Helsinki is the capital and most populous region in Finland. It is a seaside city, situated by the Batic Sea with seaside views of the Gulf of Finland. For my trip in Helsinki Finland, we shall visit ancient Cathedrals, island fortresses, check out tranquil parks, buzzing market and world-class museums while busking in the summer sunshine. Let’s check it out today.

Helsinki central square and shopping street
Helsinki central square and shopping street.

Getting to the Helsinki city center

Getting to Helsinki’s city center from Helsinki airport is simple and affordable. I would recommend the Finair Airport Bus 615 (620 Night). A comfortable one-way 40min ride journey costs €5 and the bus departs from all major Airport terminals (T1, platform 2 and T2, platform 21) before headed to the city Kamppi/Central station where the airport bus terminates.

Also, affordable accommodation is not difficult to find in the city too, especially hostels. You can pay using the Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) contactless transport card or with conveniently with Visa paywave.

Trams in Helsinki
Downtown
Central station

Helsinki’s city center is an excellent transport hub. It’s location near the city center links not only buses, but train stations and ferries. It’s excellent location near the city center and train station with many shopping and food choices in the neighborhood. There are plenty of restaurant and fast food options and cafes around the area in the city center where the main bus and train central station reside too. Also, if dining in if too pricey, there are several supermarkets across the street if need be.

Shopping streets
Shopping centers
Dine in sky

Moreover, Finland is the 2nd safest place in the world, and the people there are really friendly. On accommodations, if you do not mind hostels where rooms are not made daily (but “Self-help” spare sheets are available in doing up the room yourself). You can easily snag a place for under 50 Euros a night. These hostels are also highly automated and uses self-check in (typically from 3pm). If you need to stow you luggage and do some sightseeing before check-in, I recommend using the lockers at the Helsinki central train station, they cost 1-2 Euros per use, so you won’t be grounded waiting to check-in and do some sightseeing in the meantime.

Helsinki City hall
Helsinki City hall.

The Helsinki city hall is located not too far off from this city center. It is a large imposing building you will come across on your way to the Helsinki National museum of Finland.

Helsinki Cathedral

Much of Helsinki’s main spots are located near the Helsinki Cathedral square. The Cathedral with it’s green dome surrounded by four smaller domes is a building landmark in neoclassical style, and is a instantly recognizable as a Helsinki icon. It was built in 1852 and is dedicated to St Nicholas.

Helsinki Cathedral, the most iconic building in the city and highly recognizable landmark of the city
Helsinki Cathedral, the most iconic building in the city and highly recognizable landmark of the city.

It is open daily and fee to enter for all. The interior of the cathedral is clean and decked in white. The grand organ sits centered at the top of the entrance, with rows of wooden seats running the Church’s entire length.

Helsinki Cathedral interior. It has a modern vast and clean interior
Helsinki Cathedral interior. It has a modern vast and clean interior.

Moreover, the cathedral sits in front of a massive square (Senate Square) with a statue of Alexander II (1894) standing in the middle. It is a location for performances, fairs and is a short 15 min walk from the city center and Helsinki train station.

Helsinki Change of guards

Change of guard parade
Change of guard parade.

Also, the Helsinki Senate Square is tucked in the corner, everyday in the summer months. A change of guard parade is conducted here from 12:20pm. It features a marching band entertainment music, pattern marches and drill commands. The contingent will march from the Senate past the market place so you won’t miss them.

Marching along
City marching
Exterior

Furthermore, another point of interest here is the Uspenski Cathedral. It is an eastern orthodox cathedral right here in Helsinki Finland and is free to visit. The design, clad in red bricks does bare a resembles the orthodox Churches in Moscow, Russia.

Uspenski Orthodox cathedral
Uspenski Orthodox cathedral.

It has an iconic dome and interior ceiling paintings typical of orthodox designs. Also, do check opening times before visiting as it tend to close early (3pm on weekends).

