Unravel Helsinki in 3 days

22 July 2021

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Friendly disclaimer! 

We want to be as accurate as possible, but given these challenging times, we urge you to recheck that the venues are open when you decide to visit.

Founded by the Swedish in the 16th century, the relatively young European capital of Helsinki reflects the elements of Swedish and Russian cultures alongside the national romanticism and dynamism unique to Finland. Admire the architectural legacies of different periods that are scattered throughout the city. Art and design are commonplace in Helsinki, with an entire district devoted to the pursuit of artistic and architectural design. Discover the museums of Finland that stand out in contrast to the country’s natural beauty.

 

Embark on a life-changing journey to the Finnish capital with our 3-day itinerary for Helsinki.

Helsinki 3-day itinerary at a glance

Day 1

 

Start your morning at the iconic Helsinki Central Station where you will be greeted by two pairs of lantern carriers. Head over to the nearby Ateneum and Kiasma, both venues which belong to the extensive Finnish National Gallery. You can now proceed to the Kamppi district, famous for Amos Rex, the new but very popular private art gallery named after the famed patron of arts, Amos Anderson. Spend the evening roaming around the impressive National Museum of Finland, exploring the insightful exhibits that narrate the tale of Finland from as early as the stone age. End the day with a breathtaking performance at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet.

 

  • Helsinki Central Station
  • Ateneum 
  • Kiasma
  • Amos Rex
  • National Museum of Finland
  • Finnish National Opera and Ballet

 

 

Day 2

 

Begin your day at the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, where you can experience the well-preserved cultural traditions of old Finland. Make your way to the Sibelius monument and park and later, march onto the historic Senate Square, where you can visit the famed Helsinki Cathedral and the Helsinki City Museum. Roam around and savour the myriad of delicacies offered at the adjacent Market Square. Pay a visit to the Design District of Helsinki after which you can cosy up at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum and park.

 

  • Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
  • Sibelius Monument
  • Helsinki Cathedral 
  • Helsinki City Museum
  • Market Square
  • Design District
  • Sinebrychoff Art Museum and Park

 

 

Day 3

 

Your final day starts at the public ferry of Helsinki, which you can ride to the impressive Suomenlinna sea fortress. After a thorough exploration of the islands, visit the fascinating Natural History Museum. Near the museum lies the popular Rock Church, whose unique architecture and incredible acoustics attract tourists from all around the world. Drop by at the immersive Helsinki Art Museum or HAM. Spend the evening exploring the nightlife of the Kamppi district.

 

  • Suomenlinna
  • Natural History Museum
  • Rock Church
  • Helsinki Art Museum 
  • Kamppi

 

Detailed 3 day Helsinki itinerary

Day 1

Stroll around Helsinki Central Station

Helsinki Central Station
By Abdeaitali/WikiCommons

The Helsinki Central Station is among the most beautiful railway stations in the world and is visited by around 400,000 people every day. Designed by Eliel Saarinen and constructed over a century ago, the clock tower and ‘lantern carriers’ of the station still greet visitors even today.

 

Useful information:

  • Timings: Daily, 5:00 am-2:00 am
  • Cost: Free entry.
  • How to reach: 
    • Hop on hop off bus, free with the Helsinki card.
    • Bus: Rautatientori.
    • Tram: Järnvägsstationen (line 1, 3, 6, 7, 9).
    • Metro: Rautatientori (line M1, M2, M2M).
Ateneum Helsinki
By Htm/WikiCommons

Focusing on Finnish art since the 19th century, the Ateneum has over 20,000 artworks, all considered to be national treasures. Housed in Theodor Höijer’s neo-renaissance Ateneum building, the gallery showcases works by Finnish artists like Albert Edelfelt and Akseli Gallen-Kallela along with renowned international artists such as Cézanne and Van Gogh.

 

Useful information:

  • Timings: 
      • Tuesdays and Fridays: 10:00 am-6:00 pm.
      • Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10:00 am-8:00 pm.
      • Saturdays and Sundays: 10:00 am-5:00 pm.
      • Closed on Mondays.
  • Cost: 
      • Regular rate: €19.
      • Reduced rate (for students): €17.
      • Free entry for children aged 0-17 and holders of the Helsinki card.
  • How to reach:
    • Hop on hop off bus, free with the Helsinki card.
    • Bus: Rautatientori.
    • Tram: Järnvägsstationen (line 1, 3, 6, 7, 9), Mikonkatu (5, 7).
    • Metro: Rautatientori (line M1, M2, M2M).

