Finland is known as the Land of A Thousand Lakes and one of its most beautiful cities is the capital, Helsinki. Known lovingly as the Daughter of The Baltic, Helsinki attracts tourists from all corners of the globe because of its fantastic sites and the cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Scandinavian city houses a little over half a million residents so it’s not a place which you can call “crowded”. With its architecturally unique venues, its culture shaped by Swedish and Russian influence, great shopping opportunities and most importantly its deep-rooted history, Helsinki provides a plethora of wonderful things to see and do for every traveller. Let’s not forget, Finland has regularly been judged as the “happiest country in the world” and we are sure visiting Helsinki is bound to increase your happiness by a huge margin. In this post, we will take a look at the best things to see and do in Helsinki. Let’s get started.
The Best Places To Visit In Helsinki
Which are the main attractions of Helsinki?
Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church)
If you turn your route towards Toolo Mahallesi, you will have the privilege of visiting Temppeliaukio Church, which is perhaps the most architecturally extraordinary church in the world.
The church, which was opened in 1969, was designed by the brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen.
The religious building, which won the admiration of its visitors with its modern architecture, was built by carving a large rock mass. For this reason, the local people find the building worthy of the name Kaya Church.
When you enter the Temppeliaukio Church, where musical events are held throughout the year due to its magnificent acoustics, you can more easily grasp the subtleties of the idea of spirituality in nature, which is unique to Finland.
In the meantime, let us state right away, announcements about the concerts are made through the church’s social media accounts.
- Address: Lutherinkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 09.30-17.30
- Entry Fee: EUR 4
Uspenski Cathedral, which was built between 1862 and 1868 as a Russian Orthodox church, is another religious structure that you can add to your list of places to visit in Helsinki thanks to its architectural beauty.
The design of the cathedral was undertaken by Aleksey Gomostayev. Unfortunately, the Russian architect could not take the opportunity to be proud of his work, as he died before the construction of the building began. The result was one of the most beautiful examples of Russian cathedral architecture in Western Europe.
With its red brick-clad walls, Uspenski Cathedral presents an eye-catching appearance, adding a different atmosphere to the city with its gold-plated and onion-shaped domes. In the square interior of the cathedral, panels depicting the Last Supper and the Ascension greet travelers.
- Address: Kanavakatu 1, 00160 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 09.30-18.00
Kauppatori (Market Square)
If you aim to adapt to the city atmosphere immediately, you can put Kauppatori on your list of places to visit in Helsinki without thinking.
The square next to Esplanadi Park is already popular as it is surrounded by structures that reveal all the beauty of local architecture, especially the Presidential Palace and Helsinki City Hall.
When you add the restaurants and souvenir shops that serve Finnish cuisine to this, it becomes really enjoyable to spend time in this area on the Baltic Sea coast.
The Market Square, which has a large sitting area where you can spend long hours in good weather, takes on its most colorful form in October. Because at this time of the year, a traditional Herring Market is set up in a part of the square.
If you are here on the first Friday of any month, you will have the opportunity to see the wonderful collection of old American cars. You can even take the ferry whenever you want and go to Suomenlinna from there.
Suomenlinna, where HSL, which manages the local transport network, organizes ferry services from Kauppatori throughout the year, is home to an architectural marvel that is hard to come by.
The naval fortification, which transforms the island into a tourist attraction that attracts great attention throughout the year, actually covers 8 large and small pieces of land.
However, since the military defense base was built in the middle of the 18th century in line with the decision taken by the Swedish parliament against Russian attacks, Suomenlinna continues to be a frequent destination for travelers due to its historical value.
I recommend those who want to individually explore the historical richness of Suomenlinna, which is surrounded by strong walls with a length of 4 kilometers, to follow the blue route.
Of course, if you wish, you can also take advantage of the opportunity to get to know the 800-population island in detail by participating in guided tours. Thus, you can spend more time visiting 6 museums that emphasize different aspects of the island.
- Visiting Hours: 09.30-18.00
- Entry Fee: EUR 11 (Guided Tour)
Helsinki Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)
Helsinki Cathedral , the largest Orthodox place of worship in Western Europe, was built between 1830 and 1852 in the name of Russian Tsar Nicholas I. Because of this situation, the religious structure was called the Church of St. Nicholas until 1917, when Finland declared its independence.
