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30 Essential things to see in Helsinki

Helsinki is a small and quiet capital, which you can visit in one or two days. There are many interesting places to visit and lots of plans that you can do in the Finnish capital. In this post I talk about the 30 essential things to see in Helsinki, and I add some tips on how to get from the airport to the center, where to stay...

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia


If you are thinking of visiting one or two museums in the city, in addition to entering one of the monuments, I recommend that you buy the Helsinki card. You will save a lot of money.

1. Start by doing a free tour of Helsinki

The city can be visited on foot, without having to take public transport. And a great way to get to know it is with a guided tour. With this tour you will know the most emblematic places of the city how; The Cathedral, located in the Senate Square, the Uspenski Cathedral, the Market Square...

2. Senate Square, one of the most beautiful places to see in Helsinki

Senate Square is one of the essential places to see in Helsinki. It is located in the historic center surrounded by some of the most emblematic buildings of the city such as the Helsinki Cathedral, Sederholm House and the University Library.

3. Visit Helsinki Cathedral and climb the steps to enjoy the views

The Cathedral stands out for being located at the top of a staircase, its magnitude and for its white color. From the top of the stairs the views of the historic center are incredible. It is neoclassical in style, beautiful and worth visiting both inside and out.

It is a very busy place, so if you travel in high season I recommend getting up early. I got up early even though it was low season, watching the streets dawn at 5:30am was one of the best things to do in Helsinki and I had the cathedral and the streets of the historic center to myself.

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

4. Stroll through the city center

Helsinki is a small city and you can visit it on foot. One of the best things to do in the city is to wander through its colorful streets, full of beautiful buildings in pastel shades where yellow stands out everywhere.

The main street is called Aleksanterinkatu and it is where you will find most of the shops. At the same time, you will find the Esplanadi urban park, a very pleasant area to walk until you reach the port.

5. Sibelius Park

On the seafront, in the Töölö neighborhood, you will find Sibelius Park. It is a quiet area to walk and enjoy some free time. In the park there is a sculpture made up of 580 steel tubes that emit musical sounds thanks to the wind. This strange sculpture is dedicated to a Finnish composer and violinist, Jean Sibelius.

6. The Ateneum Museum, the first in the world to buy a work by Van Gogh

In the museum there is an extensive exhibition of classical art, with works by leading Nordic artists. It is considered the most important collection in Finland. Admission costs 17 euros and it is worth visiting. In itself, the building is already incredible.

As a curious fact, this museum was the first to have a work by Vincent Van Gogh, a work that represents a beautiful street in the town of Auvers-sur-Oise.

7. The Market Square, one of the best places to see in Helsinki

The Market Square is located on the shores of the Baltic Sea and is one of the most beautiful places to see in Helsinki. From spring to autumn, this square becomes a hive of people and small stalls selling fresh food and souvenirs from which you can also see the great activity of the port. Although it is not the cheapest place to eat in Helsinki (already a very expensive city in itself) here you can eat fresh salmon cooked on the grill, reindeer sausages, deer sausages, among other traditional dishes.

8. Take a cruise on the canals of Helsinki

Ferries leave from the market square to the island of Suomenlinna and cruises through the Helsinki canals, which are one of the most recommended activities to do in Helsinki.

9. Enter the Vanha Kauppahalli

Vanha Kauppahalli or the old market, is located very close to the Market Square. This old market was renovated a few years ago turning it into the place where you can go to eat. Inside there are many local and artisan food stalls, as well as small stalls and restaurants that offer local sweets, fresh fish in different types of cooking... you can even find reindeer, deer, bear meat...

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

10. Suomenlinna Fortress

The Suomenlinna Fortress was built in 1748 to protect the attacks of the Imperial Russian navy. Today, it is possible to visit it and most of the wall, several buildings, cannons, bastions and 6 museums are still preserved.

11. Stroll along the promenade

One of the best times to walk along the promenade is at dawn. I woke up at 4am, I couldn't sleep anymore and the day was starting to get light, something common when summer approaches in Finland. So I set out, I started by visiting the Cathedral, the streets of the historic center and I ended up touring the port from one end to the other. You will see the beautiful sunrise, the buildings that overlook the port, some early risers jogging...

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

12. Enter the Temppeliaukion Kirkko Church, a rock-hewn church

The Temppeliaukion Kirkko Church is a small church carved into a rock and crowned by a glass dome through which light enters. Not only does it have a religious function, but it is also used as a concert hall due to its fantastic acoustics.

The entrance costs €5, although you can go to the reception and see through the glass that separates it from the entrance, without having to pay.

13. Stroll along the Esplanadi

The Esplanadi is a park located in the city center, between Erottaja Square and Market Square. It is a luxurious area with expensive restaurants, top brand stores and some historic buildings.

14. The Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral, an essential thing to see in Helsinki

This Orthodox church is the largest in Western Europe and is a must-see in Helsinki. In it, you can see a clear example of the Russian influence in Finland, due to the Russian occupation of the country during the years 1809 and 1917. It is truly beautiful, with a red brick façade, green roofs and gold details.

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

15. The Kampi Chapel of Silence

The Kampi Chapel of Silence was built in 2011 and is located on the large esplanade of Narinkka square. It is one of the most original buildings to see in Helsinki. It stands out for its oval shape and being built entirely of wood. Its interior is simple, it only has some benches and a lectern.

