What to see in Helsinki in one day, Finland

What to see in Helsinki in one day

Tourists often make a connection in Helsinki. Instead of waiting for the next flight at Vantaa Airport, you can walk around the center.

There tourists admire the Gulf of Finland and the stylish architecture. Finns know how to harmoniously combine natural and artificial materials, simple and complex shape. Therefore, there are many unusual buildings, monuments and churches. In 2012, Helsinki was even awarded the status of the World Design Capital.

I made a walking route around Helsinki for 4 km. During the walk you can walk around the center at a comfortable pace and see the main attractions of the Finnish capital.

The route

Mannerheim Avenue is the main street of Helsinki. On the map, this is the stretch from Kiasma to the turn to the Esplanade Park. There are many stores, cafes, and popular Finnish department stores Sokos and Stockmann. Usually winter collections are on sale in November and summer collections in July. Sale in Finnish is ale. Even taking into account the euro exchange rate you can find things cheaper than in Russia.

The best time to go to Temppeliaukio is in the morning, when the light shines through the unusual roof. Photo: Jaakko Hakulinen/Flickr

Esplanade Park is a cozy linden park. In summer, it’s nice to just sit on a bench and watch passersby.

Senate Square with its cathedral is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. In the winter, there are Christmas fairs and merry-go-rounds on the square. In summer, tourists sit on the steps of the cathedral and enjoy the view of the city.

You can go to the Kaisa and Oodi libraries as architectural museums or just to read books.

Kaisa-talo is the main building of the university library. The building is built so that when you enter you can see all the floors at once and the transparent roof. Each floor of the building is narrower than the previous one, so it resembles a spaceship.

Entrance to the library is free and does not require a passport. Many books in English are available to the public: take it and read it. Comfortable armchairs are arranged around the halls, some of them opposite the wide windows overlooking the city. You can read in them, have a coffee without the librarian’s disgruntled stare.

Helsinki’s central library, Oodi, opened at the end of 2018. It is a large three-story building with an unusual shape. Admission is free, there are books in Russian, Arabic and even Somali. In Oodi you can also drink coffee, go to the cinema and work at the computer.

The Helsinki Music House is a large cultural center in the city center. There listen to classical music and jazz. If you like concerts, I suggest stopping by there.

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The House of Music has several halls, which are designed for different numbers of people. I like the large concert hall: in addition to the fact that it has great acoustics, the hall itself looks very classy.


Language. Most Finns speak English fluently. There are also many Russian-speaking immigrants in the city. But before your trip, I still recommend downloading a translator: some inscriptions or menus are not translated into English. If you don’t know Finno-Ugric languages, you won’t be able to guess the meaning of words. For example fruit juice is hedelmämehu.

Flight. Through Helsinki, you can get cheap travel to other European cities on the Norwegian low-cost airline Norvidgin. If you get on sale, the flight to France or the Canary Islands will cost 2000 P one way. From Moscow to Helsinki you can get on “Pobeda”. On average tickets cost 5000 P round trip.

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Anastasia Osyan


Get on the streetcar number 2 or number 3 and drive through all the sights. It is more difficult to write an article on what to do in Helsinki for TWO days.

I am there several times a year, there are always things to do )

Egor, There is also a zoo on the island. I have been to Helsinki 11 times and always had something to do.

Rustam Kondratov

Egor, it’s easy – the second day, for example, Sveaborg.

1) You can eat at the Old Market Hall and the square nearby 2) If you have time and it’s summer, it would be interesting to take a boat trip to Suomenlinna

Anastasia, for 7 euros you can get a decent portion of fried fish, similar to our smelt.

Anastasia, from 6 euros for ukha. I liked the fried salmon and smelt. For two about 20 euros. True, it can be cold to eat outside.

Anastasia, I do not remember, but cheaper than in restaurants. There are a lot of streetfood style shops – Scandinavian cuisine, soups, fish, etc.

Anastasia Osyan

Aleksey, how much is lunch at the market and what can you eat there? I have not been there.

Yuri Suetin

I go to Helsinki 1-3 times a year, but mostly to events like hockey and concerts. For the 30th time there’s not much to do in the city, so with friends (or alone) I go to Suomenlinna, there I get out of the fence and sit with a beer on the beach, waiting for the ferry to pass, it looks nice) And to eat there all the same better in fast food restaurants, but not in a McDak, but in Hesburger: portions more, prices slightly lower.

