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Laura Lindsay, from Lonely Planet, answers your travel questions

I’ve heard it’s possible to travel from Helsinki to Tallinn by boat, and I would like to visit both cities – can I fit them into a one-week holiday? I’m going next month, so can you recommend some cool, wintery things to do while I’m there? Sean, via email

Absolutely. The trip from Helsinki to Tallinn is a popular route, so services are plentiful.

The ferry runs daily from the port at Länsiterminaali and takes three hours, costing around £17.

If you’re not too worried about your budget, though, book a Linda Line catamaran instead.

It’s more expensive at £20 one way, but only takes an hour and a half.

Day trips from Helsinki to Tallinn are possible, but there’s plenty to do in the Estonian capital, so I’d suggest spending a few days here to make the most of it.

Tallinn’s medieval Old Town is great for wandering around in the winter, and looks absolutely magical when it’s snowing, which
it probably will be in December.

Check out the Christmas tree in Town Hall Square, shop at the old-fashioned Christmas Market, and have a spin on the outdoor ice rink. 

Helsinki’s sightseeing highlights include the fortress island of Suomenlinna and the unusual circular church of Temppeliaukion Kirkko, but if you get too chilly outside, take a steamy dip in the Kotiharjun sauna.

The nightlife here is terrific too – bars are quirky and unique, and most clubs stay open until 4am at the weekends.

 

I’m planning on visiting a friend who lives near Madrid in May, and I’d like to spend a few days in the city as well. What are the must-see places I should stick on my to-do list?  Kate, via email

You’ll be spoilt for choice in Madrid. If you’re an art lover, visit the Museo Nacional del Prado, which has more than 7000 masterpieces, including works by Goya and Rubens.

The 18th-century building they’re housed in is equally stunning. You can also view some great works at Museo de la Escultura Abstracta – an open-air collection of abstract works of art, including those of Miró.

You won’t be surprised to hear that football is a big deal here. If you’re a fan, go along to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, the home of Real Madrid FC.

Try to get tickets to see a match and soak up the raucous atmosphere in this epic stadium, or just check out the museum, which groans under the weight of all those trophies on display.

There are heaps of festivities  and events on during the month you’ll be visiting, beginning with El Dos de Mayo on May 3.

This is best experienced in Malasaña,  where you’ll find live gigs and plenty of parties in the local bars.

Mid-month you can enjoy the city’s patron saint’s celebrations, Fiestas de San Isidro, which include a colourful procession through the town centre followed by a week of arts, music and foodie events.

Lonely Planet’s Laura Lindsay will give you the benefit of her infinite wisdom if you email a question to traveltips@tntmagazine.com.

If your  question is answered, you’ll win a Lonely Planet guide of your choice.

 

Photo: Getty


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Lonely Planet expert's travel tips for Madrid and Helsinki to Tallinn
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