Top Day Trips from Helsinki That Are Not More Than 2 Hours Away! (Finland)
Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, is the most northern city in Europe. Because of this, the city offers a unique combination of an enchanting natural phenomenon and a large collection of museums and European festivals. For a true experience of the Finnish culture and traditions, there are numerous short day trips from Helsinki which can be enjoyed by visitors. There are numerous places to visit in Finland besides Helsinki, including many picturesque towns, historical villages and buildings, and seaside locations. This Finland Travel Guide will provide a guide to some of the best Helsinki day trips.
Top Day Trips from Helsinki That Are Not More Than 2 Hours Away!
Table of Contents
Porvoo, a medieval town in Finland, is famous for its ancient, red-colored, wooden houses which are located next to the river. There are numerous things to do in Porvoo, including the Porvoo Cathedral, a historic establishment with beautiful frescos from the Catholic period; the Porvoo Museum, which contains a great collection of vintage photos and archaeological materials; and the Doll and Toy Museum, which is home to over a thousand dolls and toys from the 19th century. For those who enjoy an active lifestyle, canoe and kayak rentals and tours can be booked on the main shore of Porvoo River. The many delightful restaurants and cafes in Porvoo offer visitors a taste of some delicious Finnish cuisine. If you have run out of things to do in Helsinki, this will certainly provide you with a window into the traditional Finnish lifestyle.
Nuuksio National Park
Nuuksio National park is one of the most popular national parks in Finland, this is largely because of the diverse wildlife, beautiful landscapes, and many lakes which are surrounded by vast, green forests. To truly experience all that the park has to offer, be sure to hike one of the three lovely and well-indicated hiking trails. For a more relaxing experience, enjoy a picnic in the peaceful and natural setting of the park. If you would like to stay for a little longer, the park has many camping areas which are available for you to enjoy with friends and family. Whether relaxing or enjoying a hike, remember to take note of the rare plants and animals while in the park. Find out from the information center about picking wildflowers, berries or mushrooms. If you are lucky, you may even spot one of the rare flying squirrels inside the deep forest ranges of Haukkalampi.
Tampere is the center of culture in Finland. Known as the ‘Manchester of Finland’, the city offers a dynamic lifestyle with numerous cultural experiences. There are numerous things to do in Tampere and so you may want to plan more than just a one-day trip to this town. Events such as The Tampere Film Festival and the musical Blockfest are hosted in the town. Additionally, numerous nightclubs, music clubs, and bars provide a vibey atmosphere to the city.
The city also has numerous family-friendly activities, such as The Sarkanniemi Amusement Park. The park offers 30 fun rides for all ages, as well as an aquarium, planetarium and viewing tour. The town is also home to many museums, including the Amuri Museum of Worker’s Housing, the Police Museum, and the Tampere Art Museum. For a panoramic view and some fresh air visit the enormous Pyynikki Park and Observation Tower. For teenagers, a visit to Megazone is a fun experience.
For a gastronomic experience roam around the city and visit one of the many cafes and restaurants, or simply visit the vast Market Hall to taste unique dishes, including Mustamakkara.
If you’re interested in visiting Tampere for more than a day trip, you can find hotels here to make your trip comfortable.
Hämeenlinna is a medieval town with great sightseeing opportunities and interesting historic establishments. The town is often at the top of Helsinki points of interest lists, specifically the ancient Häme Castle which is one of Finland’s medieval royal castles. The Historical Museum in Häme Castle showcases the unique history of the castle including its tight historic connection with Sweden.
Other sightseeing opportunities include the home of the Finnish writer Jean Sibelius at Hameenlinna, which is now turned into a museum; Hämeenlinna Art Museum, with its exceptional relics and paintings; the Prison Museum, which showcases the Finnish approach to correctional programmes; and The Artillery Museum of Finland, a museum dedicated to Finland’s field artillery.
For some fresh air or even a little dose of pampering visit the Aulanko of Hämeenlinna. The large national park provides a beautiful setting and has a few surrounding hotels with beauty spas. Additionally, for the thrill-seeker, the Puuhamaa is a very popular theme park with numerous water slides for the whole family to enjoy.
When deciding on what to do in Helsinki, add Hämeenlinna to your list of places to see for a fun and unique Finnish experience.
Day Cruise to Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia and is located just across the Gulf of Finland. For a great day trip from Helsinki, you can catch a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn. The boat trip takes about two hours each way and there are more than 20 ferry trips every day from the Helsinki harbor. The prices range from a more cost-effective option to a more luxurious experience. You can book your cruise ship ticket from Viking Line, Eckerö Line, and if you’re coming in summer, Linda Line is the quickest way to get to Estonia from Finland.
