ONE DAY IN HELSINKI, FINLAND
Either you are visiting Finland during summer (like we did) or winter, taking some time to explore the Finnish capital is a must! Sure, Helsinki is not one of Europe’s most popular cities but it does have a lot to offer and keep you busy for at least a day or two. Wondering if we liked it? Well, let’s just say that Helsinki has been a true surprise for us, since we did like it much more than what we expected. We reached the city by ferry from nearby Tallinn and spent a few days there, before continuing our trip straight into Finland’s countryside.
So, here’s everything you could (and should) do, even if you only have one day in underrated Helsinki.
Check in: Glo Hotel Art
Staying into a castle, while in Helsinki? Yes, please! The Glo Hotel Art is an imposing Art Nouveau castle, which will take you back in time and allow you to easily move around the city using public transport, thanks to its rather central location. Ask their staff at the reception to get you a Helsinki Card, to make your life easier.
Start your day at Esplanadi, one of the city’s busiest parks, loved by both locals and visitors, where there’s always something going on. Street performers and music players will all be there for your day to begin happily.
Old Market Hall
If indoor food markets are your thing, then Helsinki’s Old Market Hall should be your next destination. It is located at the end of Esplanadi Park, right by the sea ant it’s the ideal place for you to taste some local delicacies and have a coffee break.
One of the most beautiful churches we’ve been to, which also happens to be Finland’s Orthodox Church cathedral.
This is definitely Helsinki’s most recognizable building and it will most probably be the first thing you’ll notice if you reach the city by the sea. Simple, bright and elegant, Helsinki’s Cathedral is a church you’ll remember.
Very close to the Cathedral, you’ll also find Helsinki’s Central Railway Station which will challenge your skills on fitting it as a whole in your frame. Good luck!
Don’t even know how to pronounce this, so let’s just describe it as a rock church, as it’s honestly built into a solid rock. The inside is quite impressive, even though it gets pretty crowded during rush hour.
Visit a sauna
Saunas are a huge part of the Finnish culture and are seen as a place of physical and mental cleansing and relaxation. You can find several public saunas in Helsinki here, but if you’re staying in a real Finnish home don’t be surprised if you find one there too. Saunas are an essential part of traditional houses in Finland, so do it like the Finns and enjoy your sauna time!
Visit a flea market
We visited a few of them, which we randomly found and couldn’t resisting buying a souvenir or two. In most flea markets, you’ll also find food stalls, so it’s honestly an 2 in 1 situation!
Day trip ideas
If you’ve got some extra days in Helsinki, you could take a day trip to nearby Porvoo, a tiny yet super cute town, built by the water.
Or you could easily take the ferry to Tallinn, the Estonian capital. For some Tallinn inspiration, click here!
Last but not least, visiting Nuuskio National Park is a great way to experience the Finnish nature, without having to drive more than 45 minutes from the capital!