Tourist Attractions in Helsinki

  • The bastion
    The bastion
    by alexprofi
  • Helsinki from a Boat Tour
    Helsinki from a Boat Tour
    by mydreamquest
  • Free view from Olympic Stadium Tower
    Free view from Olympic Stadium Tower
    by sabsi

Most Viewed Tourist Traps in Helsinki

  • annase's Profile Photo

    Water bus/ferry services to Suomenlinna

    by annase Updated May 6, 2013

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    In summertime, you find loads of sightseeing looking like boats (water busses) docked right in front of the Market Square ready to take you to Suomenlinna for a day. Nice you might think - except that they charge you much more than what you would get charged if you took the ferry that the locals take, run by the island's public utility company and the City of Helsinki . The ferry is located just a few hundred meters further towards the Russian Orthodox cathedral.

    Yes, the water bus does take you to the Visitor Centre jetty and to the southern end at the King’s Gate (Kuninkaanportti), whereas the Helsinki City Transportation (HKL) ferry takes you to the first ferry point on the island from where you might have to walk - about a half a kilometre to the Visitors Centre and more than a kilometre to the King's Gate, but the fun of the island is to actually walk and enjoy the scenery, not to take the boat and not expect to do any walking around!! In addition, the distances on the islands aren't that long really.

    Fun Alternatives: The Helsinki City Transportation (HKL) ferries operate between 6am and 2.20am about every 20-40 min. The ferry trip itself takes about 15 min. Tickets of the City Traffic are valid on the ferry, as it is part of Helsinki City Transportation system and won't cost you more than the current single ticket about €2 and a bit. If you've got a day travel card, you won't have to pay anything extra.

    Related to:
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    • Cruise
    • Budget Travel

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    Food joints to avoid - rubbish food

    by annase Updated May 6, 2013

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    In general, the Tex-Mex joints in Helsinki (e.g. 'Chicos', 'Iguanas', 'Santa Fe', Cantina West', 'Colorado' just to name a few) are something I'd steer away from, since half of it is straight off the freezer. My worst nightmare is the cheese sauce they use. It's not even melted cheese, but some awful industrial junk.

    Believe me, I've been to these places many times and after having been disappointed so many times, I'm not going to go there anymore and would advise no one else to go there either - at least for a nice meal.

    Unique Suggestions: I'd only go there for a drink if you must. The situation is never so bad no other resturants would be open.

    Fun Alternatives: Raffaello nearby offers more decent food and their prices aren't the most expensive in town. I also think Memphis is rather decent.

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  • ZeekLTK's Profile Photo

    Helsinki Tourist Card

    by ZeekLTK Updated May 2, 2012

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    There are a lot of "recommendations" (not just on this website, but in general) to get the Helsinki Tourist Card. However, I would NOT recommend this.

    I did look into it and decided not to. Then, after spending several days in the city, I was glad that I did not.

    The card is only good for one day (or two, or three, however long you buy it for - but it is more expensive for more days) and claims you can do a bunch of stuff for "free", but unless you literally hit up everything in one day then you don't ever actually make up the costs of what you paid for the card.

    For example, it lets you get a free ferry to Suomenlinna - the ferry is only 5 Euro anyways, not a big deal. Says you can use trams for free - the trams are only 2.70 Euros per ride and, due to how Helsinki is setup, you most likely won't even need to ride the tram more than once or twice (I only rode it once in 4 and a half days in the city). Another thing is that you can go up in the Olympic Tower for free, but that only costs 3 or 5 Euro (3 if you have a student ID or are a senior citizen, otherwise 5).

    It also says you can get into certain museums for free or for a discounted rate. The museums were typically only 8-12 Euros to get in (some less). And, keep in mind that it takes time to go through museums, it's not like you can just rush through them.

    I think they were asking 36 Euros for the card when I was there. Even if I went to Suomenlinna, rode 2 trams, went to the Olympic Tower, and went to 2 museums I would have only spent 33.40 Euros. And that would be an incredibly busy day too!

    Unique Suggestions: If you do get the card, then at least plan ahead and get the most out of it. Have your whole day planned so that you aren't wasting time deciding what to do next. Also I guess I would recommend starting the day early - ferries begin to go to Suomenlinna as early as 6 AM. If you get there early you could see the island(s) and get back by the time museums are opening to maximize your efficiency.

