Helsinki is the capital of Finland, one of the beautiful, fascinating and cold (and a lot too) Northern capitals. Relatively young compared to the rest of the European capitals, as it was founded in 1550, this city has a lot to offer to those who visit it. From the most famous monuments, to particular churches like the Temppeliaukio Church, to the centers of pure life such as the Kauppatori market. And after all the visits there is nothing better than relaxing in the many Finnish saunas which can be found in the city. Don't worry, we have also included one in the itinerary we want to propose to you, on the other hand you cannot go to Finland and not try at least one!
So, if you are planning a little trip to this little pearl on the Baltic Sea, here are some tips for you on what to see in Helsinki in 3 days.
- 1 day
- 2 day
- 3 day
- How much does a weekend in Helsinki cost
- User questions and comments
1 - Morning: Temppeliaukio Church, Parliament, Senate Square
Before starting the day, we suggest having breakfast at the Cafetoria Cafè & Shop, a beautiful place to start the day on the right foot, located a few steps from the first attraction, Temppeliaukio. It is the most particular church in the city, also known as the Church in the Rock, as it was built inside a granite hill in 1969. The ticket costs € 3,00 to visit it. The visit continues to the Eduskunta, or the Parliament building, built between 1926 and 1931. The palace can only be visited through guided tours and every Tuesday and Friday you can be lucky enough to attend one of the plenary sessions of the Finnish Parliament, directly from the public balcony.
After the visit, go to the Senate Square, in Finnish Senaatintori. This square is of unique beauty and elegance, overlooked by the Cathedral, the Government Building, the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland, all designed by the same architect, Carl Ludvig Engel. In the center stands the statue of Tsar Alexander II, demonstrating the conflicting relationship between Finland and Russia. Small curiosity: in the square, every afternoon at 17:59 pm, you can attend the "Sound of the Piazza", a sound show that lasts about 5 minutes and involves all the buildings that surround it.
2 - Afternoon: Helsinki Cathedral, Helsinki Market, Dormition Cathedral
After the morning visits it is time for lunch. For a quick break you could consider Friends & Brgrs Helsinki, a place where you will find many types of burgers and every month you will find the "burger of the month". Here you will spend about € 15,00 per person.
After lunch, resume your visit with the Helsinki Cathedral, in the original language Tuomiokirkko, one of the symbols of the city. This immense cathedral, of Protestant cult, was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, who was inspired by the Pantheon in Paris, and with its green domes has become a landmark since 1851. On the roof, moreover, you can see the statues of the 12 apostles. You can visit it every day from 9:00 to 18:00, in July and August from 9:00 to 24:00. Admission is free.
A few steps from Piazza del Senato and the Cathedral is the Market Square, called Kauppatori (open every day until 18pm). Here you will find typical products, fruit and vegetables, souvenirs, and reindeer skins. Take a nice walk among the stalls and immerse yourself in the Finnish atmosphere, maybe stop and taste some typical sweets.
As the last visit of the day, the Cathedral of the Dormition awaits you, in Finnish Uspenskin Katedraali, just 500 meters from the market. This Orthodox cathedral is dedicated to the dormition of Mary: according to legend, Mary never died, but only fell asleep before going up to heaven. The cathedral is located on top of the Katajanokka hill and from here you can admire a beautiful panorama. It is open every day, except Mondays, and admission is free.
3 - Evening: Dinner, historic center
After descending from the hill of Katajanokka, we recommend that you return to the historic center to have dinner in one of the many restaurants. You can stop at Ravintola Aino, a restaurant with typical Finnish cuisine, where you can taste the classic soups, salmon and reindeer meat. The prices are in line with the other clubs in the city, you will spend about 25,00 each. After dinner enjoy a tour in the historic center and maybe stop for a good beer in one of the many bars.
