Sustainable cities? 33 things to see and do in Helsinki

We are all looking at ways to cut our carbon footprint, so when you arrive in a new city the best way to see it is on foot. This way you get more time to experience the historical locations with a tour guide who is full of knowledge and ready to answer your questions, whilst helping to save our beautiful planet.

SUSTAINABILITY IN HELSINKI

Helsinki is one of the most sustainable cities in the world.

During your visit to Helsinki, you will discover that Helsinki is home to many green events, sustainable activities, and eco-friendly hotels. And while many of Helsinki’s green initiatives and experiences are located outside of the capital, Helsinki, itself, offers a lot to the responsible traveler.

Walking tours are one of the best solutions for budget travel and you will still get to experience the top sights. These tours are the perfect way for curious locals and tourists to take in sites that are often overlooked, ducking down side streets to explore the city’s hidden gems and incredible history.

BEST TIME TO VISIT HELSINKI

Helsinki is a city you can visit any time of the year. Summer is the most popular season for visitors wanting to explore the top attractions, thanks to the warm weather (temperatures in the summer hover around 20-25°C) and over 18 hours of daylight, meaning you can make the most out of your visit.

Winter is the least popular time to visit. Temperatures often plummet to -5 and -15°C and daylight hours diminish to just 5 hours in Helsinki during December, January and February.

Despite this you will find Helsinki in winter to be a very charming place. There are lots of things to do in December. Christmas lights, markets, cozy little restaurants and bars which are scattered all over the city. With Santa Claus and other winter activities Finland has much to offer for those visitors wishing to visit during the winter months.

Spring and Fall offer a pleasant balance of warm weather, longer daylight hours, and a beautiful landscape thanks to new blooms in the spring and a kaleidoscope of colours in the fall. But still be aware temperatures and the sea breeze can still feel chilly.

WHAT TO SEE

Tours will take you past the city’s major attractions, landmark public buildings, cultural venues, restaurants and cafes. You will also see examples of its fast amount of modern architecture. Finland’s capital was founded in the 16th century but the city you will see today took its shape in the 1800s, when the Russians laid out Helsinki along similar lines to St. Petersburg, with its broad streets and neoclassical mansions.

Helsinki offers so much to see and on a walking tour you may have the opportunity to see some of these fantastic sites, Cafes and buildings

Karl Fazer Cafe

Fazer is one of the largest corporations in the Finnish food industry. The company was founded by Karl Fazer in 1891, as a "French-Russian confectionery" in central Helsinki. ... Fazer Cafés in Finland and Gateau bakery shops in Finland and Sweden. The flagship Fazer Café is in Kluuvikatu in Helsinki, opened in 1891.

 

staircase in the national finnish libraryNational Library of Finland

The National Library of Finland is the foremost research library in Finland. Administratively the library is part of the University of Helsinki. Until 1 August 2006, it was known as the Helsinki University Library.

Any person who lives in Finland may register as a user of the National Library and borrow library material.

The publications in the national collection, however, are not loaned outside the library.

The library also is home to one of the most comprehensive collections of books published in the Russian Empire of any library in the world.

 

 

Senate Square

The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki, Finland.

Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki. Landmarks and famous buildings surrounding the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki, and Sederholm House (Finnish: Sederholmin talo), the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757.

Helsinki Cathedral

senate_square

Helsinki Cathedral the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki, located in the neighborhood of Kruununhaka in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built from 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. It was also known as St Nicholas' Church until the independence of Finland in 1917. It is a major landmark of the city.

Aleksanterinkatu

Aleksanterinkatu is a street in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. In the city plan by Carl Ludvig Engel, it was the Decumanus Maximus, the main east–west street in the city, crossing the Cardo, Unioninkatu (Union Street) at the corner of the Senate Square.

The street begins near the Presidential Palace and continues to meet with Mannerheimintie, the longest street in Helsinki. It runs past several famous buildings, such as Ritarihuone (the seat of Finnish nobility), the Helsinki Cathedral, the Finnish main office of the Nordea bank, the main building of the University of Helsinki, and the Stockmann department store.

Pohjola Insurance Building

The Pohjola Insurance building is the former headquarters of the Pohjola Insurance Company at Aleksanterinkatu 44 and Mikonkatu 3 in central Helsinki. Primarily designed by Gesellius, Lindgren & Saarinen and constructed in 1899–1901, it is a prominent example of Finnish national romantic architecture. It was acquired in 1972 by Kansallis-Osake-Pankki, now succeeded by Nordea.

Mannerheimintie

Mannerheimintie, named after the Finnish military leader and statesman Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, is the main street of Helsinki, Finland. It was originally named Heikinkatu (Swedish: Henriksgatan), after Robert Henrik Rehbinder, but was renamed after the Winter War. The change of name was also suitable due to Mannerheim having paraded in along that road during the Finnish Civil War (1918), after German forces allied with Mannerheim's Finnish forces had retaken the city.[1] That event is also portrayed in the landmark statue of Mannerheim sitting horseback. The statue is located along the Mannerheimintie just outside the modern arts museum Kiasma.


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Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma

Kiasma is a contemporary art museum located on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki, Finland. Its name kiasma, Finnish for chiasma, alludes to the basic conceptual idea of its architect, Steven Holl. Kiasma is part of the Finnish National Gallery, and it is responsible for the gallery's contemporary art collection.

The Church of Rock

Temppeliaukio Church is a Lutheran church in the Töölö neighborhood of Helsinki. The church was designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. Built directly into solid rock, it is also known as the Church of the Rock and Rock Church.

Helsinki Central Library Oodi

The Helsinki Central Library Oodi, commonly referred to as Oodi (lit. 'Ode'), is a public library in Helsinki, Finland, inaugurated on December 5, 2018. The library is situated in the Töölönlahti district next to Helsinki Music Centre and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art.

Helsinki Music Center

The Helsinki Music Centre is a concert hall and a music center in Töölönlahti, Helsinki. The building is home to Sibelius Academy and two symphony orchestras, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

Finlandia Hall

The Finlandia Hall is a congress and event venue in the centre of Helsinki on the Töölönlahti Bay. The building, which was designed by architect Alvar Aalto, was completed in 1971. Every detail in the building is designed by Aalto. The designs were completed in 1962, with building taking place between 1967–1971. The Congress Wing was designed in 1970 and built in 1973–1975. In 2011, the building was expanded with new exhibition and meeting facilities.

Market Square

The Market Square is a central square in Helsinki, Finland. It is located in central Helsinki, at the eastern end of Esplanadi and bordering the Baltic Sea to the south and Katajanokka to the east. HSL maintains a year-round ferry link from Market Square to Suomenlinna, and in the summer there are also private companies providing ferry cruises, both to Suomenlinna and to other nearby islands. The Presidential Palace and Helsinki City Hall are located adjacent to Market Square.


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Kamppi Chapel of Silence

The Kamppi Chapel is a chapel in Kamppi, Helsinki, located on Narinkka Square. It is also known as the "Chapel of Silence" since it is intended to be a place to calm down and have a moment of silence in one of the busiest areas in Finland.

Amos Rex Art Museum

Amos Rex is an art museum named after publisher and arts patron Amos Anderson located in Lasipalatsi, Mannerheimintie, Helsinki. It opened in 2018 and rapidly reached international popularity, attracting more than 10,000 visitors in a matter of weeks.

Mannerheim Statue

A bronze equestrian statue of Marshal of Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, by Aimo Tukiainen, stands in the centre of Helsinki, Finland. It was erected 1960.

The bronze statue is 5.4 m tall. It is raised on a granite podium, 6.3 m tall, 6.3 m long and 2.72 m wide

Finnish Parliament Building

The Parliament House is the seat of the Parliament of Finland. It is located in the Finnish capital Helsinki, in the district of Töölö.

National Museum of Finland

The National Museum of Finland presents Finnish history from the Stone Age to the present day, through objects and cultural history. The Finnish National Romantic style building is located in central Helsinki and is a part of the Finnish Heritage Agency (until 2018 the National Board of Antiquities), under the Ministry of Culture and Education.

Punavuori District

Punavuori is a neighbourhood in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. The name Punavuori (English: Red mountain) refers to red cliffs located between Sepänkatu and Punavuorenkatu. They were still visible in the 19th century, nowadays they are covered with buildings and pavement. Punavuori was traditionally a working-class neighbourhood, today it is known as a bohemian district popular among artists, students and hipsters. It is one of the most densely populated areas in Finland.


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Ullanlinna District

Ullanlinna is a city district of Helsinki, in Finland. The name Ullanlinna (English: Ulla's castle) refers to the fortification line that was built at the southern edge of the area during the 18th century (no longer visible), as part of the town fortifications, which also included the fortress of Suomenlinna. The name Ulla refers to the Swedish Queen Ulrika Eleonora (1688–1741). During the 19th century the area was dominated by summer pavilions owned by the wealthy Helsinki middle-classes. The appearance of the area changed gradually at the end of the 19th century as the wooden houses were replaced with much higher stone buildings, designed in the prevailing Jugendstil architectural style synonymous with National Romanticism.

St. John’s Cathedral

St. John's Church in Helsinki, Finland is a Lutheran church designed by the Swedish architect Adolf Melander in the Gothic Revival style. It is the largest stone church in Finland by seating capacity.

Design Museum

Design Museum is a museum in Helsinki devoted to the exhibition of both Finnish and foreign design, including industrial design, fashion, and graphic design. The building is situated in Kaartinkaupunki, on Korkeavuorenkatu Street, and is owned by the Republic of Finland through Senate Properties. The museum, which is 140 years old (2013) and one of the oldest in the world – was first founded in 1873 but has operated in its present premises, a former school, designed by architect Gustaf Nyström in 1894 in the neo-Gothic style, since 1978. In 2002, the museum changed its name from Taideteollisuusmuseo to Designmuseo ("Design Museum") because the original name was too long and complicated. The museum also has a cafe and shop. Situated on the same city block is the Museum of Finnish Architecture.

Esplanadi Park

Esplanadi, colloquially known as Espa, is an esplanade and urban park in downtown Helsinki, Finland, situated between the Erottaja square and the Market Square. It is bordered on its northern and southern sides by the Pohjoisesplanadi (North Esplanadi) and Eteläesplanadi (South Esplanadi) streets, respectively. Aleksanterinkatu runs parallel to Esplanadi.

Havis Amanda

Havis Amanda is a fountain and a statue in Helsinki, Finland by the sculptor Ville Vallgren (1855–1940). The work was modelled in 1906 in Paris, and erected at its present location at the Market Square in Kaartinkaupunki in 1908. Today it is recognized as one of the most important and beloved pieces of art in Helsinki.

Helsinki City Hall

Helsinki City Hall is a central administrative building of Helsinki, Finland. City Hall is located in the Kruununhaka district, overlooking Market Square,[1] at address Pohjoisesplanadi 11–13. City Hall is the seat of the City Council of Helsinki.

Presidential Palace of Finland

The Presidential Palace is one of the three official residences of the President of the Republic of Finland. It is situated in Helsinki, on the north side of Esplanadi, overlooking Market Square.

Katajanokka District

Katajanokka is a neighbourhood of Helsinki, Finland, with around 4000 inhabitants in 2005. The district is located adjacent to the immediate downtown area, though in the first major town plan for Helsinki from the mid-18th century, the area fell outside the fortifications planned to encircle the city. Originally, it was a headland of the Helsinki peninsula but is now technically an island, as a small canal was dug across the base of the headland in the 19th century. Katajanokka is one of the most distinguished neighbourhoods in Helsinki. Katajanokka's residents include former Finnish President (from 1982 to 1994) Mauno Koivisto and composer Einojuhani Rautavaara.

Uspenski Cathedral

Uspenski is an Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Helsinki, Finland, and main cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Finland, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary). Its name comes from the Old Church Slavonic word uspenie, which denotes the Dormition. Designed by the Russian architect Aleksey Gornostayev (1808–1862). The cathedral was built after his death in 1862–1868. 

Kruununhaka District

Kruununhaka is a neighbourhood of Helsinki, the capital of Finland.

Kruununhaka became the area next to the harbour and the center, when Helsinki was moved from the earlier location in the mid-1660s. From the very beginning, the residents included city and state officials.

Many buildings of the University of Helsinki are also situated in Kruununhaka. The area has become known for its vintage shops.

Finnish House of Nobility

The House of Nobility either refers to the institution of the Finnish nobility or the palace of the noble estate. The Finnish nobility was until 1906 the first of the four estates of the realm.

Finnish National Theater

The Finnish National Theatre, established in 1872, is a theatre located in central Helsinki on the northern side of the Helsinki Central Railway Station Square. The Finnish National Theatre is the oldest Finnish speaking professional theatre in Finland. It was known as the Finnish Theatre until 1902, when it was renamed the Finnish National Theatre.

Ateneum Art Museum

Ateneum is an art museum in Helsinki, Finland and one of the three museums forming the Finnish National Gallery. It is located in the centre of Helsinki on the south side of Rautatientori square close to Helsinki Central railway station. It has the biggest collections of classical art in Finland. Previously the Ateneum building also housed the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and University of Art and Design Helsinki, but has solely been a museum since 1991. The Ateneum building is owned by Senate Properties (Finnish: Senaatti-kiinteistöt), the government real estate provider.

Helsinki Central Station

Helsinki Central Station is the main station for commuter rail and long-distance trains departing from Helsinki, Finland. The station is used by approximately 400,000 people per day, of which about 200,000 are passengers. It serves as the terminus for all trains in the Helsinki commuter rail network, as well as for all Helsinki-bound long-distance trains in Finland. The Central Railway Station metro station is located in the same building.

The station building was designed by Eliel Saarinen and inaugurated in 1919. Helsinki Central was chosen as one of the world's most beautiful railway stations by BBC in 2013.


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