Helsinki, the capital of Finland , as well as the largest city in the entire Scandinavian nation, with its almost 600,000 inhabitants, is a truly fascinating destination, not only in winter, but especially enjoyable in the hottest months of the year. The Nordic metropolis offers itself as a valid alternative to the usual summer cities, offering tourists numerous attractions to visit with pleasure and tailored to the most demanding user : from museums to markets, crossing gardens of rare beauty!
We have intrigued you .
So let’s find out together what to see in Helsinki , what are the best attractions and things to do to enjoy the destination to the fullest!
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1 – Old Town and Senate Square
Photo by Marit Henriksson. A dip in another Helsinki, full of history and neoclassical beauty! Just enter the streets of the historic center , until you reach the Senaatintori, to realize that the Nordic city can offer a lot!
Piazza del Senato and the heart of the historic center , the ideal starting point for any itinerary. It houses several characteristic monuments of the city, full of charm and history. The University Library, a small masterpiece of style, and the white Helsinki Cathedral, the symbol of a city with a thousand faces.

Settle in the city: for a first approach, we recommend that you take a guided walking tour, ideal for settling in, identifying the landmarks and learning about the history and anecdotes of the city together with a local guide.

2 – Uspenski Orthodox Church
The Dormition Cathedral or Uspenski Cathedral, the Finnish Uspenskin katedraali, and an Orthodox church located in the Katajanokka district, located on a small peninsula a stone’s throw from the center.
It is the largest Orthodox church in Finland and Northwestern Europe. Inaugurated in 1868, it was built in the Neo-Byzantine style and certainly represents one of the most evident signs of Russian culture in Finland. On the back of the church is a commemorative plaque to Alexander II of Russia, ruler of the Grand Duchy of Finland while the cathedral was under construction. Located on the top of a small hill, it also offers those who visit it a wonderful view of all the surroundings !

SEE ALSO : Visit to the Uspenski Cathedral: how to get there, prices and advice
Practical information: directions, times and prices

  • How to get there: in Kanavakatu 1, Katajanokka district. Reachable on foot from the Senaatintori (750 m, 10 min) and from the Kauppatori (450 m, 6 min). Reference Tove Janssonin Tram Stop (Lines 4 & 5) – Get Directions
  • Hours: Tue-Fri 9: 30-16: 00, Sat 10: 00-15: 00, Sun 12: 00-15: 00, closed Mon
  • Ticket cost: free

3 – Kauppatori
Photo of Benreis. Not just culture. Helsinki is a lively city and its heart beats especially in the Market Square, the Kauppatori. This is the ideal place to go shopping, buying the perfect souvenir but, above all, getting to know the local specialties!
Located right next to the Gulf of Finland, with a beautiful view of the harbor, the Kauppatori gathers voices, colors, foods and typical crafts in one location, and is above all known for the possibility of being able to buy fish so fresh that it can buy at a good price. can be eaten on the spot. A real treat for the palate, with an eye to the wallet!

Stroll through the Esplanadi: this small but wonderful park is located a stone’s throw from the market. It is much loved by the locals, who storm it on sunny days. And to taste the local specialties you can stop at the Kappeli restaurant.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Etelaranta, in the port of Helsinki. Reachable on foot from the Senaatintori (350 m, 5 min) and the Orthodox Cathedral (450 m, 6 min). Reference tram stop Kauppatori (line 2) – Get directions
  • Hours: every day from 8:00, variable closing between 16:00 and 18:00 (only one section is open on Sundays)
  • Ticket cost: free

4 – Helsinki Cathedral
In the Senate Square there is a building that is now a real symbol for the city , which also stands out against the city skyline: the Cathedral of Helsinki, in the original language Tuomiokirkko.
This immense cathedral, of Protestant cult, was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, who was inspired by the Pantheon in Paris, and with its green domes it has become a landmark since 1851 . Furthermore, on the roof you can see the statues of the 12 apostles. Furthermore, the Cathedral is also very active from a musical point of view, with numerous concerts every week! Consult the official website.

