12 Best Things to Do in Helsinki: Top Attractions to Visit

by Jen
12 Best Things to Do in Helsinki
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Are you looking to visit Helsinki in the near future? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Helsinki. These eclectic sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a memorable vacation experience.

Helsinki – where the modern heartbeat of Europe harmonizes with the serene beauty of the Nordic landscape. Imagine strolling through streets adorned with Art Nouveau architecture, invigorated by the salty sea breeze. Here, a juxtaposition of contemporary design studios alongside historic cathedrals and market halls creates a cosmopolitan yet nature-embracing ambiance, reflecting Finland’s deep connection to the outdoors. When considering things to do in Helsinki, you’ll discover a city as multifaceted as its scenery.

But don’t let the serenity fool you.

online pharmacy purchase azithromycin online with best prices today in the USA

Helsinki is a city that knows how to have fun. Whether it’s the endless summer nights where the sun barely sets, or the cozy winter evenings lit up by the Northern Lights, there’s always something happening here. The city’s vibrant arts scene, bustling food markets, and lively waterfront areas offer a kaleidoscope of experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers.

And let’s not forget about the Finns themselves. Known for their unique blend of reserved warmth and quirky humor, the locals are the true soul of the city. They’ll introduce you to the joys of “sisu”—a Finnish concept that’s all about resilience and courage—and maybe even invite you into a traditional Finnish sauna.

So, pack your bags and your sense of adventure; Helsinki is calling, and trust me, you’ll want to answer. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Helsinki.

The top places to visit in Helsinki right now
This article on the Best Things To Do in Helsinki contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Places to Visit in Helsinki

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Helsinki? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this serene vacation spot in Scandinavia. So keep reading to discover all these unique Helsinki places to visit.

Are you looking to immerse yourself in a thriving cultural scene, exploring world-class museums, galleries, and theaters? Or would you prefer to enjoy the outdoors, with parks, islands, and the nearby archipelago providing a range of activities from leisurely walks to water sports and winter adventures? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Helsinki can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Helsinki that you should know about.

1. Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Ah, Suomenlinna! This sea fortress is not just among the Helsinki attractions; it’s a journey back in time. Built on six islands, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see in Helsinki. As you step off the ferry, you’re greeted by cobblestone paths and centuries-old cannons that whisper tales of a bygone era.

What makes Suomenlinna stand out among the cool destinations in Helsinki is its multifaceted history. It’s been a Swedish fortress, a Russian garrison, and now, a living museum. You can explore tunnels, walk along the fortress walls, and even visit a submarine!

Do you fancy a picnic? The lush green fields are perfect for a laid-back afternoon. And don’t forget to check out the Suomenlinna Museum to deepen your understanding of this fascinating place.

So, if you’re wondering where to visit in Helsinki, Suomenlinna should be at the top of your list. It’s not just a fortress; it’s an experience that encapsulates the spirit of Helsinki in the most enchanting way.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is one of the best things to do in Helsinki.
Suomenlinna: A UNESCO World Heritage sea fortress in Helsinki, a journey back in time with cobblestone paths and centuries-old cannons.

2. Design District

You can’t say you’ve truly experienced Helsinki until you’ve wandered through its Design District. This area is a treasure trove of Finnish creativity, offering everything from avant-garde fashion to cutting-edge furniture. Those best places in Helsinki don’t get more eclectic than this.

The district is a patchwork of over 200 shops, galleries, and boutiques, each with its own unique flair. As you stroll through the cobblestone streets, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of aesthetic wonders. It’s a Helsinki spot that’s as much about the journey as the destination.

But it’s not just about shopping. The Design District is also home to some of the city’s most innovative eateries. From Nordic fusion to traditional Finnish fare, the culinary options are as diverse as the art on display.

Keen on discovering the things to do in Helsinki? Make sure the Design District is on your itinerary. It’s a feast for the senses that you won’t want to miss.

Design District is a treasure trove of Finnish creativity, from avant-garde fashion to cutting-edge furniture.
Helsinki’s Design District is a treasure trove of Finnish creativity, from avant-garde fashion to cutting-edge furniture.

