Helsinki Travel Guide

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.

Helsinki Weather (When to Visit)

During the months of May or June, the weather in Finland is usually warm with plenty of outdoor activities and events being held. Helsinki during August also is perfect with the city’s Annual Flow Festival being held. If you are an adventurer, be sure to visit during June and July to catch a glimpse of the ever famous Midnight Sun. August is vacation month for Finns, who tend to head en masse to the countryside or the coast just after midsummer, even then only the most popular areas are uncomfortably crowded. Summer is almost always sunny and clear, with temperatures rarely stifling: the warmest month is July, which averages 62°F to 79°F.

Best Helsinki Beaches

Mustikkamaa Beach, Helsinki Norway, best Helsinki beaches, best Helsinki hotels, best Helsinki restaurants, best Helsinki bars, things to do in Helsinki, Recommended Helsinki tours& Activities
Mustikkamaa Beach

Situated near the Helsinki Zoo Korkeasaari, the Mustikkamaa beach is a great place to take your family for a relaxing day outing. The beach is decked with amenities like cabins, toilet, showers and kiosks along with exercise equipment to keep you engaged.

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Hietaranta Beach, Helsinki Norway, best Helsinki beaches, best Helsinki hotels, best Helsinki restaurants, best Helsinki bars, things to do in Helsinki, Recommended Helsinki tours& Activities
Hietaranta Beach

Hietaniemi is a very popular sandy beach among the tourists and locals alike because of its close proximity to the city. Visitors can relax on warm days playing volleyball, sunbathing or swimming.

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Seurasaari Beach, Helsinki Norway, best Helsinki beaches, best Helsinki hotels, best Helsinki restaurants, best Helsinki bars, things to do in Helsinki, Recommended Helsinki tours& Activities
Seurasaari Beach

A predominantly nudist beach the Seurasaari beach is located within the Seurasaari island. They have separate nudist areas for the men and woman to enjoy independently. The island is intended to be a recreational area where people can enjoy their holidays or weekends away from the city. Facilities like cabins, showers and toilets are provided.

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Aurinkolahti Beach, Helsinki Norway, best Helsinki beaches, best Helsinki hotels, best Helsinki restaurants, best Helsinki bars, things to do in Helsinki, Recommended Helsinki tours& Activities
Aurinkolahti Beach

The Aurinkolahti beach lies within the Aurinkolahti neighborhood and is a great place to visit with your friends or family. The beach offers all the necessary beach amenities along with a kids play area and an outdoor gym. Life guards are also present to assist you anytime.

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Pihlajasaari Beach, Helsinki Norway, best Helsinki beaches, best Helsinki hotels, best Helsinki restaurants, best Helsinki bars, things to do in Helsinki, Recommended Helsinki tours& Activities
Pihlajasaari Beach

The Pihlajasaari Beach is one of the most popular recreational areas in the city of Helsinki. The beach is located on the Pihlajasaari Island which is a popular vacation destination. The island is intended to be a holiday resort and has no permanent residents while the beach is a perfect place to hang out on a hot summer’s day.

Helsinki Recommended Experiences & Tours by Viator

Viator.com – Tours, sightseeing tours, activities & things to do

Helsinki Airport Layover Sightseeing Tour

Keen to see Helsinki during a layover at Helsinki Airport? If so, this whistlestop tour of Finland’s capital is just the ticket. Hop inside an air-conditioned coach and enjoy a panoramic tour of 12 landmarks including the Rock Church, Helsinki Cathedral, and Sibelius Monument as you discover their history. Select from various departure times and, if your layover is longer than the tour, choose a drop-off in central Helsinki before returning independently to the airport. Learn more about the Helsinki Airport Layover Sightseeing Tour.

Helsinki and Suomenlinna Sightseeing Tour

Combine a city tour of Helsinki with a ferry journey to Suomenlinna Island on this half-day excursion. Listen to guided commentary while exploring the highlights of Helsinki such as Esplanade Park and the Sibelius Monument. Hop a ferry to Suomenlinna for a walking tour including the Jetty barracks, the Suomenlinna Church, and Kings Gate. Learn more about the Helsinki & Suomenlinna Sightseeing Tour.

