Continuing my exploration of Helsinki by tram, this time I jumped on line 7 which makes it’s way through the grand and historic district of Kruununhaka.
This elegant neighbourhood is full of stately buildings, fine dining restaurants, cosy cafes and beautiful vintage and homewards shops. The food on offer is often traditional , with Finnish game and Baltic seafood on offer. On our first visit to Finland we were recommended the Three Crowns (Kolme Kruunua) on Liisankatu, which did not disappoint! Boarded on three sides by the sea, Kruununhaka is also a beautiful neighborhood to stroll around.
There are so many beautifully colourful and ornate buildings do admire… I’d love to live in the top story apartment of the peach coloured building with the little corner balcony!
The University of Helsinki
The district also houses the oldest campus of the University of Helsinki, which was built in 1828. The university was actually founded in Turku in 1640 (known then as the Royal Academy of Turku), and moved to the capital during Russia’s rule of Finland. The Academy was renamed when Finland gained independence in 1917.
While the Main Building is next to Senate Square, there are several other university buildings spread throughout Kruununhaka and surrounding neighbourhoods, including the Faculty of Education’s Minerva building which sits at the top of Snellmaninkatu overlooking Kruununhaka.
My favourite by far, is the building housing the Psychology Department and Institute of Behavioural Sciences. Before exploring last weekend I’d often marveled at the imposing, grand building perched high above the banks of the estuary and wondered what it was. After discovering it was part of the University, I found a publicly accessible path and wandered onto balcony of the building- completely taken with the superb view over the water and out to Hakaniemi and Kallio.
Senate Square & Helsinki Cathedral
The southern end of Kruununhaka backs onto Senate Square and the waterfront at Market Square. This is probably the most touristy part of Helsinki, but very beautiful.
Helsinki Cathedral is a stunning neoclassical, pure white, green domed building, which is probably the most famous attraction in Helsinki. Now that the Nordic days are growing longer with spring approaching, the intensely blue sky makes for a perfect backdrop behind the cathedral.
Senate Square is to southern side of the cathedral and it is here that beautiful Christmas markets are set up in December. There’s also a range of cafes and shops on the other side of the square.
Many shops, bars and restaurants fill the lanes between Senate Square and Market Square.
Helsinki City Museum
Just off Senate Square you will also find the Helsinki City Museum which documents the city’s history and culture. Entry to this museum is free.
I really loved exploring Kruununhaka and look forward to discovering more of it’s hidden treats in the future.