Stop at Cafe Krypta: only in summer, the Cathedral Crypt hosts a truly wonderful and one-of-a-kind Cafe. We recommend that you stop for a drink here. For timetables, consult the official website.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Kirkkokatu 18. Easily reachable on foot from Kauppatori (350 m, 5 min) and from the Central Railway Station (1 km, 12 min). Reference tram stop Senaatintori (lines 2, 4, 5 and 7) – Get directions
  • Hours: every day 9: 00-18: 00, Sun from 11: 00
  • Ticket cost: free

5 – Ateneum
Photo by Arkkipuudeli. The Ateneum, located in the historic center a few steps from the central railway station, is the most important art museum in all of Finland ! It is therefore an unmissable destination for art lovers.
The museum houses a large collection of works ranging from the 18th century until about 1960 . The works from 1960 onwards are instead housed in the aforementioned Kiasma museum. These are therefore two visits that are closely linked to each other. A part of the museum is dedicated to Finnish art : here you can find out how the artistic currents in the country have evolved and admire works by the most famous national artists, such as Gallen Kallela, Edelfelt and Simberg.

Buy the Helsinki Card: this city card allows you to access for free or with discounts to the main museums, including the Ateneum, to travel on public transport and to have discounts on affiliated activities (from € 51.00 – see details).
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Kaivokatu 2, in the historic center. Easily reachable on foot from Central Station (160 m, 2 min) and from Senaatintori (800 m, 10 min). Reference Mikonkatu Tram Stop (Lines 5 and 7) – Get directions
  • Hours: Tue and Fri 10: 00-18: 00, Wed and Thu 10: 00-20: 00, Sat and Sun 10: 00-17: 00, closed Mon
  • Ticket price: full € 17.00, reduced € 15.00

6 – Kamppi
Chapel The Kamppi Chapel, in Finnish Kampin kappeli, is better known as the Chapel of Silence , as it represents a meeting place and silence from the traffic of the city. It is located in the Kamppi district and will immediately attract your attention for its particular architecture!
Designed by architects Mikko Summanen, Niko Sirola and Kimmo Lintula, this chapel is approximately 11.5m high and is made up of three different types of wood. The external walls of the chapel are in spruce, a real show, you would never think that it welcomes a religious environment inside! Inside, the particular acoustics mean that the whispers of people can also be heard and, due to its size, a maximum of 60 people can be accommodated.

Attend a concert : attending a concert here is a truly unique experience! The calendar is always full of events, we recommend you take a look! All the info on the official website.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Simonkatu 7, Kamppi district. Accessible on foot from the Senaatintori (1.2 km, 15 min) or from the Kiasma museum (350 m, 4 min). Simonkatu Tramway Reference Stop (Lines 7 & 9) – Get directions
  • Hours: every day 10: 00-18: 00. Access prohibited in case of religious events or functions such as weddings and baptisms
  • Ticket cost: free

7 – KIASMA
A “trip” to the capital’s contemporary art museum cannot be avoided at all. Designed by American architect Steven Holl, Kiasma is the beating heart of the city center, and houses the contemporary art collection of the popular Finnish National Gallery.
The purpose of the Kiasma is to bring the population of Helsinki and not only to the knowledge and enjoyment of contemporary works of art, through the promotion of temporary exhibitions and events , aimed above all at a younger audience. But it is worth a visit if only for its marvelous architecture, with a futuristic mold!

Currently under renovation: the museum is closed to the public due to renovations which should be completed in the spring of 2022.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Mannerheiminaukio 2, north of the historic center. Reachable on foot from the Chapel of Silence (350 m, 4 min) and from the Parliament (400 m, 5 min). Reference Lasipalatsi tram stop (lines 1, 2, 4 and 10) – Get directions
  • Hours: Tue and Sun 10: 00-17: 00, Wed-Fri 10: 00-20: 30, Sat 10: 00-18: 00, closed Mon
  • Ticket price: full € 15.00, reduced € 13.00

8 – Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden
Photo by Lauren Stevens. The Kaisaniemi Botanical Garden, in Finnish Kaisaniemen kasvitieteellinen puutarha, is the jewel in the crown of the city . It is a real green oasis managed by the University of Helsinki, where you can immerse yourself in unspoiled nature, thanks to the presence of 900 species of plants .
The gardens are divided into two sections : an external one, full of paths, benches to relax in, cafes and a beautiful view of the river, and an internal one, located in a suggestive glass building , which houses wonderful greenhouses!

