Arvestolua (Matkatoimisto) Helsinkiin Rustravelsta (Uusimaa).

Rustravel

Tietoa Rustravelsta, Helsinkiin Matkatoimistostä (Uusimaa)

Täältä näet sijainnin, aukioloajat, suosituimmat ajat, yhteystiedot, valokuvat ja käyttäjien tekemät todelliset arvostelut.

Tällä paikalla on hyvät arvostelut, se tarkoittaa, että he kohtelevat asiakkaitaan hyvin ja voit nauttia heidän palveluistaan hyvillä mielin, suosittelemme 100%!

Rustraveln aukioloajat

Suositut ajat, rustraveln arvostelut.

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Yhteystiedot

Rustravel

Käytämme evästeitä parantaaksemme käyttökokemusta tällä verkkosivustolla. Löydät lisätietoja tietosuojakäytännöstämme

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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Helsinki (Things to Do)

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

Updated September 2023

With a second opportunity to visit Helsinki, I was more than excited to make the return to Finland’s capital. Helsinki has always been a place of inspiration for design, the proximity to the outdoors, and one of those cities that always surprises.

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

When I went over three years ago on the #MyHelsinkiResidences program with the My Helsinki tourism board, I went during the winter months and saw a side of Helsinki that I hadn’t expected. This time, I was here for summer and was ready to bask in those long days of light and discover more.

I returned to the same program and one I love to partake in. The goal is to live like a resident of Helsinki as there’s no set itinerary, no places I have to be. During that time, I stayed in an apartment in the heart of downtown, given a few travel recommendations, and the keys to discovering the city as I would like to.

The result? Spontaneous adventures traveling like a local and having an immersive experience.

Much of Helsinki had changed since I had been there last. New museums, restaurants, and coffee shops were sprinkled throughout, all places I was excited to explore. But at the same time, it hadn’t. There was still that friendly welcome I remembered from the last visit.

There’s a passion for sharing what makes Finland truly a unique and wonderful country to not only visit but live in. There’s a love for slowing down, being connected to the outdoors, and, of course, that incredible design scene.

It’s all of these things and more that make traveling to Helsinki an experience to remember. If you’re looking to explore more of Helsinki, be sure to check out my in-depth guides to the best restaurants and best things to do .

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels and Things to Do in Helsinki:

  • Hotel St. George , for the best modern luxury hotel
  • Hotel Kämp ,  for the best design hotel
  • Noli Studios Katajanokka , for the best designed apartment-hotel
  • Hotel Mestari , for the best hotel for larger groups or families
  • Hotel F6 , for the best boutique hotel

Things to Do

  • Helsinki Architecture Walking Tour

Visit the Reindeer in Nuuksio National Park

Take a day trip to tallinn, estonia.

  • Tour the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

What to know about visiting helsinki, finland, how do i get around helsinki.

The best part of visiting Helsinki is no car is needed. On arrival at Helsinki Airport, take the “L or P” train between Terminals 1 and 2 right to the city center in 30 minutes. Be sure to purchase a ticket before boarding. Once in town, the metro and bus system is extensive. I took Uber pretty frequently as it’s not terribly priced, else, the city of Helsinki is incredibly walkable.

What Language Do They Speak in Helsinki?

Finnish, Swedish, and English are spoken here. Finnish is the national language.

Is Helsinki Good for Tourists?

It’s one of the best Scandinavian cities to visit for travelers. It is easy to get around, has several low-cost flights between other countries, and has lots to do.

What Currency is Used in Helsinki?

On the Euro currency, cash and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. I always advise you to have some cash on you in case.

What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Helsinki?

For the more milder months, May through September will be the best. With the least amount of rainfall, you’ll have warmer days. Come winter, it can be very cold — some may prefer a winter adventure pending your itinerary.

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

Where to Stay in Helsinki, Finland

For this trip, I was put in a long-term apartment-hotel stay that is unfortunately no longer available to book. I know there are some wonderful hotels in the city, some of which I stopped by, and wanted to recommend. Read on to see some of the best hotels to book while visiting Helsinki.

Hotel St. George

Hotel St. George

Nestled in the heart of the city, Hotel St. George isn’t just another luxury stay. Overlooking the serene Old Church Park, this hotel is a blend of art, design, and holistic care. With 148 rooms, each thoughtfully curated, and five suites that whisper elegance, it’s a haven for those seeking moments of tranquility. Dive into a world of well-being, from a contemporary spa to a gym designed for the modern traveler. Book the best rates here .

Hotel Kämp

Hotel Kämp , located in the center of Helsinki, has been a hallmark of luxury since its establishment in 1887. Situated on Pohjoisesplanadi, this esteemed hotel offers a blend of historical charm and modern amenities. Guests can enjoy a variety of services, from dining at the renowned Brasserie Kämp to relaxing treatments at the Kämp Spa. Additionally, the historic Kämp Bar provides a selection of beverages in a sophisticated setting. Book the best rates here .

Noli Studios Katajanokka

Noli Studios Katajanokka

Noli Studios Katajanokka , located near downtown Helsinki, is housed in a historic red-brick building that once served as the headquarters for the grocery giant, Kesko. Offering stunning sea views and surrounded by a mix of modernist and Art Nouveau architecture, this hotel is within walking distance of Helsinki’s vibrant city center, the Allas Sea Pool, and the bustling restaurants of Kanavaranta. With 263 stylish studios, guests can enjoy amenities like a modern gym, sauna, restaurant, co-working spaces, and community areas. Book the best rates here .

Hotel Mestari

Hotel Mestari

Hotel Mestari , located in central Helsinki’s iconic House of Master Builders, offers 237 elegantly designed rooms and suites. Renowned for its exceptional service, the hotel provides curated experience packages tailored for guests. The venue, historically a hub for dialogue, is equipped for both intimate and large-scale events. With its blend of beautiful design and luxury amenities, Mestari ensures a stay that’s both comfortable and memorable. Book the best rates here .

Hotel F6

Hotel F6 , located in central Helsinki just off the well-known Esplanade, is a unique boutique hotel emphasizing genuine service and a home-like atmosphere. Housed within 76 elegantly designed rooms that blend style, comfort, and sustainability, guests are treated to Finnish home-style breakfasts made predominantly from organic local ingredients. The hotel’s bar, Runar, offers authentic flavors in a warm setting. For those keen on fitness, a gym equipped with top-tier equipment is available, and in collaboration with Wolt, guests can have meals from local restaurants delivered directly to their rooms. Bicycles are also available for guests wishing to explore the vibrant surroundings of Helsinki. Book the best rates here .

Where to Eat in Helsinki

Yes yes yes.

20 Best Restaurants in Helsinki, Finland

For a vegetarian option, look no further than Yes Yes Yes. I love how bright and cheerful the restaurant is. Their tandoori bread and dips are delicious and also be sure to try the halloumi fries!

Address: Iso Roobertinkatu 1, 00120 Helsinki, Finland

Restaurant Savotta

For a very traditional dinner with a view of Senate Square, book a reservation at Restaurant Savotta . Their menu has traditional platings like game meat logs to traditional stews. It’s a must-dine for a taste of Finland while in Helsinki.

Address: Aleksanterinkatu 22, 00170 Helsinki, Finland

The Cock

The Cock is always a win in the city. Their well-rounded menu has a few different classics to favorites like the tartar.

Address: Fabianinkatu 17, 00130 Helsinki, Finland

The Bistro at Food Market Herkku

The Bistro at Food Market Herkku

For a more unique dining experience, head to The Bistro at Food Market Herkku . Formerly known as the Stockman Grocery Store, the new edition of Herkku is a food market inspired by market halls found around the world. It may seem strange to dine in a grocery story, but the Bistro is a high-end experience centered around a bar at the back of the restaurant. The salmon tartar was delicious and fresh.

Address: Aleksanterinkatu 52, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Sushibar + Wine

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If you’re looking for sushi, the lunch menu at Sushibar + Wine is great and well-priced, 10-piece nigiri sets starting at around 15 euros a plate. They now have 4 locations throughout the city.

Address: Kaivokatu 8, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Ekberg Cafe

20 Best Restaurants in Helsinki, Finland

Dating back to 1852 and Finland’s oldest bakery, Ekberg has traditional pastries and desserts. It’s hard to choose here!

Address: Bulevardi 9, 00120 Helsinki, Finland

St. George Bakery

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

Located in the Hotel St. George , St. George Bakery is another one of my favorite bakeries in town with fresh bread and baked goods.

Address: Yrjönkatu 13, 00120 Helsinki, Finland

Coffee Shops

There are great coffee shops throughout the city. A few of my favorites are Andante , Kaffecentralen (multiple locations), Cafe Regatta , and Kaffa Roastery .

Things to Do in Helsinki

Museum hop through the city.

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If there is one thing Helsinki has in plenty, it’s museums. There is something for everyone here. If you’re looking for contemporary art, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma . For a history on Finnish design, the Design Museum has rotating exhibits.

The National Museum of Finland is the perfect spot to get insight into Finnish history and culture.  The Helsinki Art Museum or HAM features unique exhibits that are thought-provoking. And for those looking for international art, head to the Ateneum Art Museum .

Take a Boat to Suomenlinna, Tour the Sea Fortress , then Hop Over to Lonna for a Sauna

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

Surrounded by many islands and the sea, Helsinki is a great spot to get out into nature. One island nearby that offers an opportunity to walk around and see a historic site is Suomenlinna. Take the JT line from Market Square and get a scenic view of the city as you head there.

On the island, there are walking trails throughout the historic Suomenlinna Sea Fortress which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want something that is more informational, I would book this guided tour that takes you throughout Suomenlinna .

What I would do afterward, is take the JT Line right over the island of Lonna and reserve in advance a two-hour sauna experience . The island is very small and has a restaurant in addition to the public sauna building. It’s a scenic spot to end the day and perfect for a traditional Finnish sauna experience.

Book a Guided Walking Tour

With so much to discover in Helsinki, one of the best ways to learn and experience the city is with a knowledgeable local. While I was able to do this with a local I knew myself, I did some digging for the best walking tours with a guide in the city.

The first one I found was this small group walking tour (137 reviews, 5 stars!). It’s limited to 8 people and the local guide takes you through important historical and cultural sights throughout the city. This other small group tour in Helsinki was rated similarly in case the other one sells out.

For those who are into architecture, you’ll fall in love with Helsinki. With Finnish architects like Alvar Aalto and alike, there is a lot to love. This Helsinki architecture walking tour will take you to some of the most important architectural sights in the city, giving you background on the buildings.

Take a Tour of Alvar Aalto’s Studio

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

One of the most unique things I did this time was taking a tour of Alvar Aalto’s studio . Well known for his work in architecture and his furniture at Artek, his studio is just a quick 10-minute drive from the city (Uber will take you there). Book a tour in advance and explore the studio and space that he worked out of.

Shop Local Designers

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

With a strong design scene, Helsinki is the ultimate shopper’s paradise. You may want to bring an extra suitcase as it’s that good. There are so many places to shop for design, so I’d head to the Design District’s website and select the category you’re looking for as it’s broken out accordingly.

Try a Finnish Sauna at Löyly

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

It’s a must-experience when in Finland. Löyly is just a quick Uber ride away from downtown and has an incredible location on the sea. You’ll need to reserve in advance a two-hour window at the sauna here.

I’d come for lunch or a bite before or after and then steam away in their two sauna rooms. To cool down, you can even jump in the sea if you’re brave enough.

Walk Around Senate Square

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

One of my favorite areas to walk around is the Senate Square . Head here to see the Helsinki Cathedral and the National Library of Finland . Continue on through the winding neighborhoods into the center.

The Ultimate Helsinki Travel Guide

One unique day trip you can do while visiting Helsinki is taking the Tallink Star over to Tallinn, Estonia . I’d book a ticket on the boat in advance and make the two-hour journey to Tallinn for the day. The 7:30 a.m. departure gets you there at 9:30, giving you a full day when you take the 7:30 p.m. return.

With one day in Tallinn, you can easily explore the top sights like Alexander Nevsky Cathedral , the Old Town, and the Tallinn Town Hall .

One meal not to miss while there is at the traditional restaurant, Olde Hansa for local, Estonian food. Afterward, I’d head to the Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform for a view over the city and consider exploring the area of Kalamaja.

On one of my first Helsinki trips, I headed out to Nuuksio National Park to visit reindeer. It was dead of winter, and with snow falling, it felt like a storybook scene. It’s a bit of way out of the city, so it’s recommended to do this on a guided tour like this one.

Once there, you’ll have the opportunity to see and interact with the reindeer. This private tour is one of the top-selling and does sell out so book in advance.

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Ps — are you booking a trip soon use my booking checklist.

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you . If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here .

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:

  • World Nomads (best for all-around)
  • Safety Wing (best for frequent travelers)

Xx, Jessica

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I love the city of Helsinki, this is an amazing place to visit. Thanks for your beautiful travel guide. I want to come back here again and again.

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Nice suggestions. Löyly is perhaps the most modern public sauna in Helsinki but there are many more authentic saunas in Helsinki too and they are cheaper. For example, try Kotiharjun Sauna or Sauna Hermanni.

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Helsinki Travel Guide

Last Updated: August 9, 2023

colorful buildings in Helsinki

But it’s definitely worth taking the time to see.

Historic, small, brimming with green space, and set on the Baltic Sea, Helsinki is a picturesque city filled with friendly people and few tourists. It’s especially great if you love art and music as they have a ton of museums and a vibrant music scene.

If you ask me, Helsinki is one of the most underrated capitals in Europe . I always love my time here!

This travel guide to Helsinki can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your visit.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Helsinki

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Helsinki

The snowy skyline of downtown Helsinki, Finland in the winter

1. Visit the National Museum of Finland

This museum has a large collection of Finnish artifacts from the Stone Age to the present, including jewelry, coins, tools, weapons, and more. Containing the most comprehensive collection of cultural history in Finland, the museum is ideal for learning about Finnish folk culture and the Finno-Ugric people. The collection didn’t actually have a building until an architectural contest was held to build the structure that houses the current museum (construction started in 1910). It was officially opened as the National Museum of Finland in 1916. Permanent collections can be viewed alongside a fascinating array of rotating pop-up exhibits. The museum also hosts workshops and tours. It’s a good place to get an overview of Finland’s history. Admission is 15 EUR and is free every Friday from 4pm–6pm.

