20. Visit the beautiful Uspenski Cathedral
On any European trip, it’s possible that one will start to feel “cathedral fatigue” at some point. The highly photogenic Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki definitely helps that feeling subside. Its brick-red-and-jade-green facade, with blue skies behind it, is a sight to behold.
21. Sip on hot chocolate and devour delectable desserts at Karl Fazer Cafe
Karl Fazer Cafe, the flagship shop of a famous Finnish chocolate confectioner, was perhaps my favorite stop on our entire Baltic Sea cruise. The desserts were delectable and the hot chocolate… I wish I could have a cup of that hot chocolate every day of my life.
22. Look at and through the pipes of the Sibelius Monument
Consisting of over 600 pipes abstractly arranged to resemble a musical wave, the Sibelius Monument is a visually impressive tribute to Finland’s most famous composer, Jean Sibelius. Standing underneath the pipes will afford you a cool alternative perspective.
23. Get up close with a Viking ship at the Vasa Museum
For our first visit to Stockholm, we decided to concentrate our sightseeing efforts in Djurgården, an island located slightly east of the city’s Gamla Stan old town center and easily accessible by ferry/public transportation.
Djurgården features several major Stockholm attractions, most notably the Vasa Museum—Scandinavia’s most visited museum and home to a namesake warship that sank in Stockholm in 1628. Resurrected and restored with 95 percent of its original materials, the majestic ship is a beaut.
24. Go Insane(!) on a roller coaster at Gröna Lund
Just a few doors down from the Vasa Museum—right after you take a chance on ABBA: The Museum—is Gröna Lund, Sweden’s oldest amusement park. Admission is 120 Swedish krona (roughly $13-14 USD) and then you buy credits for individual rides, so I couldn’t resist stopping by and trying out a couple roller coasters. Insane! does indeed live up to its name.
25. Scarf down Swedish meatballs and Swedish pancakes (then visit the farm animals) at Skansen
In the heart of Djurgården lies Skansen, a popular Swedish open-air museum and zoo. In addition to seeing farm animals, houses and windmills representative of 19th century Swedish folk culture, I thought Skansen would be a perfect place to indulge my craving for Swedish meatballs and Swedish pancakes. And the museum commissary delivered—what a tasty meal.