The cathedral manages to attract travelers thanks to its architectural beauty as well as its history. The building, designed in Neo-Classical style by German Architect Carl Ludvig Engel, fascinates its guests at first glance with its elegant stance.
Behind the striking architectural beauty of Helsinki Cathedral, which is also the scene of cultural events, lies the idea that the building is a reminder of the supremacy of God.
For this reason, there are 12 apostles statues believed to protect the city on the roof of the cathedral, whose exterior is completely white.
In the more flamboyant interior, sculptures depicting the pioneers of the reform movement Luther, Melanchthon, and Mikael Agricola stand out.
- Address: Unioninkatu 29, 00170 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 09.00-18.00
Senate Square, surrounded by the Helsinki Cathedral, the Finnish National Library, the Government Palace and the University of Helsinki, is characterized as the heart of the city in every respect.
Reflecting all the subtleties of Neo-Classical architecture, the square is also the oldest part of the city center. Therefore, many experienced travelers say that a full Helsinki experience cannot be had without visiting Senate Square.
Senate Square hosts many artistic events throughout the year, especially the exhibition consisting of ice sculptures.
Many festivals and concert organizations also meet their audiences in this part of the city. If you go towards the middle of the square, the Russian Tsar II. You can see the statue depicting Alexander.
National Museum of Finland
The National Museum of Finland was established in 1893 and shares valuable information about the history of the country, adhering to a very wide time period.
The museum, which opened its doors to individuals who are interested in history in 1916, was built between 1905 and 1910, adhering to the design of Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen.
I would definitely recommend you spare some time for the Kalevala-themed frescoes, especially in the entrance section of the building.
The extensive collection of the Finnish National Museum is divided into 6 parts focusing on different themes. Coins, medals and jewelry are displayed in the Coin Chamber.
The Realm sheds light on the evolution of Finnish society and culture throughout history. If you want to examine the largest archaeological collection in Finland, you can devote most of your time to the Prehistory of Finland .
- Address: Mannerheimintie 34, 00100 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 11.00-18.00
- Entry Fee: EUR 12
- Website: kansallismuseo.fi
Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum
Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, which was founded in 1990 and started to host its visitors in its modern building in 1998, arouses interest with its collection, some of which consists of digital works.
While wandering around the exhibition areas of the museum, you can find the opportunity to closely examine the works of many local artists, including Ahonen, Reetta, Aiha, Martti and Aken.
In the cultural facility where you will have detailed information about Finnish contemporary art, you can also come across works signed by people from abroad.
If you visit the Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, which continues its activities within the Finnish National Art Gallery, on a sunny day, you may encounter people having a picnic around the Mannerheim Statue before entering the building.
If you have enough time, you can even watch the performances in the theater hall of the museum.
- Address: Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 10.00-18.00
- Entry Fee: EUR 15
- Website: kiasma.fi
Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
Located 5.5 kilometers northwest of the city center, Seurasaari Open-Air Museum was established in 1909 under the leadership of Professor Axel Olai Heikel.
The cultural facility contains an exquisite collection of 87 wooden buildings of historical value brought from various parts of Finland.
In this collection, which consists of different types of structures from barns to mansions, from churches to priests’ houses, there are also giant rowing boats.
While visiting the Seurasaari Open Air Museum, which will help you understand the traditions and rural life of the Finnish people over the centuries, you can also get valuable information about folk dances and handicrafts.
In fact, if you make this visit to the Seurasaari Bonfires Festival, you can experience a much more colorful atmosphere.
- Visiting Hours: 11:00-17:00
- Entry Fee: EUR 10
Ateneum Art Museum
Operating in a Neo-Classical style palace, the Ateneum Art Museum, together with Kiasma and Sinebrychoff, make up the Finnish National Gallery.
The art museum, located just across the Helsinki Central Railway Station, focuses on classical works of art produced in the period from the late 19th century to the 1950s, which is described as the “ Golden Age ”. The collection of the cultural facility includes paintings and sculptures signed by local artists.
Busts of Bramante, Raphael and Fidias greet visitors at the entrance of the Ateneum Art Museum, which was founded in 1887.
