Helsinki is the capital of Finland.The urban area offers a variety of historical, cultural, and outdoor attractions to explore. The capital has a friendly energy that combines a big-city vibe with small-town charm, bursting at the seams with natural beauty, welcoming people and tangible history.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Finland then it depends on what you’d like to experience: for plenty of snow and winter activities, December to March is the best time. For springtime sun and the revival of nature after the winter, April to May is the period. For long and warm summer days and plenty of events, opt for June, July and August.
Top Places to Visit in Helsinki
1. Finnish National Museum of Art
On the south side of Helsinki’s Station Square is the National Museum of Art, usually known as the Ateneum after the name of the impressive Neoclassical building it occupies. The same building also houses the famed Finnish Academy of Art. Designed by Theodor Höijer and completed in 1887, the Ateneum holds Finland’s finest art collection of historic works as well as contemporary art in a gallery of its own. Be sure to check the website as there are a large number of days throughout the year when entry is free. Open Tues- Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat & Sun 11am to 5pm, closed Mondays.
2. Finnish National Museum
Founded in 1912 in a National Romantic style, the museum is easy to spot when heading north along the street as it is the only building on the left hand side with a tall spire. Museum contains a comprehensive collection of material on the culture and ethnography of Finland. Of note is the Finno-Ugrian collection with traditional costumes and everyday cultural objects. The prehistoric section is the largest permanent collection of archaeological materials in the country. Various displays also document the development of Finland from the middle ages through the Swedish and Russian empires and into a modern state. The entrance hall is decorated with fabulous ceiling frescoes inspired by the Kalevala, the national myth of Finland. Open Tues-Sun 11am to 6pm, closed Mondays.
3. Central Park
Helsinki’s Central Park (Keskuspuisto) is a massive park right in the middle of the city. Covering more than 10 square kilometers, the park begins at the Olympic Stadium near Toolonlahti Bay and stretches north into the community of Vantaa at the Paloheinä forest where there is a wide cross-country skiing area. The park is more wild woodland than manicured garden. It’s loaded with bike and walking trails and other activity areas. The idea for the park was proposed by architect Bertel Jung in 1911 and grew over the following decades. It was finally codified and included in the master planning for the city in 1978.
4. Linnanmäki Amusement Park
To the east of Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, beyond the railroad line, is the Linnanmäki amusement park, with a water tower, a switchback, and a giant wheel. Along with the nearby Television Tower, it forms a striking vision on Helsinki’s skyline. The park opened in 1950 and has continually renovated and improved the rides, shows, shops, and restaurants. Prices and entry times vary throughout the year and change frequently so be sure to check the website for the most up-to-date information.
5. Rock Church
Rock Church, designed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in the late 1960s. The underground interior of the church was carved out of and built directly into the ancient solid rock of the Helsinki peninsula. The inside is bathed in a glorious natural light that enters through the glazed dome. It has a shallow circular dome (13 meters high) of copper sheeting and glass borne on concrete ribs. The church is also used as a concert hall due to its excellent acoustics created by the rough, unworked rock surfaces of the interior.
6. Senate Square
Sightseers will find a number of tourist attractions here. From the Market Square in Helsinki, a street between the President’s Palace and the Guard House leads into Aleksanterinkatu. Along this street to the left are numerous buildings recalling centuries of Finnish history. At the end of Aleksanterinkatu on the right, is the House of the Nobility. Opposite are the premises of the Finnish Literary Society, and the Government Palace near here on the right was formerly the Senate of the Grand Duchy of Finland.On the north side of Helsinki’s Senate Square, a broad flight of steps leads up to the Lutheran Cathedral standing 10 meters above the square on a granite crag. The cathedral was begun in 1830 to the design of C. L. Engel and completed in 1852 in a different style.
When it comes to nightlife, Helsinki is more about quality than quantity. There may be fewer clubs there than in other capitals, but those in Helsinki have a well-deserved international foothold due to their friendly atmosphere, world-class DJs and exciting party scene. The city center is the heart of Helsinki’s nightlife, and there you can find everything from luxurious lounges to pubs filled with locals and live music.