Earlier this month Rachel managed two weekend breaks in one - Estonia to Finland and back again..
When tasked with finding somewhere to go for a friends birthday a quick search on skyscanner revealed that Estonia had the cheapest direct flights from Edinburgh out of anywhere in Europe (£48 return with Ryanair). It was a no brainer and with Estonia's close proximity to a handful of other European countries it would mean I could tick of a couple from my must-see list!
Helsinki Railway Station
Located on the coast the countries capital Tallinn boasts direct links by ferry to both Sweden and Finland. Google revealed it was only 2 hours and £28 return (directferries.com) to get to Helsinki.
We chose to book air bnbs in both capitals and they did not disappoint, our first in Helsinki was located in an old art deco block of flats and had been decorated in a typical Scandi way.
'Lovely and central apartment in Toolo' book here>
We were pleasantly surprised by the price of everything, much the same as other cities on the continent and no where near the price of Finland's Scandinavian neighbours.
Grabbing a coffee and cinnamon bun at the Old Market Hall on the harbour
Finland is made up of some 800 island and 300 alone surround Helsinki making it boats can take you to the bigger ones. The island of Suomenlinna is a must see as it has an pen air museum on it and Helsinki zoo inhabits the island of Korkeasaari.
One of the hundreds of tiny islands
Taking a break at Bus Gelato - an ice cream shop come deli
The city is home to so many museums which cover everything from natural history to Finish design and a must see on my list, the biggest department store in Scandinavia - Stockmanns.
By far our favourite place in Finland was the urban oasis Loyly which translates to mean the steam that evaporates from a sauna. A contemporary sauna on the waterfront so after a steam in one of there saunas you can jump straight into the Baltic sea! Loyly opens at 4pm and you can book your 2 hour time slot in advance online. (www.loylyhelsinki.fi)
Back across the sea, Tallinn couldn't have been more different! made up of tiny cobbled streets that wound around a hill this medieval city is bursting with history.
24 hours in the Estonian capital is more than enough, we managed to fit in a walking tour with Estonia guide Heli (Traveller tours) and sampled the local cuisine at Trofe. Which involved, black bread (heavy rye bread), roe deer and pickled apple.
Estonian air bnb
The Tallinn apartment was within 10 minutes of the ferry terminal and 5 minutes walk from the old town - a perfect location! Link here>
At the beginning of the year I set myself a new years resolution of ticking of 3 new countries a year, so now only one to go!