After these works, which were included in the museum in memory of three famous classical artists, you can see the works of important names such as Albert Edelfelt, Hugo Simberg, Helene Schjerfbeck, and the von Wright Brothers.
The cultural facility is also home to the first Van Gogh painting purchased by a museum.
- Address: Kaivokatu 2, 00100 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 10.00-18.00
- Entry Fee: EUR 17
- Website: ateneum.fi
Kamppi Chapel of Silence
Kamppi Chapel of Silence, which you will have the opportunity to visit during your Helsinki trip, differs from its counterparts with its extraordinary architecture, just like Temppeliaukio.
Built in 2012, the chapel’s ultra-contemporary design features the signatures of Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola and Mikko Summanen. The religious building really adds to Narinkkatori Square with its cocoon-like appearance.
Those who enter the interior of Kamppi Chapel, which preserves its ecumenical structure and accepts every individual regardless of whether they adopt a belief system or not, encounter an extremely quiet atmosphere worthy of its name.
Only 60 people can be admitted at one time due to the limited space. If the number of visitors is higher, it may be necessary to wait for a while.
- Address: Simonkatu 7, 00100 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 08.00-20.00
- Website: kampinkappeli.fi
Linnanmaki Amusement Park
Linnanmaki Amusement Park, which provides hours of fun for adults as well as children, started to serve in 1950 with 45 different toys.
The facility, which continues to be the most famous amusement park in the country by far, is built on a hill to the north of the city center. In this way, travelers visiting the park have the opportunity to enjoy the city view while having fun.
While riding the toys in Linnanmaki Amusement Park, you can prioritize the Vuoristorata, which has been in service since 1951.
After experiencing the nostalgic atmosphere created by the nostalgic wooden roller coaster, you can turn to classic options such as a Ferris wheel or choose 4D cinemas. Then you can change your route to Sea Life right next to it .
- Address: Tivoli Kuja 1, 00510 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 11.00-22.00
- Entry Fee: EUR 42
- Website: linnanmaki.fi
Esplanadi Park is one of the attractions brought to the city by architect Carl Luwig Engel, and it belongs to every list of places to visit in Helsinki to spend time in its classical-style cafes and to watch the performances of street artists in a peaceful environment.
Of course, in addition to these, you can enjoy the green areas cheered with bird sounds in the sunny weather, communicate with the local people and visit historical buildings.
Kappeli, which has been in service since 1867, is the ideal place to have a high-end gastronomic experience in Esplanadi Park, which was opened in 1818.
The first of the historical buildings to be visited in the green area, which has a statue depicting the famous poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg in its center, is the city’s first theater building, Engels.
Sibelius Park & Monument
Here is one more reason for you to go to Toolo Neighborhood is the Sibelius Park, located in the part of the settlement stretching towards the seaside, is a very suitable place to relax after a busy day with its forested area providing shelter for various bird species and its atmosphere of silence.
The green area is named after Jean Sibelius, the most cherished composer ever trained by Finland since 1945.
Sibelius Park offers its visitors pleasant hours with its quiet walking and cycling tracks. However, my main reason for including the green area in this list is the presence of the Sibelius Monument.
Consisting of 600 steel pipes, this work was created by Eila Hiltunen in 1967. If you go to the park on a slightly windy day, you can find the chance to listen to the pleasant tone of the monument.
- Address: Mechelininkatu, 00250 Helsinki
Helsinki Zoo, which you can reach in 20 minutes by taking the public transportation vehicles departing from the city center, was established in 1889. In this regard, the zoo is known as one of the oldest in the world in its field.
In addition to 150 animal species, the fact that it contains nearly a thousand plant varieties allows nature lovers to add the facility to their list of places to visit in Helsinki.
Amur tigers, silk monkeys and snow leopards live in the well-designed conservation areas of Helsinki Zoo, which is one of the few attractions in the city that is open all seasons.
Apart from exotic species, you can also find local species such as elk, arctic badger, and reindeer while you spend time here.
- Address: Mustikkamaanpolku 12, 00270 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 10.00-20.00
- Entry Fee: EUR 14
- Website: korkeasaari.fi
If you want to see the most beautiful building built in the Art-Nouveau style in the city, we would definitely recommend you to go to Helsinki Central Station .