Tour Helsinki with a City Planner

Get a fresh perspective on Helsinki on this quirky small-group tour, led by a city planner. Discover bizarre traditions, such as picnicking on graves, famous Finns, such as architect Alvar Aalto, and curios, such as a church built inside a giant granite rock, a statue that seagulls hate, and a 19th-century Bohemian hangout. Leave with an understanding of the city that you won’t get from guidebooks or everyday organized tours. Learn more about the Helsinki Tour with a City Planner.

Tallin Day Cruise from Helsinki

Discover picturesque Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, on a private day trip from Helsinki by ferry. After hotel pickup, cruise across the Gulf of Finland to Estonia in a comfortable ferry. Then, set off on an afternoon tour of this lovely city by foot and air-conditioned transport. View top Tallinn sights including the cobbled Old Town, Toompea Hill, and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral as you hear about the city’s history and culture. Afterward, (depending on timings), enjoy time at leisure before your return ferry trip. Learn more about the Tallin Day Cruise from Helsinki.

Finnish Sauna in the Nature

Saunas are loved in Finland for their magnificent health benefits. Enjoy an authentic Finnish tradition by spending a day in a Finnish Sauna in the idyllic setting of Nuuksio National Park. Not only will you be in a picturesque lakeside setting, but you’ll also doing something that’s good for the body and mind. When you've worked up an appetite, you won’t have to worry about where to buy food, as a delicious open fire barbecue is included. Learn more about the Finnish Sauna in the Nature.

Best Helsinki Restaurants

Demo $31 – 60

The idea here is offering memorable experiences and delicious food in a relaxed environment. This philosophy has remained true through the years, maintaining our reliability. In the year 2007 the restaurants reputation surpassed itself and Demo was granted a Michelin Star which they have retained to this day. Telephone: 358 9 2289 0840 Web: Demo

Restaurant Olo $31 – 60

Olo is considered to be one of Helsinki’s best restaurants for its modern Scandinavian cuisine. Six and nine-course menus named Shorter Way and Journey encompass creatively prepared ingredients, altering the way they’re perceived. These dishes along with wines from small producers around the world are served up in a 19th-century house on the seafront. Telephone:  358 1 0320 6250 Web: Restaurant Olo

Chef & Sommelier $31 – 60

Chef & Sommelier also boasts a Michelin star. Here, the chefs create modern Finnish plates, which are made up of locally sourced organic and wild ingredients. Diners can choose the five or seven-course menu to taste this refined cuisine with wines selected to match each plate. Telephone: 358 4 0095 9440 Web: Chef & Sommelier

Restaurant Nokka $31 – 60

This restaurant takes ingredients that have been hand-picked by the chef Ari Ruoho and produce from local farmers. The kitchen puts out modern Finnish cuisine, within its converted, harbor-side warehouse space. Telephone: 358 9 6128 5600 Web: Restaurant Nokka

Restaurant Savoy $31 – 60

Restaurant Savoy is one of Helsinki’s most famous fine dining spots. A menu of both classic and modern plates offers a tightly curated offering of local cuisine, such as Anjou pigeon with cabbage stewed in truffle cream, apple froth and Port wine sauce. Telephone: 358 9 6159 2300 Web: Restaurant Savoy

Best Helsinki Bars

Goldfish

Goldfish, the urban bar, draws inspiration from the library bars of London’s luxury hotels and the best cocktail bars the world over. The full-service bar also has an extensive wine list and quality food on offer. Telephone: 358 1 0323 2980. Web: Goldfish

Pulmu Baari

This small bar in Kallio has a retro airplane-style interior where you’ll always find the regulars chatting to the bartenders. It gets super busy on weekends as people flock to this comforting joint, but if you’re lucky you’ll nab a seat. Telephone: 358 4 0559 3617 Web: Pulmu Baari

Chihuahua Julep

This hidden bar is hard to find – you’ll just a doormat and a tiny sign. To enter, ring the doorbell and step inside to discover vintage sofas and dark window. Phones are supposed to be left in pockets and bags, so no scrolling here. You'll find quality tequila, mescal, pisco and rum here, no gin, vodka or scotch are stocked. Web: Chihuahua Julep

Way Bakery & Wine Bar

A bakery by day and an cosy wine bar by night, Way specializes in natural wines. The compact wine list has some bubbles, four whites and reds, two orange wines and specialty bottles according to whatever is opened. The small space fills up fast but you can usually always grab a seat at the counter. Telephone: 358 5 0470 2388 Web: Way Bakery & Wine Bar

