Hello dear readers,
Originally I wanted to keep a travel diary and inform you daily about which places I visit on my trip with the shipping company Tallink Silja but then the bad network connection prevented me but in retrospect this was not so bad, so you get everything in bundled form to read 😀
I am a big fan of sea voyages and was often on the way with the relevant shipping companies and am every time anew enthusiastic about the possibilities. Ship trips make it possible to visit many places in a short time and gather inspiration from places you might want to visit for a classic trip in the future.
Tallink Silja stands out from the well-known tour operator, as the company is mainly known for its ferry connections and has thus achieved the status of the largest ferry operator in the Baltic Sea. Few people know that there is much more on offer. Tallink Silja’s modern fleet is equipped like classical luxury cruise ships and is suitable thus also for mini cruises with overnight accomodation on board. Travelling with and without a car is no problem.
The ships connect many well-known and famous cities of the Baltic Sea, among other places Stockholm, Mariehamn, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga and Turku.
For my journey, with the support of the shipping company, I chose the following connections:
• Stockholm – Mariehamn – Helsinki
• Helsinki – Tallinn
• Tallinn – Mariehamn – Stockholm
The overnight stay in Helsinki and Tallinn was in two luxurious four-star hotels.
Day 1 – Departure and arrival in Stockholm:
For us it started very, very early towards Schoenefeld airport to take the plane from Norwegian. This took us to Stockholm-Arlanda within one and a half hours. For me as a Berliner this was already a small culture shock in Stockholm. I knew the airport from a previous trip and knew that it was very structured there. Waiting times at the baggage carousel were kept short, unlike in Berlin where I was allowed to wait for my luggage for more than two hours.
From Arlanda there are two ways to get to the city. One would be the express train that reaches the city centre within 20 minutes or the transfer bus for a little less money but a longer journey time of up to 50 minutes. We decided for the bus transfer as it brought us directly to the City Terminal in the city centre and from there the bus also went to the harbour. The travel time is indeed considerable, for the distance from the airport to the harbour one needs about one and a half hours but in all buses there is a free WLAN available which makes the travel time pleasant. Thus, we still had the possibility to choose some interesting sights that we absolutely wanted to see on our trip.
The harbour terminal is really nicely arranged with a very good overview as well as a lot of seating possibilities for resting and staying as also a big restaurant. After the quick check-in, either directly at the counter or at the vending machine, we went directly on board the Silja Symphony. The ship is one of the largest in the shipping company’s fleet and is equipped like luxury cruise ships with spacious cabins and a large shopping arcade for strolling and shopping. The ship was last completely modernised in 2016 and currently has room for 2852 passengers. I really like the idea of taking an extended Sweden holiday with my own car and then finding room on one of the two car decks to continue the journey in Finland.
The shipping company provided us on board with a very spacious deluxe cabin with sea view. The equipment in this cabin category is generous and resembles the usual cruise ships and offers place for up to two persons as also a child. Optionally there is an additional bed for a baby/infant or for a child up to 17 years.
After the rest we went to the big Grande Buffet, because our stomach growled a lot. So we could already familiarize ourselves with the deck plan and make the first exploration tour on board. Of course, the Grande Buffet is optional and can be booked in case of interest. The ship offers numerous restaurants and cafés to spend the evening or to have a snack. For duty-free fans there is a huge supermarket available on the ship which is opened after the departure of the ship and offers cheap alcoholic drinks and many delicious snacks.
As a photographer I was immediately drawn to the deck. With my camera I tried to capture the passage in the Stockholm archipelago on pictures, which was relatively difficult due to the darkness that had already set in. At least I managed to take some pictures of the sunset.
Since the day of arrival was a bit exhausting, I got into the cabin and fell asleep on the bed immediately. The night ended then nevertheless somewhat abruptly out there a storm raged which provided for proper waves. But one got used to it relatively fast and we fell asleep fast again so that we did not notice the intermediate stop in Mariehamn any more.
Day 2 – Arrival in Helsinki:
The second day began early in the morning with an extensive deluxe breakfast in one of the large restaurants on board the Silja Symphony. There wasn’t much time left as we had overslept a bit and were about to arrive in Helsinki. At least we could start the day rested and left the ship at about 10 o’clock. Helsinki greeted us with a typical Nordic weather, it rained a lot and it was slightly foggy and the short way to the hotel we decided to take a taxi.
We were accommodated in the 4-star Scandic Hotel directly in the centre opposite the art centre Rex. The Scandic is a nice business hotel with spacious rooms and very modern facilities.