    Also, don't get this card on a Monday! All museums are closed on Mondays!

    Fun Alternatives: Do things yourself - it will be cheaper!

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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  • Gili_S's Profile Photo

    City Apartments

    by Gili_S Written Jan 26, 2011

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    The City Apartments in Helsinki seems to me a big rip off compare to the rest of Europe. You can get for the price one bed apartment a double room in 4 star hotel including breakfast for two :) Check for example my hotel tips and search the hotel sites for online reservations, some hotels can give good prices if you book online well in advance.
    For even cheaper rates accommodation search for Hostel or Camping.

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  • kikili's Profile Photo

    Suomenlinna fotress JL boat trip

    by kikili Written Sep 24, 2007

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    The JL boat tour to the fortress is near the corner or start of the K markets.They have an interesting set up where they don't sell you the ticket till the boat leaves. Thought this was unusual till we were a few hundred metres out to sea when they started selling tickets.More than 5 people who had HKL tickets were told that their tickets would not be honoured and that they had to buy JL tickets.They had to fork out for the trip..about 7euro return.This is not much but strikes me as a scam as they could easily check and advise customers that their tickets would not be valid and to instead walk another 200 metres down the markets and see the HKL ferry which is partly hidden by signs.

    Unique Suggestions: The HKL ferry is further down, about 150 metres.Not easily as visible as the JL boat.Between the JL and HKL boats is the Porvoo trip cruise boat.

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    by alexprofi Updated Jan 18, 2007

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    Suomenlinna , or Sveaborg.

    One of the main reasons for building Sveaborg was to help Sweden counter the ambitions of Russia, whose principal military base in the Gulf of Finland was Kronstadt, commissioned by Peter the Great to protect the city of St Petersburg and to be the home port of a new Russian navy to challenge Swedish maritime power in the eastern reaches of the Baltic Sea.Swedish power in the region gradually declined and in 1808 Sveaborg was surrendered to Russian forces. In 1855, during the Russian period, Sveaborg was bombarded by a British-led fleet in an offensive linked to the Crimean War.
    In July, 1906 has lifted revolt garrison in Sveaborg. In revolt participated up to 2 thousand soldiers and sailors of a fortress. They were helped by groups of the Finnish Red guards. On July, 18 and 19 there was a fierce artillery firing between a rebellious fortress and true to the government armies. To Sveaborg the squadron which a straight line fire started bombardment of rising soldiers and sailors has approached. Despite of support of sailors of Kronstadt, revolt in Sveaborg on July, 20 it has been suppressed, and his heads are executed.
    Initial Swedish name Sveaborg (Fortress Svea) with finding of independence by Finland in 1918 on a background of growth of national - patriotic spirit has been replaced on Suomenllinna (the Finnish Fortress), however Swedish the name remains in the use and to this day. Other ancient name of a fortress - Viapori is known also.
    During the summer of that year Red prisoners taken during the conflict between Red and White forces that followed independence were interned there. In the conclusion many of them have died of malnutrition and illness.

    Unique Suggestions: Getting to Suomenlinna

    There is a regular ferry-boat connection to Suomenlinna all year round. The ferry-boats leave from the Market Square between 6am and 2.20am. There is an additional service boat from Katajanokka on weekdays between 7.25am and 3.25pm. Ferry-boats are part of Helsinki City Transportation system. tourist tickets of the City Traffic are valid on the ferry-boat.
    Ferry timetables, Tel. +358-0100 111.
    Water buses operated by JT-Line Oy to Suomenlinna run from the beginning of May to the end of September. foto).
    Timetables and prices/JT-line. Tel. (09) 534 806, e-mail:

    Fun Alternatives: Museums Suomenlinna.