2. Relax at Kaivopuisto Park

During the summer, residents and tourists alike flock to this park to hang out, play sports, picnic, and enjoy the view of the Baltic Sea Located on the southern point of the peninsula in a high-end neighborhood, it has well-maintained paths for walking, plenty of green space, and some old growth trees. It’s the oldest park in Helsinki and the Ursa Observatory sits atop the highest point of the park. Cafes and restaurants are scattered around the shoreline and islands. Concerts and other events are often held in the park during warmer months. During the winter, the largest hill in the park is a favorite spot for tobogganing. If the weather is nice, bring a book and lounge the day away!

3. See the Helsinki Cathedral

This cathedral was built in the 19th century as a tribute to Czar Nicholas I, the Grand Duke of Finland, and was known as St. Nicholas Church until Finland gained independence in 1917. Built in the Neoclassical style, it’s one of the most recognizable sights in the capital’s skyline and can be seen from almost every vantage point in Helsinki. If you’ve visited a lot of cathedrals, you likely won’t think this is one of the greatest in Europe but I think it’s one of the best in Scandinavia.

4. Explore the Museum of Contemporary Art (Kiasma)

Opened in 1990, Kiasma is housed in a unique modern building not far from the Post Museum (see below). The collection consists of over 8,500 works and pays tribute to Finnish art from the 1960s to the present day. Part of the Finnish National Gallery, Kiasma is Finnish for “chiasma,” a term describing the crossing of nerves or tendons, and was named by the American architect, Steven Holl, who designed the unique building. Concerts and events are often held within Kiasma and the building contains a theater, a library, a café restaurant, and a bookstore. Tickets are 18 EUR for adults and free for anyone under 18. Admission is free on the first Friday of every month.

5. Tour Suomenlinna Fortress

This island fort was constructed by the Swedes in 1748 as a defense against the Russians. When Russia took over Helsinki in 1808, they used it as a garrison. The designers and architects of the fortress incorporated the unique geographical features of the area and constructed many of the buildings using stones from the islands. Since 1748, different groups added on to the sea fortress and it has served to defend 3 separate nations. It now covers six islands, all of which belong to the city of Helsinki. After World War II, the fort was converted for the people of Finland to use. Today, it’s a park and residential area. There are a lot of interesting buildings, secluded beaches, and parks here. Guided tours cost 11 EUR.

Other Things to See and Do in Helsinki

1. tour the post museum.

This museum is dedicated to the history of Finland’s postal service. It sounds absolutely boring but I found it surprisingly interesting and educational. It highlights the history of the mail service in Finland, from ships and sleds in the 1600s to their modern-day delivery service. There are all kinds of artifacts, photographs, and short films about how they made mail delivery work in such a sparsely populated and harsh environment. Admission is 14 EUR.

2. Visit the Finnish Museum of Photography

The photography museum houses a sizeable collection of works by Finnish artists (there are over 2 million photos here). You’ll find photos from famous Finnish photographers like Elina Brotherus and Pentti Sammallahti. They also host rotating international exhibitions as well. Tickets are 12 EUR.

3. Shop at the Central Market

Located near the harbor, this market is where you can do lots of souvenir shopping, eat some local food, and buy fresh vegetables (and lots of fresh berries in the summer). It’s usually swarming with tourists, but I heard enough Finnish there to know it isn’t a complete tourist trap. There’s also a covered portion of the market where you can find pastries, fish, meat, and cheese. Eat at the Soup Kitchen if you’re hungry (they have an amazing seafood soup).

4. Visit the Sinebrychoff Art Museum

This museum houses a lot of old paintings and portraits from the 14th-19th centuries. It’s the only museum in the city that really focuses on old European art. The bottom floor of the museum has a lot of photos and more modern works, while the top floor has the older paintings that you see as you walk through the old Sinebrychoff residence. Portrait of a Lady by Alexander Roslin and Portrait of Mademoiselle Charlotte Eckerman by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller are two noteworthy pieces in the collection. Admission is 16 EUR and entry is free on the first Wednesday of the month from 5-8pm. Admission to the house museum on the second floor is free.

5. Relax in Sinebrychoff Park

Right near the Sinebrychoff Museum is a nice little residential park worth hanging out in. Dating to the 18th century, the park was originally a private garden belonging to a Russian businessman before becoming a public park in the 1960s. Today, you’ll find lots of coffee shops nearby so you can grab a snack and relax. Bring a book, grab a coffee, and lounge away the day!

6. Visit the Bank of Finland Museum

This museum was one of the coolest museums I’ve seen in a long time. While it does a good job illuminating the history of money in Finland, what it really does well describes the history of finance and modern finance. You get to see Euro coins from all the European countries and discover what a gold nugget looks like, but you’ll also learn how to spot counterfeit money. It offers up detailed background information and great exhibits. It was quite a learning experience! Admission is free.

7. Admire the Uspenski Cathedral

Sitting on a hill overlooking the city, this massive red cathedral is hard to miss. Uspenski is an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral with large domes and gold crosses. Made of red brick, it stands out nicely against the rest of the city. Consecrated in 1868, it’s the largest Eastern Orthodox church in Western Europe. The interior is lavishly decorated with typical Eastern Orthodox iconography (though many of the statues and items have been stolen over the years). It’s a place of worship, so dress respectfully when you visit. Admission is free.

8. Explore the Helsinki City Museum

Like the National Museum of Finland, the Helsinki City Museum offers an in-depth look at the capital’s history. There are plenty of great exhibits and photos with detailed descriptions that bring the history of the city to life. There are also photos by famous Finnish photographers like Signe Brander as well as exhibitions featuring typical Finnish homes from the 1950s and 1970s so you can see what life used to be like here. Admission is free.

9. Relax in Esplanade Park

This park (called “Espa” by the locals) is a popular place to spend a lunch hour if the weather is nice. There are usually a number of street musicians around and there are also a few eateries nearby too. Opened in 1812, you’ll find several statues honoring Finnish poets and writers such as Johan Ludvig Runeberg, Zacharias Topelius, and Eino Leino. Come here to relax, picnic, read, or people-watch!

10. Visit the Harbor Islands

There are over 330 islands that make up the Helsinki city archipelago. Suomenlinna is the easiest to reach with regular municipal ferries (you can take a ferry directly from Market Square). Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari are two other islands worth visiting, as they used to be military bases closed off to the public (during the Viking era, Vallisaari was used as an outpost that would light a fire whenever a Viking raid was coming so people could prepare). The islands have since been reclaimed by nature and turned into parks dotted with abandoned fortifications. You can explore on your own or take a guided tour; there are a ton to choose from, most last 1-2 hours and cost around 25 EUR.

11. Have Fun at Linnanmäki

Just north of the city, this amusement park is a fun place to visit if you’re traveling with kids (or if you just want to act like a kid yourself!). Opened in 1950, the park is actually owned by a non-profit that donates money to child welfare programs. There are over 40 different attractions here, including 8 roller coasters (one of which is a traditional wooden roller coaster). A wristband is 45 EUR, which gives you access to all the rides. Entry to the park itself is free, so if you want to just visit and explore you can do that without spending money.

12. Experience a Finnish Sauna

Saunas originated in Finland ( sauna is a Finnish word meaning “Finnish bath”). There are some 2 million saunas in Finland — a country with just over 5 million people — so you won’t have a hard time finding one. Many hostels, hotels, and even apartments have their own sauna. Löyly Helsinki is the most popular public sauna in the Finnish capital. A two-hour session costs 19 EUR. Just be sure to keep sauna etiquette in mind: bring your swimwear, men and women are separated, towels are acceptable (but people are usually naked), and don’t be loud.

13. See the Temppeliaukio Church

Temppeliaukio Church, also called Church of the Rock, is a Lutheran Church built directly into solid rock and partially underground. The Suomalainen brothers won an architectural competition for their design and started construction in the 1960s. The walls are all exposed stone and the roof is a huge dome that lets in natural light. Over half a million people visit the church each year, and the venue is also used regularly for concerts and large events.

14. Wander the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

Located north of Helsinki on Seurasaari Island, the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum allows you to get up close to numerous traditional Finnish buildings from the early 18th-20th centuries. They aren’t replicas either; the buildings were collected from all over the country and brought here. There are houses, cottages, outbuildings, a windmill, and more. Opened in 1909, guided tours are available daily during the summer (it’s closed in the winter). Admission is 10 EUR.

15. Visit the Design Museum

Finnish design, like its Scandinavian counterparts, is incredibly popular, known for seamlessly integrating design elements into regular life. The Design Museum allows you to learn about the history of Finnish design and Finnish architecture over the last 150 years. It opened in 1873 and holds over 75,000 objects, 40,000 drawings, and 100,000 photographs. The museum also publishes books and exhibition catalogs about modern design. It’s 15 EUR to get in but it’s free on the last Tuesday of every month from 4-8pm.

16. Ride the Skywheel Helsinki

Located a few minutes away from Uspenski Cathedral, Skywheel Helsinki is a Ferris wheel offering panoramic views of the city. Standing 40-meters (131 feet), it’s the best way to see the city from “above” since there aren’t really any skyscrapers here. Rides are 14 EUR and last around 12 minutes. It’s also possible to have a sauna experience while riding the Skywheel too (though it’s not cheap). Prices for the SkySauna start at 240 EUR per hour for up to 4 people, including two drinks per person.

17. Visit Amos Rex

This art museum opened in August 2018 and it’s already one of the most popular in Helsinki. It’s named after Amos Anderson, a Finnish patron of the arts. You’ll find a rotating series of temporary exhibitions from local and international artists here so check the website to see what events/exhibitions are coming up. I don’t love modern art myself, but I’m told this gallery has really cool exhibitions. Admission is 20 EUR.

18. Admire some classical art

Ateneum is one of three museums that forms the Finnish National Gallery (with the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and the Sinebrychoff Art Museum). It has the biggest collection of classical art in Finland, with over 4,300 paintings and 750 sculptures. You’ll also find pieces by artists such as Van Gogh and Cézanne. If you love classical art, don’t miss this museum! Admission is 18 EUR.

Helsinki Travel Costs

colorful leaves in a park in Helsinki, Finland in the autumn

If you’re traveling with a tent, wild camping is legal outside of the city on public land. Just make sure to be respectful and use common sense. There are also plenty of campgrounds nearby, usually charging 10-25 EUR per night for a basic two-person plot without electricity.

Budget hotel prices – Generally, you can expect to pay 75-115 EUR per night for a budget hotel with free Wi-Fi and basic amenities like TV and a coffee/tea maker. During the summer, prices are closer to 100-150 EUR per night.

Airbnb is a great budget option in the city, with private rooms starting at 40 EUR (though they average double that). If you’re looking for an entire home or apartment, expect to pay at least 70 EUR, though prices average over 120 EUR.

Average cost of food – Finnish cuisine leans heavily on fish, meat (specifically pork), and hearty vegetables like potatoes. Reindeer is commonly eaten as well as wild game like deer and moose. Smoked salmon and smoked or pickled herring are also popular dishes. Like their Scandinavian neighbors, Finns also enjoy dark bread and cheeses, usually as part of an open-faced sandwich (these are the go-to breakfast choice).

Overall, the food here is expensive in the city. Your average cheap casual restaurant charges around 13 EUR for a meal while fast food (think McDonald’s) is 9 EUR. For a three-course meal with table service, expect to pay at least 50-80 EUR.

Pizza costs around 10 EUR for a large pizza while Thai or Chinese food costs 10-15 EUR for a main dish. If you want to splash out, I suggest Ravintola Aino for good Finnish food (try the reindeer). Dishes cost between 50-62 EUR but are incredibly tasty!

Beer costs 7 EUR while a latte/cappuccino is 4 EUR. Bottled water is 1.70 EUR.

If you plan on cooking your own food, groceries cost between 50-65 EUR per week for basic staples like vegetables, bread, pasta, and some fish or meat.

Backpacking Helsinki Suggested Budgets

On a backpacking budget of 70 EUR per day, you can stay in a hostel dorm, cook all your meals, limit your drinking, take public transportation to get around, and do free activities like visiting the free museums, hitting the beach, and relaxing in the parks. If you plan on drinking, add 10-15 EUR to your daily budget.

On a mid-range budget of 140 EUR, you can stay in a private hostel room or Airbnb, eat out for some meals, have a couple of drinks, take the occasional taxi, and do more paid activities like visiting the Post Museum or taking a guided tour of Suomenlinna Fortress.

On a “luxury” budget of 290 EUR or more per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink as much as you want, rent a car to explore, and do whatever activities you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury though. The sky is the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.

Helsinki Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Helsinki is a super expensive destination to visit. It’s hard to visit here “on a budget” but, fortunately, there are ways to save money if you know where to look. Here are a few tips to help you keep your budget intact when you visit:

  • Get a Helsinki Card – There’s a lot to see in the city and paying 10-15 EUR per attraction adds up. This tourism card grants you free admission to the main sights (as well as access to the hop-on/hop-off bus) for 50 EUR (for a 24-hour pass). You can also get a 48-hour pass for 63 EUR or a 72-hour pass for 74 EUR. It includes discounts on some restaurants as well. For an additional charge, you can add free public transit on your card too.
  • Avoid taxis – Helsinki is easy to navigate with public transportation and on foot. Skip the taxis here — they add up fast!
  • Stay with a local for free – Couchsurfing connects you with a local who can host you for free. You may have to sleep on a couch, but you’ll get to make a new friend and get tons of insider information about the city.
  • Skip the drinking – A night out in Finland, especially in Helsinki, can put a deep hole in your pocket. To maintain your budget, avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Go grocery shopping – Buying basic staples like bread, meat, and cheese for breakfast or for a quick lunch on the go can save you quite a bit of cash. By cooking your own meals you’ll save a ton of money, enabling you to eventually splurge on some great local dinners and traditional fare.
  • Take the free city tours – Green Cap Tours offers daily free walking tours around Helsinki. You get to see the main sights while interacting with an expert guide who can answer all your questions. Just be sure to tip at the end!
  • Check out free attractions – The Bank of Finland Museum and the Helsinki City Museum are always free. The National Museum of Finland is free on Fridays from 4:15pm-6pm. The Museum of Contemporary Art is free on the first Friday of every month. Don’t miss them when you get there without paying, you’ll save money!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle – The tap water here is super clean, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and lower your plastic usage. LifeStraw makes a bottle with a built-in filter so you can always ensure your water is clean and safe.