- Distance traveled: 3,9 km / 51 min
- Places visited: Temppeliaukio Church, Parliament, Senate Square, Helsinki Cathedral, Market, Dormition Cathedral
- Best of Helsinki: Grand Boat and Bus Tour Helsinki: Small Group Walking Tour Helsinki: 5 Hours City Center and Winter World Sightseeing
- Breakfast at Cafetoria Cafè & Shop (Get directions), Lunch at Friends & Brgrs Helsinki (Get directions), Dinner at Ravintola Aino (Get directions)
1 - Morning: Kallio district, Botanical Garden
Today we recommend discovering the Kallio district. Here you can have breakfast in one of the many bars that you will find, we offer the beautiful Good Life Coffee Oy, where you will find, as well as a nice atmosphere, a good coffee and excellent desserts.
Helsinki is the city of design and Kallio it is part of the "design district", together with other districts such as Punavuori, Kaartinkaupunki, Kamppi and Ullanlinna. Here you will find many artists, shops, artisans and locals. Furthermore, this area is the reference point for nightlife, when the area is invaded by many young people.
After a nice walk through its streets, cross the Pitkasilta bridge, and you will arrive at the beautiful botanical gardens of the city, the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden. These gardens are connected to the University of Helsinki and are a real asset: inside is the Glasshouse where you can admire about 2.800 plants, divided into 11 sections: African Violet Room, Rainforest Room, Palm House, Savanna Room, Dry Forest Room, Desert Room, South African Room, Island Room, Waterlily Room and Mediterranean Room. To enter the Glasshouse the ticket costs € 10,00, reduced € 5,00 and the times are as follows: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00, Thursdays from 10:00 to 18:00 , Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00, closed on Mondays.
2 - Afternoon: Kiasma museum
After all this walking it is time for a break. For lunch we recommend you stop at the Lasipalatsi restaurant, a short distance from the next point on today's list, the Kiasma museum. In this restaurant you can choose between different dishes of Finnish and Scandinavian cuisine, prices are around € 20,00 per person. After recharging your energy, you are ready to visit the Kiasma museum, the Helsinki Museum of Contemporary Art. Here the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery is exhibited.
Not only the collections present inside, but also the structure and composition of the museum itself is a true work of art and design. Absolutely worth a visit during your stay in the city.
You can visit the museum on the following days: Tuesday from 10:00 to 17:00, from Wednesday to Friday from 10:00 to 20:30, Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00, Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00, closed on Mondays. The entrance ticket costs € 10,00, children under 18 enter for free and admission is free every first Friday of the month.
3 - Evening: Dinner, historic center
For this evening we recommend a very special place, which will immerse you in a completely different atmosphere. We highly recommend booking as it is a very popular place. We are talking about the Lappi restaurant, where you will seem to find yourself in a typical Scandinavian style cabin. The interiors are all paneled in wood and the menu revolves around the classics of Northern European cuisine and reindeer meat. You will spend an average of € 30,00 per person, but for the location and the quality of the food, all fresh products, it is absolutely worth it! For the evening, you are already in the center. You can stop for a drink in one of the many clubs.
- Distance traveled: 3,2 km / 41 min
- Places visited: Kallio district, Botanical Garden, Kiasma museum
- Helsinki: Private Tour with Local Guide Helsinki: Guided City Tour Helsinki: Panoramic Bus Tour Helsinki: Panoramic Bus Tour
- Breakfast at Good Life Coffee Oy (Get Directions), Lunch at Lasipalatsi (Get Directions), Dinner at Lappi (Get Directions)
1 - Morning: Suomenlinna
Last day in Helsinki. Today we take the ferry to visit Suomenlinna. The ferry can be taken from the Kauppatori ferry terminal and the ticket costs € 2,90 each way. While you wait you can have breakfast in the Kauppatori market in one of the many stalls or in one of the attached bars such as Robert's Coffee. A good coffee and croissant before embarking: be careful, however, if you suffer from seasickness, do not eat too much, about 20 minutes by ferry await you.
Suomenlinna, the fortress on the sea, the "castle of Finland". This fortified island, dating back to the 700th century and used as a defense point first by the Russians, then by the Swedes and finally by the Finns, is today UNESCO heritage. Here, in addition to unspoiled nature, you will find 6 museums, clubs and restaurants and craft shops. To enter it you pass through the King's Gate, original name Kuninkaanportti, and you can visit the various ramparts either by walking over it or by walking through the tunnels carved into the rock.
