Choose alternative sightseeing in Helsinki! – by Anne Seppälä
As with more or less every city in the world, planning a perfect sightseeing city tour of Helsinki can seem a bit tricky at first. You might find yourself wondering where to start and what to prioritize to get the most out of your experience. The expectations are always very subjective and I definitely recommend everyone to choose the path they find being most comfortable with. For example, Hop on Hop off -type of a city tour is convenient especially when it’s your first time sightseeing in Helsinki and you’re willing to get a broad overview of the city and its famous landmarks in no time. But if you’re more like me and willing to dig deeper to search the true energy in each city, you might want to tune your perspective a bit.
Tailor the city tour and sightseeing in Helsinki to your taste!
When on a quest on finding the authentic approach to a new city, the tourist traps can get a bit distressing and the original feel seems to vanish because of the exhausting amount of people lost in their maps, selfie sticks and other gadgets. Helsinki is a perfect travel destination for the fact it’s never overly crowded here and it’s fairly easy to avoid being affected by some eager explorers, especially if you choose to tailor the city tour to your taste!
And of course, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you already have one! Try our Foxtrail City Adventure to discover cool and unexpected spots in Helsinki while having a good time in a gamified setting as well.
Sightseeing in Helsinki?
Create your own city tour!
If I was you, I’d start approaching Helsinki by studying the city for some time to get a vague idea of the overall vibe. What are the neighborhoods like and how do they distinct from each other? Once you realize where to go for what purpose, you already have an outlook on the possible activities or sightseeing in Helsinki you might want to pursue on your own, alternative city tour. Also, having a mental map ready will help when in doubt on what to do next, for example if you wanted to find a cool spot for lunch, enjoy a refreshment while admiring the view (and not getting ripped off because of it) or just pursue some spontaneous sightseeing in Helsinki for some time. To get you started, we came up with a list of some districts and what they’d be worth checking out for!
Central Helsinki & Kamppi:
The commercial part of the city with the shops conveniently located alongside Aleksanterinkatu and in the three shopping centers around. Look for easy and quick options for food, high-street fashion and Tuomiokirkko, the big white church on the Senate square. But don’t get stuck in here, there’s so much more for sightseeing in Helsinki!
The alternative district in Helsinki with more authentic touch on food and the vibrant bar scene. When choosing a spot for a night-out, you’ll never go wrong here: techno nights in the clubs in Kaikukatu are worth a jam and the late summer block party will turn the whole district into a chill outdoor venue. People-watching at its best!
Kumpula, Käpylä & Vallila:
When the central rush gets too overwhelming, including a stroll in any of these places is a city tour must! The beauty of the old wooden houses will take you back to the earlier decades and the garden-feel makes you lose track of time. I couldn’t choose only one, so I’d take a city bike and tour all three districts in one sitting! What a sanctuary to have and still widely unknown among your fellow travellers.
“The island of the happy people” will be your happy place as well and yet another calming effect to include to your sightseeing in Helsinki. The island reminds me of a small and quiet Finnish town itself with a nature feel and the sea right at hand. And if you’re lucky enough to have the weather for some sunbathing, I’d choose to spend my day here. Bring your picnic basket and enjoy!
The arts and design hub featuring the trendiest cafés, food spots and people as well. Browse through small specialized shops and concept stores and enjoy that matcha latte in an unconventional atmosphere. Definitely worth some casual browsing with time!
Ullanlinna & Eira:
More residential area but every building admirer’s must while sightseeing in Helsinki! Check Huvilakatu, the prettiest street in the city (and the backdrop for bloggers posing with their outfit of the day) and have a smooth access to the seaside as well to enjoy some artisan ice cream with a view
Foxtrail – a city adventure in the center of Helsinki
Are you looking for new things to do in Helsinki? Would you like to get to know the city in a fun, new way? Challenge yourself and your friends and book yourselves an unforgettable city adventure. Are you smart enough to follow the clues through the streets of Helsinki?
Anne – I work in communications and creative writing, but choosing my holiday destination sometimes feels like the toughest job. Lucky we have Helsinki!