What To Do With 24 Hours in Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, the southern capital city of Finland, is home to nearly 623,000 people and a part of the 5th happiest country in the world (2016 World Happiness Report). A compact city, Helsinki can be easily explored by foot and gives you an opportunity to see its unique city designs up close and personal, as the city is working to improve its focus on art an design. In fact, there's an entire design district carved out in a commitment of this growth, in addition to the museums, distinct eateries, green spaces, and paths along the water's edge to discover.
A few things to know before you go
- If you visit in the summer months weather can range from 60 degrees to 80 degrees, but it may be wise to also pack an umbrella for unexpected showers.
- Unlike other Scandinavian countries, Finland's currency is the Euro and credit cards are widely accepted.
- You can take the train from the airport to the city center and this commute will take approximately 1 hour. You can take a cab in 20 minutes, but it is much more costly.
- Consider staying with a local for a more intimate perspective on the city's culture, history, and politics.
A Day in Helsinki
1. Take a ride on the Tram
The tram is the main means of transport in Helsinki's center and is convenient transportation to get around the city. You can buy a single fare on your mobile device for 2,20 euros.
2. Visit the Helsinki City Museum - And it's free!
A newer museum to the city, the Helsinki City Museum exhibits historical facets of the daily life in Helsinki. With interactive rooms, bright colors, and a cozy feel it's worth spending a couple hours here, especially if you come upon inclement weather.
3. Walk over to visit Helsinki Senate Square and visit the Helsinki Cathedral
In the oldest part of Helsinki's center is Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture, known for his Empire style design. Located in the square is the University of Helsinki's main building, the cathedral (pictured above), the Government Palace and in the center, a statue of the Emperor, Alexander the II.
4. Grab some lunch at The Old Market Hall
Yes, it is the oldest market in Helsinki! The market is conveniently located near Senate Square and loaded with excellent vendors.
5. Explore the Design District and support local shops
There are 100+ shops to discover in over 9 categories including everything from jewelry and fashion to places to eat, art, and antiques. Kamppi and Punavuori neighborhoods will have loads of Fashion and Beauty Boutiques. There's also a nice emphasis on susbtainability and being eco-friendly throughout the Design District.
Browse 2OR+BYYAT, a Finnish designer of women's wear.
Check out Nudge & Rulla for sustainable fashion
6. Eat some more...
- Putte's Bar & Pizza
- Nudge also offers a mini restaurant
- Robert's Coffee (a chain in town) for donuts and coffee
7. Grab a drink at Corona bar
A cool bar with a chill vibe, also known to attract artists.
8. Have a sauna
There is nothing more Finnish than to take a sauna and there are several public saunas throughout Helsinki one can try. Although some Finns will enjoy beer or cider with their sauna, you'll want to drink a lot of water before you go. For more on how to take a sauna, here are some tips from the experts.
9. Visit Temppeliaukio Church
This Lutheran church, built in the late 1960's, has its interior built out of solid rock! Step inside to hear its wonderful acoustics and see its one of a kind design.
Bonus! Pamper yourself and get a haircut with Heidi at Pacifique!
It may seem random, but sometimes you want to see how the locals do and feel good. This little stylish salon might be just the spot to get what you need. And Heidi, who cuts and styles hair, is the loveliest human.
Enjoy your time in Helsinki and do send over your trip highlights and tips!