everyday life is like in Helsinki today. You will see Helsinki's best monuments including the Senate Square, the Presidential Palace, City Hall, and the Opera House. You will also visit inside Temppeliaukio Kirkko, (Temple Square Church), which is one of Helsinki's most popular attractions. Known as the "Church of the Rock," this Lutheran church was actually carved out of the natural bedrock.
After breakfast in the hotel, you and your fellow travelers will set out by private coach on a guided excursion to one of Finland's most interesting medieval destinations. The drive will take you northeast along the Finnish coast to the town of Porvoo. Having been founded in the 14th century, Porvoo is the second oldest town in Finland, and even before it was officially founded, traders were already established there in the 1200s. Upon arrival your group will have a panoramic driving tour of today's city of Porvoo, which will be followed by a guided walking tour of Old Porvoo, whose present population only counts roughly 700 people. Porvoo's Old Town truly is a historical gem, and your guide will show you its historic, characteristic wooden warehouses, which may soon become an official UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the tour you will have some free time for lunch before going inside the highlight of any visit to Porvoo: its 15th-century cathedral. The Porvoo Cathedral is the thirdmost- visited church in Finland, and parts of the structure actually date back to the 13th century. After visiting inside, enjoy some time on your own to continue exploring Porvoo before rejoining your group and returning to the hotel in Helsinki. Once you arrive, the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Turku â€“ 1 night
Day 3: Arrive Turku
After breakfast and check-out, your group will board its private coach and travel west along the coast to a city commonly called Finland's most charming town: Turku. Located at the mouth of the Aurajoki River, Turku is Finland's oldest city, and it was the country's most powerful one for many centuries until the Russians relocated the Finnish capital from Turku to Helsinki in the 19th century. Today Turku is something of a cultural (and business) capital in Finland. Visitors travel to Turku for its great variety of cultural offerings, the lively ambience along its riverbanks, and for the convenient access to Turku's nearby islands.
Upon arrival to the hotel in Turku, your group will have free time for lunch before setting out on an afternoon city tour, during which you will see Turku's best sights including the 13th-century Turku Castle, one of the finest examples of Finland's national heritage. The tour will conclude back at the hotel, and you will have the evening at leisure in Turku.
Tampere â€“ 1 night
Day 4: Arrive Tampere
After breakfast and check-out, your group will travel northeast by private coach to Finland's largest inland city: Tampere. Founded towards the end of the 18th century, Tampere's population today numbers 200,000. The city's geographical position is quite spectacular; it lies on a narrow strip of land that runs between Lake NÃ¤sijÃ¤rvi and Lake PyhÃ¤jÃ¤rvi. Tampere is known for being a center of industry, education and culture in Southern Finland. Upon arrival enjoy a guided panoramic tour of Tampere with an inside visit included to the Tampere Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko), a superb example of the Nordic National Romantic style of architecture.
The tour will finish at your hotel, where your group will check in and then have time to freshen up before tonight's farewell dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
AAfter breakfast and check-out, your group will board its private coach and travel to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport for its return flight to the US or Canada. (Note: the drive to the airport will take approximately 2h15min). Should your group have an afternoon flight, there should be no problem arriving in time. However, groups with early-morning departure flights should consider including an additional night in Helsinki to make sure it has sufficient time to reach the airport on its departure day.
Download the Discovering the Culture of Southern Finland pdf file.