I was pretty excited to discover the capital city of Finland and the place left me speechless! Helsinki boasts many sights and the city is renown for its various art and cultural festivals. In this travel guide I collected all the important sights that will help you plan your itinerary top to bottom. ???

Usually you don’t hear people talking a lot about Helsinki. Due to its head-on modernization, people visiting Europe expecting to experience European medieval roots may be disappointed when they arrive in Helsinki. But if you brush that expectation aside, you are in for quite a quirky amazing time. ??? Since I learned some basic stuff about Helsinki and Finland itself at university, I knew it will be quite different than those european cities that I’ve visited before. I really enjoyed this trip and I’m still very glad to AirBaltic for making this journey possible! ❤ The city is likewise famous for stunning architecture, but while Helsinki is an ideal destination for architecture enthusiasts, it will also appeal to travelers in search of a thriving nightlife scene and world-class entertainment venues.

Find out more about all the must-see sights below, and don’t forget to save the map as well with your most favourite places of Helsinki! ??

List of sights of Helsinki

Aleksanterinkatu

Allas Sea Pool

Allas Sea Pool is a garden-like oasis in the heart of Helsinki with a large pool area and magnificent saunas. In addition to swimming, bathing in the saunas and good food, Allas Sea Pool offers many options for wellness.
The outdoor pool offers a great view of the city’s harbour area so it is pretty obvious why so many tourist recommend this place. ??

Allas is open all year round, providing unique experiences and recreational activities for townies and travelers. The marine spa has three saunas, two warm water pools and one sea water pool, to which the water is pumped from nearby streams and filtered clean. In addition to these, an outdoor gym, restaurant & café -services, guided wellness- and sports lessons and culture events are on offer.

Amos Rex

The Amos Rex museums exhibition programme will extend from the newest, often experimental, contemporary art to 20th-century Modernism and ancient cultures. Amos Rex aims to present captivating and ambitious art refreshingly and exuberantly.

Ateneum (Finnish National Museum of Art)

Ateneum Art Museum houses the largest collections of art in Finland with more than 20,000 works of art. It has paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings from the 1750s to the work of artists who began their career in the 1950s. Ateneum Art Museum is part of the Finnish National Gallery. The collections are on public display on the first and the second floor of the museum. Temporary exhibitions are on display in the exhibition halls on the third floor. Ateneum also organizes various workshops, guided tours, lectures, dance, theatre and music performances as well as an interdisciplinary art programme.

Central Park (Keskuspuisto)

Central Park is a nearly ten-kilometre-long forested green space running the length of Helsinki from south to north, starting near the city centre in Laakso and ending at the city’s northern border in Haltiala and the river Vantaanjoki. ????
Central Park, Keskuspuisto, is a very popular recreational area with a diverse range of environments and also serves as a peaceful commuter cycling route. The habitats of the Central Park are varied, consisting of numerous old, spruce-dominated forests, herb-rich forests, meadows and fields. The various habitats of Central Park also house several rare species of plants, and in the summer the park is filled with a variety of colourful flowers. ??

Esplanade Park

Finlandia Hall

Finlandia Hall is a unique centre for domestic and international conferences, concerts and other events. It is a popular architectural sight in Helsinki and one of the most beautiful places to visit in the city. Finlandia Hall is one of the most iconic buildings designed by world-renowned Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, and was planned from the ground up for visitors and a wide range of events. If not attending an event, the building can be visited by attending a guided tour open to public

Helsinki Cathedral

The Cathedral, by Carl Ludvig Engel, rising on the northern side of the Senate Square is the stage of national and academic festive services and one of the most popular tourist sights. ? The church is part of Helsinki’s Empire era centre and a landmark for those arriving by sea. It has become the symbol of the whole of Helsinki. Earlier called St. Nicholas Church and Great Cathedral, the current main church of the Helsinki Diocese was completed in 1852. Sculptures of the twelve apostles guard the city from the roof of the church. 

Thanks to the many option of food trucks, cafes and small bars it’s possible to relax here and watch everyone go about their business quite happily with the odd tram passing by every so often making it that much more atmospheric. ☕☀️?? The time we spent here was one of the main highlight of our stay in Helsinki just to reflect back on my travells and ponder life without disturbance. ❤️ Experience the mesmeric Helsinki Cathedral whenever you pass through Finland, you won’t be disappointed. ???

Photo TIP: If you would like to spice up your photos a bit, I’d suggest to try involving other subjects for your photos. These lovely trams passing by the cathedral is a great example for this. Also I tried to create a reflection shot as well, but unfortunately we did not have enough water for that… maybe next time ??

Helsinki Railway Station

Huvilakatu

Helsinki’s colorful houses in Huvilakatu Street is one of the most instagramable places in the capital. These buildings with pastel coloured were built in Jugendstil and Art Nouveau style. Let your imagination wide open, and I’m sure you will create some nice shots for the gram! ???

