Top 10 Awesome FREE Things To Do in Helsinki (Finland)


I used to be invited to Helsinki months in the past by its tourism board in an effort to participate of their marketing campaign named #HelsinkiSecret. Their easy but thrilling intention for this challenge was to introduce town to vacationers like me as they deliberate experiences that will give us an summary of how the locals reside on this distinguished capital of Finland. (Free Things to Do in Helsinki)

I stayed there for per week in an amazing house lodge known as Aallonkoti, and surely, such a span of time and keep was sufficient for me to fall deeply in love with Helsinki.

I can’t fairly describe the precise wondrous feeling that I felt, however the closest description that I can say is that although it’s a metropolis that’s dynamic and esthetic, it nonetheless had such a ‘small town’ feeling to it — I simply felt proper at ‘home’, which should be the explanation why I left part of my coronary heart there. True sufficient, it was extremely refreshing how town strikes on in such a laid-back method.

However, don’t let its dimension idiot you. It might not be an enormous metropolis, however it’s filled with tons of attention-grabbing sights and actions that may simply refill your journey itinerary. For a begin although, it’s all the time nice to know the highest FREE issues to do in Helsinki, and so right here they’re!

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Free Things to Do in Finland

1. Explore town on foot to see its well-known landmarks

Photo by: Ewan Bell / Visit Helsink

With an space of round 180 km², you may think about how Helsinki is a compact metropolis making it simply explored on foot! Otherwise, with their very good tram and bus system, you’ll be able to attain sure areas or districts very quickly.

So other than parks, church buildings, cathedrals, museums, and buying areas, (which I can be discussing under in different high free issues to do in Helsinki), there are 3 different principal sights that you could completely see; and I guess that very like me, you’ll be amazed at Helsinki’s charming structure. They are, in spite of everything, awarded because the World Design Capital final 2012 and that claims a ton concerning the prevalence of design and artwork amongst many others.

  • Senate Square: This place shows distinctive Neoclassical structure stuffed with 4 domineering buildings: the Government Palace, the Helsinki Cathedral, the National Library of Finland, and the University of Helsinki. You may even discover the Sederholm House right here within the southeast a part of the sq. which is claimed to be the oldest stone constructing within the metropolis.

TRIVIA: Every 5:49PM, you’ll hear the “Sound of the Senate Square” which is a composition by Harri Viitanen and Jyrki Alakuijala and a moden model of the European glockenspiel (xylophone-like instrument).

  • Central Railway Station (Rautatieasema): Back in 2013, this station was known as one of many world’s most lovely railway stations by BBC — and it’s no surprise why. As you set foot right here, you may be awed by its design and additionally, you will see 2 distinguishing options: the clock tower and the pair of male statues which are holding spherical lamps. This is, by all means, the focus of public transport within the space and with the variety of passengers that come right here day by day, naturally, it turned Finland’s most-visited constructing.

TRIVIA: Some folks mentioned that Batman’s Gotham City was influenced by the structure on this railway station.

  • Olympic Stadium: In 1952, the Olympic Games have been held right here. Today, it hosts nationwide and worldwide sports activities and out of doors live performance occasions. One of the cool issues about that is its ‘Stadium Tower’ that rises 72 meters excessive. For a small price (€5 for adults), you’ll be able to go as much as see a fowl’s eye view of central Helsinki. Regrettably, January 2016 marks the renovation of the Olympic Stadium however it is going to open up once more by 2019!

TIP: Join a metropolis tour of Helsinki right here, or you may as well be part of a hop-on hop-off tour bus right here.

2. Enjoy the FREE museums!

Photo by: Jussi Hellsten / Visit Finland

Most of Helsinki’s museums are paid, however they’ve sure days when entrance is free; subsequently for those who can time your keep nicely, you’ll be able to undoubtedly take pleasure in these perks as one in all your high free issues to do in Helsinki.