After the rain had subsided a bit we immediately went on a city tour to get to know Helsinki better. Helsinki has a unique architecture and offers especially for photographers a lot of great motives that absolutely want to be captured on camera. The city can be easily walked to see the most important sights.
Should your feet hurt, Helsinki offers an excellent public transport network with buses and trams. Tickets can be conveniently purchased via the iOS or Android app.
Personally more Helsinki liked also in the night very much. Most of the sights are well and brightly illuminated in a warm light. Due to the resumption of rain I didn’t have much time to take pictures of all the sights.
Days 3 and 4 – Helsinki and departure to Tallinn
The next day was already better, the sun laughed at us and we saw the colourfulness of autumn in all its beauty. We went for a walk directly at the promenade and admired the numerous small islands before Helsinki. Our way leads us through the beautiful city park of Helsinki which is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world and we could see for ourselves.
In the afternoon we continued with the Tallink Silja Megastar. This fast ferry takes us to Tallinn within 2 hours. Here it is not worthwhile to be accommodated in a cabin, but the ship is divided into individual areas. For this crossing we had the Comfort Lounge, the second highest category. In order to make the crossing pleasant, the shipping company offers a snack buffet with vegetables and dips, those who are not a fan of vegetables will of course have sweets at their fingertips.
We reached the Estonian capital at a beautiful sunset. The small sailors passed us and competed.
In Tallinn itself, we were staying in the hotel Tallink Spa, which is located directly at the harbour and has a large pool area.
Tallinn is known for its beautiful old town which is very historic and yet clearly shows the German Hanseatic period. The Estonians are trying to preserve their cultural heritage only some decisions are somewhat bizarre so in one of the beautifully restored buildings there is a slippery nightclub.
Tallinn offers not only an old centre, but also a new ultra-modern one. Here the two sides of the city are very good to see. Who is on foot on the way will notice fast, Tallinn has also during the rush hour a low road extent of utilization. This is due to the very good public transport which is completely free for the inhabitants and nevertheless very cheap for tourists. There are tickets as QR code for 1 € and entitles to travel with one means of transport, that means if one gets on a tram then one can drive with this ticket up to the end point. For tourists, a day ticket for 5 € or the Tallinn Card is worthwhile.
Day 5 – Tallinn and departure for Stockholm
If you are travelling with your own children, a visit to the Tallinn Zoo is worthwhile. This zoo has one of the most beautiful outdoor facilities for polar bears. The very cheap entrance fee of 5€ per person is worthwhile for this complex alone.
In the evening of the fifth day of our journey we took the luxury cruise ship of the Tallink Silja Baltic Queen to Stockholm. This ship is slightly smaller than the Silja Symphony but offers as many extras and amenities. Again we had a deluxe cabin this time with a view directly to the front so the bow of the ship. The Baltic Queen is very popular especially for Russian citizens as it offers a cheap way to Sweden, so those who also like to celebrate will get their money’s worth on this ship.
We enjoyed one last time the extensive straight buffet and then went to our cabin and watched the beautiful starry sky which was so clear that we could see with the naked eye the Milky Way. Of course I didn’t miss this chance, pulled out my camera, set up my tripod and tried to get some pictures which I succeeded in doing. That was a worthy conclusion of this very beautiful journey with the Tallink Silja Reederei.
Day 6 – Arrival in Stockholm and departure to Berlin
The next morning we reached our destination, Stockholm, around 10:30 am.
After our breakfast we left the ship and walked with our luggage through the streets of this beautiful city and collected some memories. Stockholm is impressive, the Swedes are all super friendly and the food in the restaurants is excellent if you keep in mind, you are on holiday and don’t pay too much attention to your own cash.
But especially in this city you should not lose track of the time because the ways are all clearly further, especially to the airport Arlanda where you have to plan your arrival time. Around 16:45 o’clock our plane went back to Berlin, with a former Air Berlin plane this time under the new owner EasyJet.
In Berlin reality caught up with us again. The waiting time for the luggage was unbearably long. In the afternoon there was a big demonstration in Berlin with more than 150.000 participants, which meant for us that the local transport companies stopped the traffic in the direction of the city centre or served it with a long delay. Now it was clear to me that I was back in my home country. Around 20 o’clock we were finally at home.
Conclusion of the journey:
The trip with the shipping company Tallink Silja was really nice. In a short time we saw 3 Nordic cities and got to know the inhabitants and the peculiarities of these places. It is recommended to combine such a trip with a car and to stay a longer time in the respective countries. I would like to make this trip again and again, because of the versatility as described in the text.