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Suomenlinna is a great place, a fortress on an island not far from Helsinki. The ferry a year ago was 5 euros, departs from the waterfront, travels about 10-15 minutes. I advise to take a full day.

Marina, you can get on the ferry with a regular transport pass, which you can buy in the HSL app.

I would add another option to get to the center of Helsinki from the airport. An electric train for 5 euros, goes 25 minutes straight to the train station.

Temppeliaukio church in November 2018 the entrance cost 10 euros.

I would also recommend visiting: “Helsinki City Museum” Helsinki, Aleksanterinkatu, 16, it’s on the corner of Senate Square. There are a lot of interesting things, interactive exhibitions, I spent three hours there. I was really happy. And the souvenir store was the cheapest there. I went to the IKEA museum in Helsinki, which was a great place to hang out. “Assumption Cathedral in Helsinki”.

And in general, I download the app “izi.Travel” – it offers good hikes.

For a budget lunch I can recommend Deli Cafe Maya, for 12 euros (salad / soup / second / dessert / coffee / tea – as a buffet).

I was in Helsinki – 2 full days. For one city, that’s a LOT. For example Debrecen was a lot of 3 days :)

Helsinki for one day: to see everything

Helsinki is an amazing city. On the one hand, all its main attractions can be visited in just one day. On the other hand, no matter how many times you return to the Finnish capital, you will still discover something new.

Helsinki for one day: to see everything

After all, Helsinki has many sides – formal and playful, romantic and serious, historical and modern. And most importantly, you can get to know each of them in just one day. The main thing: to plan the route correctly.

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Classical walk

If it’s your first visit to the Finnish capital you’d better see the main sights – they will tell you a lot of important and interesting things about the history of Finland and the Finnish people.

Perhaps you should start with the monument to Finland’s most famous composer, Jan Sibelius. This monument is located far enough from the city center. The exact address of the monument: Mechelininkatu, 00250 Helsinki. You can get there by streetcar: 3B, 3T, 4, 4T, 7A, 7B and 10 (stop Töölön Halli). The trip will take at least half an hour, but it is worth it. The monument is hand-welded from 600 metal pipes, and its creation took several years. According to the author, Finnish sculptor Eila Hiltunen, the monument should symbolize the frosted tree trunks and a giant organ at the same time. And locals say that sometimes the wind, flying into the pipes of the monument, really creates a peculiar and very beautiful music. Around the monument laid out a magnificent park where you can take great pictures.

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helsinki walks white big

helsinki walks white big

The next point without which a visit to Helsinki would be incomplete ─ is the Cathedral, built in 1830-1852 years from the city center here you can walk for 10-15 minutes along the beautiful Aleksanterinkatu (on the value and scale it can be compared to the Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg or Arbat in Moscow). This snow-white architectural structure – one of the main symbols of Suomi. You don’t have to go inside – the interiors of Lutheran churches are extremely modest. But you can’t beat sitting on the cathedral’s steps and making a wish. Not without reason, residents of Helsinki say: “If you can, without freezing, sit for half an hour on the stairs leading to the cathedral ─ it means that spring has already come to town!

Descending from the steps of the cathedral, it is worth to look around Senate Square with the monument to Alexander II (it is here because this Russian emperor gave Finnish the status of the state language at the time when Finland was still part of the Russian Empire), and do not hesitate to go to the Cathedral of the Assumption, located in 10-15 minutes walk. It was built in 1868 by the Russian architect Gornostayev and is still considered the largest Orthodox building in northern and western Europe. Don’t forget to go inside to admire the gorgeous gilded iconostasis, and then be sure to walk along the waterfront, where the snow-white yachts are moored.

helsinki walks night big

helsinki walks night big

After that, it’s best to go back to the railway station and from there walk towards the bay to another famous landmark of Helsinki – the Church in the Rock. This structure is carved entirely in the rock and is a symbiosis of nature, architecture and careful spending, so dear to the hearts of Finns. In fact, thanks to the well-thought-out design, the construction cost of this architectural masterpiece was surprisingly modest: for that money one could only construct a village school or a typical administrative building. Inside Temppeliaukionkirkko it is certainly worth admiring the natural stone walls, against which the candles are picturesquely lit, and of course raise your eyes to the extraordinary ceiling made of 22 kilometers of copper wire. And if you’re lucky, you’ll also hear a free concert in the church – they’re held here almost every week.

