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Travel guide – Helsinki

The capital of Finland, beautiful Helsinki is a trendy city with plenty of culture, great shopping, restaurants that offer world-class food and much, much more. From the picturesque heart of the city attractive green areas, perfect for relaxation, are within easy walking distance.

Finnair has many direct flights to Helsinki from numerous global cities, including London, Munich, Zurich, Brussels, Stockholm, Berlin, Manchester, Osaka, and Tokyo. You can also fly to Helsinki from a number of other Finnish cities such as Oulu, Rovaniemi, Kuopio, Ivalo, and Kajaani.

Many flights to Helsinki are aboard the spacious A350 aircraft, particularly routes from London and Asia. With a blend of enhanced comfort and advanced technology, flying becomes even better! Planes feature large windows, soothing LED lighting, an advanced air filtration system, and a modern entertainment system.  

You’ll land at Helsinki Airport (HEL) when flying to Helsinki. You can reach the city by train, airport bus, and taxi, or you may wish to hop straight into a rental vehicle to start exploring the city straight off your flight to Helsinki. 

Book your cheap flights to Helsinki with Finnair and start planning your memorable trip to the sophisticated and fascinating Finnish capital. 

June, July, and January are the busiest months for tourism in the capital. Flights to Helsinki can book up fast. Travelling outside of these times can sometimes yield lower accommodation rates and cheaper plane tickets to Helsinki.

Weather-wise, Helsinki experiences four distinct seasons. The moderate temperatures of spring and fall are often ideal for exploring the great outdoors and sightseeing in comfort, while the hotter conditions of summer are perfect for beach lovers. In winter, the cold conditions bring terrific opportunities for ice skating and cross-country skiing along the numerous trails.

You may wish to buy your airline tickets to Helsinki to coincide with some of the city’s most popular celebrations and festivals.

In January Helsinki lights up with the Lux Festival, and February hosts the vibrant Helsinki Burlesque Festival.

Experience the unique Animatricks animation festival in April. The nationwide Vappu Festival is held on the 1st of May, while June sees the effervescent Carnaval, complete with energetic dancing, lively music, and ornate and colourful parades. Helsinki Day and Helsinki Pride also fall in June.

Between August and September, you can join in the fun for the Helsinki Festival, one of the country’s biggest celebrations with theatrical performances, music, dance, and visual arts displays.

The large Helsinki Film Festival takes place each September, the celebration of the contemporary theatre of the Baltic Circle Festival occurs in November, and December sees Independence Day and Christmas Markets.  

Senaatintori (Helsinki Senate Square) – the Senate Square and its surroundings form a unique and cohesive architectural entity. The square is dominated by four buildings: Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland.

Helsingin Tuomiokirkko (Helsinki Cathedral) – is arguably Finland's most famous and photographed building; it celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002.

Temppeliaukio Church (Church of the Rock) – the acoustics inside this Lutheran church hewn out of the rock make it an excellent concert venue. The church is located in the heart of Helsinki and is visited by half a million people every year.

Sightseeing cruises – you can explore Helsinki's jewel-like archipelago via a number of cruise operators.

Suomenlinna – this sea fortress and its island home is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers tourists a real adventure with its tunnels, museums, submarine and fortress. Apart from exploring the area you can also visit one of the museums and during summer time there are several cafes and pleasant areas to enjoy a picnic.

Esplanadi Park – a green area in the heart of Helsinki which often plays host to various events.

Porvoo – dating from the 14th century, the second-oldest city in Finland lies just 40 minutes from Helsinki.

Nuuksio National Park – unspoilt Finnish nature makes this national park worth exploring. With its marked trails, cooking shelters and camping sites it is ideal for short hiking trips. Only 90 minutes by public transport from the city centre.

Helsinki offers visitors excellent shopping with both large malls and small boutiques with unique items. The central district contains the most stores with several famous designers, such as Marimekko and Iittala, having their flagship stores here.

Stockmann – a classic department store spread over several floors in the heart of Helsinki with groceries, electronic goods, and the latest trends in fashion, as well as exhibitions, restaurants and interior decoration.

Other popular shopping malls are Galleria EsplanadForum and Kamppi.

Market Square – a popular place in Helsinki for tourists to buy souvenirs and take a coffee break.

Design District Helsinki – you will find an entire area of 25 streets with galleries and interesting boutiques selling Finnish-designed products. It stretches from Kamppi to the core of the Punavuori area – still for many is the only real Design District. – a paradise for those interested in consumer electronics situated in Helsinki’s Länsisatama.

Helsinki is famous for its restaurants and top-quality food. The city offers both international fare and traditional Finnish dishes. Here's some recommendations for those keen to try Finnish food.

Karelian pastry (karjalanpiirakka) – pasty with a rice or potato filling.

Kalakukko – a traditional Finnish fish dish placed inside a loaf of rye bread and baked in the oven for several hours.

Reindeer fillet – tender and juicy, it almost melts in your mouth.

Smoked fish – has a pleasant smoky flavour and scent, as well as a beautiful colour.

Berries – Finnish berries are not only healthy, but they also taste incredibly delicious. How about trying some strawberry sorbet, cloudberry parfait, blueberry tart, or lingonberry crème brûlé?

Beer – try local beers when visiting Helsinki.

Long drinks – cocktail culture is growing rapidly, and offers plenty of options.

Salmari – a popular shot that tastes of salt liquorice. Try it.

Helsinki tram – runs through the city with 13 lines. If you stay for more than a day it's worth buying a multi-day ticket.

Metro – the subway in Helsinki runs east to west. Same price as the tram or bus.

Bus – also provides a good alternative to move around Helsinki.

Taxi – quite expensive but readily available in Helsinki.

Currency in Finland – euro (€)

Electricity in Finland – 230 volts

Payment – foreign cards are well accepted everywhere in Helsinki

Tips – not necessary in Finland, as service charges and VAT are added to the check in restaurants and hotels.

Time zone – Helsinki (Finland) UTC/GMT + 2 hour.

Water – the Finnish tap water is safe to drink, not to mention delicious.

Helsinki Airport (HEL)

The airport is located 18 km north of Helsinki.

We recommend that you check in online or on a mobile device before arriving at the airport. You can also use the self-service check-in kiosks available in the departure hall of Terminal 2.

Always remember to check your airline’s terminal and check-in times.

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