Finding great things to do in Helsinki couldn’t be easier. Be sure to check out as much as you can – from the historical architecture to the über-hip clubs and cafés. The city is fresh, clean, modern, and endlessly cool. Yet, the Finns can certainly laugh, even at themselves. Whether you’re shopping, sightseeing, dancing or dining, you’ll find your heart’s desire in trendy, smooth, (and sometimes silly) Helsinki.
Get fortified in the harbor
One of the largest sea fortresses in all the world, The Island Fortress of Suomenlinna stands on an island at the entrance of Helsinki Harbor. It’s a busy tourist attraction and a favorite of the locals. Visit the museum, located inside, and be sure to take time to enjoy the cafés, restaurants and people-watching opportunities you’ll encounter there. This 18th century military fortress is now a 21st century delight.
Appreciate art within art
The museums and galleries of Helsinki are unique treasures. Not only do they hold precious and breathtaking art inside, but the actual buildings are works of art as well. The stunning Kiasma is a twisted, metal, architectural masterpiece, and holds some modern treasures inside. Finland’s historical museum, the Kansallismuseo, comes complete with exciting frescos on the ceiling.
Get out in the open
Combine your love of nature and your interest in culture by visiting the Seurasaari Open Air Museum. Stroll through a re-created town, depicting Finnish housing and folk tradition. The buildings and their contents originate from the Finnish provinces and provide a fascinating insight into life in Finland between the 18th and 20th centuries. Guides in period costumes lead visitors through the cottages of a time gone by.
Sail, swim and sunbathe
If you’re in Finland in the summer, you’ll likely want to partake in the many options for fun in the ‘midnight sun’. Since the sun only sets for a few hours per night, there’s plenty of time to take a sightseeing cruise, to visit the Hietaranta swimming beach or the Helsinki Swimming Stadium. Not fond of the water? Stretch out and relax at Nuuksio National Park or the Luukki Recreation Area.
Build ties that bind
Helsinki is home to historic landmarks and architectural marvels. The sprawling City Hall and neoclassical Senate Square give a hint of the clean lines and striking contrasts that are the signature of Nordic architecture. The Lutheran Cathedral is one of Helsinki’s most famous landmarks. Its stark white façade and massive green dome overlook the city and leave a lasting impression.