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End a classic day outing around Helsinki the best way for most Finns to end their day: with a pint of beer or a glass of apple cider in a cosy pub.

A romantic stroll

helsinki walks date big

helsinki walks date big

For all its outward simplicity and Nordic austerity, Helsinki knows how to be romantic, lighthearted and even playful. Is this the way you want to experience the Finnish capital? A day is enough.

To get there, take streetcars 1, 1A, 2, 3B, 3, 6, 7B from the railway station to the Unioninkatu stop. In good weather in the old Botanical Garden, opened to visitors in 1833, you can walk through the orchard, admire the reflection of water lilies in the water of the pond and breathe the scents of alpine herbs. When it’s raining or cold, it’s best to head straight for the greenhouses. There, in ten small halls, you can see all the climatic zones of the Earth.

The next point of the program is Helsinki Market Square. The easiest way to get there from the city center by streetcar 3T (stop – Eteläranta). Here you should not forget to look at the most romantic monument of the Finnish capital – the sculpture of Havis Amanda. This brooding, slender girl emerging from the foam of the sea symbolizes the birth of Helsinki itself. Then hop on one of the small boats that line the waterfront from May to September for an hour and a half tour of Helsinki on the sea. You’ll see tiny islands with comfortable cottages, snow-white yachts and the blue waters of the bay merging with the blue sky on the horizon.

helsinki walks towers big

helsinki walks towers big

You can’t think of a better place to end a romantic day in Helsinki. The bar in the tower of the Torni Hotel (Yrjonkatu 26, a 5-7 minute walk from the main railway station) offers a bird’s-eye view of Helsinki. And this landscape is good at any time of day. During the day you can admire the scattering of Finnish streets, framed by green parks and the blue of the bay. And at night, visitors are taken in by the scattering of lights below. And, the best part is that you can admire the city not only through the window but also from the open terrace, where you can go straight with a cocktail or a cup of coffee in hand.

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Helsinki City Hall. Photo: flickr.com

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A relaxing walk

helsinki walks esplanade big

helsinki walks esplanade big

If you come to Helsinki just for one day and have absolutely no energy to see the many museums or “jog” through the sights, that’s very good! This means you can get to know the Finnish capital as the locals see it – a comfortable and beautiful place to stay.

  • Straight from the city center, bypassing the many museums and attractions, take the streetcar 3T to Helsinki Market Square (stop – Eteläranta). Here you should go to one of the humble cafes under a tent and taste creamy salmon soup or roasted smelt, then feed the seagulls with bread, buy a few handmade souvenirs, admire ferries and cruise ships moored in the distance and take a ride on the Ferris wheel.
  • In Esplanadi Park, a stone’s throw from Market Square, you can enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine at an elegant café, listen to street musicians or simply sit with a book on a bench or on the soft grass, as locals do.
  • Your next stop is Stockmann (Aleksanterinkatu 52, 3 minute walk from the railway station). Here you can buy anything – from a pin to furniture. It’s not without reason that Finns say: “If you can’t find something in Stockmann, you just don’t need it. But even if you’re not in the mood for shopping, a stroll through the store’s beautifully decorated halls is sure to delight you.
  • The best way to end your relaxing stroll through Helsinki is with dinner at one of the small, democratic restaurants around Helsinki Railway Station.

helsinki walks sky big

helsinki walks sky big

If you come to Helsinki for one day

  • Take a map with you. Although Helsinki has a pretty clear layout, it’s possible to get lost here, especially if you get lost in the unfamiliar sounding Finnish street names.
  • If you get tired, take the streetcar 3T. It takes you through the main attractions of the capital – the Senate and Market Square, the Parliament, the National Opera, the Railway Station and a long line of magnificent buildings in the national romanticist style. By the way, the streetcar runs in a circle, so don’t be afraid to miss the right stop!

helsinki walks harbour big

helsinki walks harbour big

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