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5 Similarities and Differences between Helsinki and Tallinn

26 Feb

Find 5 Similarities and Differences between the two cities

When you’re on a Baltic cruise from Helsinki to Tallinn, it’s a journey in more than one way. There is not much of the Baltic Sea between the two cities but it doesn’t mean there aren’t remarkable differences. What’s distinct about these two cities is also often what makes them so worthwhile to visit.

Baltic Cruise, Visit Helsinki

The Languages

Finnish and Estonian belong to the Finnic branch of the Uralic language family. Believe it or not, they are not very mutually intelligible and are more distant in relation than Spanish and Portuguese or Swedish and Norwegian. A speaker of one language can recognize some words of the other enough to understand the context and converse with simple sentences. The grammar is similar, but you will find many false cognates, also known as “false friends.” Estonian also has many loanwords from German, Swedish and Russian. Thus, it is a good idea to learn some basic phrases of the other language. Another interesting aspect is that many Estonians speak some degree of Finnish, especially in Tallinn. If you cannot speak either language, don’t worry; a majority of people in both cities speak English.

Tourist Highlights in Helsinki and Tallinn

Common tourist attractions in Helsinki include walking trails, religious and other architectural sites, festivals, and the central market square. Tallinn used to have a marketplace at Town Hall Square but it is now a popular spot for events. Both cities have several beaches. While you’re on a cruise from Helsinki to Tallinn, be sure to check out their main squares.

Architectural Features

The architecture in Helsinki is modern with a Neoclassical influence. It also boasts the largest number of Art Nouveau buildings. Tallinn has buildings with Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. It often juxtaposes the preserved old-style buildings alongside new ones. The charms of the architectural styles in both cities are unique and make for some fabulous photos.

Cultural Distinctions

Along with the differences in architecture are those in culture. The culture in Helsinki is younger and more modern, with a dense population. Tallinn is more traditional, indigenous European, and with a small population. Since Estonian culture is older, the language has undergone more changes. Finns are among the best English speakers in Europe and the youth are probably more fluent in English than Finnish. On a cruise from Helsinki to Tallinn, you will notice fewer people speaking English, especially if you visit small towns where there are more elders.


What about their traditions? Finns are famous for their love of coffee and the countryside while Estonians enjoy the arts, social events, and rustic food. Both enjoy wooden saunas, and both celebrate the Christian holiday of Christmas along with pagan Yule time traditions including a Yule goat, mulled wine, and a feast. In case you’re wondering: yes, it is possible to go on a cruise from Helsinki to Tallinn during the winter to revel in all the Christmas festivities!
Knowing this information, you can look out for the similarities and differences between the two cities. Such a comparison remains regardless of what you decide to do in each country. You will be going between a large city and a small one, but your experiences will be greater for it.
Baltic Cruise from Helsinki to Tallinn

Why We Love Finland

07 Jan
Flag of Finland

There are many reasons to visit Finland but some of these reasons are more special than others. Take a look at what keeps this unique country on the Baltic Sea so close to our hearts.

More than 70% of the Finnish landscape is forest, which makes the country a stunning spot for ramblers and nature lovers. You’ll also find 188,000 lakes nestled in between the woodland, which only add to the astounding natural beauty of Finland.

Nowhere can match Finland’s natural bounty

Want to lace up your boots and explore? That’s no problem. The Finns take their beautiful landscape very seriously and want to share it with everyone. You can be assured of your right to roam as you take in this beautiful scenery.

A visit to Finland is great for your health

Finland is renowned for having some of the cleanest air anywhere in the world, even downtown in the capital, Helsinki. Getting a good level of exercise is also easy here thanks to the myriad ski-slopes dotted around the country, as well as the hiking trails which criss-cross the landscape.

Want to relax in a healthy way after a day on the slopes? A diverse array of different cuisine awaits you on the award-winning Finnish restaurant scene, while one of the over three million saunas will help you to open your pores and detox the Nordic way.

Finland in the winter is a truly magical place

Have you ever been to the home of Santa Claus in Rovaniemi? Have you ever seen the Northern Lights or stay in Glass Igloos? Have you ever taken a sled trip through the snow and seen reindeer trotting among the pines? Visit Finland and ensure the answer to all of these questions is ‘yes.’

The Finnish people are waiting to welcome you

Finns are very proud of their culture, and rightly so! As such, they are happy to share it with you. A major reason to visit Finland is the Finns themselves. You will feel the warmth and welcoming nature of the local people from the moment you arrive.

This also manifests itself in the society of Finland, which is one of the safest on the planet. While many charming locations across the world are unfortunately blighted by crime, Finland is not one of them.

Arts and culture are thriving

Finland has long been famous for its art and design scene. The Kiasma, the Finnish National Gallery, and the Espoo Museum of Modern Art all house world-class collections that will delight visiting experts and casual art lovers in equal measure, while the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä is an experience which can’t be missed.

