Sometimes I get an idea in my head that is absolutely ridiculous. In these cases, I always give Buddy veto power and if he doesn’t take that opportunity, then all bets are off. This is how we ended up in a Helsinki sauna during an eight-hour day trip to Finland (which also included about five hours on a ferry, because we’re crazy).
You see, I decided I wanted to see 30 countries before I turn 30 – which meant seeing 15 countries on this trip to Europe, some of which on crazy day trips. #30before30 … #worthit?
Ferrying to Helsinki from Tallinn
But, back to our Helsinki adventure … from Tallinn, Estonia, there is a ferry to Helsinki, Finland, that runs multiple times a day, even in offseason. The company, Tallink, actually gives you a discount if you want to plan a crazy day trip! Ha! Just be sure to click the day ticket option to make sure you get the best deal.
For our trip, it was about €25 each for round trip tickets which were pretty easy to book through the Tallink website. It was a two-hour trip, which went by quickly. Then, on the way back, we opted for the 1.5-hour longer Silja Europa cruise because it was cheaper. And it turned out to have a mini party on-board, who knew?!?!
A Dreary Helsinki Day Trip
When we left, the weather was bad and when we arrived it was worse. Luckily, we had worn some of our warmest clothes, but that still didn’t keep us from wanting to escape indoors.
As many know, Finland (like the other Nordic countries) is quite expensive. However, Brooklyn Bagel made for a cheap, yet filling breakfast and good place to warm up. Such a good find!
While just wandering around is always an enjoyable way to explore a new place, the weather was really wearing on us. So, after a few hours of popping into churches, eating the cheapest food we could find, and taking in the gloomy views, we decided to treat ourselves.
Warming Up at a Helsinki Sauna
So, what should you do in Finland when the weather is awful and you don’t want to spend a fortune? A sauna day!
Oh my. This was a fantastic way to spend our time in Helsinki. With its location on the water, the Löyly sauna not only has enormous, classic saunas, it also gives you the option to take a dip in the Baltic Sea! Whoa now …. is that a challenge? 😉
For EUR 19 per person for a two-hour morning session, we felt that this was a great use of our money and time. The co-ed sauna and steam bath were perfect for us weary travelers. Plus, a dip in the frigid sea between sessions was invigorating. There is also a bar and restaurant on-site and great views of the surrounding city. A relaxing day, we won’t soon forget.
Heading Back to Tallinn
After our trip to the Finnish sauna, we killed some time at the video game museum (floors 4-5 in the Verkkokauppa.com Building). There’s not much to it, but if you are trying to kill some time indoors, it’s close to the ship. If you take the elevator up to the very top of this building, you can get rooftop views of the area as well!
On the way back, we boarded the ship early to make sure we had plenty of time. As we wandered around, we found a giant party happening on one of the lower floors with live entertainment (playing hits from artists like the Spice Girls, Megan Trainer, and local artists). There was dancing and drinking and it was a blast to watch everyone. It also seems like lots of locals do the day trip to stock up on cheaper duty-free booze. Not a bad idea! But, we didn’t plan that far ahead.
When we got back to Tallinn, we dodged everyone carrying crates and bags as we made our way back to our hotel. We slept so well that night – which prepared us to fully explore the beautiful walled city of Tallinn in the much better weather we had the next day.
Ever been to Helsinki or in a Finnish sauna?