The attractions of Helsinki are primarily historic religious buildings and also architecture, which was mostly built under the Russian rule. For this reason, for many people, the capital of Finland strongly resembles metropolises in Russia, such as St. Petersburg. However, there are many more attractions in Helsinki. Museum enthusiasts will be extremely pleased here, as there are many such facilities. You can choose from almost 70 museums on various topics, so there is sure to be something for everyone.
In addition, a lot of events and cultural events are organized in the capital of Finland, and the city does not die after dark. Even though it is one of the smallest European metropolises. Attractions in Helsinki also include walks on the frozen Baltic Sea in winter, or cruises along the varied coastline of this city. Hardly anyone is aware of the fact that part of the capital of Finland is located on several dozen islands and islets, the Gulf of Finland.
Visits to public saunas are also a big attraction in Helsinki, as well as in the whole country. It is said that there is one sauna per one Finn, and they even have them in their homes. Therefore, visiting one of the easily accessible saunas will definitely have a positive impact not only on our health, but also on our well-being. There are also urban green spaces and parks in Helsinki, including historical and more entertaining ones. Therefore, the capital of Finland will appeal to lovers of classicist buildings, as well as the port climate, and people who appreciate more green cities in the north.
Helsinki is such a small European capital that we can easily visit it on foot. Not at all taking long walks. Most of the biggest attractions and important monuments are located close to each other, so there is even no need to use public transport services. However, if someone wants to go outside the city center, Helsinki metro, trams and buses are at the disposal of tourists.
The capital of Finland is a great city for a short weekend getaway. In fact, all the main attractions can be visited even in one day. However, these two days are needed for a peaceful exploration of the city and trying the local, not at all unusual cuisine. Those who are most interested in visiting local museums will need even more time.
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As for the convenient time to come to Helsinki, you can visit them practically all year round. Both in summer, when the weather is good and the day is evidently longer, it is worth trying the so-called city break, as well as in the colder part of the year. The more so because in winter you can not only take a walk on the frozen sea, which is a real treat, but also go to one of the Christmas markets. In turn, for lower temperatures there is a way that is simply visiting the local saunas.
Sights of Helsinki
The most iconic monument in Helsinki is the Cathedral, the shape of which dominates the city’s skyline. Built in the nineteenth century, it is characterized by green domes and a white facade, to which there are rows of stairs, on which tourists and locals like to sit.
This Lutheran building was erected in the neoclassical style on the plan of a Greek cross, but its interior is not stunning. In the cathedral, however, it is worth visiting the crypt, which hosts interesting exhibitions, and in summer there is a cafe.
The most representative place in Helsinki is definitely Senate Square. It is here that in winter one of the most popular Christmas markets takes place. At Senate Square, there are buildings important for the city, such as the office of the Prime Minister of Finland or the headquarters of the University of Helsinki, built in the classical style. In addition, it is here that the above-mentioned Helsinki Cathedral is located.
In Senate Square, it is worth paying attention to the monument of Tsar Alexander II, which was erected in 1894 and is probably the only surviving monument of this ruler outside Russia. It is also worth going deeper into the departing streets, where you can see rows of small, colorful houses.
Another monument in Helsinki that perfectly reflects the influence of Russian rule is Uspenski Cathedral (Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God). It is a cathedral cathedral built in 1868, which is also the main temple of the Orthodox Church in Finland. Interestingly, Uspenski Cathedral is the largest Orthodox cathedral in all of Western Europe.
The building is distinguished by a red brick facade and thirteen golden domes. They are to symbolize Jesus with the twelve apostles. Uspenski Cathedral is located on a hill on Katajanokka Island, in the district of the same name. Inside, the attention is drawn to a magnificent iconostasis and a richly decorated interior with gold. It is also worth paying attention to the seven antique bells that were donated by the residents of Moscow.
Tourist attractions in Helsinki – Suomenlinna Fortress
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Helsinki is the Suomenlinna Fortress. It is a fortress located on six islands, built in the 18th century by the Swedes, whose task was to protect against the Russian invasion from the sea. Apparently, it was an impregnable fortress for many years.
Currently, Suomenlinna Fortress has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is the most popular attraction for tourists in Helsinki. Although the locals like to come here to have a picnic. Today, the Suomenlinna Fortress has several restaurants and cafes, a military museum and a naval military school. In summer, numerous concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events take place there. You can get to the fortress by ferry that departs from the main square.
Another big tourist attraction in Helsinki is the Temppeliaukio Church, which is the Church in the Rock. Its name comes from the fact that the temple was actually built inside granite rocks. Outside, only its copper dome is visible, so it’s not easy to find. The Temppeliaukio Church is located in the Töölö district of Helsinki and is one of the most architecturally interesting buildings in the city.
