Discover Finland's Golden Triangle—formed by the cities of Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku. Learn about the role these cities played in Finland's history and how, today, they are the economic and population center of the country.  You'll start in the capital, Helsinki, with a city tour and an excursion to the historic Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, and partake in the city's lively and innovative dining scene. At Tampere, the city surrounded by lakes, you'll learn the city's history and take a lake cruise to enjoy the region's unique beauty.

Highlights

  • Sweat away your stress in a traditional Finnish sauna
  • Discover Helsinki's hidden culinary hot-spots on a food tour
  • Visit a seafront fortress that symbolizes Finland's independence

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Helsinki Helsinki
Day 2 Explore Helsinki Helsinki
Day 3 Porvoo Porvoo
Day 4 Tampere Tampere
Day 5 Turku Turku
Day 6 Depart from Helsinki  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Helsinki

A traditional Finnish sauna
A traditional Finnish sauna

Upon arrival to Helsinki, the capital of Finland, you'll have a direct transfer to your hotel. 

Check-in to your accommodations, relax and get ready for the highlight of your first day, a traditional Finnish sauna. 

Sauna is such an intrinsic part of Finnish life that it's been nominated for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List of traditions or practices that form part of a place's unique identity. You'll learn what all the buzz is about as you participate in an authentic sauna ritual.

Day 2: Explore Helsinki

Vendor in Kauppatori (Market Square), Helsinki
Vendor in Kauppatori (Market Square), Helsinki

Don't eat too much breakfast at your hotel, because first up this morning is a two-hour culinary walking tour!

Your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to Kauppatori (Market Square), starting point of your walking (and eating) tour. Accompanied by your private guide, you will experience the rich culinary culture of Helsinki during an appetizing food tour of the vibrant Finnish capital. Discover hidden foodie hotspots and sample a selection of local delicacies—included in the cost of the tour. Gain valuable insight into the culinary traditions and history of Helsinki and stroll past prominent landmarks like the Park Esplanadi and Bulevardi Street. After the tour ends, your driver will drive you back to the hotel for a break—and lunch, if you're still hungry! 

The afternoon and early evening will be occupied with a city walking tour and a trip to Suomenlinna Fortress Island.

Discover the sights, history, and culture of Helsinki on this city walking tour with a private guide. See the landmarks such as sprawling Senate Square and Russian-influenced Uspenski Cathedral. Visit Temppeliaukio Church, a modern building carved out of the natural bedrock.

After a lovely 3-hour walking tour, board a ferry and make your way to Suomenlinna Fortress Island. The ferry crossing from Helsinki takes 20 minutes and offers magnificent views from the sea of the city and the surrounding area. On arrival, meet your private guide at Suomenlinna Island and explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy the natural beauty of the island or explore the tunnels of the fortress, as well as the Suomenlinna Museum. After the tour, catch the ferry back to Helsinki and find a good spot for dinner. 

An option for dinner: beer-lovers can book a table at the Suomenlinna Brewery, and enjoy a beer tasting with their meal. 

Day 3: Porvoo

Porvoo, Finland's characteristic red houses
Porvoo, Finland's characteristic red houses

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll transfer to Porvoo, where you'll spend all day today and this evening. 

A 10 am, our guide and driver will pick you up from your Helsinki hotel and drive you to the picturesque town of Porvoo, the second oldest town in Finland and about a 1-hour drive from Helsinki. 

Experience the colorful and charming city of Porvoo with narrow cobbled streets, characteristic red houses, and riverfront setting.  Explore the town with your guide and visit museums and galleries and see the Old Town Hall, a colorful two-story building with a mansard roof and a wooden clock tower. Visit the Porvoo Cathedral, built in the 15th century, making it one of the oldest churches in Finland. Gain insight into the town's history and present-day, and hear fascinating stories about people who have lived in and visited the town.

