Helsinki may just be my favorite city I have traveled to. Not too big, clean, easy to navigate and lots to see and do, what isn’t there to love? I loved spending some time there on my own before being joined first by my sister and later by my mum. It gave me a chance to discover some of my favorite places in the city and then share them with my family.
Here is a break down of my favorite must see places and must do activities if you visit Helsinki.
- Sit on the steps of the Helsinki Cathedral. This was my favorite spot for people watching and just hanging out. Especially during the long summer nights, it was the perfect place to take in the city.
2. Ride the tram around the city. This was a great way to take in the city and get my bearings. Not only are the trams a great way to see the city but they are clean and easy to use. Just know that as with pretty much everywhere in the country, people are quiet on the trams. You don’t want to be that American who gets on the tram talking loudly and causing a raucous. It was refreshing not needing to yell over your neighbor to have a conversation with friends in public.
3. Walk around the Sibelius Monument. Besides taking in a very cool sculpture, the Sibelius Monument is located right by the water so you can take a long walk along the sea. It also happens to be a short distance from one of my favorite cafes, Cafe Regatta.
4. Take the ferry around to different islands. There are different sightseeing boats and tours you can take (which I did), but you can also take the local ferry to Suomenlinna Island (which I also tried out). Both options are great and I enjoyed all my time on the water. You can get some great views of the city at the same time as relaxing a bit during sightseeing.
5. Check out the different museums in the city. There were several that I checked out since I got a My Helsinki Card and I wanted to maximize my time in the city. Some of my favorites were the National Museum of Finland, The Design Museum (all time favorite!), Ateneum Art Museum, and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.
6. Stroll along to find a seat on the esplanade. The tree lined walk with benches galore was a great place to kick up my feet after a day of walking. The people watching wasn’t too bead either.
7. Shop your way through the market square. Fruit, coffee, fish, magnets, hats, t-shirts; doesn’t matter what you are looking for, you will probably find it in the market square. I started each day in the market with a coffee and korvapuusti and many times ended my afternoon with some fresh fruit from this market square.
8. Check out Stockmann shopping center. Not only do they have everything you might want, but it is the perfect place to find tons of Finnish designers and brands all in one place. I <3 Stockmann!
9. Spend time in the many parks and green spaces throughout the city. Whether it was strolling through the esplanade, or walking along the park by the seaside, there were so many green spaces to enjoy throughout the city. At times you could almost forget that you were in a major city and be fooled into thinking you were along the countryside.
10. Enjoy your time in the best city ever! No matter where you are or what you are doing in Helsinki, you will love it.
Have you been to Helsinki before or are you from Helsinki? What is on your don’t miss list for the city?