10 x places worth visiting in Helsinki

A front view of Löyly and its outdoor terrace under an overcast sky.
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Helsinki has modern and interesting architecture, untouched nature and picturesque sceneries. The city invites you to drop by a sauna in the middle of the day or canoe into the sunset at sea.

#1 Oodi 

Helsinki's newest sight is the central library Oodi, which was completed in December 2018. The library has enjoyed huge popularity among locals and visitors alike. Oodi has received plenty of international interest on account of its diverse architecture and state-of-the-art library services. Oodi is suitable for a wide range of activities, such as remote work, meetings, or organising an event of your own.

#2 The Sibelius Monument 

The Sibelius Monument is one of the most photographed sights in Helsinki's Töölö district. The monument is a large-scale sculpture by Eila Hiltunen. Made of acid resistant steel, the monument weighs 24 tonnes, measures 8.5 metres in height and includes over 600 hollow pipes. The monument is dedicated to Jean Sibelius, Finland's most famous and respected composer.

#3 Löyly   

Löyly* is a very special wooden construction in Helsinki's Hernesaari. It includes both a public sauna and a restaurant that is open for also non-saunagoers. The unique architecture is made up of different levels and connects the construction seamlessly with the sea where bathers can enter for a cooling dip. The building has been entered into several architectural contests around the world, and Time Magazine listed it as one of the World's 100 Greatest Places in 2018. 

(*Löyly is the Finnish term for the steam that fills the sauna when water is cast on the hot stove.)

#4 Neighbourhood saunas 

Helsinki has several public saunas right in the middle of the city. One of the oldest and best-known is Kotiharjun sauna located in the Kallio district. It is also the only traditional, wood-heated neighbourhood sauna in town. If you feel like stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a trip to Kaurilan sauna, an oasis not far from the downtown area.

#5 Untouched nature  

Nature is never far in Helsinki. The Nuuksio National Park is less than an hour by bus or car from the city. Finnish nature shows its true colours in the area, which consists of many small and deep lakes and ponds, high-standing rocks and pristine forest. Visitors to Nuuksio can roam the area freely.

#6 The sea and white nights  

Helsinki is surrounded by the sea from many angles and the downtown area is a good starting point for a canoe trip, a boat ride, or even water skiing. The long and bright summer nights are the most beautiful times to discover the city's shoreline. Helsinki measures 719 square kilometres in area, 502 square metres of which is sea.

#7 Kalasatama 

The Kalasatama (Fish Harbour) district is one Helsinki’s newest residential zones. Its construction is due to run until the year 2040. All in all, the area will house 25,000 residents and host 10,000 jobs. Kalasatama is a former harbour and industrial lot. Some of its buildings have been renovated into restaurants and event spaces. The new shopping centre Redi has recently been completed in the area.

#8 Isoisänsilta bridge 

The new residential district of Kalasatama takes pedestrians and cyclists to Mustikkamaa island along the Isoisänsilta bridge (literally Grandfather's Bridge). The bridge gets its name from the Isoisänniemi cape of the island, named after the fisherman Viktor Wilhelm Wickman, who once lived on the island. The longest span of the bridge measures 144.3 metres.

#9 Merihaka

Helsinki's Merihaka district is an example of the hectic construction efforts of the 1970s-80s, and one of the most controversial residential zones from the era. Some wish to preserve Merihaka as an image of its time while others want to demolish it, seeing it as an ugly spot in the cityscape. Seen from the right perspective however, the lure of the area is irresistible and it is worth a visit.

#10 Temppeliaukio Rock Church 

Excavated directly into solid rock, the Temppeliaukio Church is especially popular thanks to its acoustic qualities. The church hall is dominated by a dome that is lined with a row of windows. The brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen won the architectural bid organised in 1960-1961 for the church's design. The church was completed in 1969.

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Helsinki has modern and interesting architecture, untouched nature and picturesque sceneries. The city invites you to drop by a sauna in the middle of the day or canoe into the sunset at sea.