What to do in helsinki?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: June 28, 2024

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a vibrant city that beautifully blends history, culture, and modernity. From its stunning architecture and rich cultural heritage to its buzzing food scene and unique natural attractions, Helsinki offers a plethora of activities and sights for every type of traveler. Whether you have a few days or a few weeks, here are some must-see attractions and activities in Helsinki.

Explore Helsinki's Historic Landmarks

Helsinki Cathedral

The Helsinki Cathedral is perhaps the most iconic landmark in the city. Located in the heart of Senate Square, this stunning neoclassical structure, with its green domes and white façade, is a must-visit. Climb the steps to enjoy a panoramic view of the square and the surrounding area.

Suomenlinna Fortress

Just a short ferry ride from the city center, Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a unique glimpse into Finland's military history. The fortress, which spans several islands, features museums, walking trails, and historic buildings. It's a perfect day trip destination.

Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church)

This architectural marvel is carved directly into solid rock and topped with a stunning copper dome. The unique design and excellent acoustics make Temppeliaukio Church a popular venue for concerts and a fascinating place to visit.

Immerse Yourself in Finnish Culture

National Museum of Finland

For a comprehensive overview of Finnish history, the National Museum of Finland is the place to go. The museum's exhibits cover everything from prehistoric times to modern-day Finland, offering insight into the country's rich cultural heritage.

Ateneum Art Museum

Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Ateneum Art Museum, which houses Finland's largest collection of classical art. The museum features works by famous Finnish artists such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Albert Edelfelt, as well as international masterpieces.

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

Located on a picturesque island, the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum showcases traditional Finnish architecture and way of life. The museum features historic wooden buildings, including farmhouses, manors, and churches, which have been relocated from various parts of Finland.

Enjoy Helsinki's Natural Beauty

Esplanadi Park

Esplanadi Park, often referred to as "Espa" by locals, is a green oasis in the heart of Helsinki. It's a perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply people-watching. During the summer months, the park comes alive with various events and performances.

Nuuksio National Park

Just a short drive from Helsinki, Nuuksio National Park offers a serene escape into nature. The park features lush forests, sparkling lakes, and numerous hiking trails. It's an ideal spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, and wildlife watching.

Helsinki Archipelago

The Helsinki Archipelago consists of over 300 islands, each offering its own unique charm. You can take a boat tour to explore the islands, enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking and fishing, or simply relax on one of the many beautiful beaches.

Indulge in Helsinki's Culinary Delights

Old Market Hall

For a taste of traditional Finnish cuisine, visit the Old Market Hall near the harbor. This historic market features a variety of stalls selling fresh seafood, meats, cheeses, pastries, and other local delicacies. It's a great place to sample Finnish flavors and pick up some souvenirs.

Restaurant Day

Helsinki is known for its vibrant food scene, and Restaurant Day is a testament to that. Held four times a year, this event allows anyone to set up a pop-up restaurant anywhere in the city. It's a fantastic opportunity to try a diverse array of homemade dishes and street food.

Michelin-Starred Restaurants

If you're looking for an upscale dining experience, Helsinki boasts several Michelin-starred restaurants. Places like Olo, Demo, and Grön offer exquisite tasting menus that highlight seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

Experience Helsinki's Unique Events and Festivals

Helsinki Festival

Held annually in August, the Helsinki Festival is the largest arts festival in Finland. The event features a wide range of performances, including music, theater, dance, and visual arts, attracting artists and visitors from around the world.

Lux Helsinki

Lux Helsinki is a light art festival held in January, transforming the city into a mesmerizing wonderland of light installations. The event features works by both Finnish and international artists, illuminating Helsinki's landmarks and public spaces.

Helsinki Christmas Market

During the holiday season, the Helsinki Christmas Market at Senate Square is a magical place to visit. The market features charming wooden stalls selling handmade crafts, festive foods, and warm beverages, creating a cozy and festive atmosphere.

Discover Helsinki's Shopping and Design

Design District Helsinki

Helsinki is renowned for its design, and the Design District is the perfect place to explore this aspect of the city. The district is home to numerous design shops, galleries, and studios, showcasing Finnish creativity in fashion, furniture, and more.

Stockmann Department Store

For a more traditional shopping experience, visit Stockmann, the largest department store in the Nordic countries. Located in the city center, Stockmann offers a wide range of products, from fashion and cosmetics to home goods and gourmet food.

Market Square (Kauppatori)

Market Square is a bustling outdoor market located by the harbor. Here, you can find a variety of goods, including fresh produce, handmade crafts, and souvenirs. It's also a great place to enjoy some traditional Finnish street food, such as grilled salmon or lihapiirakka (meat pie).

Relax and Rejuvenate in Helsinki


Experience the quintessential Finnish sauna culture at Löyly, a modern and stylish sauna complex located by the sea. Löyly offers both traditional smoke saunas and wood-heated saunas, as well as a restaurant and a terrace with stunning views of the Baltic Sea.


For a more intimate sauna experience, visit Kulttuurisauna, a small public sauna designed by architect Tuomas Toivonen. Located by the waterfront, Kulttuurisauna offers a peaceful and authentic atmosphere, perfect for relaxation.

Hietaniemi Beach

During the summer months, Hietaniemi Beach is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. The sandy beach is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and beach volleyball. There are also nearby cafes and kiosks where you can grab a refreshing drink or a snack.

Helsinki is a city of contrasts, where modernity meets tradition and urban life blends seamlessly with nature. Its myriad attractions cater to diverse interests, whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or a design enthusiast. Each visit to Helsinki can reveal new layers of this multifaceted city, making it a destination worth exploring time and again.