Where to Stay in Helsinki

Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Helsinki:

  • Cheapsleep Hostel
  • Hostel Diana Park
  • The Yard Hostel

How to Get Around Helsinki

Busy public transportation in downtown Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki also has one of the oldest tram networks in the world (it’s been around since 1891). The trams work on the same ticketing system as the metro and bus.

Bicycle – Helsinki is small so it’s easy to get around by bicycle. Bike rentals start at 15 EUR per day.

Taxi – Taxis start at a whopping 7 EUR and go up 1 EUR per kilometer. Avoid them if you can.

Ridesharing – Uber is available in Helsinki (it’s the only city in the country Uber operates in).

Car rental – Cars can be rented for as little as 25 EUR per day for a multi-day rental. Drivers must be at least 20 and have an International Driving Permit (IDP). That said, unless you’re planning on leaving the city to explore, you won’t need to rent a vehicle here. The city is easy to get around on foot and by bus.

When to Go to Helsinki

Summer is the most popular time to visit — and the best time as well. Temperatures hover between 19-21°C (66-71°F) and green spaces (and beaches) are busy but not crowded. Prices are slightly higher, however, there are lots of events happening and the city is at its busiest. That said, “busy” in Helsinki is a far cry from “busy” in cities like Paris, London, or Barcelona so it won’t be crowded

Spring is a nice time to visit Helsinki, especially in May and June. The weather is warm and there are many events, such as the Vappu Festival on May 1st (which marks the end of winter) and the Finnish Carnival in early June. Moreover, not many tourists visit in spring so things are more relaxed.

Autumn offers changing leaves and chilly weather. Daily highs average 6-8°C (43-48°F). The days are still long enough to enjoy everything, though you may need a rain jacket or a sweater if it gets cool.

Winter is a nice time to visit if you’re into winter sports. Otherwise, it’s very cold and dark so I’d avoid visiting unless you’re going to get out of the city to ski and enjoy the snow.

How to Stay Safe in Helsinki

Helsinki is a safe city. In fact, Finland is considered one of the safest countries in the world. Pickpocketing can still occur so keep an eye on your belongings while at bus stations and on crowded public transportation. Incidents are rare, but being vigilant is always a good idea.

Solo female travelers should generally feel safe here as Finland is very progressive and has a lot of woman’s rights. That said, the standard safety precautions should apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). For specific advice, read one of the many solo female travel blogs about the city.

If you rent a car, don’t leave any valuables in it at night. Break-ins are incredibly rare but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Scams here are very rare, but if you’re worried about getting ripped off you can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

If you experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones so they’ll know where you are.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Helsinki Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Helsinki Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Finland travel and continue planning your trip:

The 5 Best Hostels in Helsinki

The 5 Best Hostels in Helsinki

The 21 Best Things to See and Do in Helsinki

The 21 Best Things to See and Do in Helsinki

How to Spend Three Days in Helsinki

How to Spend Three Days in Helsinki

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The World Was Here First

The Perfect 2 to 3 Days in Helsinki Itinerary

Last Updated on January 31, 2024

by Olivia Ellis

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

rus travel helsinki

Mapping out the perfect 2 to 3 days in Helsinki itinerary isn’t a difficult task when you consider all there is to do in the capital of Finland . Helsinki is easily the most underrated Nordic city, living under the shadow of other capital Nordic cities such as Oslo , Stockholm , and Copenhagen . Despite this, Helsinki in my opinion is one of the freshest, most exciting destinations to visit in the Nordics and Europe.

Many people will head to Finnish Lapland to visit Rovaniemi yet still skip the capital, missing the wondrous culture-filled city. For over 5 years straight, Finland has been voted the happiest country in the world, one of the safest, and with a few days in the city, exploring and meeting locals you’ll understand why. 

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Helsinki?

Before jumping into all of the things to do in the Finnish capital, you’re likely wondering how many days to spend in Helsinki. Well, to begin with, Helsinki is a pretty compact city but still with much to discover and to get out of on a trip to the Finnish capital city.

If you’re in transit to Finnish Lapland and only have 1 day in Helsinki, it’s still possible to see most of the main sights and experience the city.

If you decide to see Helsinki in 2 days, you’ll have plenty of time to see the main sights of the city and wander around without rushing too much.

In my opinion, 3 days in Helsinki is ideal to do the city justice, go at your own pace, and still have enough time to see all the sights and maybe return to a restaurant or cafe that you particularly enjoyed (Finland has a wonderful, fresh, and local food scene). 

When planning how long to spend in the city, an important factor to keep in mind is the time of year.

In the winter months, Finland gets very little sunlight and daylight in Helsinki lasts just for around 9 hours in December. In contrast to the winter, Helsinki gets around 19 hours of sunlight in the summertime.

So with that being said, if you’re someone who likes to sightsee with daylight to see the city, and would like to visit the Finnish capital in the winter , I suggest planning enough days to see what you’d like with at least 2. Otherwise, maybe visit during the summer months instead.

Summer in Helsinki

Getting To & Around Helsinki 

Getting to helsinki.

You’ll likely be arriving in Helsinki one of two ways; by plane or ferry. Helsinki Vantaa International Airport is a large airport with domestic, European, and international routes making it a pretty affordable destination to reach by air, particularly from cities in the region such as Oslo or Stockholm.

If you’re flying into Helsinki Airport, you have a few options to reach the center of the city. The most cost-efficient way to travel to the Helsinki center is by city bus (lines 615 & 617) located outside terminal 2.

Buses come just about every 15 minutes and one-way tickets cost €4.10 if purchased from a ticket kiosk. Expect to pay more if you end up purchasing bus tickets while on the bus.

There are also train transportation links available between Helsinki Vantaa Airport and the Helsinki city center.

The train station is located beneath the airport and has train services connecting Helsinki Vantaa Airport with the city every 10 minutes with a journey of half an hour. Helsinki city transport tickets can be used for these services, but an extended zone (ABC) ticket is required. 

If you’re traveling to Helsinki from Stockholm, Sweden or Tallinn, Estonia and are keen on an adventure, there are also regular ferries between those cities across the Gulf of Finland. You can view ferry schedules here.

Finally, if you’re not visiting on a budget, you can book a private transfer from the airport.

Getting Around Helsinki 

Due to Helsinki city center’s small size, it’s a pretty walkable city, with most of the city’s main sights within walking distance from each other. This is a really big benefit, as the city is a dream for walkers, full of interesting sights to take in that you may miss if you’re underground.

You may be able to manage walking throughout most of your time in Helsinki (if physically capable), except for a bus/metro ride or two.

If you’re visiting in the summertime or during the warmer months, Helsinki is also a lovely city to explore by two wheels with lush nature and greenery and bike-friendly streets.

Otherwise, the city has a wonderful transportation system that consists of bus, tram, metro, and even ferry transport options. Single tickets last for 80 minutes and are inclusive of any mode of transport necessary for 80 minutes.

Most sights in Helsinki will be within the AB zone, but if you decide to visit somewhere outside of the AB zone, you’ll need to pay for a top-up zone extension. 

If you plan on taking a fair amount of public transportation and would like to save money, purchasing day passes for the Helsinki transport system is a great option. Passes are available for purchase for any number of days.

The cost of individual tickets adds up quickly, so this is a great way to make the most of your budget in Helsinki as it is quite an expensive city.

Another great way to save on transport is by using the Helsinki Card which includes unlimited public transportation. It also includes a panorama sightseeing tour and entry into a number of top sites and museums, such as the National Museum of Finland, the Helsinki City Museum and Amos Rex.

Trams in Helsinki

2 to 3-Day in Helsinki Itinerary

Helsinki is truly a quintessentially beautiful city. With a unique blend of classic Nordic and Russian architecture, a fresh and delicious food scene, arts & culture, and sincerely friendly people and locals, it’s hard not to appreciate the city.

Helsinki is truly a European destination off the beaten path and is full of exciting things to discover on just about every other corner. If you prefer to explore with a guide, sign up to this walking tour or this walking tour.

Day 1 – Markets, Museums & Churches

Helsinki market square & old market hall.

A wonderful way to begin your first day in Helsinki is to head to the most famous market in Finland, Helsinki Market Square. The Market Square is located between the south harbour of the city and the esplanade and is one of the quintessential spots to visit while spending time in Helsinki.

Dating back to the 19th century, the Market Square is the perfect spot to enjoy the fresh Baltic air, and maybe pick up a Finnish souvenir or two from the stands. In the winter you’ll find a delightful winter market spanning an even larger area than the typical market, with tasty treats, bonfires, and holiday joy.

If you’ve built up an appetite, there’s no better option at this point than to head next door to the Market Square to Helsinki’s Old Market Hall. The Old Market Hall is quite old, as it’s the oldest indoor market in all of Finland.

The market itself dates back to 1889 and is a Helsinki staple, with merchants selling various delicacies; from fruits/vegetables to cakes and cheese. Among the characteristic design and colours of the stands, you’ll also find cafes and restaurants, the perfect opportunity to enjoy a classic Finnish meal. 

Old Market Hall

Helsinki Cathedral

From the market, walk about 10 minutes to the city’s Helsinki Cathedral in the Kruununhaka neighborhood.

The church is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki and is easily the most recognised monument associated with Helsinki and an incredibly important landmark for the city and a great place to visit.

The stunning pearl-white, green-capped cathedral towers over the center of the city and is worth a stop during a visit to the Finnish capital city. The church itself is located in the Senate Square of the city (the oldest part), which is a point worth observing the city from and getting your bearings beginning your Helsinki trip.

Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki is a city that is filled with interesting museums and, especially if you’re visiting in the winter months, spending some time exploring the various museums is an excellent way to escape the Finnish weather. Though a popular option is the National Museum of Finland, it is currently closed for major renovations until the spring of 2027.

Art fans, however, will have lots to choose from and one of the best places to visit is the Amos Rex Museum . This contemporary art museum is something of a newcomer in the Finnish capital, having only opened in 2018.

There are countless interesting exhibitions to visit here and you can easily spend a couple of hours taking them in. If you’re a fan of contemporary art, then this is one of the best things to do in Helsinki.

Entry into Amos Rex is €20 per person, however, it is also included in the Helsinki Card . The museum is open every day except for Tuesday, so make sure to plan your visit accordingly.

Amos Rex

Temppeliaukio Church

After a short journey by foot from Amos Rex, you’ll find yourself at one of the most interesting sights in Helsinki in the Töölö neighborhood; the Temppeliaukio Church.

While the Temppeliaukio Church at its heart is a simple Lutheran Church, the unique feature of the church is its structure. The church is carved directly into solid rock, giving it the alternative name of “church of the rock”.

Built in the 1960s by brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, the church is unlike any other church you’ll likely come across, and for that reason, is one of the most visited attractions in the city of Helsinki. 

The church is open for visitors every day of the week except Sunday.

Day 2 – Sauna Experience & Suomenlinna 

Finnish breakfast.

Among all the reasons that I love spending time in Finland, I’d be hard-pressed not to say that breakfast is my favourite reason. Breakfast in Finland is truly an experience, and the Finnish have truly figured out how to make it near perfect.

Finland uses some of the freshest and highest quality ingredients and has a knack for combining flavour and nutrition. Many cafes in the city do breakfast in a set meal style, where you have a choice of various menus and these typically include quite a few options, with a hot drink, juice, main, and dessert.

While these can be pricey (like most things in Finland), I do suggest it as it’s a great way to fuel up for the day. My recommendation is to head to Levain Bakery, with 3 locations in Helsinki.

Sauna at Löyly Helsinki

I think it’s pretty safe to say that there are few things more synonymous with Finland than the sauna. Sauna is less of just a “place you go” in Finland and is at the heart of Finnish identity and culture.

One of the best ways to experience Finland like a local and enjoy all it has to offer is to head to a sauna. I suggest heading to Löyly Helsinki , a Sauna located directly on the sea and the perfect spot for tourists and locals to soak up the heat and maybe even take a cold plunge beforehand!

You need to book a spot in advance as they fill up quickly, and €24 gets you two hours at the sauna, a towel, shampoo & soap, and a sauna seat cover. Don’t forget to bring your own towel!

Suomenlinna 

After enjoying a relaxing few hours at the Finnish sauna, the next stop on this Helsinki itinerary is to head to another one of the most well-known attractions in Helsinki.

The Fortress of Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sea fortress made up of 8 islands located just off of the mainland coast of Helsinki. The fortress itself is a neighborhood of Helsinki and is an extremely popular spot to visit for both tourists and locals.

Originally built and occupied by the Swedish and then Russians, hence the Swedish name, Suomenlinna is an important part of Finnish history.

Reaching Suomenlinna is pretty straightforward, with a 15-minute ferry from the Katajanokka ferry port by a ticket that’s included in Helsinki’s public transport or can be purchased here.

The Suomenlinna Fortress itself is free for entry and is an incredibly interesting monument and a beautiful island to explore on a nice day.

The Suomenlinna Fortress

Day 3 – Porvoo or Sipoonkorpi National Park Day Trip

If you’re seeing Helsinki in 3 days, I suggest spending your last day in an area outside of the city as there are lovely spots to visit that are nearby and a completely different experience.

Due to the weather being so different at various points of the year (winter vs summer), I’ve given two different day trip options in this section.

Sipoonkorpi National Park

If you’re visiting Helsinki during the summertime, I highly suggest taking advantage of Finland’s incredibly special nature, rich forests, and diverse landscapes.

The Sipoonkorpi National Park sits directly on the edge of Helsinki and is the perfect taster into Finland’s special natural world.

The best way to reach Sipoonkorpi is to first take a bus from Helsinki to one of the nearby towns in/by the park and then take a local taxi further into the area. It is also possible to take guided tours.

The towns and villages nearby are also lovely spots to enjoy a coffee or lunch before enjoying time in nature. Finland also has a free for all law, so pretty much anywhere in the country is available to wander through and any berries (delicious too) or anything else you can find is yours to enjoy!

