Whether you’re planning to visit Helsinki for a weekend or entire week, trust us – you won’t run out of exciting things to do! During our 6 days visit, we weren’t able to see everything that we’ve planned! This beautiful Finnish capital has been one of the biggest surprises for us this year. It was always high on our travel wish list and thanks to #MyHelsinkiResidence we were finally able to make this dream come true!
During our press trip, we wanted to absorb the cultural scene of the city through museum hopping, tasting the local cuisine and walking (we barely used public transport).
To give you a good starting point for things to do during your Helsinki experience, we picked some of our favorite attractions. Of course, there is much more than this initial list, but the outline below will provide a well-rounded feel of what this Scandinavian city has to offer. Get Ready! It is a lot! We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!
1. Start at Senate Square
One of the oldest parts of the city and the main tourist attraction where you can enjoy Carl Ludvig Engel’s architecture.
2. Admire Helsinki Cathedral
This is the most characteristic landmark in the city’s panorama. The Cathedral white walls can be spotted from far as it is built on top of a little hill with a set of stairs to reach it.
Location: Unioninkatu 29
Opening hours: Open everyday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Admission fee: Free
3. Visit Amos Rex
This is a place for art and urban culture, consisting of new underground exhibition spaces. The goal of the new museum is to produce unique experiences and surprising encounters. It is probably the most notable Helsinki spot due to its artsy outside part.
Location: Mannerheimintie 22-24
Opening hours: Open everyday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM/6:00 PM
Admission fee: 15 €
4. Take a break at Market Square
This is the center of attraction in midtown Helsinki, where you can get a good first glimpse at the city. Market Square is a good base from which you can explore the harbor, or have a steaming hot coffee in one of the heated cafe tents.
Opening hours: Open everyday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Admission fee: Free
5. Visit Ateneum
The Ateneum Art Museum is a ‘must visit’ and probably the most famous art museum in Finland. The museum’s collections range from the 19th century to the modern age and it features renown artists like Pablo Picasso.
Location: Kaivokatu 2
Opening hours: Mon Closed, Tu & Fr 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Wed & Thu 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sat & Sun 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Admission fee: 17 €
6. Read a book at Oodi
Helsinki’s new Central Library and a living meeting place in the city center on Kansalaistori Square. Oodi is a venue for events, a house of reading and diverse urban experience. It is a library of a new era, a living and functional meeting place open for everyone. The interior design and outdoor architecture are impressive.
Location: Töölönlahdenkatu 4
Opening hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Admission fee: Free
7. Visit Kiasma
Kiasma is a museum of contemporary art comprised primarily of Finnish contemporary art but is also the host of several international exhibitions. It’s impressive how the natural light filters through the museum’s artful combination of curves and straight lines.
Location: Mannerheiminaukio 2
Opening hours: Mon Closed, Tu & Sat 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Wed, Thu & Fr 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM, Sun 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Admission fee: 15/13 €
8. Take a Day-trip to Tallinn
While Tallinn isn’t in Helsinki, we wanted to mention a day-trip that we did during our visit. Many ferries are leaving every day from South Harbor. The ferry ride to Tallinn takes only 2 hours each way and this charming little city will make you feel transported back to Medieval times.
Read about our Day-trip to Tallinn with Tallink Silja here.
9. Experience the Tradition of a Finnish Sauna
The sauna experience is an essential aspect of Finnish culture. An interesting fact is that many Finns have saunas in their homes or apartment buildings as a way to mix an everyday detox and public gathering into their routines.
If you want to experience the Finnish sauna, there are loads of places to do so. The most popular and beautifully designed is Löyly, located on the south edge of the city. Unfortunately, when we arrived the receptionist informed us that the sauna was fully booked until the late hours. We weren’t aware of how popular it is among locals and travelers and we didn’t book it in advance… Make sure to do that because it is away from the city center.
Location: Hernesaarenranta 4
Opening hours: Mon-Tue 16:00 – 22:00,Wed – Thu 13:00 – 22:00, Fri 13:00 – 23:00, Sat 8:00 – 10:00 & 13:00 – 23:00, Sun 13:00 – 21:00
Admission fee: 19 €
10. Try the Scandinavian cuisine
Make the most of your time in Finland, and eat seafood! The waters around Helsinki are home to more than 50 fish species, which makes it a perfect opportunity to eat fresh seafood. The most popular are salmon and Baltic herring.
Read more about Where to eat in Helsinki here (blog post coming soon).
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