Stop at Cafe Viola: a small corner of paradise inside the botanical garden, ideal for stopping for a drink accompanied by an excellent slice of cake. Ideal on fine days, as it has outdoor tables surrounded by nature.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Kaisaniemenranta 2, at the University of Helsinki, north of the historic center. Reachable on foot from the Ateneum (850 m, 10 min). Reference tram stop Kajsaniemiparken (lines 3, 6 and 9) – Get directions
  • Hours: Garden every day 9: 00-20: 00 / Glasshouse Tue-Sat 10: 00-17: 00, Wed until 18:00, Sun 10: 00-16: 00, Mon closed
  • Ticket price: free garden / full glasshouse € 12.00, reduced € 6.00

9 – Quartiere Kallio
Photo by Drefer. Helsinki, in addition to the city of photography, is also the city of design and Kallio is the district that best represents this side of it! It is in fact part of the “design district”, together with other districts such as Punavuori, Kaartinkaupunki, Kamppi and Ullanlinna, located all north of the historic center.
Once a bourgeois district, today you will find many artists, shops, artisans and locals . A neighborhood with a bohemian soul, with cafes with attention to the smallest detail and a truly lively and lively cultural scene! There are also numerous green areas, a meeting place for young people, families and sportsmen! Finally, this area is the reference point for nightlife: a vibrant neighborhood, full of events and entertainment. In the evenings it is invaded by many young people, so it is also a great area to stay if you are looking for some fun!
Kallio is located north of the old town, on the opposite bank of the river and connected to the center. The area is served by several tram and bus lines. The reference tram stop is Kallion virastotalo (lines 3 and 9) – Get directions

Experience the nightlife of the neighborhood : in the evening the clubs come alive with young people, this is the ideal neighborhood to party with the Finns! You will find clubs of all kinds, from pubs and breweries, to venues with live music or karaoke.

10 – Linnanmaki
Photo of kallerna. If you are traveling with your family or just want to spend a day full of fun, then you will be pleased to know that not far from the center of Helsinki is Linnanmaki, the wonderful amusement park of the city !
In this amusement park you will find attractions suitable for everyone, with over 50 rides : from the inevitable roller coaster to the Ferris wheel, from the monorail to rides dedicated to children. In addition, you will also find a tower with a panoramic view over the whole Helsinki bay! There is, of course, no shortage of shops, restaurants and all the services for a perfect day!

Plan your visit: as it is an open-air park, it is only open in the summer, from April to October approximately. We recommend that you consult the official website before your visit, where you can find the map of the park and all the info on rides, themed days, activities and services offered.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Tivolikuja 1, less than 4 km north of the historic center, in the Alppiharju district. From the city center, easily accessible by tram line 3 from Kaisaniemenpuisto (botanical garden) to Linnanmaki (15 min) – Get directions
  • Hours: open only from April to October. For precise times, consult the official website
  • Ticket cost: variable cost based on the package chosen, consult the official website

11 – Sibelius Park
If you love nature and days outdoors, then we recommend that you visit Sibelius Park, in Finnish Sibeliuksen puisto, a wonderful public park where you can spend a few relaxing hours. Not only that: located directly on the sea, along the coast there are many relaxation areas and beaches, stormed on summer weekends.

