Walking route in historical Kruununhaka and Katajanokka

Helsinki Private Tour
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Torikorttelit (the Tori Quarter) is Helsinki’s new old town, the Empire centre that has been fully renovated and re-opened. In summertime the narrow streets and courtyards are filled with terraces. The name of the Kruununhaka district derives from the “Crown’s Paddocks” that were once located there. Katajanokka in turn is a district full of Art Nouveau architecture where you can admire the ornamental nature-inspired details of the buildings, including the breathtaking diversity of their windows.

Route distance approx. 2 km

Helsinki’s historic central square and former trading centre, Senate Square was the site of a town hall, church and cemetery already in the 1640s. The location of the old wooden church is still marked in the cobblestones. Archaeological excavations uncovered over 130 graves beneath the square. Today it serves as a venue for public events and a place where people meet. The Government Palace (1818) was the first major building in Helsinki designed by Carl Ludvig Engel. The Corinthian columns reflect the power of the state. Engel also designed the main building of what is now the University of Helsinki on the opposite side of the square. The Ionic columns of this building reflect learning.

Helsinki Cathedral (1852) designed by Engel is one of Helsinki’s most recognisable landmarks. The cathedral is characterised by its understated appearance and absence of images. The crypt at the back of the cathedral houses a summer café and exhibitions. Buy yourself an ice cream, sit on the steps of the cathedral among the locals and enjoy the view!

Torikorttelit - the 18th-century merchants buildings between Senate Square and the Market Square now house design boutiques and restaurants where you can enjoy great food, drinks and even films at Kino Engel. You might even stumble across a speakeasy on Katariinankatu! 

Restaurants in the area: Cafe Engel, El Fant, RosterSalutorget, Savotta, Sunn, speakeasy  Trillby & Chadwick and Via Tribunali.

Child-friendly Helsinki City Museum presents the history of the city through innovative exhibitions that are always free of charge. Sederholm House is the oldest stone building in the city centre, dating back to 1757. Inside you will find a museum shop and café El Fant

House of Nobility (1862; designed by Georg Theodore Chiewitz), is an impressive building which was designed as a meeting place for the Finnish nobility. These days it is also used to host chamber concerts and banquets.

Presidential Palace (1820) was originally designed by Pehr Granstedt as a private residence. Building was redesigned by Engel to serve as an imperial palace. After Finland gained independence it served as the official residence of presidents and is now used for state functions. It is protected by the Main Guard House (1843) designed by Engel.

Jäänmurtajien postilaatikot
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The iconic white marble building is Stora Enso Headquarters (1962) located on the edge of the Market Square. Building was designed by legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. 

Uspenski Cathedral (1868) is the largest Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe is one of the clearest symbols of the Russian impact on Finnish history. The redbrick cathedral with golden cupolas was designed by Russian architect Alexey Gornostaev. Less than 2 percent of the population of Finland belong to the Orthodox faith.

Tove Jansson Park is named after Finnish artist Tove Jansson and can be found near the street (Luotsikatu) where the creator of the Moomins lived.

Customs Warehouse (1765) building was once used to inspect all freight arriving by sea. It also represents the only part of the mainland defensive wall designed by Augustin Ehrensvärd, Commander of the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, that was ever built.

Katajanokka Art Nouveau District (1901–1910) boasts an internationally unique collection of Art Nouveau (Jugend) buildings. Walking along the streets you can admire the ornamental nature-inspired details of the buildings, including the breathtaking diversity of their windows.

The impressive fleet of Icebreakers (1954–1987) comprising Voima, Urho, Sisu, Otso and Kontio can be found just a short walk away. Each ship has its own colourful mailbox that make for wonderful photographs!

Sitting by the romantic redbrick walls enjoying delicious food and drinks can make you feel like your stepping back in time. The Katajanokka’s converted warehouses were originally built in the 1800s and now offer the perfect place to watch the yachts sail by while dining out. 

Restaurants in the area: Holiday, Johan & NyströmNokka and Shelter

Viewed from the katajanokka shore, the bright red lighthouse ship Relandersgrund floats in front of an apartment block. The sky is blue and Relandersgrund reflects clearly in the water.
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Historic lighthouse ship Relandersgrund (1886) was once used for hydrographic surveys and later as a private summer villa. For a while it even rested on the seafloor before being rescued from the scrap yard in 1991. Climb aboard and enjoy a drink while enjoying the authentic maritime atmosphere!

Halkolaituri Pier (view to the icebreakers) was used to unload ships as early as the 1600s. Today it is used by traditional wooden sailing ships. In wintertime, when the sea ice is thick enough, it is also used by skaters!

Small Tervasaari Island was used in the 1600s to store tar, hence the name “Tar Island”.

A memorial to victims of the 1918 Civil War can be found in small Liisanpuisto park; it was designed by Gunnar Finne and Armas Lindgren (1921). The private restaurant Svenska Klubben was originally an English-style house that the diplomat Ossian Donner had built for his family in 1901. 

Burgher’s House (early 19th century) is the oldest surviving wooden building in Helsinki. It is now a branch of the Helsinki City Museum and is decorated in the style of a modest middle-class home of the 1860s. The House of the Estates was designed by Gustaf Nyström as a meeting place for the commoner estates consisting of the clergy, burghers and peasants. Nyström also designed the nearby National Archives (1891).

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Travel back in time and discover the history of Helsinki in Kruununhaka and Katajanokka districts.