The Breathtaking Helsinki: 13 Top Things To Do & See

Helsinki

Updated On: May 18, 2024 by   Esraa MahmoudEsraa Mahmoud

Of course, when talking about the most beautiful places in Finland, the country’s capital Helsinki would be right there at the top of the list. Helsinki has been named the world’s most livable city, and it is easy to see why.

The combination of unspoiled nature and big-city life makes Helsinki, the Finnish Baltic metropolis, so attractive as a vacation destination.

The Breathtaking Helsinki: 13 Top Things To Do & See

Helsinki is beautiful at any time of the year: winter, summer, rain, or bright sunshine. The capital of Finland has something to offer everyone. Much of it is within easy walking distance and often not far apart.

Whether it’s a weekend trip or an extended vacation, anyone who spends their free days in Helsinki will discover a lot. In addition to impressive buildings and rugged forests, the friendly Finns make a stay in the city a unique experience.

To help you have the best trip to Helsinki, here is our list of the best things to do in Helsinki and the top places to visit.

1-Helsinki Cathedral

The Breathtaking Helsinki: 13 Top Things To Do & See

The Helsinki Cathedral is simply impossible to miss. With clean Scandinavian lines, pared-down architecture, and its brilliant white colour, the capital’s gigantic cathedral is visible from miles around.

The city’s landmark, with its striking green dome, was built between 1830 and 1852. Helsinki Cathedral is a real gem and quite different from most churches. From the outside, it is completely white, and the interior is also very minimalistic.

There are hardly any paintings and decorations; everything looks bright and open. The cathedral steps are remarkable, too, where you can just sit for a while and watch the city’s hustle and bustle.

Among other things, the cathedral architect here also gave the university and the old Senate building its creative touch.

While on Senate Square, where the cathedral is located, there are other notable buildings that you shouldn’t miss. They are not only fantastic photo opportunities but also let you experience history up close.

2-Uspenski Cathedral

The Breathtaking Helsinki: 13 Top Things To Do & See

The exact opposite of the Helsinki Cathedral is the Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral. Famous for its onion domes, a Russian architect designed the Uspenski Cathedral, and it is the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe.

The Uspenski Cathedral is not only a complete contrast to the Helsinki Cathedral with its red brick but also with it being relatively overloaded, as usual for Orthodox churches. The interior is lavishly decorated with lots of gold and different icons.

The Uspenski Cathedral has 13 domes and golden spires that rise into the sky of the Finnish capital. It still bears witness to the long Russian rule over Finland, which ended in 1917. The Uspenski Cathedral is one of the best places to visit in Helsinki, Finland.

3-Temppeliaukio Church

The Breathtaking Helsinki: 13 Top Things To Do & See

Impressive buildings can be found in abundance in Helsinki, and among these impressive buildings is the Temppeliaukio Church, AKA Rock Church.

The Rock Church has exceptional architecture as it was completely hewn out of granite rock. The very special Temppeliaukio Church was built only in 1969. The church’s large copper ceiling is a masterpiece on its own, and on closer inspection, it is reminiscent of the annual rings of trees.

There are also numerous windows on the roof, ensuring that sunlight can still penetrate the building. The Temppeliaukio Church is one of the most beautiful churches you will ever see in your life, and a visit there is one of the top things to do in Helsinki; you don’t want to miss it.

4-Hiking in Nuuksio National Park

The Breathtaking Helsinki: 13 Top Things To Do & See

If you spend a little more time in Finland’s capital than just a weekend, you shouldn’t miss the unique nature of the surrounding area! Finland is a real paradise for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts.

Nuuksio National Park, which is not far from Helsinki, is ideal for taking a day off from the city and getting to know the more natural sides of the country with some provisions. You can reach the park by bus, which runs several times daily.

5-Admire Modern Art at Kiasma

The Breathtaking Helsinki: 13 Top Things To Do & See

Fans of modern art will find what they’re looking for at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, designed by Steven Holl.

The four floors of the modern building house the works of various artists. The museum aims to bring contemporary art into everyday life and make it accessible to a broad audience through its exhibitions.

