Visit Helsinki – Old Town Walking Tour
You can start your own Old Town Walking Tour from the Central Train Station when you visit Helsinki. The Ateneum Art Museum is across the street from the train station. It holds the country’s largest collection of classical paintings & sculpture. The Ateneum Art Museum is part of the Finnish National Gallery. From the Ateneum, walk north to the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden. Then head south past the Orthodox Church to the Helsinki Cathedral.
Visit Helsinki Cathedral
The Helsinki Cathedral is also called the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral and the White Cathedral. Carl Ludvig Engel designed the church and the Senate Square in front of the Helsinki Cathedral. A statue of Russian Emperor Alexander II occupies the center of Senate Square. The Government Palace also faces Senate Square. The Helsinki University Museum is between the Government Palace and the Helsinki Cathedral. Finish off your visit to Senate Square by wandering along the popular shopping district on Aleksanterinkatu Street.
Visit Helsinki – Market Square
The next stop on your Old Town Walking Tour is Kauppatori Market Square, which is just a block south of Senate Square. The Helsinki City Museum and City Hall are opposite Market Square. The Havis Amanda Statue and the Tsarina’s Stone Monument are in Market Square among the vendor stalls. The Tsarina’s Stone has a globe with a double-headed eagle at the top. The Esplanadi Park and Boulevard begins at the western edge of the square.
You can take a short ferry ride to the Helsinki Korkeasaari Zoo or the Suomenlinna Sveaborg Fortress on Suomenlinna Island from Market Square too. Finish off your Old Town Walking Tour by heading east past the Presidential Palace to Uspenski Cathedral or SkyWheel Helsinki.
Visit Helsinki – Hotels
Visit Helsinki – More Cultural Venues
The area immediately west of the Central Train Station is home to several more cultural venues. The Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art is operated by the Finnish National Gallery. The statue of Marshal Carl Gustaf Mannerheimn is in front of the Kiasma Musem. It commemorates the first president of Finland. Beside the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art is the Finnish Parliament. The National Museum of Finland, Finlandia Hall auditorium and the Finnish National Opera are nearby. From Finlandia Hall you can bicycle to West Harbor on the Baana Corridor, which is an old rail line. You can also see the Temppeliaukio (Rock) Church in this area west of the Central Train Station.
Visit Helsinki – More Sights
- Olympic Stadium and Tower – site of the 1952 Summer Games. See the statue of Finnish runner, Paavo Nurmi.
- Linnanmäki Amusement Park
- Sibelius Monument – commemorating composer Jean Sibelius.
- Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
- Dance in the light of a bonfire on April 30th at Walpurgis Night.
Get to Helsinki
You can get to Helsinki through Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL), which is about a half hour north of the downtown area. Rail transport is available from the airport to Helsinki Central Station in the heart of the Old Town. Cabs and buses are easy to catch at the airport too. The Helsinki Central Railway Station (Rautatieasema) links to St Petersburg, Moscow and the rest of Finland. The cruise ship terminal is about 10 minutes from the Old Town attractions. Helsinki has become a standard port of call on Scandinavian ocean cruises. A ferry is available from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia.
The Helsinki weather is influenced by the Black Sea and the city’s northern latitude. The summer months are popular for tourism and the best time to visit Helsinki. Average highs of 68 F (20 C) can be expected from June – August. High temperatures from December through March are just below freezing.
Visit Helsinki – Background
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. About one million people live there. Helsinki is on the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. Urban Helsinki includes the municipalities of Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen. The city was founded in 1550 by King Gustav I of Sweden. Csar Alexander I of Russia is responsible for promoting its importance as the capital.