Construction of the elegant building, designed by Eliel Saarinen, began in 1905. It was inaugurated in 1919. Its exterior walls, lined with Finnish granite, help give the central station an intriguing appearance. Of course, the clock tower and the two statues at the entrance also contributed to this interest.
The clock tower, which is the most striking part of the Central Station, which is the destination of all suburban and long-distance trains providing transportation to the city, has a length of 48.5 meters.
Local people have made it a habit to pass by this building at least once a day and learn the time. You can follow this ritual and visit the clock tower first. Then you can head to the Lighthouse Carriers at the entrance of the station.
- Address: Kaivokatu 1, 00100 Helsinki
Mannerheimintie (Mannerheim Street)
While preparing a list of places to visit in Helsinki, we realized that Mannerheimintie, which is the main street of the city, should not be missed.
Because the street, named after Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, who played an important role first as a military leader and later as a politician in Finland’s current state, deserves a visit with its historical buildings and shopping opportunities.
Mannerheim Street starts from Erottaja and runs north of the city. Those who follow this road find transportation to Kamppi, Toolo, Laakso and Tampere in addition to iconic venues such as the Swedish Theater and Stockmann.
Moreover, during this tour, you can catch the opportunity to see beautiful monuments. The statue depicting Mannerheim on a horse and the Three Blacksmiths Monument attract great attention from travelers visiting this part of the city.
The tourist attraction, which concludes our list of places to visit in Helsinki, carries the classic Ferris wheel experience to quite different dimensions with Finnish touches.
Operating in the city center a few steps from the sea, SkyWheel Helsinki started to operate in 2014. There are 29 cabins painted in the colors of the national flag on the Ferris wheel, which acts as an observation platform with its 40-meter height.
It takes only 10-12 minutes to get into the cabins with a capacity of 8 people and watch the unique view of the city.
So far, we have mentioned the standard features of SkyWeel Helsinki. However, as he stated at the beginning, there is also a VIP side to the business.
If your budget is large enough, you can go on 30-minute private tours and experience romantic moments with the person you love while enjoying the city view. You can even evaluate the SkySauna offer if you wish.
- Address: Katajanokanlaituri 2, 00160 Helsinki
- Visiting Hours: 12.00-18.00
- Entry Fee: EUR 13
- Website: skywheel.fi
Keskuspuisto (Helsinki Central Park)
Extending in the south-north direction along the Helsinki city center, Keskuspuisto offers great opportunities for those who enjoy outdoor activities and relaxation areas intertwined with nature.
To be more precise about its location, the park starts from Töölönlahti Bay and stretches to Haltiala and Vantta rivers. My favorite part of the park was its characteristic features. Because when you go to different parts of the park, different land types and living species are encountered.
Helsinki Central Park, which gives its guests the opportunity to photograph admirable landscapes in all four seasons of the year. It consists of four conservation areas: Pitkakoski, Haltiala, Niskala, Arboretum and Ruutinkoski. The outdoor sports center Paloheinä is located in the north of the park, which was opened in 1914.
Helsinki Olympic Stadium
Resembling a temple for athletics fans, Helsinki Olympic Stadium was built between 1934-1938. Yrjo Lindegren and Toivo Jäntti undertook the design of the stadium, which was built for the 1952 Summer Olympics. When the sports facility was first opened, it had a capacity of 70,000 people.
In fact, the record was broken with 70,435 spectators on the opening day of the Olympic Games. However, the capacity was later reduced to 39 thousand for security reasons.
Unfortunately, you have to wait until 2020 to visit the Helsinki Olympic Stadium , which has a different stance from most of its counterparts with its 72-meter tower and timeless design .
Because the renovation project, which was implemented in 2016 to make the stadium multi-purpose, continues at full speed. Of course, while you are visiting Toolo, you can spare a few minutes for the iconic structure and take a photo of it from the outside.
- Address: Paavo Nurmen tie 1, 00250 Helsinki
- Website: stadion.fi/helsinki-olympic-stadium
So those were the best things to see in Helsinki. If you are planning a visit, make sure that you visit as many of these places as possible.