Tips for Things to Do in Helsinki, Finland

I’m a big fan of all things Finnish and its pretty capital, Helsinki, is a destination I consider to be underrated and under-visited – in other words, book your Helsinki holiday now! It’s a great city to explore in either summer or winter, and I say that as someone who spent time there during the coldest part of the year and still found it a heap of fun. Here are some of Helsinki’s main attractions to help convince you further. Let others on Instagram know about these must-do activities when in Helsinki. Buy Instagram followers and build your dedicated following.

What to do Helsinki Harbour by Simon Goldenberg

Museums in Helsinki

The Helsinki City Museum is an excellent way to understand the various iterations of Helsinki under the influence of the Swedes, the Russians and as independent Finland. As well as being enjoyable, it’s free to enter, so it’s a great way to get an introduction to Helsinki’s history.

What to do Helsinki Helsinki City Museum by Adalbert

To understand Finland beyond just Helsinki, the National Museum of Finland (or Kansallismuseo) is also worth visiting. It has been renovated recently, and its exhibitions reach back to prehistoric history from the area, through the Middle Ages and to the present. It’s also housed in a lovely old building, with a tower you can spot easily from a distance.

The Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art is an excellent place for art lovers. The main exhibits show contemporary artworks from Finnish artists and artists from Finland’s neighbours, and the modern building which houses it is also worth seeing.

What to do HelsinkiKiasma Museum of Contemporary Art by Karen Chan 16

Churches in Helsinki

As Marcus summed up in his post on Helsinki, there are several magnificent churches in Helsinki. The first, arguably the most famous, is the Lutheran Cathedral on Senate Square. It is free to enter, although you don’t need to go in to enjoy it, as just the impressive architecture on the square’s imposing position is marvellous enough.

What to do HelsinkiLutheran Cathedral in Helsinki by Amanda Kendle

The Church in the Rock (or Temppeliaukion kirkko) is unique because it was dug out of solid rock and covered with a copper roof. Because it has excellent acoustics, it’s often a venue for concerts, not just church services. You can look around for free but trying to time your visit to hear a concert would be ideal.

The nineteenth-century Uspenski Cathedral emphasizes the close relationship and intermingled history of Finland and Russia. It’s the largest Orthodox church in western Europe (assuming western Europe is anything west of the old Cold War border, I suppose) and is very photogenic.

What to do HelsinkiUspenski Cathedral in Helsinki by Amanda Kendle

Getting outdoors in Helsinki

Suomenlinna is a must-see attraction in Helsinki. An island easily reached by ferry is referred to as the “Gibraltar of the North “, once an imposing sea fortress. Numerous historical relics are left on Suomenlinna, along with museums, restaurants and cafes. And it’s on the World Heritage List.

What to do Helsinki Suomenlinna by archer10

One of my favourite spots in Helsinki is the Seurasaari Open Air Museum, part of a large park on an island just north of the city. There are numerous walking paths which pass various old Finnish wooden homes which have been gathered up from various parts of Finland and relocated to Seurasaari. While most guidebooks will suggest this place is at its best in summer, I enjoyed a sunny day there in the middle of winter with smaller crowds than usual.

What to do HelsinkiSeurasaari Open Air Museum by Amanda Kendle

Not far from the central train station, Keskuspuisto (Central Park) is a beautiful place for a stroll and is an excellent spot to get views over the city. The Olympic Stadium forms one of its boundaries.

What to do Helsinki A wooden instrument in Keskuspuisto by hfb

Day trips from Helsinki

Andy wrote up some great ideas for day trips from Helsinki, and my favourite is the suggestion to visit the Nuuksio National Forest Park. It is only a short bus ride from the centre of Helsinki, but you’ll feel just about as far away from the capital city as you can imagine.

What to do Helsinki Nuuksio Forest by Toivonen

If you’re curious about Estonia, it’s pretty practical to take a day trip from Helsinki to the Estonian capital of Tallinn. The fastest ferries take less than two hours to make the crossing.

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