Tour Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art

Kiasma Helsinki
By Aulo Aasmaa/WikiCommons

Designed by American architect Steven Holl, the magnificent structure of Kiasma hosts Helsinki’s famed Museum of Contemporary Art. With over 8000 works, the museum collects, documents and showcases contemporary art primarily from Finland as well as the neighbouring regions of Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic area.

 

Useful information:

  • Cost: 
      • Regular rate: €15.
      • Reduced rate (for students): €13.
      • Free entry for children aged 0-17 and holders of the Helsinki card.
  • How to reach: 
    • Hop on hop off bus, free with the Helsinki Card.
    • Bus: Lasipalatsi.
    • Tram: Lasipalatsi (line 1, 2, 4, 10).
    • Metro: Kamppi (line M1, M2, M2M).

Browse the collections of Amos Rex

By Arrival Guides

Named after a Finnish patron of the arts, Amos Anderson, the Amos Rex is a museum that opened its doors to the public in 2018 and gained immediate popularity among the art enthusiasts of Finland. The bubble-like structures of the museum promise highly immersive displays of art and creative use of space and materials along with the private art collections of Amos himself. 

 

Unravelog tip: Try visiting the nearby Lasipalatsinaukio and Plaza Narinkka, where you can find plenty of restaurants and bars to grab a quick bite.

 

Useful information:

  • Location: Mannerheimintie 22-24
  • Timings: 
    • Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 11:00 am-6:00 pm.
    • Saturdays and Sundays: 11:00 am-5:00 pm.
  • Cost:
    • Regular rate: €15.
    • Reduced rate (for students and people aged 0-30): €5.
    • Free entry for holders of the Helsinki card.
  • Website: https://amosrex.fi/en/ 
  • How to reach:
    • Hop on hop off bus, free with the Helsinki card.
    • Bus: Lasipalatsi.
    • Tram: Lasipalatsi (line 1, 2, 4, 10).
    • Metro: Kamppi (line M1, M2, M2M).

Visit the National Museum of Finland

National Museum of Finland
By Arrival Guides

Housed since 1916 in the iconic National romantic-style building in the heart of Helsinki, the National Museum of Finland tells the tale of the country’s journey from as early as the Stone Age to the present day. Be greeted by the frescoes of Finnish painter Akseli Gallén-Kallela as you wander the main halls of the magnificent National Museum.

 

Things to do: Browse the extensive collections of the museum, including sculptures, coins, jewellery, silver, art and weapons. 

 

Unravelog tip: If you find yourself with spare time, pay a visit to the popular Finlandia Hall, which is right across the street from the National Museum. 

 

Useful information:

Catch a performance at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet

Finnish National Opera and Ballet
By L'Opéra d'Helsinki/WikiCommons

Regularly hosting performances since 1911, the Finnish National Opera and Ballet produces and celebrates Finnish and international Operatic pieces like Rasputin and Pagliacci and world-famous ballet shows such as Black Swan. Spend the evening watching decades of Finnish talent and creativity unfold before your eyes. 

 

Useful information:

  • Cost and Timings: Varies depending on the show chosen.
  • How to reach: 
    • Bus: Ooppera.
    • Tram: Ooppera (line 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10).

Day 2

Experience Finnish culture at the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
By Arrival Guides

Surrounded by manors and old buildings that have been replanted from different parts of the Finnish countryside, the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum showcases life in rural Finland during the 18th-20th centuries. Meet guides wearing traditional Finnish attire, explore the ancient Pagan traditions of the region and enjoy the ways of a bygone era. 

 

Useful information:

Stroll around the Sibelius Monument and Park

Sibelius Monument Helsinki
By Pixabay

Unveiled in 1967, the Sibelius Monument designed by Eila Hiltunen is located in the heart of Sibelius park. The popular sculpture is dedicated to Jean Sibelius, the celebrated Finnish composer, and resembles organ pipes in the abstract shape of a wave, aiming to capture the spirit of Sibelius’ music. 