For those visiting Helsinki during the winter months, a great day trip option is to head to the neighboring middle-aged town of Porvoo.

Unfortunately, train schedules to Porvoo from Helsinki are pretty irregular so I don’t suggest train transport, but you can get a bus to Porvoo from Helsinki in just about an hour or book a guided tour.

Porvoo is incredibly picturesque, and under the winter snow, it has an even more special atmosphere. The town is the second oldest in all of Finland and this is incredibly well preserved and reflected through the town’s unique architecture.

Spend time wandering through the old town, browsing through shops, sipping hot chocolate, and eating at one of the local restaurants and you have the perfect day trip from Helsinki. 

Town of Porvoo

Where to Stay in Helsinki

Bob W Kluuvi – This mid-range hotel is an excellent choice for those looking for a nice and comfortable place to base themselves in the Finnish capital. Centrally located, they have countless lovely rooms to choose from and there is breakfast available in the mornings.

Hotel Mestari – Those after a luxury stay in Helsinki will love this modern hotel. They have a great location for exploring the city, a number of sophisticated rooms to choose from and countless amenities to ensure your stay is a great one.

The Yard Hostel – If you’re travelling to Finland on a budget, then this hip hostel is a great choice. They offer both dorms and private rooms, have excellent common areas and self-catering facilities and a good atmosphere for meeting other travelers.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Helsinki hotels!

Finland easily seems like one of the closest things to a perfect oasis on earth and just spending time in the capital city of Helsinki and nearby areas will likely solidify this for you. Whether you’re intentionally planning a trip to Helsinki by itself or have a stopover in the capital city before heading to Finnish Lapland, you’re in for a treat.

Are you planning a visit to Helsinki? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

rus travel helsinki

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A Guide to Visiting Finnish Lapland in Winter

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About Olivia Ellis

Olivia is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Michigan, USA, she is currently living in Athens, Greece exploring Europe and filmmaking. When she’s not travelling or writing, Olivia can be found cooking delicious new recipes from around the world, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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Discovering Helsinki

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Tourism Helsinki – Travel Guide to Helsinki

A modern city featuring some of the most distinctive architecture in the world, both old and new, Helsinki is one of the cultural hot spots of Northern Europe. An idealholiday destination for both for lovers of the arts and those who relish its exciting and vibrant nightlife, Helsinki is also a child-friendly city perfect for family vacations, and being surrounded by forests, lakes and the sea, it is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Situated on the Baltic Sea, Finland’s capital, Helsinki , is a modern city of over half a million people, and is the second most northern capital in Europe. Surrounded by an archipelago of hundreds of tiny islands, and culturally influenced by both the East and West, Helsinki is unique, combining both modern and historic architectural styles with a love of open spaces that is at the very heart of Finnish identity.  See our recommendations and tourism guide to Helsinki!

What to do this summer on Helsinki

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Nuuksio National Park: Your Gateway to Wilderness Retreat

Discover suomenlinna: sea fortress in the helsinki archipelago, exploring helsinki’s natural wonders: finnish museum of natural history luomus, ateneum art museum: a must-see cultural destination in helsinki, travel through the baltic sea – discover the charm of helsinki, stockholm and tallinn, exploring helsinki – a perfect destination for family fun, travel ideas, feast helsinki – a food festival to savour, unique things to do in helsinki, the best cafés in helsinki – guide to coffee culture in the capital, guide to top experiences in helsinki, wonderful nature experiences and charming cultural sites in kirkkonummi, be charmed along the espoo waterfront walkway and archipelago, 6 destinations to explore in helsinki this summer, helsinki brunch guide – finding the best brunch in helsinki, fun day trips from helsinki, dining out in the helsinki archipelago, helsinki to stockholm: a perfect family cruise on the silja symphony, baltic sea cruises and city breaks with tallink silja line, natural wonders and nature attractions in helsinki region, espoo’s shoreside attractions, espoo’s southern charms & islands, day cruise from helsinki to tallinn with megastar, adventures & accommodation in finnish wilderness – nuuksio national park, helsinki dining & shopping, island hopping in beautiful helsinki archipelago, skysauna helsinki – experience the sauna in the sky, helsinki boutique hotels & design hotels, temppeliaukio – the church in the rock.

Helsinki is world famous for its architecture; the city centre is renowned for its neoclassicalism, especially around Senate Square . Close by on a hilltop stands the Uspenski Cathedral , Europe’s largest Russian Orthodox church, and a stunning example of the Byzantine-Russian style. Scattered about the city are fine examples of Jugendstil, or Art Nouveau. Elsewhere, the Temppeliaukio Church and Finlandia Hall represent early Modernism.

As befits one of Europe’s foremost capital cities, Helsinki is vibrant, yet as laid-back as the Finns who call it home. Wide and spacious streets and avenues allow for a multitude of cafes and restaurants to serve outdoors, where you sit back and relax, and at night there is no shortage of bars, clubs and venues to choose from. Throughout the year, Helsinki offers an incredible variety of activities for people of all ages, whether they prefer challenging sports, or gentle investigations of the natural beauty all around them. Cruises around the archipelago, trekking in the nearby forests, and traditional Finnish saunas , are some of the more popular choices, but there’s plenty more besides.

The Island Fortress of Suomenlinna – The Gem in Helsinki’s Archipelago

Recommended, most popular attractions in helsinki, explore helsinki by category, helsinki tourist attractions, food & drink – restaurants in helsinki, hotels & accommodation in helsinki, activities & sports in helsinki, shopping in helsinki, getting around helsinki.

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Solo Female Travel , Europe , Travel Tips

Solo travel helsinki: an independent visitor’s guide to finland’s capital.

FMTC Affiliate Disclosure: Blond Wayfarer contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This disclosure pertains to all affiliate links.

Updated:  24 September 2023

As a city, Helsinki is wildly underrated, in my opinion. On my own solo travels in Europe , not too many backpackers I spoke to had Helsinki on their itineraries. 

However, I think Helsinki is worth visiting even as a solo traveler. Sure, you don’t get as many hostels as the neighboring Baltic countries, but Finland’s capital city is perfect for people who just want a mellow break in a beautiful city.

Furthermore, a chilled out vacation in Helsinki is especially great for new solo travelers.

As someone who’s been to Europe a lot, I’m frequently asked about cities and countries that are good for beginners who are ready to explore the continent but at the same time, don’t want anything too challenging just yet. 

In addition to Scotland and Ireland (which are great for native English speakers), I always recommend Scandinavia as an ideal region for dipping one’s toes into the pools of international travel. 

First, let’s talk about my own experiences as a woman traveling alone in Helsinki, and then we will get into more specific and practical tips for planning your vacation.  

taking a day trip to a nearby fort

Table of Contents

Solo Travel Helsinki: My Own Experience

Solo travel in Helsinki was a low-key and relaxing experience for me.  I had just finished a three week adventure through Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, and was thrilled to arrive at Helsinki to simply chill. 

I visited Helsinki at the height of the summer in August. Skies were cerulean blue and temperatures mild, and the sun lingered for much longer than I had originally thought. 

The city was bustling, but not packed with gigantic tourist hoards. 

For me, a solo trip to Helsinki was remarkable easy and stress free, which is why I think it’s a perfect destination for solo travelers who feel nervous or uncomfortable with flying overseas. 

Unlike other cities, Helsinki was blissfully free of common scams and pickpocketing. I didn’t find myself checking on my purse nearly as much I had in other destinations. 

The locals in Helsinki, while helpful, were also quite introverted and kept to themselves, creating a situation where I didn’t have to worry about standing out in a crowd. 

All in all, solo travel in Helsinki was kind to me.

Need More Help for Your Solo Trip?

Check out  my custom itinerary planning services  for readers. I’ll do all the research and together, we’ll create an itinerary that works for you and your adventures in Europe.

solo travel helsinki tip: it may be a busy city but it is also compact and easy to walk

Practical Tips for Solo Travel in Helsinki

Getting around helsinki.

Domestic and international flights land at Helsinki-Vantaa airport which is located about 19 kilometers outside the city center. Sure, you’re not inside the city, but getting downtown is a breeze. 

A train station located between Terminals 1 and 2 will take travelers to Helsinki’s city center. Trains operate on a regular schedule.

Like most European cities, Helsinki has excellent public transportation, which saves solo travelers the stress of having to rent a car in a new country.

If arriving by train, you will come in at  Helsinki Central Station . The station’s remarkable Stone Men statues and art nouveau design make the building itself a tourist attraction! So pause and take some photographs! 

see many gorgeous churches with 1 day in helsinki

Solo Travel Essentials for Helsinki

You want to pack in accordance to the time of year for your solo trip to Helsinki. However, you will want to bring these items no matter what’s on your agenda. 

  • A Small Day Backpack:  You will outside a lot in the city center and islands. I recommend having a small daypack for touring Helsinki and the surrounding area. 
  • Compact High Quality Camera:  You will want to expand beyond your phone camera especially on Suomenlinna. I personally recommend a Sony Alpha 6400 mirrorless camera for a compact piece of equipment that takes good quality shots. 
  • Cozy Travel Scarf:  Helsinki is a beautiful city in Northern Europe and is located on the stunning Baltic Sea. Evenings, even in summer, may feel chilly. I highly recommend bringing a travel shawl or scarf for additional warmth and comfort. 
  • EU Power Adapter:  As always, you don’t want your electrics to die in Europe. Make sure you have the proper power adapter so your camera and phone can charge overnight.
  • Lonely Planet Helsinki Pocket Guide:  Lonely Planet makes my favorite guidebooks, and solo travelers to Helsinki are in luck! Bring a pocket guide to Helsinki on your trip for the best information on attractions and other important details. If you’re exploring outside the capital, the complete Lonely Planet Helsinki book may be more useful!
  • Travel Insurance:  Finland, like much of northern Europe, is remarkably safe, but you’ll want to purchase travel insurance for extra protection. You never know when illness will strike, and Finland’s hospitals are expensive to pay out of pocket as a citizen. I always use World Nomads for my trips and have never been disappointed! 

solo travel helsinki tip: splurge on a hotel if you want

Helsinki Accommodation

I think a lot of solo travelers may feel turned off from Helsinki due to the price of visiting this city.

And sure, accommodation in Helsinki is more expensive than nearby Tallinn. However, the city still has a few budget options for solo travelers with financial flexibility. 

Buuuut also feel free to splurge too! No judgement here! 

  • Eurohostel: Do you want a free morning sauna with your hostel? Then look no further than Eurohostel. The traditional Finnish sauna is a great experience that you don’t want to miss! See prices on Expedia.com and Booking.com .
  • Hotel Katajanokka:   If you’re planning on spending a little more money, then I recommend going to Hotel Katajanokke, which is actually where I stayed in Helsinki. This hotel actually used to be an old prison, and reading about the building’s history is quite fascinating! See prices on Expedia.com and Booking.com .
  • The Yard Hostel : A lovely locally run hostel that is both green and social. Not to mention, the location is absolutely ideal for sightseeing fun. See prices on Expedia.com and Booking.com .

bridges lace the islands near helsinki

Why Take a Solo Trip to Helsinki

My friends, there are many reasons to travel solo to Helsinki. Like I said, this is a city where you can turn inward and deeply enjoy your own company, especially at the end of an intense trip.

Of course, there are probably an infinite number of reasons to take a solo trip to Finland’s capital, but these seven immediately sprang to my mind as I fondly look back on my own experiences. 

take a solo trip to helsinki to enjoy the public squares

Compact and Walkable City

Helsinki is remarkably walkable for a capital.  As a solo traveler, it’s super nice to not have to navigate the metro 24/7 or track down a taxi or a ride share. Your own two feet will do the job well as you explore Helsinki. 

For example, major attractions such as Helsinki Cathedral, Museum of Contemporary Art, Temppeliaukio Church, the Market Square, the National Museum of Finland, and more, are all within a reasonable distance.

Ultimately, planning a self-guided walking tour is truly not a huge undertaking on your part. 

Of course, I don’t mind using public transportation and Helsinki has a fabulous infrastructure (more on that later!), but as a solo traveler, it’s nice to have the peace of mind that you can just walk to most of the spots on your itinerary.

The less stress, the better, right?

be sure to explore beyond helsinki to the islands

Easy Day Trips to Stunning Natural Islands

Helsinki has wonderful natural beauty within reach of the city center.  In particular, solo travelers will love escaping to an island wonderland without too much planning or effort.

For example, one of my favorite places to visit near Helsinki is Suomenlinna , which is an incredible sea fortress that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Not only is Suomenlinna historically significant, the island provides a safe haven for an independent traveler to “get into nature” without worrying about getting lost in the wilderness. Best of both worlds, huh?

Regular ferries leave Helsinki’s main harbor which makes reaching Suomenlinna a true breeze! 

estonia has many russian cathedrals

Easy Day Trips to Tallinn in Estonia 

Sometimes as a solo traveler planning day trips is a stressful process. Depending on the location, other destinations may be difficult to reach using public transportation and the logistics make you want to throw your hands in the air. 

Luckily, this is not the case with Helsinki and Tallinn.

This might sound odd, but I find traveling between countries with ease very empowering when I’m alone, and thus need to rely on myself to get everything done! 

A brief visit to Tallinn is made easy thanks to the many ferries that service both Finland and Estonia. Do your research ahead of time as ferry vary by time and cost, and you want to find a boat that you are comfortable on.

bright blue skies in helsinki happen in summer

Excellent Safety Record Day or Night

Safety is super important for solo travelers.  And I’m not only talking about violent crime either. Petty crimes, such as silly scams and pickpocketing, can wreck an otherwise amazing trip. 

I mean, one of my biggest fears is that my passport will be stolen, and I will waste hours (and money) in the US Embassy, but that’s another post for another day. 

In Helsinki, I felt incredibly safe, even near the big tourist sites. No one hassled me for money, tried to slap a friendship bracelet on my wrist, shoved petitions in my face, or did anything else that made me feel unsafe. It was wonderful.

Of course, you want to use usual street smarts, too. For instance, I arranged a cab with the hotel when I had to leave at 4:00 in the morning for the airport.

As an independent female traveler, Helsinki is not only statistically safe, but feels  safe in real time. 

finland has lovely cafes

Eating Alone is a Breeze in Helsinki 

Eating alone is sometimes awkward, but I had zero issues enjoying a meal in Helsinki.