The main Monument of the park and the Sibelius Monument , impossible not to take a photo! Designed by Eila Hiltunen, it represents music, consisting of over 600 steel tubes, and is a tribute to Jean Sibelius, the most famous composer in all of Finland, who through his music and compositions has told the nature, history and myths of the Finnish people like no one had ever done!
It is located in Mechelininkatu 39, in the Toolo district, north of the historic center. Walkable from the Temppeliaukio Church (1.4 km, 17 min). Reference bus stop Sibeliusparken (line 24) – Get directions

Have a drink at the Regatta : it is a small bar that looks like a hut, very characteristic and directly overlooking the sea, truly spectacular! Ideal for a snack break tasting the typical Finnish sweets.

12 – Temppeliaukion Kirkko
Photo by Matthew Duncan. Helsinki is full of churches, but there is one that will really surprise you!A true masterpiece entirely carved into the rock : the Lutheran church of Temppeliaukion Kirkko, also known as the Church in the Rock , is a feast for the eyes, and is not a marvel reserved only for believers.
Designed by architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainem, the Church in the rock is a true jewel of Finnish architecture , with its successful mix of materials in full contrast to each other. The living rock of the walls blends perfectly with the copper of the dome; a soft light enters through the windows which creates an ethereal, almost surreal atmosphere inside the building, complemented by light streams of water that gush from the rock.

SEE ALSO: Visit to the Church in the Rock: how to get there, prices and advice
Practical information: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Lutherinkatu 3, in the historic center. Accessible on foot from Senaatintori (1.9 km, 25 min) or from the Kiasma museum (850 m, 12 min). Reference Sammonkatu Tram Stop (Line 1 & 2) – Get directions
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 10: 00-17: 00, Sat 10: 00-14: 45 and 15: 45-17: 00, Sun closed
  • Ticket cost: one time € 4.00

13 – Eduskuntatalo – Parliament Building
Photo by Alvesgaspar. We owe to Johan Sigfrid Siren the creation of the legendary Parliament building of Helsinki, built between 1926 and 1931 and a perfect mix of Neoclassicism and modernity. But in addition to admiring its marvelous and imposing structure from the outside, the palace can also be visited inside through guided tours.
Not only that: every Tuesday and Friday you can attend one of the plenary sessions of the Finnish Parliament , directly from the public balcony. A curiosity: the Finnish Parliament boasts one of the highest percentages of female shares in the world!

Plan your visit: being a government building, the interiors can only be visited through guided tours and places are limited, as well as to attend the sessions. All the info on the official website.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Mannerheimintie 30, north of the historic center. Accessible on foot from the Kiasma museum (600 m, 9 min) and the Chapel of Silence (450 m, 6 min). Reference tram stop Luonnontiet.museo (lines 1 and 2) – Get directions
  • Timetables: guided tours at varying times, to be booked on the official website
  • Ticket price: free guided tours, to be booked on the official website

14 – Museum of Finnish Photography
Photo by Digitaluniverse29387. Helsinki is the capital of photography . The masters of the photographic field find space in the Finnish Museum of Photography, in Finnish Suomen valokuvataiteen museo.

Inside it houses two and a half million shots by the likes of Anders Serrano, Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman, with an understandable eye on Finnish photographers. A real “mecca” for photography lovers, who will be able to enjoy a large archive of images and negatives : a suggestive dive into the past, to re-emerge in the contemporary world thanks to the most loved photographers.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: in Kaapelitehdas, Tallberginkatu 1 G, in the Ruoholahti district. Walkable from Crusell Bridge (350m, 4 min). Reference Tram Stop Kaapelitehdas (Line 8) – Get directions
  • Hours: Tue-Sun 11: 00-18: 00, Wed until 20:00
  • Ticket price: full € 10.00, reduced € 5.00

15 – Suomenlinna

UNESCO World Heritage Site , and a group of islets that make up Suomenlinna. It is a veritable fortress on the sea, the “castle of Finland”.
Rich in history and beauty, the archipelago was fortified and “militarized” to protect the Finnish state from the advance of the Russians. Until 1973, Suomenlinna was therefore a military outpost and from the “uncomfortable” past it keeps all the relics, from weapons to ammunition, in the main museum of the archipelago; today the beautiful Finnish islands are ideal locations for excursions and dream picnics, to which you can dedicate at least one day during the summer!

