There are many things to do in Helsinki as a tourist, no matter the time of the year you visit. To make things easier for first-time visitors, you can follow this list of the best activities and iconic landmarks in the Finnish capital.
If you’re visiting Helsinki for one day, you should focus on the beautiful historical buildings and just stroll around town. But if you have several days in the Finnish capital you might as well go for a day trip to the Finnish archipelago!
Helsinki is also a great transportation hub with flights all over the world, which means it’s one of the best ways to get to Finland from abroad and makes a great starting- and endpoint for a road trip in Finland.
The Suomenlinna is a maritime fortress that was constructed by the Swedes, and it’s one of the most amazing structures in Finland. It dates back to the 1800s and it’s very well-preserved and gives a great glimpse of history.
Few buildings are as impressive as the cathedral in Helsinki, which dates back to the 19th century. It stands iconic and adds a majestic touch to the skyline and architecture of Helsinki.
It’s an iconic landmark, which is best seen from the water. If you come here during the night you’ll even see it being lit up.
The Market Hall
If you want to eat some Finnish food or shop some local produce, the Market Hall is a great place to go. Vanha Kauppahalli as it’s called in Finnish has many skilled artisans serving Finnish specialties. It’s a great place to try some fish dishes!
The locals call it Espa and it’s simply a park where the locals escape the hustle and bustle of the city life. There are many festivals here during the summer season, and it’s a great place to go for a picnic or see some live music performances.
Another famous and beautiful cathedral in the Finnish capital which you should stop by and admire!
Visit a Sauna
One simply can’t claim to have experienced Finland without having been to a Sauna and got a full experience. Sauna is part of the Finnish culture, and this is the best place to get to know the locals. Even Burger King has its own sauna!
This square is located in the historic part of Helsinki and is a great place to people-watch and just get the feel and atmosphere of the city.
If you have a couple of days in Helsinki, you might want to catch a ride at the amusement park of Linnanmäki. It’s definitely the best amusement park in Finland, and you’ll have plenty of fun here no matter your age.
Visiting Linnanmäki is one of the best things to do in Helsinki with kids.
Cafe Hopping in Helsinki
Helsinki is known for its many cafes, so you should definitely do some cafe hopping and try Finnish sweets, coffee and pastries. Fazer cafe and the Strindberg cafe are excellent cafes, especially Fazer if you want to try some Finnish chocolate.
Go for a vintage tram ride
If you come here during the summer, you can hop on the iconic tram on weekends from the Havis Amanda Fountain. The 20-minute journey will take you to most of the iconic sights of Helsinki, and you’ll even get a leaflet with information about the places you pass by with the tram.
To get more inspiration, read this wildlife fairytale from Finland and an interview with Finnish photographer Ossi Saarinen.