Located between Tallinn, Stockholm and St. Petersburg, on the north coast of the Gulf of Finland. Helsinki, the largest city and the capital of Finland, is the country’s hub for business, research, education, culture, and government. It is a vibrant seaside city with green parks and open spaces, historical buildings with fine architecture and more than 300 beautiful islands interconnected by a maze of bridges. Helsinki might be the perfect summertime retreat and a great city for a weekend getaway. Here is a collection with the top 10 things to do in Helsinki.
Aleksanterinkatu – Aleksanterinkatu Street is one of the famous shopping streets in the city, It is the central commercial street of Helsinki. Shops, cafes, restaurants and the Stockmann department store are all present in one convenient location.
Market Square – Located near the center of Helsinki, in the South Harbour at the very beginning of the Esplanade Park. Market Square (Kauppatori in Finnish) is one of the most famous market places and tourist attractions in the city. It is an open-air market with fresh farmers’ local produce and local craftsmen’s souvenirs.
Ateneum Art Museum – Ateneum, also known as the National Museum of Art, is home to the most loved classic works of Finnish art and it contains the most extensive finest art collections of Finland. with more than 20,000 works: paintings, graphics, drawings and sculptures from the 17th-18th-19th centuries. Among works by foreign masters are Rembrandt’s Monk Reading and Vincent van Gogh’s Street in Auvers-sur-Oise. The same building also houses the famed Finnish Academy of Art. Designed by Theodor Höijer. Entry is free every now and then, so check in their website in advance.
Hietaniemi Beach – Along with warm summers, Helsinki offers over 310 islands and coastline close to 100 km (62 miles) long. Hietaniemi is the most popular beach in the city and often called ‘The Copacabana of Helsinki’. locals flock Hietaniemi Beach during the summer to enjoy the long days, the sun, beach volleyball, and the calm water.
Temppeliaukio Church – Built in 1969, Temppeliaukio Church (also known as ‘the Rock Church’) was designed by two brothers, Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, and it is the most popular architectural sight in Finland. The underground Rock Church is built inside of a massive block of natural granite in the middle of an ordinary residential square. It has a breathtaking copper roof that shines with natural light that brightens the inside through 180 glasses between the dome and the wall. The church is often used for concerts, because of the excellent acoustics.
Kamppi Chapel of Silence – Located in Narinkkatori Square in Helsinki. Kamppi Chapel of Silence is a Lutheran chapel provides an oasis of calm, designed by local firm K2S Architects. It offers a place to quiet down and compose oneself in one of Finland’s most lively urban spaces. With its curved wood facade, the small sacral building flows into the cityscape. Simultaneously the chapels gently shaped interior space embraces visitors and shields them from the bustling city life outside. The Finnish Lutheran Church has a history of promoting contemporary architecture. What makes a great difference in Kamppi Chapel is the cooperation between the city and the church. Here, one is able to meet both a priest and a social worker.
Suomenlinna Fortress – Suomenlinna is one of the biggest sea fortresses in the world built off the coast of Helsinki by Augustin Ehrensvärd during the era of Swedish rule and It was built to protect the city against Russia. Nowadays it is one of the most popular attractions in Finland. The fortress has a selection of restaurants and cafés. The Visitor Center and Suomenlinna Museum, situated in the middle of the fortress, are a base and information point for visitors as well as the starting point for the walking tours.
Helsinki Zoo – Established in 1889, It is one of the oldest zoos in the world and one of the few zoos located on an island. It is the perfect place to visit due to its natural environment with 1,000 plant species, 200 animals and long history demonstrating nature’s great diversity. It is located on the island Korkeasaari, just before the coast of Helsinki, and open all year around.
Linnanmäki Amusement Park – Is the most popular amusement park in Finland, located in in the heart of Helsinki, with more rides than any other amusement park in Scandinavia. It offers many roller coasters, bumper cars, ferris wheel, pendulum rides, river rafting, water rides and more. Open daily during the summer season.
Helsinki Cathedral – Built between 1830-1852, towering over Market Square, Helsinki Cathedral is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki. It is a major landmark with a steep set of stairs, the church is modeled after Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. There are statues of the Apostles made of zinc on the roof, and they are the biggest unique set of zinc sculptures in the world.
Just So You Know…
- There are more women than men in Helsinki (women making up around 53.4%).
- Helsinki is home for the northernmost metro station, motorway and vineyard in the world.
- Helsinki enjoys long days of almost 19 hours during summers. Conversely, during winters, the nights are longer with almost 18 hours of darkness.
- Normally, Finns are quiet and reserved people who follow the rules and sometimes seem somewhat cold to outsiders.
- The unique and popular souvenirs to take home from Finland are salty licorice candy, canned reindeer meat and authentic glassware.
- Favorite Restaurants: Bar Kuja popular spot for lunch and drinks with a cozy and artsy vibe. Ravintola Saaga with traditional Lappish cuisine in the heart of Helsinki. Ravintola Kuu Oy traditional Finnish cuisine with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. FAFA’s is a modest Moroccan-style restaurant with big heart. Kallion Sävel a relaxed quintessential traditional Finnish bistro. Grotesk is the best restaurants for meat-lovers.
- Favorite Bars: Bäkkari with a real hard rock vibe. Liberty or Death super cozy with secretive cocktails. Molotow great place with great cocktails and impressive decoration.
- Take a free walking tour with ‘Happy Guide Helsinki‘. They are really great.
- Visit the boutique Hotel Katajonokka, it used to be a prison back in 1837.
- Take a taxi with the Karaoke Taxi, one of the funniest things we have ever done.