With its seafront location, striking architecture, and thriving arts scene, Helsinki is one of the coolest Nordic cities. The Finnish capital is a port of call on northern Europe and Baltic cruises, and provides a starting point for trips north to Lapland. Highlights of the city range from the grand ‘Rock Church’ to island fortresses and bustling food markets. Guided tours of Helsinki offer travelers insight into Finnish culture, design, and cuisine, and avoid language hassles when dealing with transportation. For those wanting to explore further, boat cruises run around the city’s canals and the islands of the Helsinki archipelago, while regular ferries shuttle day-trippers to Tallinn in Estonia. You’ll find all of the above and more in our Helsinki travel guide below.

Temppeliaukio Church

From the 19th-century Helsinki Cathedral to the Kamppi ‘Chapel of Silence,’ Helsinki has no shortage of magnificent churches. The Temppeliaukio Church—or ‘Rock Church’—is the most unusual, carved out of solid rock and capped with a dramatic copper dome.  Visitors can attend a service or simply admire the unique architecture from both inside and out. A daytime visit is recommended to fully appreciate the effect of natural light on the interior.

Helsinki 3-Hour Airport to City Sightseeing Tour

Ideal for time-crunched visitors, this tour maximizes time with airport pickup, flexible departure times, a comprehensive city tour, and a choice of airport or hotel drop-off.

Helsinki Shore Excursion: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

Clients craving flexibility should consider this hop-on hop-off bus experience. It includes a choice of a 24- or 48-hour pass, and makes 18 stops around the city, including Temppeliaukio Church, Senate Square, and the cruise port.

Helsinki Highlights by Bikes

This tour covers more ground than a walking tour, with plenty of stops and photo opportunities at landmarks like the Olympic Stadium, Töölö Bay, Temppeliaukio, and Finlandia Hall.

Market Square

Helsinki travel guides and locals alike consider Market Square as the navigational heart of the city, buzzing with life at all times of day and night. The square looks out over the harbor, making it a popular stop on walking tours, while ferries to the islands leave from the waterfront. The star attraction is the Old Market Hall, which hosts the city’s oldest and most popular food market (daily except Sundays), selling everything from fruits and vegetables to fresh seafood and delicious street food.

Helsinki Food Tour Including Tastings

Food-lovers should consider this tour, which focuses on Finland’s cuisine and culinary heritage. Clients will enjoy tastings of regional specialties like reindeer meat, cloudberry jam, and candies.

Helsinki Red Bus 24-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket

This bus tour lets travelers explore at their own pace, following a route that covers all the top attractions and providing on-board commentary.

Helsinki Small-Group Walking Tour

For clients needing little more attention, this comprehensive introduction to Helsinki is limited to a group size of 10 people, meaning more personal attention from the guide.

Suomenlinna

Standing watch over Helsinki’s southern coast, the island of Suomenlinna is best known for its imposing sea fortress. The 18th-century Suomenlinna Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and reachable only by boat—a scenic 15-minute cruise from the mainland. On arrival, guided walking tours take in highlights such as the Dry Dock, the Church Park, and the Great Courtyard. There are also six museums to explore including the Suomenlinna Museum, the Military Manege, and the submarine Vesikko.

Private Guided Tour of Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Your clients can enjoy a personalized experience on this private tour, which includes a round-trip ferry to the island and plenty of time to explore the fortress.

Helsinki Card

Clients comfortable traveling on their own should consider the Helsinki Card. Available for 24, 48 or 72 hours, it includes ferries and admission to Suomenlinna Fortress, letting visitors explore at their own pace.

Helsinki Sightseeing Cruise

Ideal for visitors that want to see Suomenlinna Fortress without heading ashore, this cruise affords fantastic views of Helsinki’s islands and waterfront landmarks from the water.

Porvoo

Although not part of the city, we included Porvoo on our Helsinki travel guide because its serene atmosphere and beauty should not be missed. The town, which is just an hour north of Helsinki, offers ample photo opportunities with its remarkably preserved medieval Old Town, brightly painted wooden houses, and scenic riverfront. Although buses do run to Porvoo, the quickest and most convenient way to visit is as part of a guided day trip from Helsinki. Most tours include a walking tour of the town’s historic monuments.

