Top 32 Things To Do In Helsinki, Finland

things to do in helsinki
Victor
Victor 
Contributing Writer
Published
| 9 min read

Finland’s capital, Helsinki has been around since the 16th century. However, the current layout of the city you see today took form during the 1800s, when the Russians designed it to look similar to St. Petersburg. That’s why you see broad streets and a plethora of neoclassical mansions. It is arguably a distinct and charming city with plenty of things to do and see for all kinds of travelers. Whether you are into history, architecture, art, or food, Helsinki has a nice blend of attractions for you. Scroll down below to learn about some of the top things to do in Helsinki, Finland.

From transportation tips to medical essentials and everything in between, the Helsinki local guides share all the must-know information to help you plan your trip.

1. Tour the magnificent Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ad Meskens used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Helsinki Cathedral is the tall green dome that forms part of the city’s vital landmarks. It is a whitewashed neoclassical cathedral that is believed to have been constructed during the mid-19th century in honor of Tsar Nicholas I. The cathedral was initially known as St. Nicholas Cathedral, but that was changed to Helsinki Cathedral when Finland became independent in 1917. The gigantic structure is a sight for sore eyes—and also a cradle of history, especially about Russian rule in the region.

Helsinki Cathedral

Address: Unioninkatu 29, 00170 Helsinki

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 10 USD

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Helsinki Cathedral Helsinki Cathedral Helsinki Cathedral

Photos of Helsinki Cathedral shared by Finland tour guide, Anna.

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2. Enjoy mad outdoor fun at Linnanmaki

Kirnu linnanmäki
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Matias Laine used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Linnanmaki is an amusement park that has been around for more than 65 years, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the country. That it sounds ancient may make you cringe for your safety, but rest assured that it is perfectly well-maintained. It is in fact a popular hangout spot for most families within the capital. The park features a famous white-knuckle rollercoaster, amusement arcades, and a myriad of family-friendly attractions and shows, which make it deserve a top spot in your itinerary if you will be coming to Finland with family.

Linnanmaki

Address: Tivolikuja 1, 00510 Helsinki

Website: Linnanmaki

Price: 10 USD

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3. Board a ferry to Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michal.Pise used under CC BY 2.0

Suomenlinna comprises a series of seven islands, and it was and still is a giant maritime fortress in the region. The most fascinating thing about the islands is that they are all manmade. It is believed that they were constructed by the Swedes way back in the mid-1800s to help fortify the city’s eastern territories. Though this was not enough to save them from being overrun by the Russians during the 19th century. Since then, the islands have not undergone any serious changes, and what you’ll see is exactly what used to be there centuries ago. The gun positions, the star-shaped walls, and the well-thought-out arrangement of the islands will leave you with a lot to admire about the olden defense systems.

Suomenlinna

Address: 00190 Helsinki

Website: Suomenlinna

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Suomenlinna Toy Museum Suomenlinna Toy Museum Suomenlinna Toy Museum

Located on several islands, Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site just a short boat ride away from Helsinki. It's a perfect place for a relaxed day trip and you can also visit Suomenlinna Toy Museum vintage which will surely leave you with a feeling of nostalgia!

Tip from tour guide

Petra

Petra
Helsinki

Moomin characters at Suomenlinna Public Library

Once you're done exploring this stunning fortress, you can unwind with a book at the Suomenlinna Public Library, where charming Moomin characters will keep you company.

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4. Learn more about Finnish buildings at Seurasaari Island

Helsinki - Seurasaari - 20180617150529
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nemo bis used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Seurasaari Island features an open-air museum with a decent collection of various types of buildings inhabited by the Finnish in several parts of the country. It is a magnificent place to learn about some of the cultural aspects of the nation, especially when it comes to housing and the reasons for the differing house types from one region to another. The museum offers tours by professional guides who will tell you all there is to know about rural Finland—and the rich history of local housing that has spanned over 400 years.