3. Kamppi Chapel

Ever thought about finding a sanctuary of calm right in the middle of a bustling city? Well, Kamppi Chapel offers just that. This architectural marvel is more than just a place of worship; it’s a haven for anyone seeking a moment of peace.

You walk in, and the world outside just fades away. The chapel’s distinct design minimizes city noise, making it an essential destination in Helsinki for those looking to escape the urban hustle. The curved wooden walls seem to hug you as you sit, offering a tactile comfort that’s hard to describe but easy to feel.

Now, you might be thinking, “Is this a thing to do in Helsinki that I shouldn’t miss?” The answer is a resounding yes! Whether you’re spiritual or not, the experience is universally calming.

And here’s the kicker: it’s smack dab in the middle of the city’s busiest shopping area. So, after you’ve had your fill of retail therapy, why not balance it out with some soul-soothing serenity? Trust us, it’s a contrast you’ll appreciate. Is this among the top things to do in Helsinki, Finland? You bet!

Kamppi Chapel is an architectural marvel and urban sanctuary, offering a moment of peace in the heart of the city.
Kamppi Chapel is an architectural marvel and urban sanctuary, offering a moment of peace in the heart of the city.

4. Old Market Hall

Ah, the Old Market Hall—a foodie’s paradise and a feast for the senses! Picture this: you’re strolling through a historic building, over a century old, and every step you take is accompanied by the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked bread, exotic spices, and local delicacies.

This isn’t just a market; it’s an experience. It’s one of those unique places in Helsinki where you can sample Finnish treats like ‘Karjalanpiirakka’ (a type of pasty) or indulge in international flavors. From gourmet cheeses to organic fruits, the variety is staggering.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re a coffee aficionado, the little cafes inside the hall serve some of the most aromatic brews in the city. It’s the perfect spot to sit, sip, and watch the world go by.

Curious about the coolest things to do in Helsinki to satiate your gastronomic cravings?

online pharmacy purchase imodium online with best prices today in the USA

Look no further. Old Market Hall is where you’ll want to spend a good chunk of your day, and trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Old Market Hall is a century-old historic foodie's paradise with the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked bread, exotic spices, and local delicacies.
Old Market Hall is a century-old historic foodie’s paradise with the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked bread, exotic spices, and local delicacies.

5. Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

Ready for a time-traveling escapade? Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is your ticket to the past. This isn’t your typical museum experience; it’s an outdoor adventure that takes you through Finnish history, one step at a time.

Nestled on an idyllic island, Seurasaari is a treasure trove of traditional Finnish houses, farmsteads, and manors, all relocated from different parts of Finland. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a living postcard, complete with costumed guides who bring the past to life.

For those who are always on the hunt for coolest activities in Helsinki, this is it. You can participate in age-old Finnish games, learn traditional crafts, or simply bask in the tranquil atmosphere. And if you’re visiting during Midsummer, you’re in for a treat—the Midsummer Eve celebrations here are legendary.

For a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is a must-see.

online pharmacy purchase chloroquine online with best prices today in the USA

It’s not just a museum; it’s a journey through time.

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is an outdoor adventure and a time-traveling escapade through Finnish history.
Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is an outdoor adventure and a time-traveling escapade through Finnish history.

6. Helsinki Cathedral

The iconic Helsinki Cathedralit’s more than just a pretty facade. This neoclassical marvel stands tall in Senate Square, its green dome and white columns a beacon in the cityscape. But what really sets it apart? The stories it holds within its walls.

You see, this isn’t just a place of worship; it’s a symbol of Finnish resilience and unity. The cathedral has seen the nation through Russian rule, independence, and modernization. It’s a living testament to the ever-changing tides of history.

Now, if you’re asking yourself, “What’s a must-visit in Helsinki that combines architectural grandeur with historical depth?”—this is your answer. The interior is just as captivating, with its minimalist design and ethereal light. It’s a place where silence speaks volumes, where each corner whispers tales of the past.