Helsinki and Porvoo Half-Day Sightseeing Tour

For the best of both worlds, clients may want to consider this bus tour that combines Helsinki’s top attractions with a visit to Porvoo. It includes all transportation, plus hotel pickup.

Porvoo Half-Day Trip From Helsinki

Ideal for those on a budget or short on time, this walking tour of Porvoo Old Town includes round-trip coach transportation and is limited to a group size of 10 people.

Private Half-Day Trip to Medieval Porvoo From Helsinki

Some clients prefer a little time on their own, and this private tour allows them to explore Porvoo both with and without a guide. It includes hotel pickup and round-trip transportation by private vehicle.

Food, Wine & Nightlife

Helsinki Food Tour Including Tastings

Experience the rich culinary culture of Helsinki during an appetizing 2-hour small-group food walking tour of the vibrant Finnish capital.

Private Helsinki Food and Beer Tour

Getting an authentic taste of the local food scene can be tricky when in an unfamiliar city. Let your guide introduce you to local produce and seasonal specialties on this private walking tour of Helsinki.

Classic style boating & Island experience with BBQ

You will experience wonderful the beautiful archipelago and special places that can only be reached with a small boat. You have the chance to fire up the barbecue as well!

Most Popular Things to Do in Helsinki

Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Tours & Sightseeing

Shore Excursions

Day Trips & Excursions

Sightseeing Tickets & Passes

Most Popular Things to Do

Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Tours & Sightseeing

Shore Excursions

Day Trips & Excursions

Sightseeing Tickets & Passes

Helsinki Travel Guide: Things to Know

When to Visit

Summer is the most popular time to visit, when the Midnight Sun means up to 20 hours of daylight—perfect for sightseeing. Winter temperatures can drop to 22 °F (-6 °C), but visitors can see dazzling lights and Christmas markets.

Things to Bring

The coastal winds can be chilly even in summer, so dress in layers and bring something warm for the evening. Sunscreen is also a must due to the country’s northern position.

Don’t worry about forgetting toiletries at home – there are plenty of pharmacies, many of which are open 24 hours.

Getting Around

Many of the central sights are within walking distance, but there’s also an extensive public transport network. A Helsinki Card offers unlimited travel on the city’s public buses, trams, subway, and ferries.

The extensive public transportation system also allows for easy access outside of the city, but if you prefer to drive it is best to use a mobile phone app so you do not accidentally go the wrong way or use a street that solely accommodates public transportation vehicles.

Local Customs

Helsinki is one of Europe’s most expensive cities, but tipping is generally not expected. In restaurants, it’s customary to round up the bill, but most local establishments include the service charge in the bill.

When meeting people, greet whomever with a brief yet firm handshake and maintain eye contact. The Finish are known for their egalitarian society between the genders and you should greet men and women the same.

Idle small talk is not something Finns like participating in, so err on the side of silence.

What the Locals Know

The Kallio neighbourhood is the best place to head after dark, with some of the city’s coolest bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and live music venues.

Trending Experiences

Percent Increase in Bookings from 2017-2018

%

Cultural & Theme Tours

%

Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

%

Shore Excursions

RELATED ARTICLES

Top Selling Destination Guide: Berlin

Berlin offers mythic nightlife and trend-setting culture, but travelers are usually first captivated by its history, which involves some of the most dramatic moments of the 20th century. 

Read more →

Top Selling Destination Guide: Stockholm

The Swedish capital draws travelers with its mix of Viking history, contemporary and classical architecture, and cutting-edge design. 

Read more →

Top Selling Destination Guide: Oslo

Oslo is the urban heart of Norway and represents Scandinavia at its most rarefied. Packed with world-class art museums and head-turning architecture, the capital city is a beautiful (and often pricey) place to explore.

Read more →

[type=select]
[type=select]
[type=select]
[type=select]