More Than Just a Word in a Song – Top Attractions and Activities for Your Finnish Adventure
Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, offers visitors a unique blend of modern design, rich history, and stunning natural beauty–from iconic landmarks and cultural institutions to scenic parks and coastal views, Helsinki has something to offer everyone.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s museums and galleries, strolling through its many green spaces, or indulging in its renowned sauna culture, there are countless things to do and see in this vibrant Nordic city.
Here are some popular things to do and see in Helsinki:
- Visit the Helsinki Cathedral: One of the most iconic landmarks in Helsinki; the white cathedral is a symbol of Finnish national pride.
- Explore Suomenlinna: A UNESCO World Heritage site; Suomenlinna is an 18th-century sea fortress built on a group of islands. It’s a popular spot for picnics and scenic walks.
- Take a stroll through Esplanade Park: A lovely green space in the heart of the city; the park is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
- Visit the Market Square: Located on the waterfront, the Market Square is the place to go for fresh produce, traditional Finnish foods, and souvenirs.
- Check out the Sibelius Monument: A tribute to the famous Finnish composer, the monument is made of over 600 steel pipes and is a must-see for music lovers.
- Visit the Ateneum Art Museum: One of the largest art museums in the Nordic countries; the Ateneum features an extensive collection of Finnish and international art.
- Explore the Design District: Helsinki is known for its modern design and architecture, and the Design District is the place to go for unique shops, galleries, and restaurants.
- Take a ferry to one of the nearby islands: Helsinki is surrounded by beautiful islands, and taking a ferry to one of them is a great way to enjoy the scenery.
- Visit the Temppeliaukio Church: Also known as the “Rock Church,” this unique church is carved into solid rock and has incredible acoustics.
- Take a sauna: Sauna culture is an integral part of Finnish life, and there are many public saunas in Helsinki where you can relax and unwind.
- Visit the National Museum of Finland: – the museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits showcasing the history and culture of Finland.
- Take a tour of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium: Originally built for the 1952 Summer Olympics; the stadium has since undergone renovations and is now a modern sports and event venue.
- Enjoy the views from the Helsinki SkyWheel at Market Square: The SkyWheel offers stunning views of the city and the Baltic Sea.
- Explore the Hietaniemi Cemetery: Also known as the “Cemetery of the Nobles,” the cemetery is the final resting place of many famous Finns, including artists, writers, and politicians. It’s also a beautiful park with walking paths and a beach.
Did you know?
One interesting fact about Helsinki is that it has an extensive underground air-raid shelter system built during World War II to protect the city’s residents in the event of an attack.
The system is still maintained today, and some of the shelters have been converted into unique spaces, such as a swimming pool and a data center.
A little history:
Helsinki’s history dates back to the 16th century when King Gustav I of Sweden founded the city. Originally known as Helsingfors, the city snowballed over the centuries, becoming an important trading center and a hub for cultural and intellectual activity.
In the early 1800s, it was chosen as the new capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland, which was then part of the Russian Empire. This led to significant growth and development, with new buildings, parks, and cultural institutions throughout the city.
Helsinki played a pivotal role in Finland’s struggle for independence in the early 20th century, and the city has continued to evolve and modernize in the decades since.