What to do in Helsinki

The capital of Finland is a mid sized city, which usually gets a thick snow cover just before the HLO weekend. With a large number of sights packed into the city core, you won’t run out of things to do, should you choose to stay for a few days extra. The city also has a rather lively nightlife. Check these tips to get the most out of your stay.



Suomenlinna. The fortress islands of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg in Swedish) were built during the Swedish period, in the mid-1700’s, as part of a line of defensive outposts along the southern coast of Finland. Suomenlinna is a highly popular place for picnics or a nice day out in the summer.

The islands have several museums, such as the only surviving Finnish submarine. You can also find restaurants and cafés dotted around the islands, among them the Suomenlinna Brewery. There is also a beach, so you may consider going for a swim if the weather is nice.

There is a ferry service to and from Suomenlinna from the Market Square. The ferry is part of the municipal transport system.


The War Museum. The Finnish War museum displays collections of war related items from the past several centuries. The exhibitions rotate, so be sure to check the museum’s website. The museum is situated on the islands of Suomenlinna.


The National Museum of Finland. The National Museum of Finland shows the history of Finland from the neolithic age to the present time. The museum also hosts a modest collection of arms and armour.


Ateneum. An art museum with a focus on Finnish works from the last 300 years, and some international art.


Kiasma. Modern art museum.


Korkeasaari. The Helsinki Zoo.



Other sights

The Winter Garden. No matter what season it is, the elaborate oasis of exotic plants invites you to take a tour of the greenery.


Market square. The traditional market square hosts a multitude of stalls selling fresh produce and seafood. There are restaurants and cafés where you can catch that genuine Finnish market feeling. Open during daytime. The market square is in the centre of Helsinki, next to the oldest part of the city. The ferry to Suomenlinna leaves from the east end of the market square.

Restaurants, bars and nightlife

Helsinki is home to a large number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, with the densest concentration in the central district. Many venues offer live music, especially during the weekend, and many bars have outdoors seating. You can find a wide diversity of ethnic food. Check out Helsinki this week for more information: