helsinki travel destination
Finland

A detailed Helsinki travel guided in 3D2N !

Helsinki travel – one of the European destinations with the highest standard of living in the world. It has been voted in the top 10 most liveable cities around the globe for many years. Are you curious about the capital of the happiest country in the world? Lets check basic information in my Helsinki travel guide to make the most out of your trip. I have summarised all useful informations you may need to know before you go. Lets get started !

1. Where is Helsinki ?

Helsinki is the most populous city of Finland nowadays and also the third largest city in northern Europe after Stockholm and Oslo. Located on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, Helsinki is the political, educational and cultural center of Finland. Helsinki Finland is 80 km north of Tallinn, 400 km east of Stockholm, and 390 km east of Saint Petersburg Russia. Therefore, traveling among those cities is quite convenient and easy.

Helsinki travel is well-known as a vibrant seaside city of various beautiful islands and green forests which present almost everywhere around the country. Not only that, you can easily explore unique modern design, architecture, culture, shopping, nightlife easily on foot. Needless to say, there’s something going on in Helsinki Finland every day of the year. Thats why this Nordic city is an Europe’s Must-see City for creative lovers.  

2. Helsinki transportation travel tips

2.1 From Helsinki airport to the center

Helsinki Airport (HEL) or Vantaa Airport, is located in Vantaa city, about 20 km north of Helsinki. You can take a bus or train from Helsinki airport to Helsinki city center.

Helsinki travel guide from HEL airport to the center:

  • By Bus: there are 4 buses depart from Helsinki airport and each bus will have different routes so you need to know exactly which is your destination. If you want to go to the center, you can go bus 415 or 615. Bus 615 will go to the central station. Ticket price is 4,6 € and there is a ticket machine right outside the arrival.
    Bus 415 (Elielinaukio-Ylästö-Airport)
    Bus 561 (Itäkeskus-Malmi-Airport)
    Bus 615 (Rautatientori-Kartanonkoski-Airport)
    Bus 617 (Hakaniemi-Airport)
  • By train: follow the instructions in Helsinki airport to get down to the train tunnel. There are trains I and P both reaching the city center. It serves local commuter trains which runs every 10 minutes on peak hours. Travel time from HEL Airport to Helsinki Central Station is about 30 minutes.Train tickets can only be purchased at the ticket vending machine in in the airport or in HEL airport railway station. Ticket price 4,6 €/1 way.
  • In order to know which kind of transportation is the most suitable for you, go to the website reitiopas and type the departure address and destination. They will recommend the best options for you.

2.2 Transportation in Helsinki center

Helsinki travel guide in in public transport:

  • Bicycle rental: 5 € 1 day. Each run should not exceed 30 minutes or it will be charged 1 euro each time. You see more information at the city’s official website.
  • Bus, train, metro and tram tickets: single ticket 2,8 €, day ticket 8 €, two day 12 €.
    Note that the above fare applies to vehicles in zone A B (downtown Helsinki and part of Espoo). If you intend to buy a day ticket from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to the center, you need to buy zone ABC ticket for 12 €/ day or 18 € /2 days. Children aged 7-16y receive a discount half of above price. If an adult go with a baby stroller, the adult will be free of charge in all public transportations. Tickets are purchased at a ticket vending machine (can be paid in coins or cards) or the HSL app on the phone. This is called HSL day ticket ( Public Transport Card).

Besides, you can aslo explore Helsinki Finland via some private company such as:

A 3-day Helsinki Card includes free entry to 25+ attractions plus hop on hop off bus. The three day ticket costs 71 €. It may be worth the money, if you plan to visit many museums. Kids under 7 are free.

3. Hotel in Helsinki Finland

Below is a list of good hotel / homestay with good reviews in Helsinki Finland that you can consider:

Helsinki travel guide: Generally hotel room rates in the center of Helsinki will range from 40-120 € depending on the location. If you want to rent an Airbnb room in the center, it will cost around 60-70 €. If you dont mind to use public transport during the time there, some airbnb homes located  from the center only cost around 30€/ double room.

See more: List of most beautiful places in Vietnam !

4. Things to do in Helsinki Finland

4.1 Suomenlina island

Located in the capital of Finland, Suomenlinna is a sea fortress  with centuries-old artillery and defensive walls, spread across 6 linked islands . This Helsinki Finland tourist destination was recognised by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage in 1991 and clearly shows the strong identity of Helsinki Finland. This giant Suomenlinna fort was built by a group of Swedes in the late 18th century to protect the city from Russia during the war. This was also a typical image of European military architecture at that time.Nowadays, Suomenlinna has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki as well as a popular picnicking spot for the city’s inhabitants.

Suomenlinna Fortress
Suomenlinna Fortress

Helsinki travel tips :

Things to do in Suomenlinna- Helsinki:

  • finds the Suomenlinna Visitors’ Centre and take a map to see where are the main spots on Suomenlinna.
  • Visit Russian merchants’ quarter, Church Park, Great Courtyard, Piper’s Park and the fortifications of Kustaanmiekka.
  • Visit King gate, the tomb of Augustin Ehrensvärd, Ehrensvärd museum, Suomenlinna Museum.( There are 6 museums in total in the island).
  • Visit Submarine Vesikko to explore a restored 1930s vessel.
  • Visit brewery and waterside restaurants.

Entrance fee: You are not charged an admission fee – only need to pay for the ferry crossing.

How to get there: Suomenlinna is accessible only by water. A ferry service runs from the Market Square to Suomenlinna throughout the year. You need to find the way to the Market square (kauppa tori) and take the ferry to Suomenlina island. Travel time is about 15-20 minutes. There is no ticket to the island but there is an admission ticket to museums on the island. Ferry tickets will be free if you have an HSL day ticket.( single ticket: 2.8€).

4.2 Esplanade park

Esplanade Park is the most famous park and the green heart in Finland known as “Espa” among locals. This located between two roads of the same name Esplanade North and South Esplanade and also situated between the Erottaja square and the Market Square.

Esplanade park in helsinki travel
Esplanade park

Esplanade Park was designed as a green promenade in the Continental style with its straight tree-lined alleys and flowerbeds. The rows of linden trees on either side of the park create a hall-like space. In this park, there are many famous statues including the three great Finnish writers : Johan Ludvig Runeberg, Zacharias Topelius, and Eino Leino.

Helsinki travel tips: The park is lined on either side with shops, restaurants and cafes. It is a delightful place to sit or wander and enjoy the view of the surrounding buildings and statues.

4.3 Helsinki catheral

Helsinki Cathedral is one of Helsinki’s most iconic image and most recognisable spot of the city. This Finnish tourist destination was originally built during the period when Finland was a part of Russian as a tribute to the Tzar Nicholas I of Russia.

Helsinki catheral- most attractive place in helsinki
Helsinki catheral

During the period of Russian domination, the church was named St Nicholas. After Finland became independent in 1917, this Helsinki tourist attraction was renamed Helsinki Cathedral. The cathedral’s style is neoclassic and follows the architecture design of a Greek Cross. Senate square is right at the foot of the church which hosts many important events of Finland. This is definitely a tourist place which should not be missed when visiting this Nordic country.

Entrance fee: free

4.4 Uspenski catheral

Uspenski Church is the largest orthodox church in Finland nowadays. A visit to this landmark cathedral in Helsinki Finland is certainly worthwhile and should be included in your Helsinki things to do list.This Finnish tourist attraction was designed by Russian architect Alexey Gornoslaev and built in 1862 during the Finnish reign of Tsar Alexander II.

Uspenski catheral
Uspenski catheral

Built in the Russian-Byzantine style, the cathedral’s architecture was built in in red brick which were brought from a fortress destroyed during the Crimean War in Åland. This place is located on a high hill with an eye-catching architecture. Thirteen gold domes and brick facades are one of the hallmarks of Russian religion in Finland.

Fee entrance: free

Helsinki travel tips: do not forget to visit market square near Uspenski catheral- one of the most famous outdoor market in Europe. The booths here sell traditional market foods as well as handicrafts and souvenirs. There are also heated café tents where you can have Finnish coffee and enjoy the view of the harbour.

4.5 National museum

National museum in Helsinki travel
National museum in Helsinki

The Finnish National Museum combines the architecture of churches and castles to showcase Finnish history from prehistoric civilisation to today’s society.
The museum is divided into four floors with lots of different collections. If you are interested in the history of Finland’s development, you should not miss this place in Helsinki Finland.

Ticket price: 12€

4.6 Sibelius park

Sibelius is a Finnish composer with international influence. He was one of the most famous composers in the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His music played an important part in identifying Finland on the world music map. Because he lived during the Finnish era under Russian domination , his works focused on the purpose of praising his country and people, challenging the Russian colonial government.
His famous work, Finland – Finlandia, represents the patriotism and pride that became a symbol of Finnish nationalism.

Sibelius monument
Sibelius monument

The Sibelius Monument is the most important and famous part of this park in Helsinki. It was designed by female architect Eila Hiltunen in 1967. The Sibelius Monument consists of 600 organ tubes and weighs 24 tons. This monument symbolises a vast Finnish forest with special echoes when the wind blows. A smaller version of the monument is also located at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Entrance fee: free

Helsinki travel tips: I highly recommend going up to the tubes and looking upwards. On a beautiful day, the blue sky does make an interesting contrast with the steel. Some say when the wind blows, you can actually hear the tubes sing. 