Are you ready to start your adventure and visit Finland? Get in touch with our team today.

The Magical Side of Finnish Lapland

24 Nov

The Magical Side of Finnish Lapland – Reindeer Sleigh Rides

The magic side of the Christmas season comes alive when you visit Rovaniemi, located in Lapland. That is because Rovaniemi is the official hub and hometown of Santa Claus. This city in Finland hails, as well, as the administrative capital of the northernmost province of Finland, known as Finnish Lapland.

Therefore, no trip is complete during the holidays without visiting the hometown of Santa Claus. Naturally, reindeer in this region “rein” supreme as well. In fact, you need to be cautious when driving through Finnish Lapland from November to January – a time when you run the risk for a run-in with a reindeer. Indeed Lapland would not be Lapland without the reindeer, who the people call the livestock of the sun.

Sami Culture in Lapland


The Creation Story

According to old Lappish tales and the indigenous people, the Sámi, Jubmel created the Lapland landscape from a baby reindeer. Rocks were formed from the calf’s bones and the earth from the animal’s muscles. However, the Creator embedded the calf’s heart deep inside the soil. If you listen closely on a silent winter’s day, you can sometimes hear the calf’s soft heartbeat. Either that, or your ears are frost-nipped.

Visit Finnish Lapland

The Sami’s traditional clothes (in center)

Reindeer Names

Regardless, you cannot go too far in this part of the world without seeing a reindeer.

Finnish Lapland

Pretty deer, walking down the street 🙂

After all, it is hard to miss those antlers, even if they do serve as camouflage in the Lapland forest. Reindeer also go by other names, other than Rudolph, Dancer, or Prancer. For example, dark-colored deer are called musikki while the light-colored reindeer go by the name of suivakko. Some of the deer, which are pure white, blend nicely with the winter white terrain. They are referred to as valkko. If you see a reindeer whose muzzle is white, he is referred to as kalppinokka.

Indeed, reindeer adapt well to the cold, as the oleic acid in their legs prevents their legs from freezing and their blood flow is robust so they can cope well to the arctic climate. The dense winter fur on their bodies safeguards them from arctic extremes in temperature.

Lapland Tours from Helsinki

Reindeer Farm in Finnish Lapland

Reindeer provide nutrition to Lappish people, as the meat is fine fibered and therefore easy to digest. Cooks use reindeer fat, known as spoke, in Lapland cuisine as well. Santa enjoys the reindeer milk the deer provide, as it provides three times more energy than what cow’s milk offers. Laplanders drink the milk, as is, or consume it diluted with water. The milk is used in cheese and butter, and in cosmetic products commercially. However, it tastes best in cheese and butter.

Reindeer Vocabulary

Reindeer husbandry and herding all contribute to the vocabulary in this part of the world. For example, elo are reindeer livestock while jutaa means to travel. Kallokas are fur boots made from the skin of a reindeer’s skull while a nulppo is a reindeer without antlers. A parttio is a small herd of reindeer while a raavas is a reindeer, fully grown.

Reindeer Sleigh Ride in Finnish Lapland

Reindeer Sleigh Ride in Finnish Lapland

Dashing through the Snow

With that being said, the best way to enjoy reindeer in Finnish Lapland is to reserve a sleigh ride, also considered a safari by some. Having reindeer guide a sleigh gets you in the Christmas frame of mind fairly fast. While some people have husky dogs guide a sleigh or others choose to travel by snowmobile, the true adventurers select reindeer as their guides.

When you take a sleigh ride, you can explore Finnish Lapland up-close and personal. Many of the rides originate from Santa Claus Village in the winter – no reservation required. Participants can earn a reindeer driving license as well as a special certificate for crossing over the North Pole.

Maybe you would like to see Lapland at night. If so, you can book a sleigh ride and see the beautiful Northern Lights. This is one unique way to entertain the whole family in the winter, especially at Christmas time.

Winter Lapland Tours from Helsinki

30 Oct

Experience Northern Wonders with Lapland Tours from Helsinki

Looking to book a Northern getaway? Lapland tours from Helsinki offer a chance to experience the beautiful northern landscapes, fresh Lappi cuisine and exciting winter activities that will make your trip memorable.

Read on to learn more about some of the winter activities that would be fun on a romantic trip for two, on a Lapland adventure with friends, or on a vacation for the whole family.

Driving Snowmobile, Trips to Lapland

Driving Snowmobile in Lapland


Experience the thrill of gliding through snowy forests and over icy lakes. Snowmobiling is a great way to leave the city behind and cruise through natural lands—it’s more exciting than your average wilderness tour! Whether you’re a snowmobiling pro who can’t get enough speed, or a novice looking for a guided tour, there are plenty of ways to mix snowmobiling into your Lapland adventure.