 

Things to do: Explore the Sibelius monument and other attractions at the Sibelius park including the fountains and the magnificent birch groves.

 

Useful information:

Pay a visit to Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral
By Arrival Guides

This mid-19th century neoclassical structure, with its five iconic green domes, serves as the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral of the city’s diocese. Laid in the style of a Greek Cross, the Helsinki Cathedral is a historic and cultural symbol of the Finnish capital today. 

 

Things to do: Look around the cathedral’s exterior to spot sculptures of the twelve apostles, after which you can visit its interiors and crypt.

 

Useful information:

  • Location: Unioninkatu 29
  • Timings: 
    • Monday – Friday: 9:00 am-6:00 pm.
    • Saturdays and Sundays: 11:00 am-6:00 pm.
  • Cost: €5.
  • Website: https://helsingintuomiokirkko.fi/en/index.html 
  • How to reach:
    • Tram: Hallituskatu (line 7), Senaatintori (line 2, 4, 5, 7, 7H).
    • Metro: University of Helsinki (line M1, M2, M2M).

Explore the Helsinki City Museum

Helsinki City Museum
By Arrival Guides

Located in the historic Senate Square near the Helsinki Cathedral, the Helsinki City Museum showcases the highlights of the architectural and cultural heritage of the city’s past. The museum offers extensive displays that cover everything from historically important events to the everyday life and memories of the city’s people.

 

Useful information:

  • Location: Aleksanterinkatu 16
  • Timings: 
    • Monday – Friday: 11:00 am-7:00 pm.
    • Saturdays and Sundays: 11:00 am-5:00 pm.
  • Cost: Free entry.
  • Website: https://www.helsinginkaupunginmuseo.fi/en/ 
  • How to reach:
    • Hop-on-hop-off bus, free with the Helsinki Card.
    • Tram: Hallituskatu (line 7), Senaatintori (line 2, 4, 5, 7, 7H).
    • Metro: University of Helsinki (line M1, M2, M2M).

Shop at the Market Square

Market Square Helsinki
By Viktor W/Pixabay

The historic Market Square of Helsinki has been the centre of trading for centuries. With lines of stalls offering varieties of food, produce and artisanal items for sale, the market is always bustling with not just people but also seagulls who are constantly on the lookout for unsuspecting tourists from whom they snatch their daily dose of snacks!

 

Things to do: 

  • In October, you can catch the traditional Baltic Herring Market, which has been held every year since 1743
  • All year-round, you can pay a visit to the Kauppahalli market hall, where you can find fresh fish, delis, cafés, cheeses, chocolates, handicrafts and more. Try some of their fresh rye bread and salmon soup.
  • Shop till you drop at these 8 stellar concept stores in Helsinki.

 

Unravelog tip: If you’re visiting between the months of June and September, be sure to check out the Beautiful Canal Route Cruise, which operates from the Market Square and is free for Helsinki card holders.

 

Useful information:

  • Location: Eteläranta
  • Timings: 
    • Monday – Friday: 6:30 am-6:00 pm.
    • Saturday: 6:30 am-4:00 pm.
    • Sunday: 10:00 am-5:00 pm.
  • Cost: Free entry.
  • How to reach: 
    • Hop-on-hop-off bus, free with the Helsinki Card.
    • Tram: Kauppatori (line 2), Senaatintori (line 2, 4, 5, 7, 7H).
    • Metro: University of Helsinki (line M1, M2, M2M).

Tour the Design District

Design District Helsinki
By Arrival Guides

Helsinki’s Design district is the definitive hub for all things creative, where you are often presented with the chance to meet and chat with the artists themselves at the district’s many boutiques and galleries. After a visit to the Design Museum, grab a map of the district and explore the pretty streets at your own pace!

 

Things to do: Tour the Design Museum and Museum of Finnish Architecture, after which you can explore some of the popular shops, cafés and restaurants in the district including Marimekko, Lokal and Paja

 

Useful information:

Relax at the Sinebrychoff Art Museum and Park

Sinebrychoff Art Museum
By Sailko/WikiCommons

The former private gardens of the Russian businessman, Nikolai Sinebrychoff is now a city park that is visited and enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike. With picturesque winding paths, magnificent trees and fragrant flowers, the park is a treat for the city’s population during the summer. The adjacent Sinebrychoff Art Museum displays the vast collections of Nikolai Sinebrychoff while also reflecting the luxuries of the upper class life in the 19th-century through the building itself, which was a house constructed by Sinebrychoff. 

