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Things to do in Helsinki

Things to do in  Helsinki

Welcome to Helsinki

Harborside Helsinki, the capital of Scandinavia’s less-touristy Finland, rewards travelers who make the trek with a flourishing arts scene, innovative restaurants, and plentiful islands and inlets along the Baltic. Strolling through downtown reveals an untouched art nouveau building on virtually every corner, as well as landmarks such as the Alvar Aalto–designed Finlandia Hall and the Temppeliaukion Kirkko, a church hewn into solid stone. Mannerheim Street is the city’s major artery, lined with cafes, galleries, and boutiques where visitors can find Scandinavian-design wares. Helsinki is also home base for day trips bound for the medieval town of Porvoo, Suomenlinna Fortress, or outdoor adventures in the Finnish wilderness.

Top 10 attractions in Helsinki

#1
Suomenlinna Fortress

Suomenlinna Fortress

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Spread over six islands in the Helsinki archipelago, Suomenlinna Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular destination for picnicking and leisure activities. The fortress is an important historic site with multiple on-site museums, as well as a living community with roughly 900 permanent residents.More
#2
Sibelius Monument

Sibelius Monument

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Nestled among the trees of Sibelius Park, the contemporary Sibelius Monument commemorates the life of acclaimed Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius. 600 hollow, silver-steel pipes hover above the ground and evoke a range of creative interpretations. Initially, the abstract sculpture caused controversy with its modern design, so a bronze Sibelius bust was installed nearby to appease critics.More
#3
Parliament House of Finland (Eduskuntatalo)

Parliament House of Finland (Eduskuntatalo)

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An impressive architectural landmark, Finland’s Parliament House (Eduskuntatalo) is home to the nation’s governing body. The imposing building looms over Helsinki on Arcadia Hill, making it both the political and geographical heart of the Finnish capital.More
#4
Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko)

Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko)

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Hewn into solid rock in the middle of a residential square, Helsinki’s Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko) features a circular ceiling covered entirely with copper stripping. Natural light streams in through 180 window panes, while an ice age crevice in the natural rock serves as the altar.More
#5
Market Square (Kauppatori)

Market Square (Kauppatori)

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Helsinki’s Market Square (Kauppatori) has served as the center of city trading for more than 200 years. Located on the harbor, just a short walk from Senate Square, the open-air market takes place year-round and attracts tourists and locals alike with its range of clothing, crafts, and fresh produce.More
#6
Helsinki Olympic Stadium

Helsinki Olympic Stadium

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Located a mile from the city center in the Töölö district, Helsinki Olympic Stadium (Helsingin Olympiastadion) is the biggest arena in Finland, with 40,600 spectator spots.Finland was originally meant to host the 1940 Summer Olympics, but the outbreak of World War II delayed the games until 1952, when the country finally got to host the big event. Today, the stadium is home to the national soccer team and houses big-name concerts and sports events every year.For views of all of Helsinki and its downtown, take the elevator to the top of the 72.21-meter Stadium Tower. Why the idiosyncratic height? Well, that was the gold-medal winning result of Finnish athlete Matti Järvinen’s javelin throw in the 1932 Summer Olympics, of course!Aside from its 14-story viewing tower, the Helsinki Olympic Stadium also has a restaurant, an Olympics museum and, quirkily enough, a youth hostel.More
#7
Helsinki Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)

Helsinki Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)

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The Helsinki Cathedral is also known as Tuomiokirkko. Built from 1830 to 1852, it replaced a smaller 18th-century church and was originally called St. Nicholas' Church in homage to Russian Czar. After Finland gained independence from Russia, the church was renamed, and in 1959 it became an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral.More
#8
Helsinki Zoo (Korkeasaari)

Helsinki Zoo (Korkeasaari)

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Located on Korkeasaari island, Helsinki Zoo is home to 150 animal species and more than 1,000 species of plant. Opened in 1889, the zoo is geographically divided into three sections that house bears, tigers, and lions. Today, the zoo is best known for its conservation work, particularly with endangered snow leopards.More
#9
Helsinki Central Station

Helsinki Central Station

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For thousands of commuters, Helsinki’s Central Railway Station is the main traffic hub from which buses, the metro and numerous local and long distance trains arrive and depart. In fact, with roughly 200,000 daily visitors, it is Finland’s most visited structure. The building also happens to be one of the landmarks of the city and looks back on over 100 years of history. Designed in 1909 by Eliel Saarinen and opened in 1919, the Railway Station’s most distinctive features are the big clock tower and the two towering figures of two heavily muscled, half-naked men holding big globes of light.Another notable feature is the red Finnish granite that was used to clad the façades of the Central Railway Station. The granite originated in Hanko, the southernmost region of Finland and is believed to be over 400 million years old. A more curious addition to the station, which is also unique in the world, is the presidential lounge. It was originally supposed to be reserved for the private use of the Emperor of Russia, but since Finland’s independence, the waiting area has been dedicated to the sole use of the Finnish President and his guests.More
#10
National Museum of Finland (Suomen Kansallismuseo)

National Museum of Finland (Suomen Kansallismuseo)

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The impressive National Museum of Finland (or Suomen Kansallismuseo) looks a bit like a Gothic church with its stonework and tower. Built in 1916 and extensively renovated in 2000, the museum's rooms cover different periods of Finnish history. The Treasure Trove has coins, silver, weaponry, medals and jewelery. The Prehistory of Finland is a large, permanent exhibition of prehistory and archaeological finds. A Land and its People shows life in Finland before industrialization. The Realm covers the history of Finland in the 13th - 17th centuries when it was under Swedish rule and an independent duchy of the Russian empire. The permanent exhibition, "Suomi Finland 1900", explores 20th-century Finland and was opened in April 2012. There are also changing displays of church relics, ethnography and cultural exhibitions.The superb frescoes on the ceiling arches (by Akseli Gallen-Kallela) depict scenes from the epic Kalevala, including one of the hero Väinämöinen plunging a stake into the giant pike. You can visit the cafeteria at the end of your day to rest and absorb what you've learned about the history of Finland.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Helsinki