Huskies in their dog sled

Huskies in their dog sled

Husky Safari

A husky safari is a popular activity for any group on a Lapland tour from Helsinki. Nature and animal lovers enjoy being around the high-energy pups. These trained huskies are happy when they get to do what they love the most: pull sleds through stunning winter scenery. Sled teams of two are taught how to handle the sled before heading out into the serene snow-covered forest. The dogs are very excitable before the ride, but while they work it becomes silent. A husky safari is a uniquely peaceful way to enjoy nature.

Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland

Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland

See Northern Lights

The Northern Lights make an appearance over the Lapland about 240 nights per year. This natural phenomenon is one of the main attractions for a group on a Lapland tour from Helsinki. Dancing swirls of green, pink and indigo make their way across the sky in a breathtaking display. The aurora borealis is an integral part of northern cultures, who have many myths and legends to explain what it is.

Hotel Igloos in Lapland

Hotel Igloos in Lapland

Stay in Glass Igloos

Beautifully designed, a modern glass igloo is a stunning place to stay just outside of Rovaniemi. Every igloo offers a private bathroom with a shower. They also offer heated floors, saunas, and outdoor hot tubs on site for your health and relaxation. When you spend the night in a glass igloo, you can experience the Northern Lights all night as you relax in the comfort of your own bed.

Santa Claus and Husky, Rovaniemi

Santa Claus and Husky, Rovaniemi

Meet Santa Claus in Rovaniemi

The capital city of Lapland is home to some astounding people, including Santa Claus himself. Santa and his elves decided to establish an office in Rovaniemi in 1985, so people could visit them easier. In 2010, the capital of Lapland was also named the official hometown of Santa Claus. Today, the Santa Claus Village draws over 500,000 annual visitors. Experience the magic for yourself.

Swimming with Ice, Kemi, Lapland

Swimming in the Gulf of Bothnia

Sampo Icebreaker Cruise in Kemi

The Sampo Icebreaker has been running since the early 1960s, breaking up ice to make way for trade vessels on the frozen Finnish seas. The sound of steel crushing through thick ice is an extreme experience unlike any other seafaring journey, but that’s not all the Sampo cruise has to offer. You’ll get a tour through the engine room and the captain’s bridge as well as a chance to plunge into the frozen sea. It’s completely optional, but if you do decide to take a dip between floating ice chunks, you’ll be geared up in a survival suit! The Sampo Icebreaker also features a delicious restaurant for guests to enjoy Arctic delicacies.

Plan Your Winter Lapland Tour from Helsinki Today!

There are countless reasons to experience the magic of Lapland. Whether you plan your visit during the first autumnal color change known as Ruska, or show up in the middle of winter to experience the frozen wonderland, you’ll be astonished just how vibrant the north can be. Plan your Lapland tours from Helsinki and live the adventure for yourself.


Natural Phenomenon During Your Northern Lights Trip

07 Oct

The Gorgeous Natural Phenomenon of the Northern Lights

Northern Lights Holiday

Northern Lights Trip

The Northern Lights are a breathtaking natural phenomenon that will make for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When people think of going on holiday, they typically don’t think of going on a Northern Lights trip. However, if you’re planning your next getaway, consider Lapland. This is a premier spot to view them, and the bright lights stand out in gorgeous contrast to the dark, wintry Lapland nights. Legends have shrouded the Northern Lights in mystery for decades, and there are myths from all over the world concerning this natural wonder.

Northern Lights Legends

Depending on which area of the world you search for legends pertaining to the Northern Lights, you’ll get dozens of stories that generations have passed down again and again. This is what makes it so spectacular to take a Northern Lights trip; almost every culture has reference to them.

  • Creatures Shrouded in Mystery. In North Dakota, the people of the Mandan Tribe believed that giants were lighting the sky to see while night fishing. In Finland, residents claimed that sparks from a mythical fox’s tail caused them. In China and Russia, a Fire Dragon was rumored to cause them.
  • Mighty Gods and Demons. Norse mythology credits the Northern Lights as being the bridge between their home, Asgard, and earth. Other tales told of the battle armor of the God’s reflecting the light, and these reflections became the Northern Lights. The Inuit people claimed the Lights were from a demon’s lantern, and they used it to lure spirits to them.
  • Spirits of the Departed. Dozens of different tribes and cultures believed these Lights were the departed spirits of their ancestors. Some believed the Northern Lights was a gathering place for them, while others believed they were physical manifestations of the departed. Finally, some believed that the Lights were lanterns held by other spirits to guide the newly departed to the afterlife.

No matter which legends you’ve heard or believe, taking a Northern Lights trip is a chance to immerse yourself in several different cultures. You’ll be able to see something that is awe-inspiring, and all you have to do is travel to Lapland. While you’re there, you can partake in the many other experiences that this culturally-rich area has to offer and create memories that will last throughout your lifetime. So the next time you wonder where to go on holiday, consider the Northern Lights for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.