Panema

Panema has 18 distinct tap beers (both Finnish and imported), and the bottle selection is even wider. It hosts regular “brewery tap take overs”, so you can constantly try new things in this friendly bar. Plus, you can even bring your own food or have it delivered to enjoy with your drinks. Telephone: 358 4 0143 5545 Web: Panema

Best Helsinki Hotels

28 Comments

  1. Elaine Nicol

    I must admit that although I have never really considered Finland as a possible beach travel destination, I will now. The dinner and nightlife looks fantastic, and some of those beaches look beautiful. I also didn’t realize that Finland was far north enough to have a midnight sun, that’s really cool to learn. This is all valuable information, thank you for sharing. Best regards, Elaine

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Elaine, glad you enjoyed. And thank you for stopping by.

      Reply
  2. Feji ben

    Hello there,thanks for this awesome article it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.i must say that you have done a great job on this article I have heard alot about Helsinki and I have looking to go there for a vacation but because of my lack thereof f knowledge about the place such efforts from me fails but thanks to this article I have now understood something very important which is the weather.thanks once more.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by Ben.  I am glad you learned a bit more about Helsinki.  Please let me know if you need any additional information.

      Reply
  3. JJ

    Wow. I love to travel. I live in Jamaica in the Caribbean and I have gone through most of Europe, US, the Far East but I have never thought of traveling to Finland. Before this article I never knew a thing about Finland. I am pleasantly surprised by the options for relaxation and enjoyment. I will add this to my list of possibilities and work out how I can include a trip there on a tour. Thank you for this introduction

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome JJ.  How wonderful to live in the Caribbean!  That would be a dream come true for me.  I live on the beach now, but always looking for a better beach!  Thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  4. Feochadan

    Well, I must say that prior to reading this extraordinarily well-written article, I had most definitely put the words Helsinki and beaches together in my mind!  I had NO idea!  What a lovely place to go and relax and also use as a jumping-off point for the other Nordic countries.  I used to live in the far north in Canada and experiencing the midnight sun is an absolute MUST.  I would love to see Helsinki’s landmarks and enjoy their diversity of food and nightlife as well.  You have just served to put Helsinki on the map for me as a “must-see”.  Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great !  I lived in Alaska for 22 years, and I know all about the midnight sun.  I live on the beach now and seeing the sunset over the water…well just as wonderful in my book!  Helsinki has so much to offer.  And yes most would not consider going to Helsinki for a beach vacation.  Thank you for visiting.

      Reply
  5. Antonio

    Hi

    I think this is an interesting article of the beeches you can find in the capital of Finland. When you think about the beaches in Europe, you think about the more popular destination such as France, Spain , Portugal, Italy and Greece. You do not think about the Scandinavian countries, as you think the cooler temperatures will  stop people sunbathing. The beaches you describe in the article are wonderful but I got to admit I do like overcrowded beeches, as this is so off-putting to me. Just give to me sun, golden sand and s Pina  Coloda and I will be a happy man.

    Some places in Scandinavian the sun never sets in summer and I hope to see this one time in my life.

    Thanks

    Antonio

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well I do have to agree with you Antonio.  Although I like margaritas and daiquiris 🙂

      Reply
  6. Steve

    It’s really interesting, but whenever I have thought of Helsinki in the past, and Switzerland in general, I have always thought of snow. I guess that’s because any time a movie is filmed there, it seems like they highlight it during the winter. I honestly never thought about what it would be like to visit during the warmer month, but it looks to be absolutely incredible! The beaches look nice and the restaurants seem top notch. I might have to put this on the list of places I would like to visit! Thanks for helping me to think about Switzerland in a new way!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, most people don’t think of Helsinki as a beach destination.  It really does have so much to offer.  I grew up in snow, so I like the warmer weather.  And I do have family in Europe, so I know that it can get very nice and sometimes down right toasty in the summer.  Thanks for visiting Steve.

      Reply
  7. Shanta Rahman

    Thank you so much for sharing with us such a beautiful article. I love to go to the beaches and I visit the beach every year. Helsinki beach is one of the most attractive beaches in Europe .And I wish I could spend my next vacation in Europe with my family .So I was looking for what famous beach places here are in the city .Right then my eyes caught my eyes and I’m so glad I did .I heard about the Helsinki Guide to my friend .It provides tourists with incorrect information about Finnish culture design and cuisine and avoids the hassle of language when dealing with transportation. And I’ve also heard that the weather in Finland in May or June is very helpful with lots of outdoor activities and events being held. Also the Flow Festival is held which I like a lot .I need to get a glimpse of the midnight sun during June-July .And I love to visit both Mustikkamaa Beach and Hietaranta Beach as beaches because I love reading your articles here. Because these two beaches are sandy and a great place to spend time .Suitable for tourists swimming .And Helsinki Airport Layover Sightseeing is a must see .And with the help of the Helsinki Travel Guide they will only look great so good luck with the Helsinki Travel Guide. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Shanta!  I am glad I could provide you with all the information you need to take a vacation to beautiful Helsinki.  Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.

