What to see in Helsinki in 1 day (detailed route with map)


Helsinki is the capital of Finland but represents much more. Helsinki is the entrance to Finnish Lapland (the Santa Claus that we are looking for in this trip), a perfect hub for Asian destinations, an alternative to visit Tallinn by ferry and an extraordinary ride that hides places of interest of great tourist attraction. We tell you what to see in Helsinki in 1 day with a detailed route with map for any time of the year but also in winter, even those places that do not appear in the more traditional guides and excursion ideas from Helsinki for those who want to stay more days (VIDEO CHAPTER below and the whole series on our YouTube channel)

But Paula will also tell us where the clues lead us in the footsteps of Santa Claus, the objective of this adventure

What to see in Helsinki at any time of the year (but also in winter) WITH MAP

Whether by plane, train or ship, decide to go down for only a few hours or spend 1 day in Helsinki or even come in summer or winter, All visits will start at the same place ... the historic center of the city!, the same that includes the Cathedral, Senate Square, Uspenski Cathedral, the port and the liveliest street areas. From there, the Fortress of Suomenlinna by ferry or some discoveries complete a perfect day on a map that could be similar to the following, setting the Cathedral or Tuomiokirkko as a starting point (well, we leave from our accommodation)

Keep in mind that in winter the daylight hours are from 9 or 10 in the morning until 14'30 or 15'00 so it is convenient to make this area in the morning.

Excursions from Helsinki: Do you stay more than 1 day? Maybe you should write down some excursions that you can do from here in one or half day:

- Rauma and Pori
- Naantali
- Tampere and Hämeenlinna
- Turku
- Tallinn (Spaniards do not need a passport for Tallinn according to embassy -Thanks Beatriz-)

And afternoon? Esplanade Park, Stone Church, panoramic terraces or a very special cafe on the shore of a lake, can be a perfect complement.

Downtown and port area, main visits to see in Helsinki in 1 day (come as you come)

We slept at a stretch and many more hours than we usually do at the beginning of a trip. This time it has helped that The daylight hours in Helsinki start at 9 am to perish a little more and have breakfast in the spacious buffet ofCumulus Kaisaniemi before getting on the road.


Although we always give you all the information to organize the trip on your own, if you have little time or prefer to forget about preparations, you have the following option COMPLETELY IN SPANISH and with VERY GOOD OPINIONS from other travelers. It is a 5-hour tour of the main attractions, including the ferry to the island of Suomenlinna, with hotel pick-up

Guided tour of Helsinki and Suomenlinna

First stop, Helsinki Cathedral or Tuomiorkirkko

Helsinki Cathedral or Tuomiorkikko

Work of Carl Engel and dated from 1818-1852, the formerly called St. Nicholas Church (in honor of the Tsar of Russia) is a Lutheran Cathedral north of Senate Square

The reality is that it is not one of the most outstanding we have seen in the world, with just an organ and some lamps inside, too "bland"

However, its facade remains one of the great symbols of the city

Senate Square

Carl Engel also had a lot to say in this place with his usual neoclassical style in all his architectural constructions although today what he looks like are his markets about to open these days with everything already prepared. Paula, are we staying?

To the Cathedral you have to add the Palace of the State Council, the Central Building of the University and a curious construction located in the southeast corner, now a museum, which is the oldest stone building in the city, the Sederholmin Talo

Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral

But if there is a symbol that looks above all the others, it is found crossing the other side of the canals of the port by a bridge full of padlocks where the lovers sign their eternal love.

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary and located on a hill, we are facing the largest orthodox church in all of Western Europe, dated 1862-1868

It is striking that, unlike other imposing ones we have seen in Jerusalem or Shipka in BulgariaFor example, it does not base its structure on the famous golden onion-type domes but on a red brick facade with green domes very attractiveTHE PAULA TRACKS:

The kind religious have given us the first clue of the day. They say they have seen a little man with a white beard and red suit much further north. What will they refer to?

The interior breathes a certain mysticism. Undoubtedly, these types of religious places conquer us in that sense

Port area

Market, market place and A lot of atmosphere meets in one of the busiest areas of Helsinki thanks to the stop of many cruise ships

This place is also the starting point for one of the most charming places in the city.

Ferries to Suomenlinna Island:

From very early and in small intervals, there is the possibility of reaching the Suomenlinna Island from the port pier in a journey of just 15 minutes. ! Must visit! Here you can check schedules.

"The Great Wall of China, the Great Barrier Reef, the Acropolis, the Galapagos Islands and Suomenlinna"Exaggerated the motto?

Suomenlinna Island, a World Heritage Site and an essential visit in Helsinki

Run Paula, run. What do we miss the ferry that leaves now! Tickets do not come out, ahg ahg. Finally (and seeing that we are not capable - it is not that it is difficult but we got involved -), the person in charge of closing the barrier tells us to climb like other clueless tourists. The Helsinki port exit represents a perfect panorama of the place where we are

It is in this small journey when we begin to realize the cold! that makes. -2ºC. Luckily there is no lack of thermal clothing

We disembarked at around 10:30 in the Suomenlinna Fortress, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991 and visited from north to south with multiple places of interest to visit. We must take into account the schedules of museums (10:30 to 16:30), church (12 to 16) and main services.

The Blue route is ideal for a first visit, from the pier of the main pier to the Puerta del Rey in approximately 1.5 kilometers

Sveaborg, as it was first known in 1748 It is part of the Kingdom of Sweden (Finland declared its independence in 1917), it was built as a defense against Imperial Russia although it only achieved its objective until 1808 when it was invaded. It is when the church of Suomenlinna is born whose tower was even used as a lighthouse at the time.