Mostly because of  Helsinki’s Market Square.

This market is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Helsinki. In addition, this port area is where you will find the ferries departing for Suomenlinna.

Seafood is your best option here. Order delicious salmon or shrimp, and sit near the water without worrying about asking for a table for one!

Feel free to explore the cute souvenir stands too! 

In addition to Market Square, Helsinki is home to several wonderful cafes where you can sit at a small table outside and participate in some quality people watching. I enjoyed a coffee right on the square in front of Helsinki Cathedral and had a blast watching the street performers. 

solo travel helsinki: make sure to see the churches

Plenty of Churches for Solo Reflection

Helsinki has a wide variety of beautiful places of worship that are open to visitors, including solo travelers. 

Regardless of your religious background, these churches and cathedrals are a delight to experience alone without another person distracting you from the ornate artwork and magnificent architecture. 

Honestly, I love European cathedrals and churches when I’ve been walking all day and need a break to unwind with my own thoughts. And Helsinki’s churches was splendid in their diversity. 

I’ve listed a few examples for you.

Amazing Churches in Helsinki

  • Helsinki Cathedral: The most famous icon of Helsinki is the towering white Helsinki Cathedral located on Senate Square. No trip to Helsinki is complete without taking photos here!
  • Temppeliaukio Church:  This Lutheran church is very unique because it was built into solid rock. Unsurprisingly, it’s also known as The Church of the Rock. 
  • Uspenski Cathedral:  Eastern Orthodox churches are known for their lavish golden interiors, and Uspenski Cathedral certainly doesn’t disappoint one bit! Take your time to marvel at this cathedral’s stunning masterpieces and alter. 

gorgeous island views near helsinki

Strong Tourism Infrastructure and English Speakers

Concerned about potential language barriers? No worries.

You will absolutely encounter English speakers in Helsinki.  It’s great to learn a few words of Finnish , but residents speak excellent English and will help you if you feel lost. 

Furthermore, Helsinki has a very strong infrastructure in place for tourists that should help reduce some of the anxiety that comes with jetsetting around the world alone. Signs and streets are clearly marked, and hotel staff are more than willing to help solo visitors navigate their city! 

If you plan ahead, you should have no problems wandering Helsinki on your own. 

solo travel helsinki idea: ride the ferris wheel

I hope you enjoyed reading about my guide for solo travel in Helsinki. Have you ever visited Helsinki? What sort of advice would you offer travelers coming to this city?

solo travel helsinki | solo travel in helsinki | traveling to helsinki alone | finland solo travel

Rachel Elizabeth

At 22, I took my first overseas trip to Bermuda. Took a break to follow the "American Dream." Had my self-esteem broken. Embarked on my first solo trip to Scotland at 26. The travel bug dug its way under my skin. I now book multiple trips a year.

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A complete guide to Helsinki, Finland

Updated On 8th March, 2024

A complete guide to Helsinki, Finland

From the famous Helsinki Cathedral to exploring the surrounding islands by boat, there are so many things to see and do in Helsinki. If you’re planning on visiting spending a weekend in the Finnish capital, then this Helsinki guide is just for you!

Helsinki is the capital of Finland, full of art, culture and unique design. The locals are really friendly and there’s a big focus on stopping, relaxing, and connecting with nature, something I think is so important. Finland is said to be the happiest country in the world, and it’s not hard to see why.  See how to increase your happiness here.

I absolutely love Finland, and I’ve been here a number of times. From exploring  Finnish Lapland , to driving the  Koli Ice Road , and from going  snowshoeing  to enjoying a  husky safari in Karelia , Finland offers so many opportunities for adventure, and it doesn’t stop there.  Tallinn  in Estonia is only a 2-hour ferry away, and you can get to  Stockholm  on an overnight ferry, so it’s easy to turn your trip to Helsinki into an international adventure!

EXPLORE FINLAND ON MY BLOG HERE

I last visited Helsinki on a cruise, where I saw 6 cities in 7 days: Helsinki,  Stockholm ,  Copenhagen ,  Oslo ,  Tallinn ,  St. Petersburg . It was an incredible adventure, and I learned and saw so much in each of these unique but nearby cities.

I also explored Helsinki as part of an adventure exploring Southern Finland, where we also stopped in Hanko and Salo.  Check out my 4-day itinerary for Southern Finland here.

I’ve put together my knowledge, tips and tricks from these trips into the ultimate Helsinki travel guide, ready for your next Finnish adventure! Let’s get planning!

A Helsinki guide: everything you need to know about Finland’s capital…

How do you get to helsinki, getting to helsinki by plane:.

Helsinki airport (HEL) is Finland’s largest airport and welcomes international flights every day.

Top tip: Check out the flight deals on  Skyscanner here.

Check out  how to pack a weekend away in a carry-on suitcase here!

Getting from Helsinki airport to the city centre…

You have a few options:

  • Finnair city bus:  the most comfortable way to get from the airport to the city centre. It takes 30 minutes and a one-way ticket is €6.80.
  • Public bus or train:  several public buses (615, 415, 617 and 561) and trains run between the airport and the city.  Check upcoming bus and train departures on the airport website  here.

If you only have a few hours and are visiting as part of a  Helsinki layover, check out this post  for the best things to do with that time!

Top tip: Get more  sustainability tips for travelling in Europe in this blog post !

Where’s the best place to stay in Helsinki?

When I last stayed in Helsinki, I stayed in  Hotel Lilla Roberts , which was gorgeous. For cheaper options, I’ve heard that the following are good:

  • CheapSleep Helsinki
  • Hostel Suomenlinna
  • SweetDream Guesthouse
  • The Yard Hostel

Top tip: Get  £25 off your first AirBnb stay here.

Check out hotel and hostel options on  booking.com here.

What’s the best way to get around Helsinki?

  • On foot:  Helsinki is a relatively small capital city and perfectly walkable!
  • Rent bikes:  Helsinki is a great city to cycle round, and there are city bikes available to use.  Get more information about how to use the bikes  here.
  • Public transport:  Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) provide a great service across the city, including buses, trains, trams, and the metro.

If you’d prefer to take public transport instead of walking, on the  HSL app  you can plan your journey through Helsinki and buy all your transport tickets.  Check out other useful travel apps in this blog post.

4 Days In Southern Finland exploring Helsinki, Salo and Hanko

The best places to eat and drink in Helsinki…

  • Cafe Regatta , touristy but worth a visit!
  • Nolla , a zero waster restaurant (with vegan options)
  • Sose,  an amazing vegan cafe with a seasonal menu
  • Kahvila Siili , a summer cafe with great coffee
  • IPI Kulmakuppila , a great cafe that trains and hires people with learning differences
  • Tanner  is a music store and restaurant
  • Sandro Kallio , good for brunch or a buffet lunch, with lots of veggie options!
  • Story  in the Old Market Hall for soup, or  Mari’s Smoothie Bar  for a fresh juice.
  • Juuri  for ‘sapas’ (Scandinavian tapas!)
  • Savotta  for traditional Finnish food
  • Sunn  for brunch!
  • Café Ursula, Andante, Kaffecentralen (multiple locations), Kaffa Roastery, Kulma  or  Cafe Esplanad  for coffee and cake
  • Yes Yes Yes  for a great vegatarian restaurant.
  • Restaurant Kuurna  for amazing, seasonal food. I think this was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten anywhere!

For a night out in Helsinki, consider  Post Bar, Pub Sirdie and Kaikukatu , all in the Kallio neighbourhood!

For cocktails, try  Steam Hellsinki  or  Ateljee Rooftop Bar .

4 Days In Southern Finland exploring Helsinki, Salo and Hanko

See my  hidden gems you must visit when planning European adventure here.

4 Days In Southern Finland exploring Helsinki, Salo and Hanko

Make sure you try korvapuusti when you’re in Helsinki, a traditional cinnamon roll.

The best things to do in Helsinki…

1. visit helsinki cathedral & senate square for the some helsinki shots..

4 Days In Southern Finland exploring Helsinki, Salo and Hanko

2. Soak up all the culture in the many museums Helsinki has to offer.

There are  so many  museums in Helsinki; I’m pretty sure you could fill a few days looking at what the museums have to offer!

Art museums in Helsinki: 

  • Ateneum Art Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma
  • Design Museum
  • The Finnish Museum of Photography
  • Kansallisgalleria
  • Sinebrychoff Art Museum

History museums in Helsinki:

  • National Museum of Finland
  • Military Museum’s Manege
  • Finnish Museum of Natural History
  • Suomenlinna  – definitely worth visiting. It’s a maritime fortress spread over seven islands!
  • Seurassari  Open Air Museum – also worth visiting for some fresh air and to wander around the traditional Finnish buildings on show here!

Here are  12 ways to improve your travel photography!

3. Take the vintage tram from Havis Amanda Fountain at Market Square for a 20-minute journey covering all of central Helsinki’s landmarks!

If you don’t want to ride the vintage tram, ‘modern’ tram line 2 will take you through the landmarks too!

4. Make a picnic and enjoy it at Esplanadi, a green space in Helsinki city centre.

“Espa”, as it’s known by the locals, is a welcome escape from city life.

Another park slightly further out, but worth visiting, is  Kaivopuisto Park .

5. Marvel at the unique design of the underground Temppeliaukio Church.

6. browse the local products, including finnish cakes and cheeses, at the old market hall..

If this Helsinki guide has inspired you to visit, see my top tips for planning and researching your next adventure  here.

7. Explore the remaining wooden house districts in Helsinki.

Offering up a bit of real life Finnish history and culture, these districts were built for the working class in the 20th century. Of the few that remain, two worth exploring are Puu Vallila for the coffee shops and bars, and Puu-Käpylä for its green space.

8. Walk the 7km long trail along Helsinki’s coast line.

On the walk you’ll see Hietaniemi Beach (a sandy beach you can relax on during summer!) and the Sibelius Monument which commemorates a famous Finnish composer.

Top tip: Exploring a city on foot or by bike is a great way to keep fit when travelling. Check out more ways to  keep fit when you’re travelling in this blog post!

9. Relax and enjoy a sauna.

There are a whopping 3 million saunas in Finland! Many of these are open to the public, and since sauna is a Finnish word, it makes sense to try one while you’re here.

For public saunas, you should try the districts of Kotiharju, Merihaka,  Hermanni, or the “ Löyly” urban sauna complex.

Things to remember about being in a sauna: Men and women use separate saunas, naked is best (but towels are allowed), and be quiet! (Note: Löyly is an exception in that the saunas are mixed so swimsuits are required.)

10. Release your inner child at Linnanmäki amusement park.

11. visit uspenski cathedral, the largest russian orthodox church in western europe..

SIX CITIES IN SEVEN DAYS: TALLIN, ST. PETERSBOURG AND HELSINKI

12. Enjoy crayfish season!

In July and August the seafood restaurants in Helsinki are packed. It’s crayfish season, and this dish is usually paired with a shot of Akvavit. Cheers!

13. Browse the stalls and pick up some souvenirs from the Market Square (Kauppatori).

14. go skiing in the paloheinä forest in helsinki’s central park (keskuspuisto)..

EXPLORE WINTER SPORTS ON MY BLOG HERE

15. See Helsinki from the water on a sightseeing cruise.

Book your 90-minute cruise around Helsinki’s islands  here.

16. Visit the reindeer and enjoy the nature on a day trip to Nuuksio National Park or Sipoonkorpi National Park.

The National Parks are also great places for adventure sports such as hiking, kayaking and rock climbing!

EXPLORE ACTIVE TRAVEL ON MY BLOG HERE

17. Visit the medieval town of Porvoo to learn about Finnish history first hand.

18. enjoy a day trip to the beautiful åland islands..

These islands between Finland and Sweden are well worth a visit if you can squeeze them into your time in Helsinki!

See my  22 top tips for travelling in Europe here.

19. Spend a day in Vantaa.

This suburb outside of Helsinki is full of amazing street art. You can also visit the Fazer Chocolate Factory and go ice swimming in Kuusijärvi Lake!

20. Enjoy the cool, arty Kallio neighborhood.

Students, artists and creatives love this area of Helsinki! Kaiku and Kuudes Linja are two nightclubs you should definitely visit if you like to party.

21. Enjoy the jazz festival at Teurastamo, an old slaughterhouse that is now a cultural hub.

See my  21 cheap places to visit in Europe here

22. Watch the sunset over downtown Helsinki from the island of Lonna.

23. do a food walking tour and indulge in traditional finnish food such as porridge, beer, sausages, cheese, reindeer, pastries and fish.

Heather’s Helsinki  and  Food Tours Helsinki   offer private walking tours.

If you’re feeling inspired to visit Finland after this Helsinki guide, check out  this guide to Finnish Lapland for a colder adventure!

24. Take the ferry to Tallinn, Estonia.

Yes, on your trip to Helsinki you can visit another country! Tallinn is only two hours away, so could be done as a day trip or an overnight trip.

Check out my  48-hour guide to Tallinn here.

See my  10 dreamy spring weekends in Europe here.

See my  beginner’s guide to hiking here.

EXPLORE EUROPE ON MY BLOG HERE

Have you been to Helsinki?

What hotspots would you add to this Helsinki travel guide? I’d love to know!

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Did you find this post helpful? I’d love you to share it for me.

I can’t do this without you.

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A complete guide to Helsinki, Finland

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I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. 

I’D LOVE TO SHARE THE JOURNEY WITH YOU, WE’VE GROWN A LOT SINCE THEN!

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The Mindful Traveller

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Eco Travel Blog & Photography

Helsinki Travel Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary

22 November 2023 · In: City Guide , Finland , Helsinki

helsinki cathedral

Are you looking for an epic  Helsinki 3-day itinerary ? You have come to the right place! From exploring the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress to admiring the stunning Helsinki Cathedral or relaxing in a traditional Finnish sauna, this travel guide is perfect for  first-time visitors  or a  long weekend getaway . It will show you all the  unique things to do and see  to make the most of your time in the Finnish capital.

I travelled to  Helsinki in June  with two friends to visit my brother, who has been living there. I could not wait to discover this new country, and it was a  great experience : the landscapes were vast and beautiful, and  everything was peaceful . I liked it so much that I returned, but this time in  Lapland .