The Temple of the Rock was built in 1969 by the brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. It has the shape of an oval, and the light enters it through 180 glass panels that are placed between the dome and the rock walls. It is worth going inside, because there is a rather unusual dark climate inside, due to the natural lighting. Concerts are often held in the Temppeliaukio Church.
Linnanmäki Amusement Park
Linnanmäki Amusement Park is also a big attraction for tourists in Helsinki. It is the oldest facility of this type in Finland, established in 1950. Importantly, it is run by a foundation that supports children from poorer families. The amusement park itself is located in the middle of the city park, on an area of 7 and a half hectares.
There are around 40 different activities at the Linnanmäki theme park that you can take advantage of. Among them there are as many as 8 roller coasters, as well as carousels, two Ferris mills, a haunted house and a 4D cinema. All attractions are varied enough for the whole family to use them, from the youngest to the slightly older ones.
What’s worth seeing in Helsinki? Olympic Stadium
While visiting Helsinki, the Olympic Stadium, which was the arena of the 1952 Summer Olympics, is definitely worth seeing. In addition to the stadium itself, which is open to visitors, you can also enter the Sports Museum, which is located on its premises.
However, what attracts tourists the most here is the 72-meter high observation tower. It offers a panoramic view of the entire capital of Finland. Interestingly, the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki is inhabited by the eagle owl, Bubi, who once interrupted the Euro 2008 qualifying match with his presence.
Vanha Kauppahalli Old Market Hall
In Helsinki, it is also worth seeing the Old Market Hall – Vanha Kauppahalli, located at the Market Square. It is one of the oldest buildings of this type in the Finnish capital, the construction of which dates back to 1889. It was built mainly so that it could be traded freely, even in winter. The building is easy to recognize because it is built of red brick.
Currently, there are elegant delicatessen stalls inside the hall. So you can buy local products here, such as various types of cheeses, sweets (including the beloved by Finns licorice) and products with cloudberries (Nordic raspberry). However, the most impressive will be the processed meat of reindeer, elk or even bear. In addition, in the Vanha Kauppahalli Old Market Hall you can buy local souvenirs or artistic products. You can also taste the delicacies of Finnish cuisine here.
Ateneum Art Museum
A place in Helsinki that is also worth seeing is the Ateneum Art Museum. The building is located right in front of the bus station. From the outside, it is decorated with caryatids and a tympanum, as well as busts of Italian architects and sculptors. However, what is most valuable is inside.
In the Ateneum Art Museum you can admire the works of Finnish and foreign artists. However, the collection of local artists has been divided so that we have the opportunity to see works created between the mid-18th century and the end of the 1950s. The more modern ones are housed in the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, which is also located in Helsinki. In the Ateneum collection you can admire the works of such artists as Munch, Van Gogh and Gauguin.
Interesting places in Helsinki
One of the most interesting landmarks in Helsinki is the Sibelius Monument, which was built in honor of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Its unusual shape attracts crowds of tourists, although initially it aroused little controversy among the locals.
The Sibelius Monument consists of 600 stainless steel pipes welded together in a shape resembling an organ. Additionally, after a few years, a sculpture of the composer’s head was placed next to it. This extraordinary facility is located exactly in the Sibelius Park, which is located by the bay.
Kamppi Chapel of Silence
Another very interesting place in Helsinki is the Kamppi Chapel of Silence. It is a wooden building in the shape of a large pot, located in the very center of the city, on Narinkka Square, which is supposed to be a place where you can calm down for a while. Its interior, like the entire facade, is entirely made of light wood and is very minimalist.
It is supposed to encourage a moment of contemplation and concentration.
Even though the Chapel of Silence is Lutheran, everyone is welcome here, regardless of religion and faith or lack of it. The temple is to serve all those who need a moment of peace in the middle of the city. It is completely free to enter, but you cannot take photos inside.
Seurasaari open-air museum
A very interesting place in Helsinki is also the Seurasaari Open Air Museum, located on the island of the same name. It is here that you can see historic buildings brought from all over Finland. They give a picture of what the Finnish countryside looked like and changed in the period from the 18th to the 20th century. There are over 80 buildings in total, but the oldest of them is a wooden church from 1686, which came here from Karuna.
The Seurasaari open-air museum is an ideal place for walking and relaxing in the fresh air. Concerts, performances and fireworks are also held on the island itself. You can get here by ferry or simply enter the wooden 200-meter bridge, which is the link between the museum and the mainland.
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