Helsinki travel guide

The capital of the land of the thousand lakes is located in the south of the country and connects Scandinavia to the Baltic states with a short boat trip.
Helsinki is a modern city where design prevails and coffee is sipped eagerly. To escape the crowds you can set sail to one of the many islands off the coast without really heading out far of Helsinki. During the winter you can take shelter in the hundreds of shopping centers, and in the summer you can go exploring until late at night in this permanently lit metropolis. Or at least thé metropolis of Finland. Helsinki is also the city with astronomically high prices and thousands of saunas. The small town is the perfect destination for a short city break or as a base for exploring the beautiful countryside higher in the north.

The Uspenski Cathedral is a Russian-Orthodox beauty which embellishes the skyline of the city.

The Uspenski Cathedral is a Russian-Orthodox beauty which embellishes the skyline of the city.

   Average costs

Stay – For a cheap night you should not be in Helsinki! A five-star hotel easily costs two hundred euros. Four star start at €120, but most are a few tens of euros more expensive.
For three stars you still pay quite a lot of money. An average of €90 per night. A bed in a dorm costs between twenty and thirty euros, a budget single or double room starts at fifty euros.
Definitely compare prices prices before you book. There are huge price differences available! I always use, since it gives me the largest number of accommodations available.

Eat – A fast food meal costs a lot of money in Finland, twelve euros at least. A pizza in an Italian restaurant begins at twenty euros and most other dishes starting at €25 to €30 per person. At cheaper restaurants you can eat out for fifteen to twenty euros and actually get something decent to eat, but don’t expect a huge menu.
A small sandwich costs about five euros, a muffin or cake about three euros.

Transport – For short trips within the city center you pay €2.70 per person. Are you heading a little outside the city center of Helsinki? Then expect to pay about five euros per person.
A single ticket for the boat that takes you to Suomenlinna island costs five euros.
You can also take the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn for a nice day trip. These ferry rides start at €20 per person if you book a bit in advance.
By commuting you can also visit Porvoo in about an hour. A single ticket costs €15.

The Löyly sauna in Helsinki. A modern sauna in the city center that you must try while visiting!

The Löyly sauna in Helsinki. A modern sauna in the city center that you must try while visiting!

   Saving money

Eat lunch or prepare own meals – Lunch is generally cheaper than going out for dinner. There are many restaurants offering lunch menus or buffets which cost significantly less than eating à la carte.
If you have a microwave or small kitchen in your residence you can also save a lot of money by preparing food from the supermarket. Ready-made meals or cooking everything yourself. Whatever you do; you will save a lot of money on restaurant costs.

Drink tap water – The water in Finland is the purest in the world. Instead of repeatedly buying expensive bottled water, you can better refill your bottles with tap water. Cheaper and excellent for your health!

Only go for one day – Helsinki is quite small. You really don’t need to stay for long! From Tallinn it takes about an hour to sail to the Finnish capital and with this day trip you save on hotel costs and perhaps even restaurant costs! Tallinn is beautiful, very cheap and there is a lot to see and do.

Stay away from alcohol – A beer, wine, champagne or cocktails costs a ridiculous amount of money in Finland. If you really want something to drink, I recommend to buy it in the grocery store. In a bar, pub or club alcoholic drinks are really too expensive for my taste.

In Helsinki itself, there's not that much nature. But very closeby there is more than enough to explore!

In Helsinki itself, there’s not that much nature. But very closeby there is more than enough to explore!


The harbour – The port of Helsinki is located right in the city center. Here you will find many ferry boats that can take you to the islands or to Tallinn. There are also some great markets and by walking about two minutes from the harbour you arrive at the two most beautiful cathedrals of Helsink. The Uspenski cathedral and the white Cathedral of Helsinki.

Suomenlinna – If you’re in the harbour, you can immediately take the ferry to Suomenlinna. Not so long ago this gigantic fort was used to protect Finland against potential enemies. Meanwhile, the six islands were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and attract hundreds of visitors daily. On the main island you see bunkers and other remains, but the nature of these islands is also surprisingly beautiful.

Temppeliaukio church – The Temppeliaukio church or rock church is a building that is hidden under a large rock mass. On the outside you see little, but once inside you find yourself in a huge hall where only the walls remind you that you are actually visiting a vast cave.

Seurasaari Open Air Museum – Another island off the coast of Helsinki is Seurasaari. You can take a ferry, but this island also has a bridge connection. On the island you will find the Seurasaari open-air museum, a nude beach, a public sauna and a lot of natural beauty.

Saunas – If you are in Helsinki you should visit a sauna. My favorite was löyly, but there are many other opportunities to sweat it all out. Definitely try out a smoke sauna as well. This is the traditional Finnish sauna and in my opinion, also the best sauna experience. You can’t take the heat anymore? Then splash into the refreshing cool lakes or in the sea of ​​the Finnish capital. Best feeling in the world!

Day trip to Tallinn – The Port of Helsinki is only one and a half hour sailing from Tallinn. The northernmost Baltic country is picturesque, charming and cheap. Just as Helsinki, this capital is very small and you can finish seeing the main attractions in one day. A return ticket costs €40 to €50. Sometimes you can also find cheaper tickets, but for these cheaper prices you often get bad departure times…

Porvoo – Another day trip you can do from Helsinki is Porvoo. This city is eagerly wanting to get on the list of the UNESCO world heritage. The old city center is filled with cute, wooden cabins which are so typical for Scandinavia.

Helsinki as seen from the ferry boat.

Helsinki as seen from the ferry boat.


Long stays – A long visit to Helsinki is really unnecessary. There are not many sights and attractions and all are located very close together. In the summer months you can enjoy some quiet parks and people watching, but in winter it is often uncomfortably cold in Helsinki. Exploring other villages or towns or flying out to Finnish Lapland seems like a better idea.

Heading to the ferry too soon – If you want to take the ferry to Tallinn, you only need to get there ten to fifteen minutes in advance. As you are going to another country, a lot of people wait there for one or more hours in advance, but instead you can make better use of your time!

Not booking a public sauna – You must make a reservation for most saunas in advance. During the winter months you can usually still head out without a reservation, but during the summer months it gets a lot busier because of all the tourists. Book your sauna experience to be make sure you get a place, if you eventually can’t go, you can always cancel.

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