Helsinki has an area of around 180 km², so you can imagine how Helsinki is a cute and compact city, and one really easy to explored on foot! If you don’t feel like walking, their superb tram and bus system can help you reach certain areas or districts in no time!
Helsinki offers beautiful parks, churches, cathedrals, museums, shopping areas, and Helsinki’s charming architecture is a great reason to simply stroll around.
Things to do
Helsinki Music Centre
Helsinki Music Centre opened just in 2011, and this first-class concert hall offers a wide range of musical experiences. Music students sometimes put on free concerts open to anyone, but most of the shows are paid.
At the senate square you’ll find 4 domineering buildings: the Government Palace, the Helsinki Cathedral, the National Library of Finland, and the University of Helsinki. You could even find the Sederholm House here at the southeast part of the square which is said to be the oldest stone building in the city.
Central Railway Station (Rautatieasema)
This station was called as one of the world’s most beautiful railway stations by BBC back in 2013, and right as you step inside you’ll be awed by its design and you’ll see 2 distinguishing features: the clock tower and the pair of male statues that are holding spherical lamps. It’s no wonder it’s one of Finland’s most-visited building.
Just in the middle of Senate Square, Helsinki Cathedral is one of the most photographed landmarks in Helsinki.
Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral
This is said to be the largest orthodox church in Western Europe, and You’ll be absolutely happy to know that entrance here is free of charge, much like Helsinki Cathedral.
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress
UNESCO World Heritage Site is deemed to be one of the biggest sea fortresses around the world, it’s free entrance but you do have to pay for the ferry ride over (although it can be free with the Helsinki Card). It’s one of the most popular attractions in Helsinki, and all of Finland, and definitely worth a visit.
The Olympic Games were held here back in 1952. Today, it hosts national and international sports and outdoor concert events. It rises 72 meters high, and for only €5 you can go up and get a beautiful bird’s eye view of Helsinki. Unfortunately for visitors today, renovations started in January 2016, but will open up again by 2019.
Strolling through the Design District is perfect for any design enthusiast, actually starting as a local initiative beginning in 2005, clustering together all the creative business in that neighborhood, you’ll find fashion stores, jewelry shops, art galleries, showrooms, hotels, and restaurants.
Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
Another island near Helsinki that’s worth visit, here you can see a tranquil oasis of Finnish buildings that are specially relocated here in order to perfectly portray the traditional Finnish way of life.
Finnish Museum of Natural History & National Museum of Finland
Both offering free entrance on the 1st Friday of the month, here you’ll find the diversity of Finnish nature, and at the National museum you’ll witness Finnish history from the Stone Age to present day.
Dubbed as “hipster haven” this interesting neighborhood is located north of Helsinki’s center, here you’ll find unique boutiques, cafes, market halls, restaurants, shops and more. Not to be missed are the Hakaniemi Market Hall and the Old Market Hall.
Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Church)
A Lutheran church in the Töölö neighborhood of Helsinki, the beutiful and unique Rock Church was quarried out of natural bedrock so both the interior and exterior were created naturally and the rest were designed by the architects, the Suomalainen brothers.
Helsinki Central Park
Helsinki Central Park has an area of over 10 square kilometers, it’s actually more of a forest with trails rather than a park, and people can come here to jog, cycle, ride horses, etc.
Finnish National Opera
The Finnish National Opera is a state-owned Finnish opera and was built in the 1990s, there are several free affairs you can take part in, for example, art exhibitions, the Saturday chamber music concert, production presentations, and artist briefings.
Alvar Alto, the Finnish architect, design the world-renowned Finlandia Hall. This dynamic venue helds congress and events, and even though they don’t offer free concerts, admission is free so you can come in and see the beautiful architecture for yourself.
Enjoy the cities annual events
- Lux Helsinki: (January) During the darkest months, light artworks will be displayed each day from dusk and onwards.
- Taste of Helsinki: (June) A fine dining festival where you can eat and eat and eat.
- Helsinki Pride Week: (June) a rainbow-color festive celebration.
- Tuska Festival: (July) A heavy metal music festival.
- Helsinki Festival: (August) Held in the summer, this is dubbed as the biggest arts festival in the Nordic region.
- Helsinki Design Week: (September) An international festival wherein design professionals and enthusiasts alike would meet.
- Helsinki Comics Festival: (September) Said to be the largest comic-related event in Finland and Northern Europe.
- We Jazz: (December) The biggest annual jazz happening in the city!