Of all the museums, we recommend a visit to Suomenlinna Museum, main museum of the fortress open from 10:00 to 18:00. The entrance ticket costs € 7,00, the reduced € 5,00. Here you can retrace all the stages in the history of the military fortress.
2 - Afternoon: Allas Sea Pool / SkyWheel Helsinki
For lunch, we recommend that you stop at Suomenlinnan Panimo, near the ferry terminal (average cost around € 25,00 per person).
After lunch, take the ferry back to the mainland. For this last afternoon in Helsinki we decided to dedicate a few hours to relax in the beautiful Allas sea pool. It is a beautiful spa complex with swimming pools, saunas, restaurants and a wellness center. The pools are fed directly with water from the Baltic Sea and offer fantastic views over the city, especially at sunset. This complex is open every day from 8:00 to 20:00 and admission costs € 12,00.
Alternative proposal: if you do not want to go to the spa, then we recommend that you stay a little longer to discover the island of Suomenlinnan and come back and then take a nice ride on the Ferris wheel, the SkyWheel Helsinki, to see the city from another point of view. All times: Monday to Wednesday from 11:00 to 18:00, Thursday from 11:00 to 18:30, Friday from 11:00 to 17:00, Saturday from 11:00 to 19 : 00 and Sundays from 11:00 to 18:00. The ticket costs € 12,00, children from 3 to 11 years pay € 9,00, children under 3 years enter for free.
3 - Evening: Dinner, historic center
For the last evening, treat yourself to one last Finnish themed dinner. In the center you can find the Kappeli restaurant, located near the Kauppatori market, in the Esplanadi park. Magnificent location and excellent Scandinavian cuisine. For a dinner here you will spend an average of € 30,00 per person. An excellent conclusion for these three days in Helsinki. For the evening you can decide to go back to a place you particularly liked, take a walk around the center or stop for a good cold beer.
- Distance traveled: 10,3 km / 1 h 20 min
- Places visited: Suomenlinna, Allas Sea Pool / SkyWheel Helsinki
- Helsinki: 1-Hour Canal Boat Tour Helsinki Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing and Suomenlinna
- Breakfast at Robert's Coffee (Get Directions), Lunch at Suomenlinnan Panimo (Get Directions), Dinner at Kappeli (Get Directions)
How much does a weekend in Helsinki cost
Helsinki, like all the capitals of Northern Europe, it is a very expensive city. You will run into higher costs when looking for accommodation and places to eat. Obviously, with a little spirit of adaptation (for example, sleeping in hostels and not always going out for lunch and dinner) I can also organize a low cost trip. Here is the summary of a weekend based on what we have proposed to you:
- Costs to eat: about € 55,00 per day per person
- Costs for museums and attractions: about € 42,00 per person following the itinerary we suggest
- Transportation: about € 20,00 per person
- Hotels, accommodation and b & b: from € 100,00 per room -
- Fun: from € 30,00 per day per person
- Total cost of a weekend in Helsinki: from € 600,00 per person flights excluded
Before leaving: useful tips
- When to visit Helsinki: in summer. To breathe a little winter air, we recommend March. From December to February it is very cold and the hours of light are very few, you would not be able to enjoy its beauty - find out more
- Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is the most important in Finland and is about 20 kilometers from the center. It is connected by train (lines P or I, the ticket costs € 5,50), bus (with line 615 or the Finner Bus, ticket cost € 6,30) and taxi (average cost € 40,00, about 25 minutes) - Flights from € 132,00
- it is a very expensive city, difficult to go below € 100,00 per night unless you choose hostels and small apartments. The center is the best area, to avoid taking public transport, as a ticket costs almost € 3,00 - Hotels and b & bs from € 85,00 per room -
- Getting around: on foot or by bike. To reach more distant places you can rely on public transport. The metro is active from 5:00 to 23:00, the single ride costs € 2,90. The bus operates 24 hours a day and the ticket costs € 24. The tram runs from 2,20:5 to 00:23, the ticket costs € 00. The ferry serves to reach Suomenlinna, the cost of the ticket is € 2,80 - find out more