      Reply
  8. Kylie

    An extraordinary guide! Thank you very much for the guidance you provided. I am indeed planning to go to enjoy my honeymoon in Helsinki in June. Because of many things I heard and what I read about Helsinki, mostly gave positive reviews. And most importantly, I also plan to take some photos with my professional photographer in several different places such as Löyly, Vanhankaupunginlahti, Arabianranta and National Library (which is said to be the largest and most beautiful in the world).
    After the photo session, I will try some of the beaches that you suggest, but it seems that I am very interested in the beauty of Mustikkamaa Beach. And in the evening, I will try Bar Panema and Molotow Bar.
    Apart from all of that, I see Helsinki as a very special place, surrounded by beautiful nature. Plus, this incredible guidance.
    Once again, thank you very much for your writing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Kylie!  I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon in Helsinki.  If there is any additional information you need, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  9. Donald

    Great post about Helsinki. Being a native islander myself i was especially interested in the beaches you spoke about. Frankly i had no idea that there were such great white sand beaches in Finland at all. I see there’s also much more to do there than just go to the beach as well.
    Helsinki is a place that i would love to visit and if i ever do get the opportunity i will definitely be coming back to this guide for reference.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Donald, and yes, most don’t think of Helsinki as a vacation destination, and certainly not for beaches.  I believe that they have a little bit of everything here.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  10. Bobbi

    Wow, Helsinki beaches, I had no idea how many beaches and how many beaches Helsinki had, awesome and I want to go now, amazing video and I will tell you, if I had the time and the money right now, I would be booking this trip. I like the beach Aurinkolahti, beautiful white sand, looks amazing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed learning more about Helsinki Bobbi.  Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  11. Alejandra

    Thanks so much for sharing such a good information about visiting Helsinki, as I’m planning this Summer vacations, I was telling my husband about visiting Scandinavia and Helsinki is on my list of cities to visit.

    I never thought about Helsinki as a beach destination, but you made good points, as I was reading your article, it’s clear Helsinki will stay on my list as it has lots to offer to visit.

    I will keep the list of restaurants you listed on your article as it seems the have a good food selection and prices are affordable.

    I visited Helsinki in 1976, I was young and it was a couple of days visit, but I remember I like the city and it has been on my list of places to visit again.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great, you will enjoy vacationing to Helsinki again I am sure.  I am glad you enjoyed reading my Helsinki Travel Guide.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  12. Daniel

    I’ll be honest when I typically think of beaches I don’t think of Helsinki – or at least I didn’t.  I do imagine even in the warmer months the water is still probably fairly cold.  But the beaches do look beautiful and looks like a great place to visit.  I’ll have to add it to my list.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, most people don’t think of Helsinki when they are planning a beach vacation.  Most of my family is in Europe and I have been to the beaches in many places.  Helsinki is really a gem with so much to offer.  Thank you for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  13. Jordan

    Thank you for the very comprehensive Helsinki travel guide, Pihlajasaari Beach in the popular destination Pihlajasaari Island is my place to go. The drone video of the city of Helsinki is super cool and it shows the beauty and lifestyle of the city.

    Your hotel recommendations seem to be quite affordable and with very high user ratings.

    Joran.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Joran.  Yes, I do quite a bit of research in finding high quality hotel recommendations.  Some can be pricey in other destinations, but it all depends on where you are going.  Helsinki is really a pretty good bargain.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  14. Rhain

    One of the major attractions about Helsinki is its artistic inclination. It does make for an ideal travel destination I must say. The Finns are known to be highly preservative of their culture. From this article, it is pretty clear August is the best time for a family vacation. It presents an interesting opportunity to learn more about their way of life. I think I’d prefer to get a better grasp of the city by touring with a city planner.

    Thanks for sharing 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, you will learn a lot of great information doing the tour with the city planner 🙂  Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me comments.

      Reply

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