 

Unravelog tip: If you’d like to end your day with a few drinks at a nice bar, consider Cafe Bar 9, which is just a stone’s throw away from the park and is popular among locals and tourists alike.

 

Useful information:

  • Timings:
      • Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 11:00 am-6:00 pm.
      • Wednesdays: 11:00 am-8:00 pm.
      • Saturdays and Sundays: 10:00 am-5:00 pm.
      • Closed on Mondays.
  • Cost: 
      • Regular rate: €16.
      • Reduced rate (for students): €14.
      • Free entry for children aged 0-17 and holders of the Helsinki card.
  • How to reach:
    • Hop on hop off bus, free with the Helsinki card.
    • Bus: Iso Roobertinkatu (line 14, 18, 22), Hietalahdentori (line 22, 23).
    • Tram: Hietalahdentori (line 6).

Day 3

Visit the Suomenlinna Fortress

Suomenlinna helsinki
By Michal.Pise/WikiCommons

Built across eight islands, the Suomenlinna sea fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage site built under Swedish rule in the mid 18th-century. With beautiful walls, park, tunnels and museums, Suomenlinna is a national treasure, highly celebrated by the people of Helsinki, especially during summer. 

 

Things to do: 

  • Take the blue route which stretches from the jetty barracks to King’s Gate, to explore the main attractions on the fortress
  • Visit the six museums in Suomenlinna, including the Military Museum and Submarine Vesikko.

 

Useful information:

Tour the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum of Helsinki displays many exhibits of  intricate taxidermied animals, including a massive African elephant that dominates the lobby hall, skeletons and prehistoric animal remains. 

 

Useful information:

Pay a visit to the Rock Church

By r	אלי שני/WikiCommons
By r אלי שני/WikiCommons

Temppeliaukio Church, also known as the Rock Church, is a Lutheran church that was built into solid rock and opened in 1969. The beautiful dome that covers the church provides beautiful acoustics, because of which the church has grown to become a popular venue for concerts.

 

Useful information:

    • Hop on hop off bus, free with the Helsinki card.
    • Bus: Hanken
    • Tram: Sammonkatu (line 1, 2).
    • Metro: Kamppi (line M1, M2, M2M).

Explore the Helsinki Art Museum at the Tennis Palace

Helsinki Art Museum
By Arrival Guides

The Helsinki Art Museum, shortened to HAM, displays the city’s collection of artworks, with more than 9000 pieces in total, 3500 of which are scattered around in public spaces in the city. In the Tennis Palace, you can find collections that focus on contemporary and modern pieces of art.

 

Useful information:

  • Location: Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 8
  • Timings: 
    • Tuesday: 10:00 am-5:30 pm.
    • Wednesday – Sunday: 11:30 am-7:00 pm.
    • Closed on Mondays.
  • Cost: 
    • Regular rate: €12.
    • Reduced rate: €10.
    • Free entry for children aged 0-17 and for everyone on free admission days.
  • Website: https://www.hamhelsinki.fi/en/ 
  • How to reach:
    • Bus: Pohj. Rautatiekatu, Kampen (M).
    • Tram: Luonnontiet.museo (line 1, 2).
    • Metro: Kamppi (line M1, M2, M2M).

Enjoy the nightlife of Kamppi

Kamppi
By aiko99ann/WikiCommons

Relish the late evening in Helsinki at the Kamppi district, famous for its nightlife and music scenes. You can check out the Maxine night club in the Kamppi Centre mall for drinks, music and a stunning view of the city from their terrace. Try Teerenpeli Kamppi for micro-brewed craft beers and visit the Jazz Club Storyville to listen to some smooth jazz.

 

Useful information:

  • Timings: Always open.
  • Cost: Free entry.
  • How to reach:
    • Bus: Kampen (M).
    • Tram: Kampintori (line 7, 9).
    • Metro: Kamppi (line M1, M2, M2M).

Sample the Finnish way of life at these unique ‘Helsinkiesque’ saunas and get more out of your Helsinki itinerary with our curated list of things to do and see at the capital city.

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