16. Rautatientori Station

Rautatientori is the main railway station and another of the beautiful and important buildings to see in Helsinki. It is in the Art Nouveau style and in it you will find a great daily activity. The station is made up of a large brown building with green details, in which its tall clock tower and the 4 huge statues that welcome you and hold a lantern that light up at night stand out.

In our case we arrived in Helsinki from the airport to this station. If you still don't know how to get from Helsinki airport to the center, I'll explain everything to you in this post.

17. The Kiasma Museum

Kiasma is a contemporary art museum with a collection that changes regularly. Exhibitions usually last a few months. The museum's objective is to bring contemporary art closer to visitors, moving away from other conventional museums. You can interact with most of the exhibits.

18. The National Museum of Finland

The National Museum of Finland has a huge exhibition with objects and works of art from the Stone Age to the present era. There are different areas where traditional costumes, all kinds of jewelry, weapons, decorative objects, paintings, sculptures, coins are exhibited... The Museum is located in a beautiful building, which reminds you of a medieval castle.

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

19. Visit the Finnish Parliament

Right next to the National Museum is the Parliament of Finland. It is a huge building that stands out with a façade full of columns. You cannot visit the interior, but you can visit the visitor center located right next door. In it, the political life of Finland and the European Union is exposed.

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

20. The Oodi Library

The Oodi Library is one of the most striking buildings in Helsinki. It is a modern building with an impressive façade and its interior spaces are very cool, I wish I had had a library like that when I was studying. The library has several floors and in each of them there are study spaces with tables, spaces where you can sit on the floor, barefoot and watch a movie on your computer, study or even take a nap. In addition to corridors and corridors with millions of books, both on the ground floor and on the upper floor you will find restaurants, cafes... that are filled with locals who come to enjoy local dishes. From the upper floor there is an outdoor terrace from where you will have beautiful views of the Parliament of Finland and the city.

21. Visit Amox Rex

Amos Rex is one of the most modern museums to see in Helsinki. It was inaugurated in 2018 and mainly exhibits contemporary art. The museum is located underground and the only thing you can see from the surface are some chimneys with a glass ring through which natural light enters.

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

22. The Puu-Vallila neighborhood, an essential area to see in Helsinki

One of the most beautiful areas of Helsinki is the Puu-Vallila neighborhood, it is full of wooden houses. They were built in the 1910s and 1920s as housing for the city's working class. It is a place with a lot of charm and what was previously a humble area of ​​the city is currently a highly valued area and its houses are sold for very high amounts.

23. The Seurasaari Open Air Museum

The Seurasaari Open Air Museum is a huge complex with 87 traditional buildings brought from different places in Finland. It is a museum that exhibits Finnish rural life that looks like a small town, which in addition to buildings, exhibits all kinds of traditional items such as tableware, costumes, decorative objects, footwear, furniture...

24. The HAM Museum

The HAM Museum is a contemporary art museum where works by Finnish artists are exhibited, above all, although there are also international exhibitions. The museum is quite large, there are more than 9 thousand works on display and the curious thing is that they are not only displayed in the museum, but also in various public areas of the city such as libraries, parks, the port...

25. Spend the day in Linnanmäki

The largest amusement park in Finland is Linnanmäki, and it is located a few minutes from Helsinki. The Park has more than 40 attractions for all ages. It is the perfect activity to combine a cultural trip with a day of fun. You can pay for each attraction you want to ride or you can pay for a ticket with unlimited access. The cost ranges from 12 to 49 euros.


If you are planning to enter several places of tourist interest, such as museums, or take a boat trip, I recommend buying the Helsinki card.

You will save a lot of money.

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

26. Take a day trip to Tallinn

Very close to Helsinki there is one of the most beautiful European cities. Its medieval historic center is truly precious. Its colorful facades, the medieval towers, the small shops... fall in love with every corner. If you have time to dedicate one night and two days to it, I recommend it. And in this post I explain what to see in Tallinn. But if you don't have time, it is best to take an excursion from Helsinki.

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

27. Go up to the Solo Sokos Hotel Torni

The Solo Sokos Hotel Torni was the tallest building in Helsinki until 1931. The hotel has a bar with incredible views of the city and to enjoy them you just have to have a drink. It is a good plan to enjoy the sunset.

28. Take a trip to Sipoonkorpi National Park

Finland stands out for being a very green country with enviable natural landscapes. This National Park, about 40 minutes from Helsinki, offers you the chance to disconnect from the city, go hiking, enjoy the wonder of the landscape, bathe in its lakes... It is a marvelous place.

If you have little time in the city or do not have a rental car, the best way to get there is with an organized excursion.

It is not the only National/Nature Park near Helsinki that you can visit. You have some more options that you can visit with some organized excursions with various activities:

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia

29. Finnish sauna in Löyly Helsinki

There are more than 3.5 million saunas in the country. To give you an idea, there are more saunas than cars. In Helsinki you have a public sauna, the Löyly Helsinki. It is located in front of the sea and the natives, once they finish their session, take a swim in the sea and sunbathe. If you want to do something different on your trip, without a doubt, enjoy a sauna session, it is a fun and interesting activity to do in Helsinki.

30. Go for a swim in front of the sea at Allas Sea Pool

You also have the opportunity to take a swim in a pool in the port of Helsinki. The Allas Sea Pool is a swimming pool located on a platform above the sea. It is a great activity to do in Helsinki, especially in summer.

que ver en Helsinki, Finlandia



I hope you enjoy your trip to Helsinki very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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