Even though Helsinki is a compact city, you will find  plenty of places to visit and hidden gems . A short stay in the Finnish capital offers an excellent opportunity to enjoy unforgettable experiences, such as  kayaking expeditions , delicious  Finnish cuisine  or  Northern Lights  in winter. 

So, are you excited? Keep reading this  city guide  to discover the perfect  Helsinki 3-day itinerary  covering the top things to do and enjoy your vacation in Finland stress-free, without rushing. You will also find  practical eco-friendly tips  for  responsible travel  at the end. Enjoy!

Disclosure : Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, we will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information,  read our full affiliate disclosure .

7- Take a dip in the Allas Sea Pool

7- warm up inside café regatta, 6- enjoy a finnish sauna at löyly, overview: how to see helsinki in 3 days.

DAY 1 – CITY CENTRE

1- Helsinki Cathedral 2- Ateneum Art Museum 3- Esplanadi 4- Market Square 5- Uspenski Cathedral 6- Suomenlinna Sea Fortress 7- Allas Sea Pool

DAY 2 – CULTURAL WANDER

1- Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden 2- Kamppi Chapel 3- Oodi Central Library 4- National Museum of Finland 5- Temppeliaukio Church 6- Sibelius Monument 7- Café Regatta

DAY 3 – RELAXATION

1- Nuuksio National Park 2- Design Museum  3- St. John’s Church 4- Kaivopuisto Park 5- Huvilakatu street 6- Löyly Sauna

finland

3 days in Helsinki – Map

Click on the top left of the map to display the list of stops and locations.

Detailed Helsinki 3-day itinerary

This Helsinki guide covers all the  best things to do and see in 3 days  and is perfect for travelling with family, friends or as a couple, whether it is your first time in the city or you have been there before.

On the other hand, remember that this itinerary is  only a guide with recommendations . You can spend more days in the Finnish capital or add other stops to your city break.

helsinki 3 day itinerary

Day 1 – Explore the city centre

1- visit the helsinki cathedral.

Your first day in Helsinki begins at  Senate Square  and the impressive  Helsinki Cathedral , one of the  most recognisable symbols  of the Finnish capital and a key landmark for its  grand and symmetrical architecture .

Designed by German architect Carl Ludvig Engel in the neoclassical style, the cathedral features a  white facade with a green dome  and a series of  Corinthian columns . Take a few photos of its exterior from the square before entering its doors.

Even though its interior is  relatively simple  compared to its elaborate exterior, it is still worth the visit! The entrance fee is  5€  but is  voluntary  and valid only  during visiting hours . You will discover an altar decorated with a large painting representing the Ascension of Jesus.

2- Explore the Ateneum Art Museum

A short walk from Senate Square, you will come across the  Ateneum , a  significant art museum  and one of the three museums forming the Finnish National Gallery. It is a  must-visit destination for art lovers  and anyone who wants to explore the rich cultural heritage of Finland through its visual arts.

Officially opened to the public in 1888, the building that houses the Ateneum is an  architectural monument in itself , designed by Theodor Höijer in a combination of  Neoclassical and Romantic styles . 

Today, the museum is renowned for its  extensive collection of Finnish art  from the 18th century to the modern era, including the  largest collection of classical art  in Finland. Book your visit and explore a  diverse range of artworks , such as paintings, sculptures and drawings. 

3- Stroll through Esplanadi

You will continue your journey through Helsinki with a stroll down  Esplanadi , a  picturesque boulevard  divided into two parts:  Esplanadi Park  (Esplanadin puisto), a beautifully landscaped green space, and the  wider pedestrian street  between two parallel roads. 

Not only a place for  leisure and relaxation , it is also a  cultural and social hub  in the Finnish capital. Whether you are interested in shopping, eating, enjoying green spaces or attending events, Esplanadi offers a  vibrant and welcoming atmosphere  in the heart of the city.

Wander down the street, admire the different  statues and monuments , treat yourself to a  shopping spree  or stop at one of the  cafés or restaurants . It is also a popular area for locals and tourists to relax,  listen to music , watch  performances  or even  have a picnic  during the summer months.

4- Wander around Market Square

At the eastern end of Esplanadi, you will find the  Market Square  (Kauppatori), a  lively harborside market  open year-round, offering a  variety of products , including fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, flowers, handicrafts and  Finnish specialities  like salmon and reindeer.

Not only a bustling marketplace, it is also a  vibrant and social gathering spot  reflecting the  maritime history  of Helsinki and serving as a hub for travellers to experience the  culture, cuisine and community spirit  of the Finnish capital.

Experience  traditional Finnish and local cuisine  at the market, take part in various  cultural events and festivals  throughout the year or relax, enjoy the maritime atmosphere, and  watch the ferries and boats  come and go. You will not get bored!

5- See the Uspenski Cathedral

Before hopping on the ferry to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, take a detour to the Uspenski Cathedral , a  significant religious site  and  architectural gem  adding to the diverse cultural landscape of Helsinki. Its  unique design and historical importance  make it a must-see attraction on your 3 days in the Finnish capital.

Located on a hill in the Katajanokka district, you can enjoy  panoramic views  of Helsinki and the surrounding areas from there, a popular spot to  enjoy the cityscape  and  take photos .

The Eastern Orthodox Cathedral is also known for its  red brick exterior, golden domes and ornate details . Amire its stunning architecture from the outside and step through its doors (for  free ) to uncover a  richly decorated interior  and explore the  ornate   central nave  and different  chapels .

6- Discover Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

It is time to set sail and discover the stunning  Suomenlinna , a  historic 18th-century sea fortress  and  UNESCO World Heritage site  spread across six interconnected islands in the Helsinki archipelago. It is easily accessible by a  short ferry ride from Market Square , with the journey providing  scenic views  of the capital.

Suomenlinna is a fascinating blend of  history, architecture and natural beauty , making it a must-visit destination on your 3-day vacation in Helsinki. It is also a  unique example of military architecture , and its  well-preserved structures  include bastions, defensive walls and tunnels.

Additionally, the sea fortress is home to  several museums , such as the  Suomenlinna Museum . And for all nature lovers, Suomenlinna offers  plenty of outdoor activities , including  walking  along the fortress walls,  picnicking  in parks and admiring the  coastal scenery .

Take the ferry back to Helsinki and end your day at the  Allas Sea Pool  for a  relaxing evening  and a well-deserved break after your first day of sightseeing. This  urban spa open year-round  also offers a romantic experience for couples. 

Located along the waterfront, Allas Sea Pool combines elements of  a traditional swimming pool, saunas and a seawater pool . The complex is designed to offer you a  unique urban swimming experience  with a connection to its surrounding sea.

Thanks to its location, you can  indulge in the facilities , take care of yourself and unwind whilst enjoying the  picturesque panorama  and  beautiful views  of the Helsinki waterfront and cityscape. It is an  unforgettable activity  to end your day, especially in winter.

Day 2 – Cultural & architectural highlights

1- visit the kaisaniemi botanic garden.

You will begin your second day in Helsinki at the  Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden , a  fascinating botanical garden  located in the Kaisaniemi Park, where you can enjoy a  peaceful and educational experience  surrounded by the beauty of  diverse plant life . 

Established in 1678, it was originally founded for the  cultivation of medicinal plants . Today, the garden features a  vast collection of plants  from different parts of the world with both  outdoor and greenhouse sections , showcasing a  wide range of species , including trees, shrubs, flowers and other botanical specimens.

The Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden is also a  great year-round activity  for  families with children , as it offers  educational programs and guided tours , perfect for those who want to learn more about plants and botany in an  entertaining way .

2- Stop at the Kamppi Chapel

Not far from the botanical garden, you will come across the  Kamppi Chapel , also known as the Chapel of Silence, a  unique and modern chapel  located in the Kamppi district, intended to be a place to  calm down  and spend a  moment of silence  in one of the busiest areas of the city.

The chapel is famous for its  distinctive architectural design  in a  minimalist wooden structure  with a  curved shape , standing out amidst its urban environment. Its interior is also  simple and serene , with  wooden benches  arranged in a circular pattern and architecture allowing  natural light  to filter through the curved wooden walls.

Designed for  quiet reflection and contemplation  in the middle of the bustling capital, the Kamppi Chapel serves as a sanctuary for people seeking  peace and solitude , regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs. It is a  must-see  (and experience) during your 3 days in Helsinki.

3- Discover the Oodi Central Library

You will continue your discovery of Helsinki with the  Oodi Central Library , a  modern and architecturally striking library  known for its commitment to knowledge, culture and community engagement. Its  welcoming atmosphere, modern amenities and emphasis on inclusivity  make it a popular destination for residents and travellers.

Oodi houses an  extensive collection of books, magazines and multimedia resources  but is more than just a traditional library; it is a  cultural and community hub . The building features  various functional spaces , including traditional reading rooms, studios, meeting rooms, a cinema and a restaurant.

Additionally, one of its most notable features is its  open spaces , including a  large central hall  with high ceilings and  panoramic city views . You will also find a  public rooftop garden , providing a  green oasis  in the heart of the Finnish capital.

4- Tour the National Museum of Finland

Just a few steps away from the library, you will find the  National Museum of Finland , a museum dedicated to showcasing the  cultural heritage of the country  and highlighting aspects of  daily life, artistic practices and significant historical events  in Finland.

Take time to admire its exterior, as the building is a perfect example of  Finnish National Romantic architecture , with influences from medieval churches and castles. Once inside, you will discover a  wide range of artefacts and exhibits  related to Finnish cultural history, including items  from prehistoric times to the modern era .

And do not miss one of the highlights of the museum,  the Treasure Trove , which houses some of the  most valuable and historically significant relics  in the possession of the museum, such as the Crown of the King of Finland and the Peasant Woman’s Wedding Gown.

5- Explore the Temppeliaukio Church

You will continue your 3-day itinerary with the  Temppeliaukio Church , also known as the Rock Church, a  unique and popular architectural gem  in Helsinki  built directly into solid rock , giving it a striking and organic appearance.

Mined and constructed from  massive natural granite rock , its  innovative design  and  integration with nature  have made it one of the most iconic and visited landmarks in the Finnish capital. As a result, the interior and exterior walls are mostly made of  exposed rock surfaces , and the roof is a  copper dome  with a  skylight .

Admire the Temppeliaukio Church from the outside and explore its interior to appreciate its impressive  architectural and geological features . You will be amazed by the  peaceful atmosphere  inside the rock walls, which creates a  serene and memorable experience  for everyone. 

🎟️ Book your entrance:  Temppeliaukio Church Entrance Ticket .

6- Admire the Sibelius Monument

You will now head to  Sibelius Park  to discover the  Sibelius Monument , an  abstract and modernist sculpture  composed of over 600 hollow steel tubes arranged in a  wavy pattern , resembling organ pipes or waves in water. The design aims to capture the  essence of the music  of the renowned  Finnish composer Jean Sibelius .

Wander around the monument, and do not hesitate to  interact with it . The  abstract nature  of the sculpture allows for various interpretations, and you will be able to explore the  different angles and perspectives  of the artwork.

In addition, feel free to stroll  through Sibelius Park , a popular spot for locals and travellers. It features walking paths, benches and green spaces, providing a  peaceful environment  for a well-deserved break on your busy sightseeing day or a  picnic in the summer months .

Your last stop of the day will be  Café Regatta , a  small red log cabin  and  charming café  located in the Töölö district by the edge of the water, offering  panoramic sea views . Its location on the shores of the Gulf of Finland makes it a  cosy and inviting spot , perfect for ending your day.

Known for its  rustic atmosphere , you will find inside wooden tables, benches and  traditional Finnish decorations . There is also  outdoor seating  where you can enjoy the fresh air and waterfront views as well as a  fireplace  adding  warmth and comforting ambience , especially during the colder season. 

Enjoy a  hot or cold drink  with snacks, pastries and  traditional Finnish delicacies . Or, if you still have some energy, the café also provides a  bike rental service , allowing you to explore the nearby area and many scenic routes by bike. 

Day 3 – Nature exploration & relaxation

1- visit the nuuksio national park.

For your third and final day in Helsinki, you have the option to spend the morning in the capital and explore more, or  take a half-day trip to the  Nuuksio National Park , a  beautiful natural area  located approximately 40 kilometres northwest of Helsinki. 

Known for its  scenic beauty  and characterized by  diverse landscapes , including lush green forests, crystal-clear lakes and rugged rocks, the park is the perfect place to  get closer to nature  and discover a  variety of plant species and animals . 

You will find a network of  well-marked hiking trails  suitable for  different skill levels , including beginners. The tracks will take you through the captivating landscapes of the park, providing opportunities to  explore its natural beauty  and  spot local wildlife  – the  perfect activity for nature lovers  and  photo enthusiasts !

You can organise the visit to the park yourself by taking the bus, or join this guided tour:  Nuuksio National Park: Half-Day Trip from Helsinki . 

2- Explore the Design Museum 

Whether or not you decide to explore the Nuuksio National Park in the morning, you can spend the afternoon relaxing, shopping or continuing to explore Helsinki. 

You will continue your 3-day trip by stopping at the  Design Museum  (Designmuseo), a museum dedicated to the  exhibition and documentation of Finnish and foreign design  in various forms. It was established in 1873, making it one of the  oldest design museums  in the world. 

Its collections cover a  wide range of design disciplines , including industrial design, fashion, graphic design and applied arts. The museum also places a  significant emphasis on Finnish design , celebrating the design heritage of the country and the work of  influential Finnish designers . 

In addition, you will find  different educational programs, workshops and guided tours  for visitors of all ages aimed at engaging and providing further insights into the world of design. It is a  perfect activity  to do  on a rainy day.  

3- Stop at St. John’s Church

Not far from the Design Museum, you will come across  John’s Church , an imposing  Lutheran church from the late 19th century , popular as a venue for  classical concerts , located in the Punavuori district.

Known for its  neo-Gothic architectural style , it is the  largest stone church  in Finland in terms of seating capacity, decorated with  beautiful frescoes  and  stained glass windows . The church exudes a  tranquil and respectful atmosphere , as a place for worship and reflection.

4- Venture around Kaivopuisto Park

You will continue your exploration of Helsinki with a stroll through  Kaivopuisto Park , a  beautiful and popular urban park  located  along the coastline , known for its  picturesque seaside location , offering  panoramic views  of the Gulf of Finland and the archipelago.