Anyhow, entrance charges are sometimes low cost. But in order for you a complete package deal deal, you’ll be able to select to buy a Helsinki Card that’s price €41/day and this may grant you entry to museums, sightseeing excursions and a lot extra!

Here are the highest museums which you’ll enter for free:

  • Suomenlinna Sea Fortress: this isn’t precisely a museum per se, nevertheless as one of many largest sea fortresses on the planet, its wealthy historical past is sufficient for it to be considered considerably of a ‘museum’ in itself (relaxation assured, there are distinct museums within the island). Now, this is among the hottest sights not solely in Helsinki however the entire of Finland; in addition to, it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage since 1991 resulting from the way it portrays distinctive European army structure.
    • FREE entrance, however you’ll should pay for the ferry to go to this island (which could be free with the Helsinki Card.
  • Seurasaari Open-Air Museum: that is one more island close to Helsinki that’s price wanting into as a result of it’s on this place the place you’ll be able to see a tranquil oasis of Finnish buildings which are specifically relocated right here in an effort to completely painting the standard Finnish lifestyle.
    • FREE entrance, however you’ll should pay for the ferry to go to this island (which could be free with the Helsinki Card) or you may as well go by way of a bridge from Meihlahti.
  • Finnish Museum of Natural History: to see the range of Finnish nature (from south to north of Lapland) but in addition of the world as a complete.
    • FREE on the first Friday of the month
  • Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art: because the title implies, Kiasma displays up to date artwork collections of the Finnish Natural Gallery.
    • FREE on the first Friday of the month
  • National Museum of Finland: to witness Finnish historical past from the Stone Age as much as the current day.
    • FREE on the first Friday of the month

3. Venture out into Kallio

Photo by: Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

Dubbed a ‘hipster haven’, Kallio is an attention-grabbing neighborhood that’s situated north of Helsinki’s middle. It is on this district the place you’ll find distinctive boutiques, cafes, market halls, eating places, outlets, and extra — an array of selections that may simply seize your fancy! So be happy to discover and pattern and let your senses go wild.

Some of which you shouldn’t miss which are in and close to this space:

  • Hakaniemi Market Hall: From recent meals to souvenirs and handicrafts, this 2-storeyed market corridor can be located subsequent to a market sq. whereby a variety of out of doors stalls present typical Finnish items.
  • Old Market Hall (Vanhakauppahalli): This is the oldest meals market corridor in Helsinki, relationship again to 1889. This is close to Kallio (particularly within the metropolis middle subsequent to the market sq.) and I LOVED entering into this place as a result of there have been a variety of colourful stalls that offered Finnish delicacies (which you’ll pattern too!) and lunch spots that promote nice dishes (equivalent to that of Soppakeittiö or “Soup Kitchen” the place you will get a great-tasting bouillabaisse).

4. Do some window-shopping

Photo by: Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

It’s a good way to acquaint your self with the everyday items and fare which are distinctive to Helsinki and Finland as a complete — and who is aware of, you would possibly discover some low cost finds!

Two of the fascinating issues that it is best to look out for as one of many high free issues to do in Helsinki are:

  • Moomin Shop: Finnish folks LOVE the Moomins that are principally fairytale “trolls” (that appear like cute hippos). If one would give it some thought arduous sufficient, they’re most likely essentially the most adored Finnish icon (other than Santa Claus). Created by the author and artist Tove Jansson within the Forties, you’ll be able to see these characters up shut on this Moomin Shop for instance which is situated within the Forum buying middle.
    • TRIVIA: New clients can take pleasure in a ten% low cost.
  • Design District: If you’re a design fanatic, strolling by way of the Design District can be an absolute pleasure for you! This was truly a neighborhood initiative that started in 2005 whereby they determined to cluster collectively all of the artistic companies within the neighborhood — suppose vogue shops, jewellery outlets, artwork galleries, showrooms, motels, eating places, and others.

5. See town’s iconic cathedrals

Photo by: Joni Rousku / Visit Helsinki

There are two that I can consider and so they have been each marvelous sights to see!