Seurasaari Island

Address: 00250 Helsinki

Website: Seurasaari Island

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum Seurasaari Open-Air Museum Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum depicts the life of ordinary people in the past. Here, you can see traditional Finnish bread and an old church from medieval times. It's truly a gem in Helsinki and worth a visit!

Tip from tour guide

Petra

Petra
Helsinki

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

Visit Seurasaari Open-Air Museum to check out antique items such as this unique clock that has been keeping us on schedule for quite some time now! You can find it inside one of the museum buildings.

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Helsinki Tour Guide

Anna Siukola

Anna Siukola

Hi, my name is Ann, and I offer author’s Helsinki and Southern Finland tours in English to individual travelers, families, friend groups, and large groups. My style is educative and entertaining, so you will have a lot of facts presented in an easy, fun, and friendly manner. I am knowledgeable in various fields, but my tours are not boring history lessons. Instead, we will have a lively narrati... Read more

Tours by Anna

Helsinki Tour Guide

Petra Vairimaa

Petra Vairimaa

With eight years of guiding experience and a higher education degree in cultural studies, I offer a perspective on history and culture that goes beyond the ordinary - a depth that only a local culture enthusiast can provide. At Petra's Tours, we don't offer educational lectures; instead, we create experiences designed to ignite your enthusiasm and spark new insights. Join us for moments that ar... Read more

Tours by Petra

Helsinki Tour Guide

Janica Hindle

Janica Hindle

I'm a life-long learner with a passion for all things historical. On my tours I will show you around our charming little capital city, and share with you the past and present of living in Helsinki.

Tours by Janica

5. Buy souvenirs at Market Square

Market square, Helsinki
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pudelek used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Market Square is located in the port area, and it is one of the city’s life and commerce epicenters. It is where the locals gather to trade their merchandise. Here you can find a wide range of goods, including but not limited to wooden mugs, fresh fish, reindeer hides and horns, and other various types of handmade jewelry. This is one of the places where you will have a good chance of buying truly unique items that you can carry home as souvenirs.

Market Square

Address: Eteläranta, 00170 Helsinki

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Market Square

Market Square comes alive at Christmas with a Christmas carousel, magical lights, music, and more.

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6. Walk down memory lane at The National Museum of Finland

National Museum of Finland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

It is always a good idea to learn more about the past of the places you visit, and when you are in Finland, a trip to The National Museum of Finland will present you with an awesome opportunity to do so. The museum is a melting pot of the Finnish culture and showcases a detailed history of how the society developed through the periods—when it was ruled by the Swedish Kingdom and later the Russian Empire. It is full of exhibits about the country’s early civilization too, with wonderful artifacts, including jewelry, medals, coins, weapons, and silver.

The National Museum of Finland

Address: Mannerheimintie 34, 00100 Helsinki

Website: The National Museum of Finland

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 5 USD

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

National Museum of Finland

The National Museum of Finland houses an extensive collection of interesting exhibits of the past. One of them is the first Maternity Box collection from the '60s. The maternity box is very popular and up-to-date outside of Finland as well. The collections have design upgrades every year so that babies always get the latest fashion. Another interesting thing here is that everyone can go to the board of the presidents for a day! 

Tip from tour guide

Petra

Petra
Helsinki

The National Museum of Finland

There is also a great collection of metal detectors, and the museum provides an insightful prehistoric journey from a metal detector's viewpoint. 

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7. Enjoy the evening breeze by Senate Square

Senate Square, Helsinki (3) (36293772320)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Richard Mortel used under CC BY 2.0

Senate Square is a great place to consider if you are looking to link up and interact with the locals. The square features the white cathedral and several other beautiful government buildings, and it is a very popular meeting spot for the locals during the evening. During winter, it normally converts into a beautiful Christmas market with a variety of items on sale, including Christmas gifts, food, snacks, and festive décor, among others.

Senate Square

Address: 00170 Helsinki

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Free

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Senate Square

Photo of Senate Square shared by Finland tour guide, Anna.

