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What to do in Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland

The capital of Finland is very easy accessible from the air and from the water. Located between Tallinn, Stockholm and St. Petersburg it is a great city for a weekend getaway.

Finair has its Headquarters in Helsinki and the possibility that you have a stopover in the city is big as most flights to America and Asia have a stopover in the finish capital.

Here is a little guide of what to do in Helsinki during a weekend or/and stopover.

If you are still looking for a great Hostel in Helsinki I recommend you checking out the awesome Eurohostel which is in walking distance from the city. A bed in a dorm starts from about 27 € per Person! I’ve stayed there myself several times and had a good time and it also comes with a Sauna! Book it now!

Update: Another great hostel that I tried on a recent trip to Helsinki is Cheap Sleeps a little outside the city center of Helsinki with affordable rates!

1. Visit the Fortress of Suomenlinna

Suonenlinna is a group of island couple of minutes away from the harbor of Helsinki. It was used as a fortress to defend the city in the 1700s. The Fortress is still in good shape and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its military architecture. During strong winters you can go there by foot. In the past the sea was frozen and citizens of Helsinki were able to walk to the islands. Today this rarely happens anymore. You can take a ferry from the harbor with your daily pass. A single ticket is 3.50 Euro.

Update: There is a hostel on the island, a pretty cool experience to sleep on this island and walk around it when the tourists have left!


2. Rock church

Not far from the city center you will find a Lutheran church which is designed into the hill. On the weekends you will find concerts and in the afternoon free auditions. The is not entrance fee and totally worth a visit!

3. Cathedral of Helsinki

This majestic white building is located on a little hill about 500 meters from the city center and the harbor. During a sunny day the cathedral looks beautiful overlooking the city. Entrance is free and worth. For 0.50 Euro you can light a candle. Just sit down and relax and watch other people. During christmas you will find a christmas market on the foot of the stairs.


4. Take the Tram

If the weather is bad, just take the Tram. Tram Nr. 3 goes around the whole center of Helsinki and you will pass most of the important sights. It’s a great way to see the city and not getting wet or cold. Additionally, the trams of Helsinki have Wifi! Get yourself a day-pass and spend a couple of hours in the tram!

Get the Helsinki Card and you’ll be able to use as many trams and buses, ferries as you want and you’ll get access to many attractions throughout the city! Make sure to pre order it and get it sent home!


5. Take a Ferry to Tallinn

If you have seen all of the points mentioned above, why don’t you take the ferry and head over to Tallinn for a day or two. The quick ferry takes one and a half hours and you can spend the whole day there. Tallinn is much cheaper than Helsinki and many Fins go there to buy alcohol as it is very expensive in Finland due to the high taxes.


Ever been to Helsinki? Anything I should add to this list?

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19 comments on “What to do in Helsinki

  1. Kjersti @ backpackified on

    Hi! First of all, great blog post – Helsinki is definitely worth a visit! Having lived there for 2,5 years, I would recommend visiting Kauppatori, the market at the harbor very close to the white cathedral. Especially in summer, you can get excellent food here if you like fish and seafood! It is not only for tourists either, there are plenty of Finnish people there as well. In addition, there is a market hall a little further along the pier, and another market hall with DELICIOUS food in Hakaniemi, called Kauppahalli.

    Also, if you want a nice breakfast, I would recommend heading for a cute little cafe, formerly a laundromat, called Tin Tin Tango, close to Töölö square.

    I warmly recommend a visit!

    • seba on

      I have been to the market hall at the harbor and ate a delicious shrimps sandwich.

      The little cafe you are talking about sounds very interesting. I will remember this for the next time I visit Helsinki 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Stephanie - The Travel Chica on

    I would definitely be up for the ferry to Tallinn, despite how cold and miserable your picture makes it look 🙂

    • seba on

      haha It was colder than it looks like… -30 °C and I was only wearing jeans… I felt like they chopped off my legs. But Tallinn was worth the suffering 🙂

  3. Margo on

    yep, the scandanavian countries are expensive and I’ve heard that they are all so different. I feel as if I’ve been waiting my whole life to visit most of them, including Finland. Helsinki sounds great. I went to Norway ages ago, and it was incredibly beautiful.

  4. Abby on

    Wowow that looks cold. You are such an adventure-seeker. I tend to wait around for August to go to cold places! Now that I think about it, I really have only been in Scandanavia in August…

  5. Jarmo on

    Suomenlinna was definitely one of my favourite places in Helsinki when I was living there. It’s gorgeous in the summer and a great place for a picnic.

    The tram is a great way of seeing the city; in the summer there is a special tram called “SpåraKOFF”, a beer tram. It takes about an hour to get around the city and you can drink Finnish beer at the same time as you see the sights 🙂 Used to take visitors around on that if they wanted to see the city 😉

  6. Nomadic Samuel on

    Great ideas! I’d be most interested in the ferry – it reminds me of my childhood going from Vancouver Island to Vancouver often.

  7. Dr.M on

    I have a very similar picture of the cathedral with the bears holding it up from last year 😉 After having being in Helsinki for almost 3 years and something I can say that yes Helsinki is easy going, accessible and worth a weekend or short stop. It’s Design Capital this year so you can get some special event as well. It’s snowing today and in a few days I will embark in my RWT trip who knows where I will be feeling home from now on?

  8. H-Bomb on

    Helsinki is also a great city for karaoke! (or at least it was when I was there in 2006; I assume it still is).

    And if you go in June like I did, the weather is quite pleasant and you get ridiculously long hours of sunlight.

  9. Davide on

    I have been to Helsinki twice, in summer and in winter. Enjoyed the long summer days and the freezing and snowy winter days too. I would add a trip to the Olympic Stadium for a bird’s eye view of the city from the stadium tower. Also a highly recommended day trip to the old city of Poorvo.

  10. Tomi on

    Nice post, always interesting to read experiences about Helsinki! Although the snow and cold has it’s mystic appeal to some, I’d recommend every one to visit Helsinki during summer time (from June to August)! People are more open and happier then, enjoying picnics at the beautiful parks and beaches.

    In addition to Suomenlinna, one should definitely visit Seurasaari outdoor museum where you can feed tame squirrels and birds. You can also visit the Korkeasaari zoo, Linnanmäki amusement park (free entry) and buy some fresh seafood at the market square.