  • Helsinki Cathedral: Smacked in the midst of Senate Square (talked about in #1), it’s not a surprise to know that this Lutheran Cathedral is essentially the most photographed landmark in Helsinki as it’s such a particular landmark within the cityscape — some Finnish folks would even check with its because the image of town.
    • TRIVIA: This was initially constructed as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland.
  • Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral: This is claimed to be the most important orthodox church in Western Europe which is a transparent signal of the Russian impression on Finland’s historical past. As historical past goes, this cathedral was devoted to the Dormition of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary) and it’s majestic each in and out.
    • You’ll be completely glad to know that entrance right here is freed from cost, very like Helsinki Cathedral which is not like most cathedrals throughout Europe that usually have an entrance price.

6. Witness the distinctive church buildings too

Photo by: Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

Much just like the cathedrals that I’ve listed, I’ve additionally found 2 church buildings that have been very particular — largely due to how they have been constructed.

Like what you see within the photographs above (the one on high of this quantity and the brown construction within the featured picture), these aren’t the everyday church buildings that you’d typically see in cities; therefore with their uniqueness, I like to recommend that you simply take the time to test them out as a part of your free issues to do in Helsinki!

  • Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Church): A Lutheran church within the Töölö neighborhood of Helsinki, this was quarried out of pure bedrock so each the inside and exterior have been created naturally and the remainder have been designed by two architects: the Suomalainen brothers. I swear to you, the second that I stepped into this, I used to be completely awed by its aesthetics!
  • Chapel of Silence (Kamppi Chapel): This is an enthralling chapel because it welcomes everybody regardless of their faith, philosophies, and background. It principally presents itself as a spot of calm if you wish to get away from the hype of town; however other than its operate, its facade is completely quirky — an ideal instance of up to date structure.

7. Enjoy nature within the metropolis’s inexperienced parks

Photo by: Paul Williams / Visit Helsinki

In case you need to escape town scene in the hunt for inexperienced areas to lounge in, I can guarantee you now that there are a variety of parks unfold out throughout Helsinki. The greatest ones can be:

  • Helsinki Central Park: With an space of over 10 sq. kilometers, that is truly extra of a forest with trails relatively than a park, and other people come right here to jog, cycle, trip horses, choose mushrooms, and so on.
  • Esplanade Park: Found within the coronary heart of Helsinki, this can be a frequent place that locals would go to. During summer season, there are even free live shows which are being performed right here from the Espa stage. Some examples of the exhibits are Marimekko Fashion Show in June and the Jazz-Espa live performance sequence in July.
  • Sibelius Park: An unlimited and beautiful patch of inexperienced, this was named after the world-famous composer Jean Sibelius and one of many in style sights can be the Sibelius Monument which is a grand work of metal that resembles organ pipes and rises at 8.5 meters.

8. Watch free live shows!

Photo by: Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

For extra free issues to do in Helsinki, I’ve come to know of two locations the place you’ll be able to have the possibility to observe live shows at no cost:

  • Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo): Opened simply final 2011, this first-class live performance corridor presents a variety of musical experiences. Though a lot of the exhibits are paid, there are sometimes free live shows (typically by music college students) that welcome nearly anybody. To be careful for these, try their schedule right here.
  • Finnish National Opera: This is a state-owned Finnish opera that was constructed within the Nineteen Nineties and there are a number of affairs that you could partake in totally free: the Saturday chamber music live performance, artwork exhibitions, manufacturing shows, artist briefings, and so on.
  • Finlandia Hall: Designed by the world-renowned Finish architect, Alvar Aalto, this can be a dynamic venue for congresses and occasions. Now I did say 2 locations, however I nonetheless wished to incorporate Finlandia right here as a result of regardless that they don’t have free live shows, admission right here is free so you’ll be able to are available in and see its wondrous structure for your self.

9. Join town’s annual occasions

Photo by: Jussi Ratilainen / Visit Helsinki

“You don’t need money to have a good time!” — and that’s completely true! Below are just a few of the main happenings all all year long that could be a should in your free issues to do in Helsinki checklist.

  • Lux Helsinki: (January) As the darkest time of the 12 months, gentle artworks can be displayed every day from nightfall onwards
  • Taste of Helsinki: (June) A nice eating competition the place guests can pattern one of the best Finnish fare at cheap costs
  • Helsinki Pride Week: (June) Celebrating gender and sexual minorities — a rainbow-colored affair, that’s for certain!
  • Tuska Festival: (July) A heavy metallic music competition (Finland is thought for this!)
  • Helsinki Festival: (August) Held in the summertime, that is dubbed the largest arts competition within the Nordic area.
  • Helsinki Design Week: (September) An worldwide competition whereby design professionals and fans alike would meet
  • Helsinki Comics Festival: (September) Said to be the most important comic-related occasion in Finland and Northern Europe.
  • We Jazz: (December) The largest annual jazz occurring within the metropolis!

If you need a detailed checklist of free occasions and festivals, you’ll be able to test Visit Helsinki‘s web site.

10. Venture exterior the city metropolis

Photo by: Jussi Hellsten / Visit Helsinki

Bus fares apart, there are a few locations simply exterior of the middle that I urge you to discover as one of many high free issues to do in Helsinki as a result of I assure you that you’ll by no means, ever remorse it!

  • Nuuksio National Park: About a 40-minute bus trip away from the capital, you may be greeted by the huge setting of typical Finnish pure surroundings. Now, Nuuksio presents guided excursions and providers however that doesn’t imply that you could’t do stuff by yourself — as a result of you’ll be able to. For occasion, with their well-marked trails, you’ll be able to freely hike and bike by yourself (and relaxation assured, it’s merely inconceivable to get misplaced right here). Feel free to camp or do picnics right here too!
    • TIP: Join a half-day journey to Nuuksio from Helsinki right here.
  • Porvoo: In simply lower than an hour, you’ll be able to go to this 2nd oldest metropolis in Finland and you may be completely charmed by its iconic crimson picket shore homes and cobblestone streets. For certain, you shouldn’t miss out on visiting the Old Town which dates again to the Middle Ages, in addition to the Old Railway Station.

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Helsinki Travel Guide

If in case you’re keen to splurge a bit, listed below are some extra issues to do in Helsinki:

  • Try the SkyWheel: open all 12 months spherical, this can be a 40-meter-high Ferris wheel that may give you a panoramic view of Helsinki. (Prices: €12 for adults, €9 for youngsters, toddlers are free)
  • Do a tram sightseeing tour: buy a day ticket and you should use any of the trams under for the form of tour that you’d need to do. Just be certain to arm your self with a map so you recognize the sights and the stops
    • Tram 2 for sightseeing
    • Tram 4 for an architectural tour
    • Tram 6 for artwork, design, and culinary tour
  • Experience a soothing sauna: it is best to by no means go away Finland with out experiencing its saunas! There are public saunas within the metropolis and one which I can suggest is Sauna Hermanni (€10 for adults). Nevertheless, nearly all motels in Helsinki have their very own saunas so just be sure you benefit from such.

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» Getting into Helsinki

By airplane. Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport is the primary airport and from right here, you’ll be able to attain town middle by way of airport taxi (round €30-€4o), practice (€5.50), or bus (€5.50).

By practice. All long-distance trains in Finland, Moscow, and Saint Petersburg can find yourself in Helsinki the place the cease is at Rautatieasema within the Central Railway Station.

By boat. There are ferry providers from Tallinn (Estonia) and Stockholm (Sweden) to Helsinki.

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» Where to Stay (Helsinki Accommodations)

I extremely suggest staying in Aallonkoti Apartment Hotels particularly for those who’re planning on staying for lengthy in Helsinki. Nevertheless, getting an AirBnB flat may very well be an amazing possibility too since a lot of the listings could be very reasonably priced.