Market Square

Located at the South Harbour, the Market Square is Helsinki’s most international and famous market. There are heated café tents where you are able to have a hot coffee even on the coldest days in winter. There’s a ferry connection to Suomenlinna island and in summer it is possible to catch a ferry to Korkeasaari Zoo or to Porvoo. ???⛴️ The Stone of the Empress’, in the middle of the square, is the oldest public memorial in Helsinki.

Museum of Contemporary Art (Kiasma)

Kansalaistori is a new square and lawn area in the heart of the city located between the Music Centre and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma along Mannerheimintie. The square is partially paved and in the summertime popular especially among skateboarders. The area has plenty of benches to sit and relax and watch all the activity around. The artificial turf playground located in the area provides a possibility for different kinds of sports activies, e.g. basketball, and there’s a paved bicycle route running through the area. Kansalaistori serves also as a venue for various events, such as the New Years celebrations, Taste of Helsinki food festival and Picnic Cinema during the annual Helsinki Festival.

Senate Square

The Senate Square and its surroundings form a unique and cohesive example of Neoclassical architecture. The square is dominated by four buildings designed by Carl Ludvig Engel (1778-1840): Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. A statue of Alexander II (1894) stands in the middle of the Senate Square. Helsinki Cathedral is arguably Finland’s most famous and photographed building. The oldest stone building in Helsinki is the Sederholm House located on the southeast corner of the square.

Seurasaari

The Seurasaari island provides a nice setting for outdoor recreation, sun worshippers and walkers.

The tame ducks, swans and geese swarming around the bridge welcome everybody. Having crossed the white wooden bridge a visitor can’t help running into the happy little squirrels of the island. At the Open-Air Museum of Seurasaari the traditional Finnish way of life is displayed in the cottages, farmsteads and manors of the past four centuries that have been relocated from all around Finland.

Every summer, many Helsinkians come to Seurasaari to enjoy the rural, peaceful outdoor atmosphere. Despite the visitors, the island has a variety of wildlife, especially birds, but also red squirrels and hares.

Sibelius Monument and Park

The world famous composer Jean Sibelius’ (1865-1957) monument by Eila Hiltunen is located at the Sibelius park. It was unveiled 7 September 1967. The Sibelius Monument, resembling organ pipes, is made of welded steel with over 600 pipes and with the bust of the composer on one side. The monument is one of Helsinki’s most popular statues and one of the most well-known tourist attractions.

Suomen Kansallisteatteri (Finnish National Theatre)

The Finnish National Theatre, established in 1872, is located on the northern side of the Helsinki Railway Station. The Finnish National Theatre is the oldest Finnish speaking professional theatre in Finland. Firstly it was known as the Finnish Theatre until 1902, when it was renamed the Finnish National Theatre.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

A Unesco World Heritage Site, Suomenlinna sea fortress is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Finland. Suomenlinna is also a suburb of Helsinki with around 800 residents. The fortress was shaped by three historic eras when it helped to defend first Sweden, then Russia and ultimately Finland. There are six kilometers of walls, dozens of cannons, mystical tunnels and wonderful parks in the fortress. There are also museums, guided tours, events and restaurants in Suomenlinna. The fortress is easily accessed all year by public transport (HSL) ferry from the Market Square. The travelling time is just around 15 minutes, where you can enjoy the beautiful cityscape and waterfront. In the summer season JT-Line waterbuses operate to Suomenlinna from the Market Square.

Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church)

Excavated directly into solid rock, the Temppeliaukio church is situated in the heart of Helsinki, at the end of Fredrikinkatu. Because of its special architecture, the church, completed in 1969, is one of the main attractions in Helsinki. The church hall is covered with a dome, lined with copper and supported on the rock walls by reinforced concrete beams. The interior walls are of rugged rock and rubble wall. Before noon, the light spreads from the row of windows surrounding the roof periphery to the altar wall, where an ice-age crevice serves as the altarpiece. Due to its excellent acoustics the church is a popular venue for concerts.

The National Library of Finland

The National Library of Finland is not just a library but also a cultural destination where exhibitions take place. The Library’s main building is designed by architect C.L. Engel 1836 and was built in 1840-45. The main building of the National Library of Finland is one of the most renowned landmarks of the early 19th century Empire architecture.

As you could see I visited Helsinki in the summer season, at the end of August to be exact. ??❤️? The weather was great all the way long which was a great advantage for sunrise and sunset shots. However these sharp, vibrant lights effected me a bit negatively as well. However I tried to create as many photos during the sunset time as I can. The next time when I’m about to visit the Finnish capital, I definetely would choose the winter season which can be just as magical as any other season there!

Uspenski Cathedral

Map of all the sights listed above