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Senate Square

Senate Square often displays various beautiful art installations.

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8. Marvel at the magnificent Uspenski Cathedral

Uspenski Cathedral
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Olga Itenberg used under CC BY 2.0

Uspenski Cathedral is one of the sites that demonstrate Russia’s long engagement with Finland. It is the largest orthodox cathedral in Western Europe, and its location on Helsinki’s upmarket area makes it very conspicuous and a popular attraction for most tourists. Its grandeur, architecture, and the iconostasis that features breathtaking paintings that depict the Virgin Mary surrounded by several saints are some of the cathedral’s features that stand out the most.

Uspenski Cathedral

Address: Kanavakatu 1, 00160 Helsinki

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9:30am - 7pm; Sat: 10am - 3pm; Sun: 12pm - 3pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 10 USD

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Uspenski Cathedral Uspenski Cathedral Uspenski Cathedral

Uspenski Cathedral is the largest Orthodox cathedral in the entire Western Europe, and probably the only example of Russian architecture. Additionally, it was made out of brick to break all the architectural rules of that time. It also has a beautiful crypt, just like all historical cathedrals do. 

There is an interesting photo of the last Romanov family in the crypt. After their murder, they were canonized as saints. You can see the characters that correspond to each person, marked by numbers. Nowadays, the cathedrals hold concerts and exhibitions in the crypts, increasing the scope of social activities.

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9. Learn more about Sibelius

Sibelius Monument

Sibelius Monument is constructed in honor of Jean Sibelius—one of the finest composers Finland has ever produced. It is located at Sibelius Park. Its design is completely unique, featuring the composer’s head perched on a stone wall and his likeness rendered in the form of free-flowing pipes. What you will see here is an amazing concept that was perfectly executed to remind generations to come about the legendary artist.

Sibelius Monument

Address: Sibeliuksen puisto, Mechelininkatu, 00250 Helsinki

Price: 10 USD

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Sibelius Monument Sibelius Monument Sibelius Monument

Photos of Sibelius Monument shared by Finland tour guide, Anna.

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10. Discover the country’s design prowess at Design Museum

Ullanlinna, Helsinki, Finland - panoramio (3)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Björn S. used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A stop at Design Museum in Finland is simply unmissable. The museum contains a permanent collection that explores the deep roots of Finnish traditions when it comes to design. The exhibits here feature contemporary works, ranging from furniture to household items. A visit to the museum is a great way to appreciate the rich diversity that exists in the country.

Design Museum

Address: Korkeavuorenkatu 23, 00130 Helsinki

Website: Design Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 16 USD

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Design Museum Design Museum Design Museum

Photos of Design Museum shared by Finland tour guide, Anna.

Tip from tour guide

Anna

Anna
Helsinki

Design Museum Design Museum Design Museum

Design Museum houses several exhibits from various artists and designers. Here, you can check out Finnish designer Antti Nurmesniemi's collection, renowned for the orange benches in the Helsinki metro. Also, be sure to check out Marimekko's designer Vuokko Nurmesniemi's textile collections. Apart from these, you can also view the glass collection of Iittala here.

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11. Visit the Porkkala Peninsula

Contributed by Tour Guide, Petra Vairimaa

Source: Petra Vairimaa

The Porkkala peninsula is located 45 minutes away from Helsinki City Centre. The area is a delightful retreat by the Baltic Sea, welcoming visitors for short excursions or extended camping stays. However, beyond its picturesque taiga forest nature and archipelago vistas, the area bears historical significance as a former Russian Naval Base during the post-World War II and Cold War era, recognized as the “Porkkala Parenthesis” or “Porkkala Lease Time.” This period holds a unique place in Finland’s narrative. Upon arrival there is an approx 1.5-km (0.93-m) nature trail leading to the cape of the peninsula. From there the most enchanting archipelago landscape opens up. Keep a keen eye out for a 200-year-old lighthouse and the possibility of encountering majestic elk or deer, adding a touch of wildlife wonder to this visit.