And don’t forget to climb the steps for a panoramic view of the city. A visit to the cathedral is one of the unique things to do in Helsinki that offers something new every time you visit. Whether it’s a quiet moment of reflection or a deep dive into Finnish culture, the Helsinki Cathedral is a multi-layered experience you won’t want to miss.

Helsinki Cathedral is a neoclassical marvel in Senate Square, an iconic landmark with stories held within its walls.
Helsinki Cathedral is a neoclassical marvel in Senate Square, an iconic landmark with stories held within its walls.

7. Linnanmäki Amusement Park

Ready for a day of thrills? Linnanmäki Amusement Park is where you’ll want to be. This isn’t just any amusement park; it’s a Helsinki institution, a place where childhood dreams come to life and adults rediscover their sense of wonder.

You’re probably thinking of what the fun activities are in Helsinki for families or thrill-seekers. Well, Linnanmäki is a top contender. From gravity-defying roller coasters to nostalgic carousels, there’s something for everyone. And the exciting part? The park has a heart of gold. Established in 1950 by a children’s charity, the park’s proceeds still go towards child welfare work.

But let’s talk about rides. The Ukko, a looping coaster, will have you screaming in delight—or maybe that’s just the adrenaline talking. For something a bit more chill, the Panorama Tower offers sweeping views of the city.

As the sun sets, the park transforms. Fairy lights twinkle, the rides glow, and the whole place takes on a magical air. It’s one of those best places to go in Helsinki where memories are made, where every visit feels like the first time.

Experience thrills and childhood dreams brought to life at Linnanmäki Amusement Park, a Helsinki institution for all ages.
Experience thrills and childhood dreams brought to life at Linnanmäki Amusement Park, a Helsinki institution for all ages.

8. National Library of Finland

Ah, the smell of old books, the hush of whispered conversations, and the grandeur of neoclassical architecture. Welcome to the National Library of Finland, a sanctuary for bibliophiles and history aficionados alike. For a dose of intellectual stimulation, this is your spot.

The library isn’t just a place to read; it’s a place to feel, to think, and to be inspired. The moment you step inside, you’re enveloped by a sense of serenity that only a library can offer. The intricate frescoes, the vaulted ceilings, and the labyrinthine corridors all tell a story, making a visit to this spot among the Helsinki things to do that captures the essence of Finnish culture.

Grab a book, find a cozy nook, and let your imagination soar. Whether you’re into Finnish folklore or modern literature, the library’s extensive collection has got you covered.

And here’s a pro tip: Don’t miss the Cupola Hall, a circular room adorned with stunning frescoes that depict scenes from the Kalevala, Finland’s national epic. It’s a spot in Helsinki that offers a quiet moment of reflection amid the hustle and bustle of city life.

The National Library of Finland is one of the best things to do in Helsinki.
The National Library of Finland is a sanctuary for bibliophiles and history enthusiasts.

9. Löyly

You’re in Helsinki, the air is crisp, and you’re yearning for some warmth and relaxation. What’s the game plan? Head straight to Löyly, an architectural marvel that’s also a public sauna. It’s an experience that encapsulates the Finnish way of life.

Löyly offers a modern twist on the traditional Finnish sauna, blending sleek design with age-old customs. The building itself is a geometric wonder, constructed from sustainably sourced wood and perched right on the edge of the Baltic Sea.

Let’s talk about sauna etiquette. First, you’ll want to shower. Then, clad in your bathing suit or birthday suit (your choice), step into the sauna and let the heat envelop you. Feel those muscles relax? That’s the magic of Löyly.

After you’ve had your fill of the sauna, dare to take a dip in the icy Baltic Sea. It’s among the coolest activities in Helsinki that’ll make you feel invigorated and alive.

Wrap up your day with a meal at Löyly’s restaurant, where you can feast on Finnish delicacies while overlooking the sea. Trust me, it’s among the Helsinki places to visit that offer a holistic experience, from relaxation to gastronomy.

