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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


Helsinki Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)

The skyline of Helsinki is dominated by Tuomiokirkko, or the Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral. The green domes, white building and zinc rooftop statues of the twelve apostles of the magnificent Lutheran church stand tall and proud looking over the city to the sea. Built between 1830 and 1852, it replaced a smaller 18th century church, and was originally called St. Nicholas' Church in homage to the Tsar of Russia, Grand Duke Nicholas I. After Finnish independence from Russia 1917, the church was renamed and in 1959 it became a cathedral of the Evangelical Lutheran denomination. Designed by a German architect Carl Ludwig Engel who laid out the whole of Senate Square, the exterior is Neo-Classical with columns and statues and in comparison, inside seems rather plain. The design was later altered by Ernst Lohrmann who added the zinc apostles and a few extra small domes. There is room for 1,300 worshipers and an altarpiece flanked by angels. The suitably atmospheric crypt is now a cafe.More

Sibelius Monument

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

Parliament House of Finland (Eduskuntatalo)

Finland’s Parliament House, also called Eduskuntatalo, is not only the home of the session hall that hosts the 200-seat parliament, but is also somewhat of a massive work of art within the capital of Helsinki. It’s a monumental, square building constructed in a classical style – the result of an architecture competition held in 1923 that was won by the architecture firm of Borg-Sirén-Åberg. Standing on Arcadia Hill, the exterior is dominated by strong but simple geometry, a lot of granite and tall Corinthian columns. The whole design looks more functional and industrial rather than elegant and ornate, but reflects a style that was popular in the 1920s. Noteworthy is that the building was constructed using mostly Finnish materials, such as the reddish Kalvola Granite used on the façade and furniture made of oak, curly birch and walnut.More

Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko)

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

SEA LIFE® Helsinki


Helsinki Senate Square (Senaatintori)

Senate Square (Senaatintori) symbolizes the cultural heart of Helsinki. Among the many landmarks surrounding the square are the Government Palace, National Library, Lutheran Cathedral, City Museum, and Helsinki’s oldest building, which make Senate Square an essential stop on any first-time visitor’s itinerary.More

Helsinki City Museum

One of the largest museums in all of Finland, the Helsinki Art Museum, is located within the Tennis Palace complex in central Helsinki. However, the museum also has a regional art museum in Uusimaa, keeps the Kluuvi Gallery, and also maintains much of the city's public domain art. The main museum itself has been located in the historic Tennis Palace space since 1999 and hosts one of the largest collections of art anywhere in all the Nordic countries. All in all, the art museum has a collection of nearly 9,000 pieces, most of which come from modern era Finland. The vast majority of the museums exhibitions are temporary, and the works found within the museum are not necessarily locked into any particular region, history, or genre. Both contemporary and modern works are displayed at the museum and art is often brought in on exchange from partners in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere in Europe.More

Helsinki Central Station

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.More

National Museum of Finland (Suomen Kansallismuseo)

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.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

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