With Finland independent, the island changes its name to the current one and becomes a prison. As we walk we can see the oldest dry dock from Finland or the original playground where the tomb of the founder of the fortress, Augustin Ehresvard is located

As we move south we contemplate how they are frozen (in summer it should be an excellent place to spend the day) Piper garden and what was the coastal defense line of the original fortress

It is precisely in this area called Kustaanmiekka, where the Russians built the cannons and main defense structures

All this part of the hill faces the Baltic Sea directly and allows us to get an idea of ​​what could have been in its day

What if we had to choose a place? Although there are several bastions in the six united islands that form the fortress, it is the King's Gate, the place where King Adolfo Federico of Sweden landed in 1752, the true symbol of Suomenlinna

Its purpose was ceremonial entry although today we can not help remembering the famous series "Game of Thrones" as it would be a perfect scenario. We came back?

After a comforting coffee (8 EUR), some postcards (1.50 EUR) a small race to not miss the ferry (2.70 EUR each) and a short crossing, the port receives us more lively than ever

The old market of Helsinki or Vanha Kauppahalli

Markets of food, Christmas stands and typical Finnish products They occupy the area that becomes a foreign market in summer.

In anticipation of what awaits us in Lapland, despite the fact that we are sufficiently equipped, gloves never hurt (9.90 EUR)

What hinds down is hunger although, despite tempting proposals aboard ships / restaurants anchored right here, it is the old market opened in 1889 now transformed that attracts our attention

Vanha Kauppahalli It is a market in the purest style "San Miguel in Madrid" or similar in other cities full of shops of fish, vegetables, seafood, typical products and stands where to eat (11.80 EUR)

How good it is here in the heat! It is lazy to go out to the cold, hehe. Do we follow the Paula route?

The afternoon will bring us many surprises so it will be worth the effort.

Some more attractive ideas to do in Helsinki that do not appear in the more traditional guides

We cross Esplandi passing near the City Hall building and leaving aside the lively avenues we saw last night.

This large park houses the main luxury stores in the city and a basement full of magic

Our course takes us to Helsinki design neighborhood, specifically toHotel Torni which in its upper floor at 70 meters has a panoramic terrace (idea that we took from the blog of Travel Guides ! thank you very much!) and a glass interior cafe, ideal at this time (11.60 EUR)

Cold or hot? Yes, it is worth seeing a beautiful sunset illuminating with the city lights already at almost 15:30 on the day of a month of December

Here you can also take a perspective of the reality of Helsinki, a city that perhaps deserves a day trip but that concentrates its main attractions to see in the area of ​​the historic center and where the surrounding forests are perfectly appreciated.

Another great star visit It is not very far from here although it is somewhat remote. After Kamppi, the business district, and after buying some earmuffs (19.90 EUR), we will reach Kalo, a residential district, where a Lutheran church opened in 1969 surprises the visitor, the Temppeliaukio or Stone Church

Do you see anything weird? This small temple has a fundamental and different characteristic from others that we have seen throughout the world and that is… It is embedded between rocks! which gives excellent acoustics for concerts. Here we also agree with Alvaro y cia, two newly arrived travelers from Levi who gave us some tricks to face the part of Lapland (thank you very much guys)

A shame not to have taken a small event or piano notes ... It must be impressive! Near here is also the Hietaniemi cemetery where great personalities and heads of state are buried.

Farewell in a very special cafe on the shore of an icy lake in the capital of Finland

Although this trip seeks a different spirit and this passage through Helsinki deserves a special farewell and something remote hehehe, next to the Sibelius Monument dedicated to the most important classical musician in Finland that we also visited. The objective? Cafe Regatta, a story place on the banks of a lake ...

We are in a wooden shed taken care of to the last detail, surrounded by unique tables and barbecue area (probably for summer) in an icy environment that is very magical.

It is a kind of Very cozy pastry shop with lamps, Christmas details, lanterns, candles and lots of love of its owners

A hot chocolate and cinnamon buns (8.60 EUR) that seem to be very famous and are very good could not miss the appointment although there is everything. A VERY picturesque location and totally recommended

From here the return is different than if it were in summer since we do it because of the cold a little faster than normal hehehe

More things to do in Helsinki on a summer route or with more daylight hours:

- Helsinki Olympic Stadium
- Linnamaki and its amusement park
- Kallio, the fashion district
- Hakaniemi
- A boat for a panoramic cruise of 1 hour and a half around the city
- Ruoholahti District
- The Crusell Bridge
- Some of the islands of the Helsinki archipelago: Lonna, Harakka, Vartiosaari ...
- A Finnish sauna?
- Korkeasaari or Helsinki Zoo
- Sea Life Helsinki
- Some museum: National Museum of Finland, Seurasaari Open-air Museum, House of Nobility or Ritarihuone

It is very possible that at other times we would have faced the return on the other side of the lake but from here we headed to the train station area (another building that deserves a visit in itself) passing through the National Opera of Finland, Parliament of Finland and its 14 Corinthian columns, Kiasma or Museum of Contemporary Art and the Ateneum.

And where does the Christmas destination take us? After dinner (38.60 EUR) in the vicinity of the hotel, by the way very well in a place of pasta that you do in front of you and another coffee (5.50 EUR) ...! We have deciphered the slopes! Definitely, after knowing the main attractions to see in Helsinki, tomorrow !! we go to Rovaniemi !! very early. But that is already part of another story.

Paula and Isaac, from Helsinki (Finland)