A beloved spot for locals and travellers to  enjoy nature  and the  maritime atmosphere , you will also find well-maintained  green spaces ,  walking paths  and  landscaped gardens , creating a pleasant environment for  relaxation and outdoor activities .

The park also features a  seaside promenade  along the shoreline, allowing you to stroll along the water, enjoy the views and  breathe in the fresh sea air  – the  ultimate green oasis  at the heart of the capital.

5- Walk down Huvilakatu Street

Whilst making your way to the Löyly Sauna, take a detour down Huvilakatu Street, a  charming residential street  renowned for its distinctive and  picturesque colourful wooden houses.  

Step back in time as you discover  unique architecture  along the street reflecting the  late 19th and early 20th centuries , with well-maintained and colourful wooden buildings, contributing to the  character and charm  of the street – so do not forget your camera!

You will end your final day and 3-day Helsinki itinerary at Löyly , a  modern and distinctive urban sauna complex  located  along the waterfront , known for its striking architecture. The resort features a  contemporary and sustainable design , with a wooden structure that resembles a log pile.

The complex offers a  unique sauna experience , combining traditional Finnish sauna culture with modern amenities, including both  traditional   wood-fired saunas  and a  smoke sauna . It is the ideal spot to relax and pamper yourself whilst  admiring the Baltic Sea .

Additionally, you will find an  on-site restaurant  which serves a  variety of dishes , including both traditional Finnish cuisine and international flavours. There is no better way to end the day than  taking in the views  whilst  savouring a delicious meal . 

Shop the printable travel itinerary

Plan your perfect Helsinki city break & live a unique experience in Helsinki!

printable travel itinerary

If you have more time

  • Take a day trip to Porvoo
  • Hop on the ferry to Tallinn
  • Explore Seurasaari Island
  • Take a food tour with a local
  • Venture on a kayaking trip
  • Steam up in the Lonna Sauna 
  • Relax in Sinebrychoff Park
  • Visit a Moomin Café
  • Enjoy the views from SkyWheel

helsinki 3 day itinerary

How to get to Helsinki

The best way to get to Helsinki will depend on where you come from and your budget, but there are many options to reach the Finnish capital.

One of the quickest ways to get to Helsinki is by plane . If you are travelling from another country or a distant city, you will likely arrive at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL), the main international airport well-connected to major cities around the world. But please, try to prioritise direct flights to reduce your carbon footprint – if flying is the only option.

One of the most eco-friendly ways to get to Helsinki is by train . Helsinki is well-connected to neighbouring countries by train thanks to its station, Helsinki Central Railway Station, where you will also find international train services, such as Allegro, connecting Helsinki with Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Finally,  the most affordable option for getting to Helsinki is by coach . It is a great way to reach the Finnish capital if you are exploring Europe on a budget, but it may take longer. International and domestic bus services operate to and from Helsinki via its central bus station, the Kamppi Center. For example, check out the  Eurolines  long-distance bus service.

helsinki 3 day itinerary

How to get around Helsinki

Once in Helsinki, you will find many options for getting around the capital. 

The best way (eco-friendly too) to travel around Helsinki is on foot . The Finnish capital is not too big and easily accessible on foot, even on a short day trip or weekend getaway, as the main attractions are within walking distance of each other. Plus, it is the perfect way to experience the best of the capital whilst getting some exercise!

The best option to get around Helsinki faster is by public transport . The capital has an extensive tram network covering different neighbourhoods, making it a convenient, affordable and scenic way to travel around. In addition, the city has an extensive bus network, including local and regional services, which can be better for reaching remote areas not covered by trams.

The last and fun option is to travel around Helsinki by bike . It is a fantastic way to get around the capital whilst reducing your carbon footprint! Helsinki is a bike-friendly city, and you can easily rent a bike at various locations to explore on two wheels, with dedicated lanes in many parts of the capital.

helsinki 3 day itinerary

Where to stay in Helsinki for 3 days

The best neighbourhoods in helsinki.

Are you looking for the  best place to stay in Helsinki  for 3 days? Here is an overview of the  top neighbourhoods  in the Finnish capital:

  • Kluuvi : the best area for first-time visitors
  • Kamppi : the best area for nightlife 
  • Punavuori : the best area for art lovers
  • Kallio : the best budget-friendly area
  • Kaartinkaupunki : the best area for families
  • Katajanokka : the best quiet & hidden area
  • Etu-Töölö : the best area for nature lovers 
  • Ruoholahti : the best area for marine experience

🏡 READ MORE:  Where to Stay in Helsinki: 8 Best Areas (& Hotels)

MY EXPERIENCE

My friends and I booked an Airbnb in the Kallio district, which was lovely. It was quiet and affordable, and we could easily access the city centre by tram. Wherever you stay in Helsinki, the city is not vast, so you will have no problem making the most of your short holiday.

helsinki 3 day itinerary

Best time to visit Helsinki

The best time to visit Helsinki is generally in  summer (June-August) , when the weather is mild and pleasant, with longer daylight hours, which can extend late into the evening. Summer is ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities, like exploring parks, island hopping and picnicking. Plus, you will find many festivals and cultural events during this time.

Spring (April-May)  and  autumn (September-October)  can also be lovely seasons, with fewer tourists and lower prices, allowing for a more relaxed visit. However, the weather might be slightly unpredictable with colder temperatures. But if you come prepared, you will have no problem exploring the capital during those months. 

Finally, if you want to experience another side of Helsinki, plan your visit in  winter (December-February) , when the capital becomes a winter wonderland with snowy landscapes with potential for winter sports activities. The city will be beautifully decorated during the holiday season, with Christmas markets as a popular attraction. Plus, you might have the chance to see the Northern Lights! But be prepared for the cold and shorter daylight hours. 

I went to Helsinki in June, and I loved it. This season was unique as the sun never set, and the daylight lasted an average of 19 hours. We sometimes left a bar or restaurant at midnight, and it was still daylight – a little disturbing, especially when trying to sleep!

helsinki 3 day itinerary

How to reduce your impact in Helsinki

Sustainable travel  means exploring the world whilst being aware of your surroundings and having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the places you visit.

Being a responsible traveller in Helsinki is possible! Here are some  eco-friendly travel tips  for reducing your carbon footprint:

  • Use the train to reach the capital . Helsinki is incredibly well-connected by train to the rest of the world, so prioritise travelling this way to lower your carbon impact.
  • If you need to take the plane, book direct flights  (which require less fuel than indirect flights)  and  offset your carbon footprint . But, do not use carbon offsetting as a complete solution. Combine it with other sustainable practices, like avoiding single-use plastic on the plane and mindfully packing your suitcase for your green city break. 
  • Select an eco-friendly accommodation . It is not always easy to determine whether a hotel has eco-conscious practices, but try to look on their website for green credentials, such as the Nordic Swan Ecolabel or other recognised environmental certifications, and ask questions. You can also use  Bookdifferent  or  Ecobnb  to help you decide.
  • Be mindful of your energy and water consumption . Turn off lights, electronics and heating/cooling when you do not need it. Reuse towels and linens at your hotel or guesthouse to reduce your usage and impact.
  • Once there, use public transport . Helsinki has an efficient public transportation network with buses and trams that can take you anywhere easily and quickly. Another way to get around sustainably is on foot. But if walking is too tiring, use the bike! It is a great green way to enjoy the sights whilst reducing your environmental impact.
  • Eat at local restaurants or markets  that use produce from the area and emphasise organic and sustainability. It will contribute to the local economy and reduce your carbon footprint by supporting restaurants where food does not come from long distances.
  • Respect flora and fauna . If you are exploring the natural areas of Helsinki, such as parks or islands, follow designated trails and respect the local flora and fauna. Avoid disturbing, touching and feeding wildlife.
  • Always respect the local heritage . Treat people and their surroundings with respect. Sustainable travel is not only about the environment but also about the local communities. So, always be respectful, smile and learn a few Finnish words.

More inspiration for your green vacation:

  • Best Travel Apps for Exploring Sustainably
  • 15 Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Eco-Adventure
  • Best Ecotourism Activities Around the World

Eco-friendly gear you might love:

  • 10 Best Sustainable Backpacks for Travel & Hiking
  • 10 Best Reusable & Eco-Friendly Travel Mugs
  • 8 Best Filtered Water Bottles for Travel & Hiking

Check out  this page  for more inspiration on eco-friendly products & gear.

sustainable travel checklist

Helsinki travel planning guide

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance to travel to Helsinki? Yes, buying insurance is always valuable when travelling abroad. Enjoy your city break in Helsinki stress-free with one of my favourite providers,  Nomad Insurance .

💧 Can you drink the water in Helsinki? Yes, tap water is safe to drink all over Helsinki (which ranks among the highest quality in the world). However, I also recommend travelling with the  UltraPress Purifier Bottle , a lightweight filtered water bottle perfect for reducing plastic and staying hydrated.

🚗 Is it easy to rent a car in Helsinki? Yes, renting a car in Helsinki is easy and a great way to explore the countryside and national parks freely. I recommend booking yours with  Rentalcars.com  – they offer a variety of operators for all budgets.

🏨 How to book accommodation in Helsinki? The best way to book your accommodation in Helsinki is with  Booking.com  – my favourite platform to compare and reserve places to stay each night, from affordable guesthouses to luxury hotels.

✈️ What is the best site to buy a flight to Helsinki? I recommend booking your plane with  Skyscanner . It has been my favourite platform for years, as it allows me to book the cheapest flights whilst lowering my carbon emissions.

3 days in Helsinki – FAQ

Yes, 3 days are enough to explore Helsinki and enjoy its top highlights and attractions. It will allow you to discover its many museums, visit its parks and relax in a traditional sauna. However, if possible, I also recommend spending more time in the Finnish capital, as there is so much to do and see.

Yes, Helsinki is a walkable city, especially in the central areas. The city centre is compact and features pedestrian-friendly streets with the main attractions within walking distance of each other, making it perfect for sightseeing and exploring many of its key highlights on foot.

Yes, Helsinki is considered to be expensive compared to many other European cities, but it is not impossible to explore it on a budget. Save in advance and be mindful of your expenses once there. Walk as much as possible, eat at local markets, stay in an Airbnb and look for city passes.

Yes, English is widely spoken and understood in Helsinki. Finland has a high level of English proficiency, which is commonly used as a second language in different aspects of daily life, even in remote areas. However, extra effort is always appreciated, so try learning a few basic Finnish phrases.

helsinki 3 day itinerary

And you, have you ever visited Helsinki or would you like to go one day?  Let me know in the comments below!

With love ♡ Lucie

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An Adventurous World

13 BEST Day Trips from Helsinki, Finland 

This post contains product affiliate links. These are mainly on items/hotels/tours that I personally endorse & love. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, but at no extra cost to you.

Planning one of the best day trips from Helsinki? From visiting Nuuksio National Park to the town of Porvoo, these make for an amazing day out!

day trips from helsinki

Helsinki is one of those places that should be on everyone’s bucket list. It has so much natural beauty, unique history, and it’s popping with fun Scandinavian culture. I always recommend spending a couple of days in the city to really get a feel for the place. However, there are also some stunning day trips from Helsinki that are really accessible and easy to do.

I love a good day trip. It means that you get to see a ton of different places all in one trip, and honestly, Helsinki is the ideal base to explore from. 

Whether you’re looking for the wild spaces of Nuuksio National Park, want to indulge in sauna culture in Tampere, or check out a neighbouring capital with Estonia’s main city, Tallinn , there are so many options when it comes to Helsinki day trips.

helsinki day trips

There’s a little something for everyone with these awesome day trips. It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling with kiddos, are looking for a romantic weekend away, or are a solo adventurer looking for that next wild spot. Finland can deliver it all and more!

All of these day trips list here are a maximum of two hours away from Helsinki, so they really are doable in a day. I’ve also listed a few of my favourite tours too to make things even easier.

Hopefully you can use this blog post when planning your trip to Helsinki!

Planning a trip to Helsinki? Then make sure you check out my guides on all the best things to do in Helsinki , catching the Helsinki Tallinn ferry , and all about my experience flying over the city .

Are you planning an amazing holiday to Helsinki? If so, you may want to book your hotels and tours asap to ensure availability. Here are some links to quickly help plan your trip!

Best hotels and apartments in Helsinki:

  • Lapland Hotels Bulevardi (best rated 5* hotel)
  • Scandic Helsinki Hub (best rated 4* hotel)
  • Citybox Helsinki (super cheap with great reviews)

Best activities and tours in Helsinki :

  • Helsinki Sightseeing Boat Tour (top rated tour)
  • Helsinki SkyWheel Entry Ticket
  • Helsinki: National Park Hiking Tour

Day Trips from Helsinki, Finland

Nuuksio national park.

nuuksio national park

Considering that Nuuksio National Park is just an hour and a half away from Helsinki, it really does feel like you’re in a whole other world. This stunning and wild national park is filled with beautiful forests and lakes, and it’s the perfect antidote to city life.

Strap on your hiking boots and head out on one of the many well-marked trails around the national park. If you’re looking for a truly special way to see the park, join a guided tour on horseback – there are plenty of horse trails here too! 

This is one of the best national parks in Finland, so it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. If you’re looking for a tour from Helsinki, I’d really recommend this one which will take care of everything for you.

porvoo day trip from helsinki

If you’re looking for old-world charm and quirky wooden architecture, head to the city of Porvoo . It’s around a 45-minute drive, or you can take a direct train which lasts around 50 minutes. One of the cool things about Porvoo is that it was the home of royalty way back in the 14th century, so there is a ton of history all around the city. 

More recently, Porvoo has become a home for amazing restaurants and cafes, looking to put the city on the map as a foodie destination. Wander around the cobble streets, take in the famous red houses, and enjoy the old port before sitting down for a delicious meal. Sounds like a perfect Helsinki day trip to me!

helsinki day tours

You might not have heard of the Finnish Riviera before, but after spending a day on the sunny and sandy shoes of Hanko, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t come sooner! It’s a classic summer spa town that has everything you need to enjoy a day of fun in the sun.