For nature enthusiasts, the allure of Porkkala is amplified during spring and autumn. These seasons offer a unique opportunity for bird watchers to witness the inspiring spectacle of migratory birds departing for winter and returning in the spring.

A visit to the Porkkala Peninsula promises a treasure trove of experiences for both nature lovers and culture enthusiasts alike.

12. Ride the Helsinki Eye

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Helsinki Eye

Helsinki Eye looks like London Eye, doesn’t it? That’s right! Quite the same, but… there is something VERY Finnish added to the “Helsinki Eye”: it has a SAUNA GONDOLA on it! Wow! Did you expect that?! Don’t miss trying it out when in Helsinki!

13. Take a spiritual break at Temppeliaukio Church

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Temppeliaukio Church
Source: Anna Siukola

Are you looking for a spiritual place in Helsinki to spend some quiet moments? Visit Temppeliaukio Church or the Rock Church of Helsinki. It is a tranquil and pure space, ideal for enjoying meditation, church service, a concert, or just the aesthetics all around.

14. Explore the realistic models in MiniSuomi Museum

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

For a delightful family outing in Helsinki, head to MiniSuomi Museum, a private museum in the heart of the Kruunuhaka area. Explore realistic models showcasing Finland’s significant sites, enhanced with augmented reality for an immersive and entertaining experience that both children and adults will enjoy.

15. Visit Helsinki's Old Town

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Waterfall in Old Town
Source: Anna Siukola

Helsinki’s Old Town is the oldest district in the city where you can explore various attractions. Head to the romantic waterfall and admire the natural beauty. History enthusiasts, meanwhile, can visit Museum of Technology on Lammassaari island and check out the collection there.

16. Learn about Finland's mass media at Päivälehti Newspaper Museum

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

Päivälehti Newspaper Museum offers a glimpse into the history of Finland through mass media narratives and boasts an extensive collection of historical articles. I love spending time here reading about events that take you back to the old days. It’s very interesting to follow what the world has been through. Additionally, it also shows the history of printed media in Finland.

Apart from this, the museum also houses political cartoons about the neighboring USSR, which were very popular in Finland in the 20th century. It also displays The Finnish Donald Duck’s World, which was designed by the lead cartoonist, Kari Suomalainen.

17. Spend sometime at Helsinki's Academic Bookstore

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

During your visit to Helsinki, explore the Academic Bookstore next to Stockmann. Here, you’ll be enchanted by its stunning interior and vast literature collection, and you cannot miss meeting the adorable Moomins character created by Tove Jansson.

18. Explore the exhibits at Amos Rex

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

Art enthusiasts exploring Helsinki should make a point to visit Amos Rex for its remarkable modern art collection, showcasing multiple renowned painters, from Sigurd Frosterus to Birger Carlstedt. Additionally, delve into the captivating portrayal of Egypt’s final dynasties within the museum’s halls for a truly immersive experience.

19. Grab your favorite book at Helsinki Central Library Oodi

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

When visiting Helsinki, be sure to add Helsinki Central Library Oodi to your itinerary. Its unique sea-wave design and global acclaim make it a must-see attraction. Also, don’t forget to snap a photo at the picturesque spot near the busy street for an unforgettable memory of your visit.

20. Take a moment to admire the Gandhi Statue in Allotria Park

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

Pay a visit to the Gandhi statue in Allotria Park by Hämeenlinna Street, which symbolizes India’s non-violent struggle for independence against British rule. It was gifted to the Finnish government by the Indian government in 2019 and stands as a tribute to the enduring legacy of peace, justice, and freedom.

21. Plan a visit to the historic Villa Hakasalmi

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

Villa Hakasalmi was the house of Aurora Karamzin who once married the richest man in Russia, Paul Demidov. Inside, the atmosphere will remind you of the period between 1919 and 1929, and the decor can be described as beautiful and elegant.

