What to do in Helsinki? 10 ideas!

In the foreground a bike rests against a tree, while a man stands on the shoreline in the background taking a photo of the sunset across the bay.
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From cross-country skiing to island-hopping in the archipelago, picking natural superfoods and visiting world-class museums, Helsinki offers it all.

Regardless of the season Helsinki offers plenty of opportunities and plenty of things to do. There is never a boring moment, you will always find something to do in Helsinki. The art, culture, nature as well as the opportunities to part take in fun activities is what makes sure you never experience a lull. 

#1 Try cross-country skiing in the pure nature

Helsinki maintains up to 200 kilometres of cross-country skiing trails in good winters when there is snow. Skiing is still a popular pastime among Finns and a great way to keep fit, and in Helsinki it’s easy to hit the trails.

#2 Visit an island in the archipelago  

Helsinki has dozens of small islands just off the coast of the city centre, many of which have restaurants and other services. Ferries and water buses operate to many of these islands in summertime, while in wintertime you can walk to some of the islands across footbridges. Finns are not afraid of the cold, and on crisp, sunny days you will see lots of locals out and about.

#3 See the animals at the zoo

Helsinki Zoo on the island of Korkeasaari is a popular attraction among locals and tourists alike all year round. In summertime you can get to the zoo by ferry from the Market Square, or you can also travel by car or bus via Mustikkamaa. At the zoo you can see Amur tigers and muskox, for example. The zoo has both Finnish and exotic animals from around the world.

#4 Amuse yourself at Linnanmäki

Linnanmäki Amusement Park is open from May to September. The legendary amusement park first opened in 1950. It now has about forty rides and attracts around a million visitors a year. The most famous ride in the park is its iconic wooden roller coaster, which opened in 1951.

#5 Explore historic Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna is an historic sea fortress that dates back to the 1700s and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to being a popular tourist attraction, Suomenlinna is also home to around 800 year-round residents. The Suomenlinna ferry operates all year round.

#6 Cycle or stroll along the shoreline

One of the nicest things to do in Helsinki is to walk or cycle along the shoreline, which stretches for 123 kilometres. In summertime you can grab an inexpensive city bike from one of the numerous bike stations throughout the city.

#7 Balance on a SUP board

Stand-up paddling is popular not only in tropical resorts but also here in Finland. You can rent a SUP board from a number of locations throughout the city. Helsinki has 327 islands that you can also admire while paddling.

#8 Pick natural superfoods 

Picking berries in Finland is permitted in all forests without having to ask permission from the owner first thanks to everyman’s rights. Blueberries are particularly popular in Helsinki, where the peak season is in July and August.

#9 Go to the beach

Hietalahdenranta, or Hietsu as locals call it, is the most popular swimming beach in the city. Various fun events are organised there, and the beach is popular among beach volley enthusiasts. On hot summer days, the beach can get pretty packed, but in the evenings you can walk there in peace and quiet and enjoy the beauty of the sea.

#10 Check out a museum

Helsinki is a vibrant city of the arts that has five ambitious and prestigious art museums within a kilometre of each other: Ateneum, Kiasma, Amos Rex, Helsinki Art Museum HAM and Kunsthalle Helsinki. Art lovers can buy a Museum Card for around 70 euros that gets you in to over 50 museums in and around Helsinki.

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Are you looking for ideas what to do in Helsinki on your freetime? We have listed 10 unique and fun ideas how to spend your holiday in Helsinki.