    Opening hours, prices and contact addresses 2007

    Suomenlinna Museum, Visitor Centre
    2.1.-30.4. 10-16 (closed 6.4.)
    2.5.-30.9. 10-18
    1.10-31.12 10-16 (closed 6.12, 24.-25.12)
    Entrance fee: 5/4/0 € including museum, widescreen show and alternating exhibition.
    Tel. (09) 4050 9691, Address: Suomenlinna C 74, 00190 Helsinki

    Ehrensvärd Museum
    1.4.-30.4. Sat-Sun 11-16
    Open daily in the Summer
    Entrance fee: 3/1 €, children under 7 years free.
    Tel. (09) 684 1850, Address: Suomenlinna B 40, 00190 Helsinki

    Toy Museum
    1.4.-30.4. 11-16
    1.5.-1.6. 11-16
    2.6..-21.6. 11-17
    25.6.-29.7. 11-18
    30.7.-2.9. 11-17
    3.9.-16.9. 11-16
    Entrance fee: adults 5/4 €, children (under 18) 2,5, children under 2 years free.
    Tel. (09) 668 417, Address: Suomenlinna C 66, 00190 Helsinki

    12.5-31.8. daily 11-18 (closed 22-24.6)
    Entrance fee: 4/2 €, children under 7 years free (combination ticket for the Manege Military Museum, the Coast Artillery Museum and the submarine Vesikko 6/3 €).
    Tel. (09) 1814 5296, Address: Suomenlinna C 77, 00190 Helsinki

    Vesikko Submarine
    12.5-31.8. daily 11-18 (closed 22-24.6)
    Entrance fee: 4/2 €, children under 7 years free (combination ticket for the Manege Military Museum, the Coast Artillery Museum and the submarine Vesikko 6/3 €).
    Tel. (09) 1814 6238, Address: Suomenlinna B 79, 00190 Helsinki

    Coast Artillery Museum
    12.5-31.8. daily 11-18 (closed 22-24.6)
    Entrance fee: 4/2 €, children under 7 years free (combination ticket for the Manege Military Museum, the Coast Artillery Museum and the submarine Vesikko 6/3 €).
    Tel. (09) 1814 5295, Address: Suomenlinna A 2, 00190 Helsinki

    Customs Museum
    26.5.-31.8. Tue-Sun 12-17 (Closed 22.-24.6)
    Closed on Mondays.
    Free entrance.
    Tel. 020 492 2394 (only in summertime)
    Address: Suomenlinna B 20, 00190 Helsinki

    Aerial of Suomenlinna Photo: Kari Palsila The 1. Helsinki City Traffic ferry, 2. JT-line's water Water bus The bastion
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

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  • kixon's Profile Photo

    The tourist bus

    by kixon Written Sep 4, 2006

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    The tourist bus is very expensive in my opinion, last time I checke3d they charged about 25€ for a jump on and off-trip, and you can get away cheaper than that.

    Unique Suggestions: Try and bargain the price.

    Fun Alternatives: The tourist bus is a great way to explore the town, but you can do that the cheapest way possible: Tram or walk. The tram 3T or 3B takes you around the whole town plus a few of the far end citydistricts, you can pick up a map of the sights on the way from a tourist office. Or the just walk around with the same map and you'll see everything and save about 25€.

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    The Boat Tours

    by mydreamquest Updated May 31, 2006

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    Near the Fish Market in front of the Lutheran Cathedral, there are offers for a boat tour around the Islands off of Helsinki (such as IHA Lines). They'll charge around 12 Euro for an hour and 30 minute Archipelago Sightseeing.

    Although it takes you to historically significant areas such as where certain fortresses were, I found the boat tour to be rather boring primarily because I like to take landscape pictures. During the 2 hours trip, there were few photo opportunities, and in mid-September, it was very cold going out on the boat tour. I slept thru most of the boat trip.

    However, I did like this picture which I took of the Lutheran Cathedral.

    Helsinki from a Boat Tour
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Sailing and Boating

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  • Water

    by snux_849 Written Jun 12, 2005

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    Water in drink stands is very expensive.

    Unique Suggestions: Buy water from the grocery and not from kiosks around the city. There's this gift shop (Kioski) that sells water at 2.30 euros... in the grocery, a small bottle costs around 30 cents.

    Related to:
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  • helimaarit's Profile Photo

    International aquarium

    by helimaarit Written Feb 14, 2005

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    Sea Life Helsinki is attached to Linnanmäki-amusement park. It's great for families and for people interested in sea life.
    I've visited the place and liked it, but I find it rather expensive and for this reason I wouldn't go there again.

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    • Aquarium

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  • The Sibelius monument

    by alsk Written Sep 4, 2004

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    The Sibelius monuments is an abstact monument for the Finnish classical music composer Jean "Janne" Sibelius. The monument looks like a grey matchstick puzzle. When you've seen it, you've seen it. Not much to it.

    The music written by J. Sibelius is something to get to know, though.

    Unique Suggestions: Don't spend too much time to it.

    Fun Alternatives: Go and eat in the neighborhood restaurant Lehtovaara. Summer hint: play minigolf just nearby, or buy ice cream from a kiosk by the watefront ;-)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Music

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  • Helsinki Card

    by sabsi Updated Jun 30, 2004

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    Because of my work I got a Helsinki Card for 24 hours for free. So I had the chance to try out what you can do with it. Here's my opinion about it:

    The card gives you the chance to visit most of Helsinki's museums for free. You also get little presents and discounts at several shops and restaurants. Plus of course you can use public transportation for free.

    The problem is that the card for 24 hours costs 25 Euro which isn't exactly cheap. Before buying it you should think about what you want to do that day. I mean how many museums can you visit in a day without getting bored as hell? I used it for free transport (saved 6 Euros), for the National Museum (saved 4,50 I think) and the tower of the Olympic stadium (saved 2 Euros) and to collect my present (an elk keyring) from Stockmann. Some of the other museums that I wanted to visit with it were closed (because it was Juhannus weekend) so for me the card wouldn't have been worth it.

    Unique Suggestions: If you plan to visit the Zoo and Suomenlinna or go on an organised tour by "Helsinki Expert" and you still have some time to visit some museums and maybe have a meal one of the restaurants that offers special rates it might be worth it for you. Especially for people who travel to Helsinki for the first time and only have a short time there it might be a good idea to get the card (you can buy it at the Helsinki Expert booth at Esplanadi or at the tourist information).

    Fun Alternatives: Enjoy the city without rushing from one place to the other.....

    Free view from Olympic Stadium Tower

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  • erkkim's Profile Photo

    Official Helsinki is silent about it's airport

    by erkkim Updated Mar 7, 2004

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    If you look at the web pages of Helsinki Tourist Office, you find nothing about Malmi Airport

    Although the place has very much to show and offer experiences (e.g. sightseeing flights) the city is silent because it has plans to convert the airport to a housing area.

    Unique Suggestions: Malmi Airport is an anti-trap for the tourists.
    City of Helsinki hopes, that nobody, especially foreigners, would be aware of this cultural treasure. And about the possibility to see Helsinki from the air.

    Therefore go there, although no official tourist guide proposes such.

    See also web page

    and sign petition

    Fun Alternatives: Alternative to see Suomenlinna castle instead of walking kilometers there, is to go to Malmi airport, take-off, and see the bastions from the air.

    Or instead of seeing Helsinki seashore and archipelago from sightseeing boat, you can take a sightseeing flight from Malmi.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Cruise
    • Architecture

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    Fur hats

    by ATLC Written Jan 20, 2004

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    When you come off the ferry you'll find a tiny market just before entering the city center. Don't be fooled by those little stalls. A fur hat easily costs over 150 euro which is not a slight acquisition. I remember on my visit to Romania that those can be had much cheaper if you like this sort of thing. I'll just keep to rabbit and sheep skin or fur.

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  • einokj's Profile Photo

    Drink prizes in city centre

    by einokj Written Nov 26, 2003

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    I don't think this is a tourist trap, per se, since they are exploiting us all. However, what I must again complain is that the alcohol prizes in city centre bars are totally plain exploitation. 5 ? for 0.4 litre (large one, in my dreams) of draught beer is just plain outrageous but absolutely normal. Prizes may go as high as 7 ? for 0.4 litre. Maybe it is because of t?uro but I still think this is unacceptable. Therefore I speak for pubs in Kallio region since their prices are still human. Ok, they don't have fancy and funky atmosphere and the waitresses don't have nice costumes but at least I don't have to pay over 50% extra for that.

    Fun Alternatives: Go to suburbs.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Beer Tasting

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Helsinki Tourist Traps

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