Löyly: An architectural marvel and public sauna, offering a quintessential Finnish experience of warmth and relaxation.
Löyly: An architectural marvel and public sauna in Helsinki, offering a quintessential Finnish experience of warmth and relaxation.

10. The Esplanadi

Ah, the Esplanadi! It’s more than just a park; it’s a sanctuary in the heart of Helsinki. If you’re wondering where to go in Helsinki for a blend of nature, culture, and a dash of Finnish elegance, this is your spot.

The Esplanadi is flanked by high-end boutiques and charming cafes, making it a perfect place for people-watching or simply soaking up the atmosphere. It’s an essential drstination in Helsinki, especially during summer when the park becomes a stage for live performances and festivals.

You’ll find locals and tourists alike lounging on the grass, enjoying picnics, or getting lost in a good book. The park also features several statues and sculptures, adding an artistic flair to your leisurely stroll.

At one end of the Esplanadi, you’ll discover Kappeli, a historic restaurant that’s been serving guests since 1867. Why not treat yourself to a sumptuous Finnish meal or a cup of coffee as you take in the park’s vibrant scenery?

In a city that’s brimming with architectural marvels and bustling markets, the Esplanadi offers a tranquil escape. A visit here is one of those best things to do in Helsinki where you can experience the city’s pulse while also finding a moment of peace.

Esplanadi is a sanctuary in the heart of Helsinki, where nature, culture, and Finnish elegance blend seamlessly.
Esplanadi is a sanctuary in the heart of Helsinki, where nature, culture, and Finnish elegance blend seamlessly.

11. Hietaniemi Beach

Imagine you’re in Helsinki, surrounded by historic architecture and urban life, and suddenly you find yourself craving the sea breeze. Well, guess what? Hietaniemi Beach is the answer to your maritime dreams.

This isn’t just a beach; it’s a social hub where the city comes alive in a different way. Helsinki attractions often lean towards the historical or cultural, but Hietaniemi offers a refreshing change. Volleyball nets are set up for the athletically inclined, while sunbathers can find their perfect spot on the sandy shore.

And if you’re a foodie, rejoice! Food trucks line the area, offering everything from Finnish delicacies to international treats.

Now, here’s the cherry on top: as the sun sets, the beach transforms into a serene escape. The sky turns shades of pink and orange, and the city’s skyline in the distance becomes a silhouette against the fading light. It’s a sight to behold, making Hietaniemi Beach a go-to destination for anyone who appreciates natural beauty.

Whether you’re looking to get active, indulge in some good food, or simply enjoy a beautiful sunset, Hietaniemi Beach has got you covered. It’s a slice of coastal paradise in a city known for its continental charms.

Hietaniemi Beach: Your answer to maritime dreams in the heart of Helsinki, a seaside escape amidst historic architecture and urban life.
Hietaniemi Beach: Your answer to maritime dreams in the heart of Helsinki, a seaside escape amidst historic architecture and urban life.

12. Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

Welcome to the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Artwhere the avant-garde meets everyday life. If you’re planning on what to do in Helsinki that’s a bit off the beaten path, this is your spot. The museum is a labyrinth of creativity, with exhibits that challenge your perceptions and tickle your imagination.

You’ll find everything from interactive installations to thought-provoking sculptures. And let’s not forget the paintings that seem to leap off the walls. Here, art isn’t just observed; it’s experienced.

What sets Kiasma apart? It’s the way the museum engages with its visitors. You’re not just a spectator; you’re a participant. The exhibits often invite you to become part of the art, whether it’s through touch, sound, or even smell.

The museum’s architecture is a masterpiece in itself. Designed by American architect Steven Holl, the building is a swirl of light and space, making it one of the coolest things to do in Helsinki for architecture buffs.

Are you the kind of person who loves to dive deep into the world of contemporary art? Kiasma is a must-visit. It’s not just a museum; it’s a sensory experience that will leave you pondering long after you’ve left its intriguing halls.

Welcome to Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, where avant-garde meets everyday life in Helsinki's creative labyrinth.
Welcome to Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, where avant-garde meets everyday life in Helsinki’s creative labyrinth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Helsinki

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Helsinki? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Helsinki:

What’s the best time to visit Helsinki?