SEE ALSO : Visit Suomenlinna: how to get there,

Organize your visit : the island can only be reached by sea, with ferries departing from Kauppatori. Once you arrive, you can freely visit the island and its museums. However, we recommend that you join a tour of Helsinki and Suomenlinna with a local guide.
Practical info: directions, timetables and prices

  • How to get there: by sea, by ferry. Departure from Kauppatori and arrival at the marina near the Suomenlinna Museum (20 min, each way € 2.90) – Get directions
  • Hours: Suomenlinna always accessible, ferries / Suomenlinna Museum generally 10: 00-18: 00
  • Ticket price: Suomenlinna free / Suomenlinna Museum full € 8.00, reduced € 5.00

Other attractions to visit

If you have more time , there are so many other things to see!
Starting with the museums : to discover the history of the country we recommend the Finnish National Museum (€ 14.00); if you love nature and maybe travel with the little ones, there is the Natural History Museum (€ 17.00); if you love design, don’t miss the Design Museum (€ 12.00). If you are traveling with children , you definitely can’t miss the Korkeasaari Zoo, the city’s zoo (€ 14.00), located on the island of Korkeasaari.
Finally, if you have enough time, we recommend that you visit the surroundings of Helsinki, especially the localities of Porvoo, 50 km to the east, along the Finnish fjords (half-day tours available) and the Estonian capital Tallinn, easily reachable by ferry from Helsinki (duration about 2 h), thus also enjoying a nice cruise in the Baltic Sea!

8 things to do in Helsinki
Get on the SkyWheel Helsinki

Relax in the Allas Sea Pool

Take a Finnish sauna

Enter the National Library of Finland

Stroll along Huvilakatu

Taste typical cuisine

Attend a heavy metal concert

1/8

  1. Boat ride : enjoy a wonderful boat ride on the canals, to enjoy the city from another perspective. Info and costs here
  2. Get on the SkyWheel Helsinki : take a ride on the big Ferris wheel in the Katajanokka district to admire Helsinki from above
  3. Relax in the Allas Sea Pool : beautiful spa complex with swimming pools, saunas, restaurants and a wellness center. The pools are fed directly with water from the Baltic Sea and offer a fantastic view over the city
  4. Take a Finnish sauna : Finnish saunas are famous all over the world and in Helsinki you will find several! The most famous is Kotiharjun Sauna, active since 1928
  5. Enter the National Library of Finland : more than a library, the interiors look like those of a palace, truly wonderful! The ideal place for all book lovers
  6. Stroll along Huvilakatu : this is one of the most instagrammable streets in Helsinki, characterized by pastel-colored building facades
  7. Taste the typical cuisine : Baltic sea herring, reindeer, salmon and rye bread, these are the main ingredients of Finnish cuisine. One of the best restaurants to taste typical dishes and Lappi Ravintola, in the center
  8. Attend a heavy metal concert : Helsinki is known for its heavy metal music scene and there are many clubs that organize concerts and live performances in the evening. This is one of the best ways to join the locals and party

Plan your stay in Helsinki: tips, flights and hotels
Helsinki is easily accessible thanks to direct flights from Italy (compare flights). The best time to visit is from May to October , with milder temperatures, but if you don’t fear the cold, the Christmas period is truly magical !
It is a very expensive destination , like all of Northern Europe, with a high cost of living. To save money, you can opt for hostels , here they are all of the highest quality (compare the accommodations on booking). We also recommend the Helsinki Card, and as far as meals are concerned, opt for street food or for lunch or dinner, you will save a lot!

The city can be easily explored on foot , and in any case the metro and bus are super efficient. But for a first approach the best solution is a tour with the tourist bus or a guided walking tour.
The nightlife is concentrated in the historic center, above all, in the Kallio district, where you will find clubs and discos for every taste!

If you are traveling as a family , there are tons of activities to do with children: from a boat ride on the canals to the zoo, not forgetting the Linnanmaki amusement park and Sibelius Park! In general, Helsinki is a very safe and human-friendly city, despite being a capital!

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