Helsinki

Euroventure city guide

Helsinki

Euroventure city guide

Everything you need to know about Helsinki

Quick facts

  • Rough location of city Southern Finland, Scandinavia, Northern Europe
  • Language Finnish
  • Population of city 600,000
  • Nearest airport Helsinki Airport
  • Main train/bus station(s) Helsinki Central Station (trains), Helsinki Bus Station
  • Best time to visit? It depends on what you’re looking for: for snow and winter activities, December to March. For fresh spring sunshine and avoiding the crowds, April to May. For long warm summer days & events, go in June, July and August.
  • Budget level? £££
  • Best for Scenic, History/museums, Excursions/day trips

Top Attractions

Market Square

Helsinki’s market square is the focal point of the city, located next to the harbour and surrounded by some major landmarks such as the presidential palace and Uspenski Cathedral. The market sells just about everything you can imagine, from arts and crafts to coffee to fruit and being next to the harbour there’s plenty of fish on sale with a seasonal market of fresh produce. Market square also hosts several wacky events throughout the year such as the annual herring market, and vintage American car conventions.

Kiasma

Helsinki’s Museum of Contemporary Art and under the umbrella of the Finish National Art Gallery. The building itself is instantly recognisable for its strange, curved D-shaped architecture. The main collection houses artwork from over 4000 artists, primarily local Finish artists, but also including artists from all over the world, featuring some famous names like Rembrandt and Picasso.

Saunas

Saunas are a massive part of Finish culture, so much so that there are 2 million of them in Finland to cater for the country’s 5 million residents. Most Finish families will have saunas in their houses and it’s a pretty normal thing to do with friends and family. There’s no shortage in Helsinki so finding one won’t be an issue, but some highlights are the Sompasaunna, Skywheel Sauna, with cabins similar to the London eye, or the Burger King Sauna, actually in a Burger King.

Main Districts

Designkortteli

Translating to “Design District”, this area of town is a hub for all things quirky and artsy. This area is made up of 25 streets with over 150 artisan boutiques, galleries, hotels, places of note are marked by an official black sticker on their door. This area is a must-explore for the design-conscious creative.

Kamppi

Helsinki’s central business district, Kampii is shopping central for fancy boutiques and conventional stores. Like all of Helsinki though, it does have its own quirky, unique side in the shape the colourful Hietalahti, an outdoor flea market popular amongst people from all walks of life.

Kallio

Formerly a very working-class neighbourhood, Kallio has recently made a name for itself as one of Helsinki’s most laid-back areas, making it a favourite district of locals and tourists. Kallio is known for its hipster atmosphere, bubbling with student bars, raucous nightlife and cheap(ish) eats.

Best places to go out

Story

This cute Scandi café has a friendly and lively atmosphere, making it a perfect spot for brunch. With a bakery on site and an impressive selection on the menu, there’s a lot to love and a stack of their pancakes will guarantee you’ll visit more than once!

Sompasauna

Sauna by day, music venue by night, Sompasauna is not to be missed. It’s set up by volunteers, meaning no one makes a profit from it and it’s free for public use. At night, several live musicians and DJs perform there, creating an amazing, friendly atmosphere. Bear in mind it’s BYOB.

Kaiku

Located in a disused factory, Kaiku has become Helsinki’s most popular club over the past 7 or 8 years. This underground hotspot hosts international DJs every week, playing a variety of different music styles and is one night out not to be missed!

Best culture spots

Temppeliaukio

This bizarre, futuresque and spaceship-like edifice is actually a Lutheran church built into the face of a rock. Its solid copper dome and pink pews are magnificent to behold and we wouldn’t recommend missing this off your must-see list!

Sibelius Monument

If you needed any more convincing that Helsinki’s architects are from another planet, take a gander at this ‘floating’ monument to Finland’s greatest composer. The sculpture is a mass of steel tubes fused together at various levels, giving the impression that it floats above the ground.

Suomenlinna

Take a ferry from Helsinki across to the fortress island of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some pretty walking trails lead to museums on Finland’s maritime history. There’s also a brewery and some waterfront restaurants, so why not make a day of it?

Routes

A Selection of Trips and Tours that include Helsinki

To Russia With Love: 8 Weeks

From£3,019£2,717
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To Russia With Love: 6 Weeks

From£2,159£1,943
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Group Tour

Russia: 2 Weeks

From£799£719
0

Northern Loop: 5 Weeks

From£2,009£1,808
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Around Europe in 80 Days

From£3,919£3,527
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Baltics: 1 Week

From£389£350
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