The best time to visit Helsinki is during the summer months, from June to August, when the city experiences milder weather and longer daylight hours. This is when Helsinki truly comes alive, with numerous outdoor festivals, events, and opportunities to explore its parks, islands, and waterfront attractions.

How do I get around Helsinki?

Getting around Helsinki is convenient, thanks to an efficient public transportation system consisting of trams, buses, and a metro. Walking and cycling are popular options, given the city’s compact size and bike-friendly infrastructure. Taxis, rideshares, and ferries are also readily available for easy navigation between islands and waterfront areas.

Is 2 days enough for Helsinki?

Two days in Helsinki is a compact timeframe, but with efficient planning, you can cover many of the city’s main attractions and get a feel for its unique Nordic charm. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a 48-hour visit:

Day 1: Dive into Helsinki’s Historic and Cultural Heart

  1. Morning:
    • Start at the Senate Square, the historical center of Helsinki, surrounded by the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki, and the National Library.
    • Visit the Helsinki Cathedral, an iconic symbol of the city with its white neoclassical architecture and green domes.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Head to the Market Square (Kauppatori), a bustling market by the harbor where you can sample Finnish delicacies and shop for souvenirs.
    • Take a ferry to Suomenlinna, a sea fortress spread across several islands. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a mix of history, culture, and scenic views.
  3. Evening:
    • Explore the Design District, a hub for Finnish design and creativity, filled with boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.
    • Dine in one of Helsinki’s trendy restaurants, sampling modern Finnish cuisine.

Day 2: Modern Attractions and Nature

  1. Morning:
    • Visit the Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church), a unique church carved directly into solid rock.
    • Explore the Sibelius Monument dedicated to the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The abstract sculpture amidst a park setting is quite picturesque.
  2. Afternoon:
    • Head to Kiasma, the contemporary art museum, to immerse yourself in modern Finnish art and culture.
    • Take a stroll in Esplanadi Park, a green oasis in the heart of the city, lined with cafes and shops.
  3. Evening:
    • Consider visiting Löyly, a modern public sauna by the sea, to experience a quintessential Finnish tradition.
    • Enjoy dinner at a waterfront restaurant, savoring the serene Baltic Sea views.

Is going to Helsinki expensive?

Helsinki can be moderately expensive for tourists, particularly in terms of accommodation and dining. However, budget-conscious travelers can find affordable options by using public transportation, exploring local markets, and taking advantage of city passes. It’s possible to enjoy Helsinki without breaking the bank with careful planning and choices.

Tram passing by the Helsinki Cathedral
Tram passing by the Helsinki Cathedral

Are the locals in Helsinki friendly?

Absolutely! Locals in Helsinki are generally known for their friendliness and helpfulness. They often speak English fluently and are willing to assist visitors. While Finns may be reserved at first, they warm up quickly, creating a welcoming atmosphere for tourists exploring the city and its surroundings.

What is Helsinki best known for?

Helsinki is best known for its harmonious blend of modern design and historical architecture, set against a backdrop of natural beauty. The city is a hub for Finnish culture, offering vibrant arts scenes, unique saunas, and a plethora of maritime attractions, making it a must-see Nordic destination.

Is it worth visiting Helsinki?

Absolutely, Helsinki is a treasure trove of experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers. From its cutting-edge design districts to its rich historical landmarks and natural beauty, the city offers a unique Nordic charm. It’s a must-visit for anyone seeking a blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation.

Concluding Thoughts on Exploring Helsinki

And there you have it, folks—a whirlwind tour of Helsinki that’s as diverse as it is captivating. From the serene landscapes to the bustling city life, Helsinki offers a smorgasbord of experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or someone who just loves to soak in the local culture, this city has something for you. Best places to go in Helsinki? Honestly, you can’t go wrong wherever you choose.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to discover the magic that is Helsinki. Trust us, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss.

The top things to do in Helsinki for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the top things to do in Helsinki? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment