Fall in love with Helsinki
A vibrant seaside city of beautiful islands and great green urban areas
Helsinki is one of the most popular meeting destinations in Europe. Each year more than 400 international meetings are held in the city, attended by more than 40 000 delegates. Accessibility, innovations and high education are the key factor for turning Finland’s capital into a modern, pocket-size, high-tech congress capital.
The land of Northern lights, lakes, forests, and islands will charm you with the Nordic culture and festivals, the fresh food, the vibrant city spirit, the modernistic architecture, and the sustainable lifestyle of its residents.
Visit a UNESCO World Heritage object
The Suomenlinna Fortress (meaning “Finnish Castle”) is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and the most popular tourist attraction in Finland. It was built in the mid-18th century as a fortification unit protecting the Baltic from the Russian invasion. Today it is a museum, a park, and an arts venue. It will mesmerise you with its fortress walls, 100 cannons, exciting tunnels, and beautiful parks.
Explore Market square
This is the place you will see first when you visit the old town of Helsinki. It is one of the best-known outdoor markets in northern Europe. Here you can literally buy everything, products such as fresh fish, Finnish food specialties like reindeer horns, handmade jewellery, wooden mugs, coffee, souvenirs, flowers, and more.
Learn more about Finnish history
If you would like to learn more about Finnish history and customs, the National Museum of Finland should be on your list while you are visiting. Among the most interesting exhibitions for visitors, you will find the Treasury Trove halls that exhibits findings from the Middle Ages and the ones from the country’s early civilization ages.
Admire Helsinki’s symbol
The Helsinki Cathedral is presented on the cover of almost any Helsinki guidebook. It is the landmark of the city and is famous for its astonishing architecture. Sculptures of the 12 apostles guard the city from the roof of the church. It was built in the mid-19th century and it was first called St. Nicholas’s Cathedral in honour of the Russian Tsar Nicholas I and later was renamed simply to “Helsinki Cathedral”.
Go for a walk in Esplanadi park
It’s known among locals as “Espa” and is a green area, right in the centre of the city suitable for picnics and relaxation. Located in front of the famous Café Kappeli, is the Espa Stage – a podium where a lot of shows and live performances like Jazz-Espa or Marimekko Fashion Show take place.
Relax at the spa after an educational day
Visiting a traditional Finnish sauna is the most valuable experience you can have in Helsinki. Try Allas Sea Pool – a real swimming oasis right in the heart of the city. It is open throughout the whole year and offers tourists three saunas, two warm water pools, one pool with an outdoor gym, guided sports workouts and many restaurants and cafes. Allas Sea Pool represents the urban city culture at its best.
Visit the Helsinki zoo
The Helsinki zoo is one of the very few zoos in the world that is located on a separate island. It was created in the 1880s which makes it also one of the oldest. The main attraction here are the snow leopards and other big cats such as the Amur and the Siberian tiger. The environment is very similar to the natural habitat of each animal, which allows you to admire not only wild animals but over 1 000 plant species too.
Try your luck at Linnanmäki
This amusement park was open in the 1950s and was recently renovated. It offers a large selection of fun rides from very scary to more easy-going for those who don’t feel so brave. An interesting fact is that the original rollercoaster from 1951 was preserved and continues to be among the most visited attractions.
Enjoy a vintage tram ride
Helsinki’s tram system is one of the oldest electrified trams in the world. Although the trams are almost a century old, in some you will receive a multi-language leaflet when boarding which will let you know what you are looking at. Tram line 2 will show you the main sights around Helsinki and tram line 4 will reveal some of the best sceneries in town.
Catch some fish
Helsinki is a synonym for fresh fish. And what’s more exciting than catching fish on your own? The local professional guides will take you to the best fishing spots. There are also “ice fishing safaris” organized for tourists at the seashores or on lake shores in the Helsinki region.
Take a ride on the Sky Wheel
The Sky Wheel offers you a unique experience. There is no better way to enjoy the beauty of Helsinki and its coastline from above. From approx. 40 m height you will be able to enjoy all main sights and attractions and will be able to spot some of the surrounding islands as well.
It’s not only famous for its nature and recreation opportunities, but also for being a unique open-air museum itself. It has an exhibit of traditional Finnish home buildings from previous ages and is a living textbook about the rural life in Finland some 400 years ago. Old workshops, farms, manors, and cottages are everywhere.
Isosaari Island is the pearl of the Helsinki archipelago. There are two pristine sandy beaches on the island, three saunas, a restaurant with an amazing view, a golf course, a guest harbour, and a tent area for camping. The island is accessible May-September with a ferry.
Kuninkaansaari also has breath-taking views to offer. In the past, the island was a base for King Gustav III of Sweden who prepared his ships for a battle against the Russian tsar. Today the island has a stunning shoreline from granite rocks and the whole archipelago can be seen from the shore.
Is it coffee time?
Always. Finland is the country where the population drinks more coffee per capita than any other country in the world. The average consumption of coffee per day and per person is 8-9 cups.
Having a strong coffee culture is directly related to the existence of many nice cafes where you can buy a hot drink or something sweet.
This is the oldest and classiest café not only in the capital, but in the country. Try the Napoleon cake or choose from a variety of breakfast options, noodles, pastries, biscuits, and cookies. Don’t forget the regular coffee or hot chocolate.
A café chain inspired by the Moomin children’s book series by Tove Jansson. The cafes serve Moomin-themed drinks and snacks, and is decorated with Moomin illustrations.
Its photo is maybe one of the most recognized symbols of Helsinki along with the Helsinki Cathedral. In other words, this is a must-visit for every tourist. It’s a small red cottage with vintage interior. It’s all about the atmosphere and the coffee, of course. Everyone is welcome here, even pets.