After a lunch break, you'll take a 90-minute trip via private car to another of Finland's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill and mill museum. The first groundwood mill at Verla was founded in 1872 but was destroyed in a fire in 1876. A larger groundwood and board mill, founded in 1882, continued to operate until 1964. Today, it is one of the best-preserved examples of pulp, paper and board production from the 19th and 20th centuries.  

The historical paper mill was converted into a museum of board mill technology. A guided tour to the mill follows the technological process from timber cutting and pulp production to board drying, sorting, and packing. After the tour, you can enjoy the walk in the beautiful garden.

Arrive back in Porloo by early evening and check in to the Hotel Haikko Manor, overlooking the Gulf of Finland. 

A highlight of this day will be learning about the great Finnish poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg, who lived and died in Porvoo. Your guide will dedicate part of the tour to his story. And of course, you will try the dessert famous all over Finland: Runneberg Cake made according to his wife’s original recipe.

Day 4: Tampere

Bridges in Tampere, Finland
Bridges in Tampere, Finland

After breakfast at the hotel, set off at 9 am with your guide and driver for your 2.5-hour private transfer to Tampere.

Situated on a peninsula between two large lakes, Tampere is full of beautiful sights and attractions. Your private tour guide will help you see them all. Your guide will tell you facts and fiction about the city's industrial past and its vivid and innovative present. After a good overview of the city, you'll visit the neo-renaissance City Hall, situated at the edge of Tampere's enormous Central Square. Soak up breathtaking views from the world's highest gravel ridge, formed eons ago by shifting glacial ice. Enjoy the picturesque setting of the Pispala neighborhood, with its unique and innovative architecture, and admire the bold red-brick factory buildings in the heart of the city.

After a lunch break, your guide will accompany you on the 2-hour ride to the Petajavesi Old Church. Constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries, the incredible wooden church, built by the craftsmen of Petajavesi, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized as a unique example of the tradition of Nordic wooden churches.

By early evening, you'll check into your hotel in Tampere. 

One of today's highlights is sampling an item that's a candidate for the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List: a Tampere "Munkki" (or doughnut in English). Made at the Pyynnikki observation tower cafeteria from the original 1980s recipe, these legendary doughnuts are made with locally sourced, natural ingredients.

Day 5: Turku

Turku Cathedral at night
Turku Cathedral at night

After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will pick you up at 9:30 am for the 2-hour drive to Turku. 

Turku is one of the most beautiful cities in Finland. An experienced guide who will show you the historical part of the city and give an overview of the city’s history. Turku (Åbo) is the oldest city in Finland, and a former center of commerce going back as far as the 13th century. Until 1812, Turku was the capital of Finland, until the Russian emperor decided to move the capital to Helsinki, closer to Russia.

Turku is the residence of the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. During the excursion, we will visit the most important church in Finland—Turku Cathedral, where daily worship takes place. The cathedral is considered one of the most valuable architectural monuments of the country. After a 2-hour sightseeing tour, you will have free time for shopping.

After a break for lunch, you'll continue to the Bronze Age burial site of Sammallahdenmaki, a 90-minute drive from Turku. 

Situated on the Gulf of Botnia, Rauma is one of the oldest harbors in Finland. Built around a Franciscan monastery, where the mid-15th-century Holy Cross Church still stands, it is an outstanding example of an old Nordic city constructed in wood. Although ravaged by fire in the late 17th century, it has preserved its ancient vernacular architectural heritage.

Sammallahdenmäki is a Bronze Age burial site in Rauma. It features more than 30 granite burial cairns, providing a unique insight into the funerary practices and social and religious structures of northern Europe more than 3,000 years ago. Located on a hill in a remote area between Tampere and Rauma, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. 

Day 6: Helsinki

Old Town Helsinki, Finland
Old Town Helsinki, Finland

On the last day of your Golden Triangle tour, you'll have breakfast at your hotel and then return to Helsinki via a 2-hour private transfer. The day is yours to explore Helsinki or continue on to your next adventure.