4.7 Helsinki Rock church – Temppeliaukio church

Located in the center of Helsinki (Finland), Temppeliaukio rock church is famous for its unique architecture. From the outside, this church looks like an old tomb and nothing special. But the architecture inside the stone church is what attracts tourists. Each year, this Finnish attraction welcomes more than 500,000 tourists, which is equivalent to 1/10 of the population of Finland.

Temppeliaukio church  in Helsinki
Temppeliaukio church in Helsinki

This rock church in Helsinki is built in a huge rock rising from the ground. In other words, people blasted granite blocks from inside and built a church in the middle of the block. Therefore, the church is surrounded by pristine granite cliffs so the resonance is very good. In addition, the church ceiling is a copper wire block. Natural light comes in from 180 glass doors on the ceiling, connected with copper arches and granite cliffs.

This Helsinki tourist attraction will be an ideal place for those who want to explore something new and unique. This place has gained a lot of famous architects’s attention from around the world.

Entrance fee: 3€

4.8 Oodi library- national library

If you still have time to discover interesting things when traveling to Helsinki Finland, you should not miss the experience at the libraries here. Finns are famous for reading and in 2016 Finland were recognised by UNESCO as the world’s most reading country. The country has only 5.5 million people but each year on average they borrow 68 million books. Each year, this library’s paradise city welcomes more than 400,000 international tourists.

In Finland, there are more than 300 central libraries and about 150 mobile libraries – library buses. Those cars will go to all parts of the country to serve those who live in remote area. The library is seen as a symbol of education’s importance. Therefore, Finnish government is always willing to invest, expand and improve the library system everywhere around the country.

The Finnish Library is not only a place to read books but also a place to connect people together. In addition to lending books, electronics and sport devices, … some large libraries also have restaurants, cafes, recording studios, places to organise group events, play areas for children, 3D printing…. And The most famous library in Helsinki i would like to introduce to you is the Oodi library and the national library.

Oodi library in helsinki
Oodi library in Helsinki

The Oodi Library was built for a total cost of € 100 million and was just completed in 2018. This Helsinki tourist attraction is located right behind the central train station so it is also very accessible. This library is designed as “an indoor city square” as Scandinavia model. Oodi was just chosen as the winner of the 2019 Public Library of the Year award in August 2019.

Finnish National Library
Finnish National Library

The Finnish National Library is Finland’s oldest library built in 1844. It is responsible for preserving various collections, printed heritage and unique works in Finland. Located right in the heart of Helsinki and close to Senate Square (Helsinki Cathedral), this location is easily accessible too.

The Oodi Library symbolises simple modern Scandinavian architecture. In contrast, the Finnish National Library is classic and traditional. If you have time, visit both Helsinki travel destinations to know more about this vibrant city.

5. What to eat in Helsinki Finland ?

  • Vietnamese Restaurant: Pho should be eaten at Pho Viet in Yrjönkatu 30 Helsinki. Price 10 €/ person.
  • Sushi buffet + Asian food: Fuku restaurant is the best. Price of 14.5 € for lunch and 20-23 € for dinner buffet or weekend. Itsudemo restaurant also has the same form, but costs 13 euros for lunch and 17 euros for weekends. These 2 shops are right in the center and very easy to find.
  • Finnish Buffet Restaurant: Ravintola Factory Aleksi restaurant serves a variety of typical and affordable Nordic dishes, about 10 €.

6. Helsinki travel itinerary

Day 1: Central station – Oodi library – National library – Helsinki catheral – Espaland park – Uspenski Catheral.

On the first day of helsinki itinerary, all tourist places are very near and you can easily explore by foot.

Helsinki itinerary day 1
Helsinki itinerary day 1

Day 2: central station – Suomenlina island – Parliament building – national museum – stone church – Sibelius monument.

Helsinki itinerary day 2
Helsinki itinerary day 2

Day 3: Visit Porvoo city

7. Helsinki travel cost

A medium Helsinki travel cost reference:

  • Hotel: 35€/ day
  • Food: 30€/day
  • Ticket & transport: 35€/2 days

In conclusion, medium self-catering Helsinki travel cost may around 100-150€ per day for one person.

8. Budget Helsinki travel experience

  • Lidl supermarket is located in the heart of Helsinki which is very affordable compared to Finland’s local supermarket.
  • There is a Barbarossa pizzas & kebab in the center for only 5 € 1 serving.
  • Do not forget to book the ticket online in advance to Porvoo city.
  • You may join Helsinki free walking tour  to discover some of the highlights of the city, learn about history, politics, religion, education, cuisine, and the Finnish Sauna in a unique way !
  • Hopefully my sharing of Helsinki travel experiences will help you easier on planning your Helsinki trip.
  • Helsinki travel clip by Pablo Camacho:

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