22. Click a picture with Havis Amanda

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Havis Amanda
Source: Anna Siukola

Havis Amanda is a true symbol of Helsinki, and nowadays, it is impossible to imagine this city without this fountain. However, did you know that some 100 years ago, there was a possibility that it would stay in Paris and decorate the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and not arrive in Helsinki?

23. Take your kids to Helsinki Tram Museum

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

If you’re visiting Helsinki, make sure to check out Helsinki Tram Museum. It’s a part of Helsinki City Museum’s group, and entry is free. It’s one of the best places to bring your kids, who’ll love the interactive experience, whether playing driver, conductor, or passenger.

24. Plan a visit to the Supreme Court of Helsinki

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

On rare days, Helsinki’s Supreme Court opens its doors to the public. While there’s always a long queue to enter it, the experience is worth the wait.

25. Spend some time in the oldest wooden house of Helsinki

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

Did you know that The Burgher’s Home is the oldest wooden house in Helsinki? It has been converted into a small museum dedicated to Alexander Wickholm’s family, and entry is completely free.

26. Take refreshing dips in Allas Sea Pool

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Source: Anna Siukola

Located in front of the President Palace, Allas Sea Pool is an amazing place right in the center of Helsinki. It has three different outdoor pools, with two of them having warm water all year round. This is one of the places you don’t want to miss while in Helsinki. Plus, it’s perfect for all seasons!

27. Indulge in a relaxing sauna bath at Alvarin Sauna

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Alvarin Sauna
Source: Anna Siukola

Finland is renowned as the ultimate destination for sauna enthusiasts. In addition to traditional saunas, mobile saunas are a unique feature, often spotted on buses, trucks, or even pulled by tractors. Among the notable spots is Alvarin Sauna, nestled in the heart of the city atop the Skywheel. Make sure to visit for an unforgettable steaming adventure.

28. Watch out for the mobile libraries

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Mobile libraries
Source: Anna Siukola

During your trip to Helsinki, be sure to visit the mobile libraries. These are like book buses, bringing books everywhere so everyone can read. Did you know that in Finland, people love libraries and real books, showing that they’re still important, even with e-books around?

29. Immerse yourself amidst the wildlife of Finnish Museum of Natural History

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

If you’re looking for a family-friendly attraction in Helsinki, visit Finnish Museum of Natural History. Your kids will have a gala time exploring and learning about the wildlife here.

30. Learn more about Helsinki at Flying Cinema Tour Of Helsinki

Contributed by Tour Guide, Anna Siukola

Flying Cinema Tour Of Helsinki
Source: Anna Siukola

If you want to see more of Helsinki but running short of time, head to the Flying Cinema Tour Of Helsinki. It offers a nice experience where you can go with your family and friends. You can choose to watch short movies on the best sights in Helsinki and Finland. The best part is that there are also some fun things to keep your kids engaged.

31. Admire the beautiful street art

Contributed by Tour Guide, Petra Vairimaa

Source: Petra Vairimaa

After a day of exploring Helsinki’s beauty, I found the best way to unwind and recharge is by taking a different walking route home than usual, allowing me to admire the captivating street art. If you’re visiting the city, be sure to keep an eye out for Helsinki’s spectacular street art.

32. Embark on a fun trip to Läntinen Pihlajasaari

Contributed by Tour Guide, Petra Vairimaa

If you’re looking for a short day trip from Helsinki, head to Läntinen Pihlajasaari, a short boat ride away from the shores of the city. Here, you can explore the beaches, forests, saunas, villas, and military remains and learn more about the island’s captivating stories.

Have a wonderful time exploring Helsinki

A trip to Helsinki should never lack enthusiasm. Use our recommendations for the top things to do in Helsinki, Finland, to ensure the best experiences. These activities are bound to make your trip to the Finnish capital all the more exciting and memorable.

Tip from tour guide

Petra

Petra
Helsinki

Apart from these fun things to do, your trip to Helsinki won't be complete unless you ride its famous tuk-tuk. So be sure to book a seat and enjoy this wonderful experience.
Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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