It’s two hours south of Helsinki and is the warmest part of Finland. Spend some time on the soft sands, enjoy the beach huts, and have some world-class cuisine and sun-filled cocktails on the East Harbour. There are also a ton of boutiques if you’re in need of a souvenir or two…

tallinn day trip from helsinki

While Tallinn isn’t the closest Helsinki day trip on this list, it’s certainly one of the most popular. Hop on the 3-hour ferry from Helsinki and arrive in the beautiful Estonian capital city for your Tallinn day trip. Stop off in the Old Town, which is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and get lost in the cobbled alleyways and side streets.

As Tallinn has an interesting history that blends Soviet Russia and Scandinavia, I can honestly say it’s unlike anywhere else. There’s also a huge tech boom in the city, so there are always tons of creatives working alongside the old, fairytale architecture – it’s a super cool city to visit.

helsinki one day trip

Step back in time to the UNESCO World Heritage site town of Rauma. With Old Rauma being filled with red wooden buildings that go back as far as the 18th century, this town feels like you’re time-traveling. From rows of shops to a market hall and more, Old Rauma sometimes feels like a living museum, but there are around 800 people who live in the 600 wooden houses. 

Located just under three hours away from the capital, a visit to Old Rauma is one of the best day trips from Helsinki!

Saimaa Lake District

best day trips from helsinki

In need of some water-based fun and relaxation? Head three and a half hours east to Finland’s largest lake, Saimaa , and the surrounding lake district. Whether you want to indulge in some watersports or fishing, or your want to stay on dry land and hike around the forests that surround the lakes, Saimaa is one of the most peaceful spots in Finland. 

Around the lake district, you’ll find several towns and villages with cafes, shops, and other amenities, but I’d recommend packing up a picnic and other seasonal supplies and getting back in touch with nature!

Suomenlinna

suomenlinna

Located just a 15-minute ferry ride from central Helsinki, Suomenlinna is the perfect day tour if you’re short on time or don’t want to travel too far. This UNESCO site is a bastion of Finnish military history, as the whole island is one big sea fortress.

In fact, Suomenlinna has an interesting nickname – the Gibraltar of the North! You can wander around this island at your leisure – there are still plenty of barracks, cannons, and other 18th-century military items to learn about. It’s a great place if you love history and naval architecture!

You can even get a boat ticket and tour of the island together, so it’s a great way of exploring this fascinating fortress.

tampere

One of the things that Finland is most well-known for is its sauna culture. It’s amazing. Tampere is widely considered to be the sauna capital of Finland, which is why it’s undoubtedly one of the best day trips from Helsinki! The best bit? You can get there on public transport from Helsinki by taking a direct train north, lasting about an hour and 50 minutes. 

Traveling with kids in tow? Tampere is probably one of the best cities in Finland for family holidays with Särkänniemi Theme Park, the Spy Museum, and the Moomin Museum all calling this awesome city home. 

turku day trip

The former capital of Finland and the oldest city in the entire country is definitely one of the most popular Helsinki day trips that you can go on. Turku is around two hours away from Helsinki, so it’s a full-day trip, but there is so much to see and do when you get there, you’ll have no problem filling your day!

Turku is actually really well-known for its castle, which harks back to the 13th century. and its stunning cathedral. So, if you’re into history and architecture, you need to make sure that Turku is at the top of your Helsinki day trip itinerary!

Pihlajasaari

pihlajasaari

If you’re in Helsinki during the summer months and want a quintessential Scandinavian island day trip, jump on the 15-minute ferry out of Helsinki and head to Pihlajasaari . It’s super popular with tourists and locals alike thanks to its nature trails and sandy beaches. 

Be aware though, some of the beaches on Pihlajasaari are actually nudist beaches, so if you’re more reserved check which beach is which before you show up looking a bit overdressed! On the trails, you can also see a whole host of native flora and fauna, if you’re interested in the biology of Helsinki.

espoo

Located just a 25-minute drive or direct train ride away from Helsinki is the vibrant small city of Espoo. Here you’ll find tons of amazing museums including the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, as well as an amazing cathedral that can trace its roots all the way back to the 5th century!

Aside from museums and history in Espoo, you can also have tons of summer fun. Whether you’re looking to hop around the islands or descend on the Serena Water Amusement Park, it’s definitely the place to be on the long Finnish summer days. 

Hämeenlinna

hämeenlinna

If it’s history you’re after the town of Hämeenlinna has it by the bucket-load. This amazing old town traces its history back to medieval times and it shows in the architecture all around you. The main attraction is probably Häme Castle, located right on Vanajavesi Lake.

Over the years, Häme Castle has been a military fort, a residence for Swedish nobility, and even a prison. In fact, it only stopped being a prison in the 1970s after operating as one for around 150 years! Nowadays there are tons of cultural exhibitions and events that bring the history and culture of the town to life.

lahti

Looking for a city with a completely different vibe? Lahti is located around an hour north of Helsinki and was well known for being an industrial city. Like a lot of industrial towns and cities nowadays, Lahti has had a ton of investment and gentrification in the past few years, so it’s a cool blend of industrial and modern. 

One of the most famous things in Lahti is the symphony orchestra, so it’s well worth trying to grab tickets for a performance while you’re there for the day. You can also find a load of amazing eateries on the waterfront and a twice-daily fountain show which is pretty cool!

So, there you have it, the 13 best day trips from Helsinki. Which ones are your favourite? Let me know in the comments below. Also, let me know if you’ve been to any of these places – I’d love to hear more about it!

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13 BEST Day Trips from Helsinki, Finland

About the Author

Rebecca Crowe

Rebecca Crowe is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about travel, food, and outdoor adventure. She is often found holding a taco, in an airport, or halfway up a climbing wall.

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Guide on How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland

A re you heading to Finland and wondering what the best way to travel from Helsinki to Lapland? Did you know that for most visitors to Finland, these are the two most visited areas? It makes sense as most visitors fly into Helsinki, spend a day or two and then head off into the vast wilderness of Finnish Lapland.

In this guide I will help you in your travel research by providing up to date information on how to travel to/from these regions of Finland, whether its by plane, train or even car. 

One of the biggest factors in your decision about how to get from Helsinki to Lapland will be the amount of time you have and your budget. Below I go through the practical details on the three main transport options, providing the positives and negatives for each so you can make the most informed decision. Let get into it!

What are the airports in Lapland?

As I mentioned there are currently 5 airports in Lapland. Below are the airports with the main locations serviced from them.

Rovaniemi Airport (RVN)

Rovaniemi is the third busiest airport in Finland and is the most popular of the ones in Lapland. Located in the south of Lapland, just near the Arctic Circle, this airport is seen as the gateway to Santa Claus Village. Given the towns popularity, there are several flights a day between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. This is one of the few that also is international airport accepting flights from several major European cities. 

In general, Rovaniemi can feel a quite commercial and crowded, especially during the peak winter season. This airport also serves as the hub for Pyhä  and  Salla which are popular for their natural beauty and skiing, both downhill and cross country. 

Ivalo Airport (IVL)

Two popular destinations with skiers and snowboarders include Inari and Saariselka , which are both serviced by the Ivalo airport. The airport is within 30 minutes of both destinations and is the northernmost airport in Finland.

Kittilä Airport (KTT)

Kittila is one of the main airports in the northernmost region of Finland, and the only other accepting international flights. This airport services the popular ski area of Levi. Levi is a popular spot for families during the festive season, but is smaller and quieter than Rovaniemi. Additionally, the popular Snow Village can be found here.

Our favorite destination serviced by this airport is Muonio which is a laid back destination offering all the popular touristy activities found in Rovaniemi but without the crowds and is excellent for spotting the Northern Lights. 

Kemi Airport (KEM)

Kemi-Tornio Airport is located on the coast of the Bay of Bothnia, serving travelers heading to Southern Lapland. Kemi has slowly become more popular in the tourist circuits for their magnificent Snow Castle that is built there every winter and for the famous Sampo icebreaker cruise. 

Kuusamo Airport (KAO)

Lastly, the Kuusamo Airport serves one of Finland’s major holiday destinations Kuusamo, attracting almost a million tourists annually. Many of these arrive for skiing at nearby ski resorts, especially Ruka Ski Resort , one of the largest in Finland.

RELATED READING

Top Things to Do in Lapland Finland

A Finnish Lapland Winter Escape

Flying from Helsinki to Lapland

Domestic flights from the capital Helsinki to Lapland airports are operated by Finnair. While the flights can be reasonably priced if booked well in advance, domestic flights on Finnair do impose an extra fee for checked luggage. Additionally, the new Finnair carry on limits are quite strict with a maximum of 8 kg for all carry on items combined. This means, that for most travelers,  it makes most sense to upgrade to the main fare price which includes both carry on and checked baggage. Once you upgrade your flight, a round-trip flight will cost a minimum of €200.  Note, if you are looking for cheap flights, sign up for Finnair’s email blast and keep an eye out for flash sales.

That said, this is still the quickest way to travel between Helsinki and Lapland. It can be cost effective if you are a solo traveler and/or traveling with extremely light luggage. However, it can be get expensive if you need to check a bag or are traveling in high season with several people

Traveling by Train from Helsinki to Lapland

Next we will move on to traveling by train from Helsinki to Lapland , which is the second most popular option.

I personally find travelling by train in Finland to be a wonderful experience and the most convenient way to get around the country. The trains are clean and reasonably reliable depending on weather conditions of course. Additionally, it is better for the environment and saves you money on accommodation if you can take an overnight train to travel while you sleep. All long-distance trains in Finland are operated by VR Train. 

Day vs. Night Trains

The most popular train that visitors take to Lapland from Helsinki is the Santa Claus Express train which ends in Rovaniemi. It leaves close to midnight and arrives around 11 a.m. the next morning. If you are traveling with children, this train is great as the sleeper cabins are essentially sold as a two person cabin. Prices for an upstairs private compartment sleeper cabin which includes a private toilet run around 300 Euro one way. The train also has a restaurant car for snacks and meals while on the train. Note, Rovaniemi train tickets for the sleeper cars can sell out quickly, so book well in advance to ensure you have a cabin.

Another popular route is to Kolari, which is the northernmost railway station in Finland. Travel here from Helsinki takes approximately 14 hours. Boarding is around 7:45 p.m. in Helsinki with a 10 a.m. arrival.  Even though it sounds like a long trip, it goes by quite quickly once you get settled in your sleeper cabin, grab some food from the restaurant car and then hit the sack. 

If you are unable to secure a sleeper cabin, you can consider a day train. With free Wifi, power sockets and the ability to walk around, an 8 hour train would actually go quite quickly if you can keep yourself occupied! These tickets run around €75 per ticket during high season. 

Take Your Car on the Train

For readers who live in Europe or have a rental car already booked, they can consider putting the vehicle on the train as well! These trains depart from Pasila Station and can be extremely handy if you have brought your car over from mainland Europe, but don’t want to drive all the way to Lapland. This is not cheap, but is a dobale option to ensure you have more access to explore around Lapland.

Train Stations in Lapland

There are many train stations in Lapland that I can’t list them all, but the main ending/starting point for the major lines include Kolari as the furthest north, Rovaniemi and Kemijarvi in the east. 

Kolari is in the far north of Finland, northeast of Rovaniemi, and very close to the Swedish border. This station is perfect for those traveling to Levi or Muonio. You can reserve a shared taxi or bus from the station to both locations. 

Kemijärvi is located east of Rovaniemi and from here you can easily access Salla and Pyhä.

Overall, I personally feel that if you are traveling with others or even on your own that taking an overnight train to or from Lapland is a great option. Train travel is scenic, cost effective if you have a family or a lot of luggage and you also have the option of taking a vehicle. The negatives are that it does take a long time and there are times that the trains leave late at night making it awkward for families with smaller children. 

Driving from Helsinki to Lapland by Car

For many travelers further afield, this would mean renting a car and needing to return it either in Lapland or back to Helsinki which can be quite an expense.

I am not sure I would recommend this option for many, but if you have your car and you are confident on driving on the right hand side of the road, in snow or inclimate weather, you will most likely be fine.

But you must be aware that this journey is at least 800 kilometers and can take around 10 hours. That said, the journey up to Rovaniemi is along one main road and the views will be stunning for much of the way.

In general, I’d only advise driving to Lapland from Helsinki if you’re touring elsewhere in Finland, have your own vehicle and have at least a couple of weeks here to make it worthwhile and cost-effective.

Important Information for Your Finland Trip

When is the best time to visit finland.

In reality, you can visit Finland at any time of the year as there are a multitude of activities to suit any weather condition. That said, in my opinion, the best time to visit Finland is definitely during the winter months between December and February. This is when you will see the most beautiful winter wonderland landscapes and you have a great chance to see the aurora borealis. Note, it is also the coldest time of the year, so you will need to prepare for that!

What is the best way to get to Finland?

Finnair offers direct flights to Helsinki Airport from all over the world, including from here in Los Angeles. The international flights are on newer Airbus A350 planes which have ample legroom, flight cameras and more. Subscribe to their newsletter for deals and special offers if this is a trip you are looking to plan far in advance. 

If you are in mainland Europe, you can also make your way overland to Tallinn and take the Viking Express over to Helsinki for a very affordable rate. Note, this is also a great day trip idea from Helsinki.

Where do you recommend to stay in Helsinki?

There are so many amazing options to stay in Helsinki. I think where you stay is dependent on what you want out of your visit. During my stay in the city I was leaving on an early morning ferry and arriving late at night from the airport so I chose the Noli Studio Apartments which were cheap, clean and convenient to everywhere I wanted to go. There are several of them located throughout the city, so pay attention to the neighborhood that you wish to be in! 

If you want a little more luxury and don’t mind being a little further out, consider the Clarion Hotel which is a favorite for repeat visitors to the city. 

What are the best things to do in Finland?

There are so many amazing things to do in Finland that I can’t list them all here. But a start would be to check out our top experiences in Lapland that you can find all over the region. Winter activities are some of the best on offer here in Finland.

What do I need to pack for Finland?

Layers is the short answer. The longer answer will depend on what time of year you are visiting. Assuming you visit during the high season of winter, you will need to pack a lot of warm breathable layers such as merino wool . Overall, I would say to focus on layers, good boots that have room for several pairs of socks, good gloves or mittens and a warm hat.

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Guide on How to Travel from Helsinki to Lapland

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