How to Spend 1 Day in Helsinki

How to Spend 2 Days in Helsinki

How to Spend 2 Days in Helsinki

How to Spend 3 Days in Helsinki

How to Spend 3 Days in Helsinki

Top activities in Helsinki

Helsinki and Suomenlinna Sightseeing Tour
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Tallinn Day Trip from Helsinki

Tallinn Day Trip from Helsinki

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9
From
$210.84
Private Helsinki Food and Beer Tour

Private Helsinki Food and Beer Tour

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From
$398.25
per group
Helsinki Card

Helsinki Card

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From
$63.47
TukTuk guided tour in Helsinki 1,5 hours

TukTuk guided tour in Helsinki 1,5 hours

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From
$194.15
per group

Recent reviews from experiences in Helsinki

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Our best idea for this trip!
Paula_M, Jan 2022
Tour from Helsinki Airport to Helsinki city center
We had a 7-hour layover at the airport and decided to visit the city.
star-5
The best of helsinki
Therese_D, Oct 2021
Helsinki and Suomenlinna Sightseeing Tour
I would highly recommend this tour for anyone who wants to see the main attractions in Helsinki but only has a few hours!
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Informative and Delightful Ferry ride and tour of Tallinn Estonia with great transportation
Marsha_W, Aug 2021
Tallinn Day Cruise from Helsinki
Our guide was a perfect English speaker who was extremely knowledgeable in the history of Estonia and took us to special places that we would have never found on our own.
star-5
A vibrant city with a knowledgeable guide - Emek is the BEST!
Leslie_V, Aug 2021
Tour Helsinki with a City Planner
I am *that* person that asks 500 questions and Emek answered them all and gave great advice about other places to visit and where I could find a specific book I was looking for (and I did find it!
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Tour of Helsinki
pg642015, Jul 2019
Helsinki Highlights Sightseeing Guided Tour
We really enjoyed it and felt it was a very worthwhile introduction --- it made it much easier to decide where to go and what to see during our stay there.
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Passionate tour guide
Tony_F, Jun 2019
Private Guided Helsinki City Tour
We saw all the main attractions and also accommodated our needs .
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Bang for Buck
Arman_H, May 2019
Helsinki Card
The Helsinki card is a fantastic idea and covers all the sights, attractions, and public transport you would want to see.
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Helsinki and Suomenlinna
RDD75, Dec 2018
Helsinki and Suomenlinna Sightseeing Tour
Great opportunity to see something different, only 10 mins by boat from Helsinki.
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This was absolutely a great day outside...
Michael B, Sep 2018
Snowmobile Safari in Helsinki Archipelago with Lunch
Guides are super kind, safety was key and it was a great glimpse into winter living in Finland.
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Excellent tour with wonderful...
Teri T, Jun 2017
Helsinki and Medieval Porvoo Join-In Shore Excursion
It was a bus tour through Helsinki with several stops to see important Helsinki statues and busts.
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Great way to see Helsinki from the...
Sheena_E, Sep 2017
Helsinki Beautiful Canal Route, archipelago cruise
Great way to see Helsinki from the water.
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Enjoyed the ho-on-hop-off bus. Was...
Lelia_A, Dec 2016
City Sightseeing Helsinki Hop On Hop Off Tour
Was able to see the highlights of Helsinki.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. I...
Joyce H, Aug 2016
Best of Helsinki Join-in Shore Excursion
I had read about Helsinki ahead of time and got to see the places I had read about.
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Fantastic day spent snowmobiling...
Jonathan D, Feb 2016
Snowmobile Safari in Helsinki Archipelago with Lunch
would definitely do this again and have recommended to a few friends visiting Helsinki this winter!!
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The Helsinki Card is great if you plan...
kellythepea, Jul 2014
Helsinki Card
The Helsinki Card is great if you plan to visit all the great Helsinki museums.
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Great way to see Helsinki's many...
robinsnc, Sep 2014
Helsinki Beautiful Canal Route, archipelago cruise
Great way to see Helsinki's many islands and you get to see a brilliant panorama of the shoreline from the sea.
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What a lovely and historic city...
Rolando M, Aug 2014
City Sightseeing Helsinki Hop On Hop Off Tour
Worth recommending to people planning to see Helsinki.
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Fabulos Helsinki
LoisJ_C, Nov 2019
Money Saver: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and Sightseeing Boat Tour
We were unable to go back to visit the sites we selected to revisit because we ran out of time.
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Panoramic Helsinki and Porvoo Shore Excursion
Michele_F, Sep 2019
Shore Excursion: Panoramic Helsinki Highlights and Porvoo Old Town
I know it's not a shopping tour but there was not much to see there except a church.
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Very nice tour
mark_y, Jul 2019
Helsinki Like a Local: Customized Private Tour
She met us promptly at the hotel and asked us about what we were interested in seeing, and then she came up with an excellent program that hit all the highlights of Helsinki and she even accommodated our requests to see some out of the way sights.

All about Helsinki

When to visit

After hiberating all winter, Helsinki wastes no time in embracing the sunshine come summer. Plan a visit in June or July to experience the magic of the Midnight Sun—a phenomenon only observed in the Arctic—or join the crowds for events such as Flow Festival, Helsinki Festival, and Walpurgis Night (Vappu).

Frequently Asked Questions
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