Inside the cathedral
Inside the cathedral.

Helsinki South Harbour and Market Square

The south market square (opens daily) is a great place to grab lunch at one of the many pop up stores and souvenirs at a bargain. Also, beside the market is an esplanade park with some cafes and green spaces.

Helsinki City market square by the south habour
Helsinki City market square by the south habour.

Moreover, the market is a great place to find bargain souvenirs and one of the more affordable places in the city to grab a quick meal. There are sheltered seating offered by each make shift tent store lined along the entire square.

Helsinki south market square, comprising of souvenirs, markets and food stores
Helsinki south market square, comprising of souvenirs, markets and food stores.

Also, the park leads up to the main shopping district and central train station. Do note the markets closes by about 5pm daily so do check it out during mid-day where you have the most options available.

Helsinki Finland Market lunch, it is quite a hearty gastronomical affair
South market lunch, it is quite a hearty gastronomical affair.

Moreover, the south market square is the spot where you can buy ferry tickets to visit the Suomenlinna fortress island, which I shall cover in a separate post. There are daily departures and you can purchase tickets using their contactless travel card. In a nutshell, there are a couple of historical forts and museums on the island, such as a Toy, Submarine and Military museum. The island is also home to a number of really nice old world war military hardware relics and uniforms on display. It is worthy of a day trip.

Helsinki Museums (Arts and History)

If you have a full day to spare in Helsinki, the city has a number of traditional and modern art museums to check out, as well as a National museums. Their National and Art museums in the city immerses you in the rich Finish culture and history. It is interesting to learn too especially as Finland were once ruled by Swedish.

Helsinki Finland Museum of contemporary Art Kiasma
Museum of contemporary Art Kiasma.

First off is the Ateneum (€19 per entry), a Museum of classical and modern art, just off the city center. Also, if contemporary Art is your fancy, the Museum of contemporary Art– Kiasma (€10) is one to spend an afternoon in. It is situated not too far off too and is open 10am- 8:30 pm.

Interior
Museum
Inside the museum

Lastly, the National Museum Finland (€8, closed Mondays) 11am- 6:00 pm is good for about a 3 hour visit. It is located about 15 minutes walk from the city center, just off the Parliament House building

City Monuments and notable mentions

Moreover, Helsinki is well-connected via public a public transport network of buses and trams from the city center. It allows you to visit several points of interest on the city. You can chill at the seaside parks, or roam in one of their many garden green spaces. If you have a half day to spare you can catch up on such sights Sibelius Monument.

Helsinki Finland Sibelius Monument at Sibelius Park
Sibelius Monument at Sibelius Park, a notable Helsinki Finland landmark.
Pipy
Got
Round Church exterior

It is funny metal sculpture monument made by Eila Hiltunen in 1960s with 600+ steel pipes forming a wave-like shape representing music. It is located in a park 2km north of the city and is walkable.

Helsinki Finland Round church, also known as the Temppeliaukio church
Round church, also known as the Temppeliaukio church, a modern engineering marvel in its own might.

Additionally, the Round church (Temppeliaukio church) is one to visit for its architecture wonder. Completed in 1969, it was excavated directly into solid rock with a large cavernous pillar-free interior. Notably, it is also a popular concert location for its acoustics.

Helsinki Finland Olympic stadium, which hosted the 1952 Olympic Games
Helsinki Olympic stadium, which hosted the 1952 Olympic Games.

Wrapping up, Helsinki Finland hosted the 1952 Olympic Games. You can visit the Olympic stadium and sports grounds which still stands today. Also on the outskirts of town is Linnanmaki Theme park. It is a chill family-friendly amusement park with a 65 year-old classic wooden Roller Coaster train ride with its own brake-man on board!

All in all, Helsinki Finland is a city offering with a good mix of museums, history, culture and green spaces. It is also one of the friendliest and safest cities of Scandinavia, well connected geographically by air, land and sea. Definitely a European city worthy of a visit.

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