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How to Spend 3 Days in Helsinki

How to Spend 3 Days in Helsinki

With three days in Helsinki, there’s enough time to check off all the must-see sights, indulge in the local culture, and venture a bit farther afield. Make the most of money-saving passes and take time to sample Finnish cuisine, visit the many museums, and explore the coast. Here’s how to spend three memorable days in Helsinki.

Day 1: City Sights and Nightlife

A hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to discover Helsinki and get your bearings in the city. Jump off to admire the Sibelius Monument, check out the Temppeliaukio (Rock Church), and browse the stalls of the Hietalahti Flea Market at your leisure. For a view of the city, visit the Olympic Stadium and climb the Olympic Tower, or walk along the coastal cliffs of the Kaivopuisto Park. 

 

At lunchtime, hop off at the Market Square and pick up some tasty street food from the lively waterfront market. A short walk away is Senate Square, where you’ll find some of Helsinki’s most impressive buildings, including the Government Palace, Helsinki Cathedral, and the University of Helsinki.

In the evening, head to the atmospheric Kallio neighborhood, home to a wide selection of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs open into the wee hours.

Day 2: Museums and Monuments

Set sail on a sightseeing cruise around the Helsinki archipelago and admire the city and its many islands from the water. The highlight of the archipelago is the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Suomenlinna Fortress, which dates back to the 18th century and lies across six islands. Leave yourself plenty of time to explore the fortress and stroll through its many museums, the most interesting of which are the Suomenlinna Museum and the Military Museum.

Devote the rest of the afternoon to discovering Helsinki’s museums, which offer something for every interest. History enthusiasts can delve into Finland’s past at the National Museum or Helsinki City Museum, while art lovers won’t want to miss the Ateneum and the Kiasma contemporary art museum. Other notable collections include those at the Design Museum, the Finnish Museum of Photography, and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.

Day 3: Day Trip Within Finland or Beyond

Less than an hour from Helsinki, the medieval town of Porvoo is a popular choice for a day trip, especially over the holiday season when it hosts a festive Christmas market. Take a half- or full-day tour and spend time browsing the shops, wandering around the historic fishing port, and photographing the colorful buildings.

Alternatively, visit the former capital city of Turku, with its striking medieval castle, or Espoo, Finland’s 2nd-largest city and the starting point for hikes in Nuuksio National Park. Adventurous travelers can even ride the ferry across the Baltic to Tallinn, Estonia, and spend the day exploring the UNESCO-listed city.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Helsinki Card

Helsinki Card

star-4.5
106
Explore Helsinki at your own pace and save money as you sightsee with the great-value Helsinki Card or Helsinki Card Region. Buy a 24-, 48- or 72-hour card and simply show your card to enjoy free public transport around the city (and in the whole metropolitan area with Helsinki Card Region), plus complimentary admission to many of top Helsinki museums and attractions, including the stellar Ateneum art gallery and Suomenlinna Fortress. Add a free audio city tour (limited timetable), a complimentary guidebook and map, plus valuable savings on tours, meals and other experiences, and it’s an excellent way to make the most of Helsinki.
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  • 1 to 3 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$65.86
From
$65.86

Helsinki Beautiful Canal Route, archipelago cruise

Helsinki Beautiful Canal Route, archipelago cruise

star-4.5
88
Admire Helsinki and her islands from the water on a relaxing 1.5-hour sightseeing cruise. Hop aboard a comfortable sightseeing boat, settle on deck or inside the cozy cabin, and absorb the key sights of Helsinki’s shorelines and surrounding archipelagos of beautiful islands. Cruise by top Helsinki attractions such as the mighty UNESCO-listed Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress; see Finland’s fleet of gigantic icebreaker ships; sail into the scenic Degerö Canal, and hear all about Helsinki’s eventful past from the informative onboard commentary. Free WiFi is available on-board for your comfort.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$30.39
From
$30.39

Full-Day Guided Turku and Castle Tour from Helsinki

Full-Day Guided Turku and Castle Tour from Helsinki

Discover the delights of Turku on a day trip by rail from Helsinki. Admire Finland’s countryside on a fast-train ride to this medieval city, and enjoy a walking and panoramic tour on arrival. Admire the cobbled Old Great Square and Turku Cathedral, and visit Turku Castle, the 13th-century granite fortress. Finish with free time to enjoy Turku's parks, riverside streets, and quaint shops. Return rail tickets, castle admission, and Helsinki hotel transfers included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$448.50
Price varies by group size
From
$448.50
Price varies by group size

Helsinki Christmas Day Live Guided Tour

Helsinki Christmas Day Live Guided Tour

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1
Experience the festive magic of Helsinki at Christmas with a guided sightseeing tour of the city on Christmas Day. Take in the highlights of the Finnish capital without braving the cold aboard a comfortable coach; spot landmarks such as Senate Square, the Sibelius Monument, and Finlandia Hall; and admire the Christmas lights along Aleksanterinkatu.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$38.89
From
$38.89