Overview Helsinki

Visiting Helsinki

Located on the southern Gulf of Finland, Helsinki is home to some fantastic shopping, gorgeous and plentiful parks and renowned museums that make it a favorite destination for visitors from across the world. Finnish design is beloved for its bold simplicity, a tradition that’s readily apparent in its stores and boutiques. Stores like Arabia let you outfit your house with beautiful and inventive Finnish dishware, glassware and pottery, while well-known outfitters like Marimekko (a favorite of Jackie O.’s) let you outfit yourself in bold patterns and elegantly simple designs. And when all that shopping works up an appetite, Helsinki’s Kauppatori (Market Square) sates your hunger with traditional Finnish goodies and fresh fruits and vegetables. One of Helsinki’s biggest attractions are its historic parks and monuments, perfect for long afternoon strolls, or just putting up your feet and people watching. Sibelius Park... Read More Located on the southern Gulf of Finland, Helsinki is home to some fantastic shopping, gorgeous and plentiful parks and renowned museums that make it a favorite destination for visitors from across the world. Finnish design is beloved for its bold simplicity, a tradition that’s readily apparent in its stores and boutiques. Stores like Arabia let you outfit your house with beautiful and inventive Finnish dishware, glassware and pottery, while well-known outfitters like Marimekko (a favorite of Jackie O.’s) let you outfit yourself in bold patterns and elegantly simple designs. And when all that shopping works up an appetite, Helsinki’s Kauppatori (Market Square) sates your hunger with traditional Finnish goodies and fresh fruits and vegetables. One of Helsinki’s biggest attractions are its historic parks and monuments, perfect for long afternoon strolls, or just putting up your feet and people watching. Sibelius Park is a popular destination, as is its Sibelius Monument, meant to honor the great Finnish composer. Esplanade Park is popular for lounging & people-watching, while Viikinlathi Park is considered the birdwatching capital of Helsinki. Panoramas abound in Helsinki, from Kaivopuisto’s (Well Park) sweeping view of the gulf of Finland, to Observatory Hill’s grand vistas. With established museums like the Helsinki City Museum, and popular newer troves like the Kiasma contemporary art museum, there’s no shortage of culture or history in Helsinki – a fact well-known to visitors of Helsinki’s most popular spot, Suomenlinna. This inhabited sea fortress stretches across six islands in the Gulf of Finland, offering a host of different museums and armaments and sweeping views that aren’t to be missed. Neither are the slew of restaurants and shopping hubs that pepper the city. So once you’ve booked your flight and picked a hotel, peruse our pages to create an itinerary inspired by fellow travelers who have had their fun in Helsinki.    Close

Stories and Tips Helsinki

Taking Courses - A new option

Written by SweetMelissa on 24 Sep, 2000

There are two ways to earn credits at the University. First, you may attend the lectures - offered in Finnish and some selected English courses - take notes and pass the final exam. Or, the second option resembles somewhat of an independent study.…Read More


Free Postcards

Written by SweetMelissa on 23 Sep, 2000

Be sure to visit the information center on Suomenlinna. This is located directly to the right of the dock at which you arrive. Located inside are souvenirs, restrooms, and a small cafe. On the wall next to the restrooms are FREE POSTCARDS!…Read More


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Citybike - public transport at your service

Written by katja_b on 23 Jul, 2001

Those who have been to Copenhagen and seen the public bikes there know what I'm talking about (except I never saw any available, just empty stands.) One of the nicest ways to get around as a visitor is to exchange a 10 mk coin for…Read More


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Raasepori castle ruins

Written by katja_b on 20 Aug, 2001

From Fagervik we drove to the village of Snappertuna. From there we followed the road towards Tammisaari, and soon saw a sign post for castle ruins (and a youth hostel, which we didn't check out, though). We parked the car and walked towards the castle.…Read More


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When in Finland...

Written by frozetoes on 07 Feb, 2009

Our son spent a year as a foreign exchange student in Kauhajoki, Finland. Near the end of his year, we decided to go visit him to learn about this place that had become his second home, and the people that had become his extended…Read More


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SuperSeaCat

Written by MojoGoes on 07 Nov, 2008

The SuperSeaCat was the large sea-going ferry that ran between Helsinki and Tallinn. I managed to take it from Helsinki to Tallinn almost exactly one month before it went bankrupt and terminated service. While not actually a catamaran, the SeaCat name still stuck. The ride…Read More


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Jugend Architecture in Helsinki

Written by fizzytom on 09 Oct, 2008

It might not spring to mind, but for students and enthusiasts of architecture, Helsinki offers much to see and learn from. The city boasts an eclectic mix of styles but the most common and striking must surely be the "Jugend" - or Art Nouveau as…Read More


Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Written by seethesun on 17 May, 2005

It was a very cold, clear night in February, and we were on our way back from dinner at our friend's in Lohja when our friend's husband stopped the car in the middle of the highway and rushed us out. No sooner had we stepped…Read More


Porvoo

Written by marif on 20 Dec, 2004

East of Helsinki, a small town worth visiting on a day trip is Porvoo. Constructed right on the shoreline, Porvoo can be reached easily either by ferry or by bus. If you opt for the ferry, the M/S Runeberg departs from Helsinki's market square at…Read More


Public transit

Written by JMAK on 17 May, 2003

Taxis in Finland are quite expensive; the initial charge is 4 or 5 euros already. The cars, however, are quite nice, unlike in most cities--all Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. I'd rather sit in a cheap crappy car, but what can I do? Public transit consists of buses,…Read More


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