If you’re extra into motels, listed below are another greatest selections:

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» Getting Around Helsinki

By foot. As I’ve talked about above, Helsinki is not a dizzyingly huge metropolis; so you’ll be able to simply discover it with out the necessity to hop on a tram or bus.

By tram, bus, or metro. All public transportation in Helsinki has a standardized cost:

  • Tram ticket for 1 hour: €2.50
  • Single ticket: €2.70 by way of cellular and ticket machine, €3.20 from the driving force (card button “1”)
  • Regional ticket: €5.50 legitimate for 80 minutes inside and between Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen (card button “2”)
  • Full area ticket: €8 legitimate for above plus Kerava, Sipoo, and Kirkkonummi (card button “3”)
  • Day ticket: €8

By taxi. Taxis begin at €5.90 on weekdays and €9 after 8 PM and Sundays, and a further €1.52 is charged for each kilometer.

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» Must-Try Helsinki Food & Drinks

For genuine Finnish breakfast. Open sandwiches are usually eaten at the moment of the day, if not puuro (porridge).

For lunch and dinside. Don’t miss out on hernekeitto (pea soup that’s historically served on Thursdays) in addition to any ‘game’ meals (moose, deer, duck, and so on. One instance can be tattikuorrutettua or reindeer fillet).

For snacks and dessert. Check out pulla (candy cardamom-flavored bread), Runeberg’s tart (generally served round February to commemorate the nationwide poet J.L. Runeberg), rönttönen (pastry with berry filling), salmiakki (salty black liquorice sweet), and vispipuuro (candy pink porridge).
My favourite: Leipäjuusto (recent cow’s milk cheese which is greatest eaten with cloudberry jam)

For drinks. Definitely make it some extent to drink Finnish espresso! Did you recognize? Finland truly has the best espresso consumption per capita on the planet so if you wish to expertise this ‘coffee culture’, head on to cafes and take a look at a cup of jo. If you’re in search of beers as a substitute, pale lagers are frequent and the most well-liked manufacturers are Koff, Lapin Kulta, and Karhu.

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» Helpful Finnish Phrases

Finnish and Swedish are the two principal languages in Finland, which is why you’ll typically see indicators which are in each of those languages. However, it’s truly round 91% of the inhabitants who speaks Finnish — the Swedish indicators nonetheless stay as some kind of adherence to their historical past.

Rest assured, everybody, can converse English nicely sufficient so there’s no have to exit of your method to be taught the language; however after all, under are phrases that you should use to one way or the other ‘impress’ the locals.

Hello: Moi (MOI), Hei (HAY), Terve (TEHR-veh)
Thank you: Kiitos. (KEE-tohss)
Yes: Kyllä (KUUL-la), Joo (yoh)
No: Ei. (ay)
Goodbye (formal): Näkemiin. (NAK-eh-meen)
Goodbye (casual): Hei hei (HAY-hay), Moi moi (MOI-moi)

Excuse me / I’m sorry: Anteeksi (AHN-tehk-see)
Is there somebody right here who speaks English?: Puhuuko kukaan täällä englantia? (POO-hoo-koh KOO-kahn TAAL-la EHNG-lahn-tee-ah?)
Help!: Apua! (AH-poo-ah!)
Cheers!: Kippis!

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» Top Helsinki Tours «

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We didn’t anticipate such a small metropolis like Helsinki to have a lot vitality and flexibility! I used to be even amazed at how the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ mix in such good concord, that I can completely agree with nearly anybody who makes an announcement that the architectural scene right here is captivatingly impeccable.

But after all, it’s not all concerning the exterior options, since there may be nonetheless a lot extra to like about Helsinki: the meals, the nightlife, the tradition, the historical past, the seasons, the music, and the folks! And I do guess that you simply’ll come to like all of them too.

Here’s to hoping that this checklist of free issues to do in Helsinki can assist maximize your journey as you acquire a full expertise of this Finnish surprise. Safe travels!

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