At Kiasma, everything is different: the exhibits are interactive, they appeal to all the senses, they are well but briefly explained, and it’s just fun to move through the exhibition. There is a lot to see at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma; it is the best and most exciting museum you will ever visit.

6-Partying in Helsinki

The Ääniwalli club is one of the best clubs in Helsinki; it is a disused factory building that offers night owls an excellent musical mix of techno and house on two floors, an open terrace for drinking, smoking and relaxing, and, of course,, a darkroom.

The crowd is pleasantly adult, and because the location is a bit off the beaten path, tourists are not overpopulated.

7-Sweating at the Famous Kulttuurisauna

Indeed, no visit to Helsinki is complete without a sauna session! There used to be over 100 public saunas in the city, but today, there are only 5. The still relatively new Kulttuurisauna is one of them. Designed in 2012 by a Japanese designer and a Finnish architect, the minimalist building is made entirely of wood. It is modern, light, and airy inside and out.

Those who want to cool off after a sauna can do so directly in the Baltic Sea. In winter, a hole is drilled in the ice layer, especially for this purpose. Going to a sauna is one of the best things in Helsinki.

8-Taste the Finnish Coffee

Finns drink the most coffee in the world, around a litre a day! Fittingly, there’s good and excellent news: Helsinki has delicious coffee almost everywhere; however, we recommend checking Good Life Coffee in the hip Kallio neighbourhood.

The cozy little café also serves excellent breakfasts, buttery soft cinnamon buns, and snacks. The in-house coffee tastes so good and comes in pretty packaging, making it a perfect travel souvenir. Coffee is the elixir of life for Finns, and you have to try it while in Helsinki.

9-Learn More About Science in Heureka

Heureka is Finland’s most significant science centre. Here, interested visitors can learn and discover a great deal about science and technology through changing exhibitions and various activities. You can even do experiments here to get hands-on with technology and science.

There is also a planetarium that shows notable films from outer space. Visiting this science centre is suitable for all ages, and even the very youngest have things to do here. If you visit Heureka during the summer, there is even a great outdoor area with various exhibits.

10-Visit the Historic Central Station

Helsinki’s Central Station is one of the world’s oldest and best-preserved train stations. It was constructed from Finnish granite and is charming, with a bell tower and four statues guarding the main entrance.

The station was opened in 1919, and today, the station is considered one of the most characteristic and significant buildings in Finnish architecture.

11-Best Beaches in Helsinki

Most people probably associate Finland with cold and snow. What many don’t know is that Finland can get hot during the summer months. That’s when you can sunbathe well at up to 30 °C or even go swimming.

Helsinki alone has over 300 islands and an almost 100-kilometer-long coastline. The most popular beach in Helsinki is Hietaranta bathing beach, which has everything you need for a relaxing day.

Even in winter, the Hietaranta beach is worth a visit; instead of sunbathing and swimming, you can enjoy a walk on the beach in the beautiful winter landscape. A visit to the beach is one of the most fun things to do in Helsinki.

12-Shop in Helsinki Design District

The Breathtaking Helsinki: 13 Top Things To Do & See

Finland is known for its design and designer brands, such as Marimekko and Iittala, which are popular worldwide. If you want to see more Finnish design and maybe buy something for yourself at home, visit the Helsinki Design District.

This district is located between Esplanade and Punavuori and consists of 25 streets. Here you can find many stores and galleries with jewellery, clothing, and more from different designers.

The stores are often very modern, and even if you don’t want to buy anything, you will enjoy strolling through the district.

13-Market Square and Old Market Hall

You won’t be able to get past Helsinki’s Market Square. It is located in the middle of the city, right by the harbour, and within walking distance of most Helsinki sights.

The market has food stalls, traditional handicrafts, and plenty of souvenirs for guests of the cruise ships that pass through Helsinki every day. Next to the market is an old market hall that also has many delicious food stalls. Make sure to pay the market a visit and grab a bite to eat—the food is really good!

Helsinki is one of those cities you instantly fall in love with, and there is no wonder here. The city has so much to offer and stunning places to visit.

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