Tallinn is a beautiful historic town. Depending on the timing of your ferry, you will need to plan how many sites and which sites you would like to visit. There are numerous tourist information centers and guides once you reach Tallinn, who can provide with an insightful tour around the city. If you’re interested in learning more about the city itself, there are tons of half-day tours in Tallinn you can take part of without breaking the bank. You can find and book tours here.
To explore the culture of Tallinn visit the Estonian markets and food stalls. The shopping street of Viru Gate is a great place to start. Additionally, Toompea hill is a scenic place to visit inside Tallinn; the limestone hill provides panoramic views of the city. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Old Town of Tallinn, and the Tallinn TV tower are popular sightseeing spots.
If you’re interested in visiting longer than a day trip from Helsinki, check out and find hotels to stay in Tallinn.
Loviisa is a beautiful coastal town with large spaces of greenery, forestry, and water. The beautiful wooden houses make the setting of this town idyllic. The town is well-known for the Svartholma Sea Fortress, which is located on an island 10km from the center of the town. Catch a boat or join a cruise to visit the fortress and learn more about its history.
The Laivasilta area, with its picturesque scenery, is also popular with travelers. The area is rich with many traditional bars that serve great quality beer in the beautiful setting near the sea. Additionally, the Loviisan Kirkko is an attractive church made of red bricks with the traditional Nordic architecture. For a personal memento of your trip buy something hand-made from the local artisan boutiques. There are also many small museums in the historical area of Stromfros Iron Works which showcase the rich history of the town.
Lohja was once a great medieval trading center in Finland, but in its modern days, the city is now characterized by beautiful gardens and Finnish manors. The city is also one of the few Finnish cities that are bilingual with the population speaking both Finnish and Swedish.
The downtown region of Lohja has buildings dating from the 1950s. The churches, galleries, and museums in this area feature many unique antiques, artworks, and relics. A prominent feature of the town is the medieval St. Lawrence Church with its beautiful architecture. The Lohja Museum, Johannes Lohilampi Museum, and many stone monuments showcase the rich local history. A unique experience for visitors is the Tytyri Limestone Mine, which has a museum 100-meters underground. For some fresh air, the tremendous Aurlahti Beach on the shore of Lake Lohja is a decent place to enjoy some outdoor activities.
The town is known for its festivities with the many festivals that are held all year round. You might also think of re-considering how many days in Helsinki you plan to stay; as this place can simply allure you to, be here longer than a day trip.
Raseborg, named after the 14th century Castle of Raseborg, is a popular town for visitors. The city is once again bilingual with the majority of the town being Swedish-speaking. The Castle of Raseborg is a popular historical building which played a significant role in the Swedish-Finish history.
The Old Town of Ekenäs, a suburb of Raseborg, is well-known for the ancient building designs and the unique architecture of the town. There are many small boutiques in the town offering its visitors a wonderful opportunity for some retail therapy. Svarta Manor is a great place to visit and witness the historic establishments capturing more than two hundred years of Finnish history. The Old Ironworks Villages of Fiskars and Biilnas are rich in artistic display. To witness some of Finland’s beautiful nature, the Ekenäs Archipelago National Park offers beautiful landscapes and scenery. Additionally, Raseborg is a good place to spend some time at the beautiful Finnish coast, as the town is full of rocky beaches and small islands.
Lake Tuusula, located in the Southern part of Finland, is a delightful place to enjoy a boat trip. The shore of the lake is known for being home to numerous artists including, Jean Sibelius, Pekka Halonen, Juhani Aho, and Aleksis Kivi. Along the shore of the lake are numerous museums including the popular Johannes Lohilampi Museum. Some of the homes of popular local artists and musicians have also been turned into exhibition spaces.
The town of Vihti is lovely and is well-known for its picturesque countryside, manor houses and vast spaces of conserved nature. The region is home to the vast and scenic Nuuksio National Park (which was previously mentioned). With the many lakes and natural environment, Vihti is popular for trekking, golfing, biking, swimming, canoeing, boating and even paragliding. So, for the nature enthusiast, this town offers it all.
The town is also home to numerous boutiques which feature wonderful Finnish Art, clothing, handicrafts, home décor items and fashion. For some local history, the Vihti Church and the Vihti Museum are two interesting places to see. The Vihti museum presents the cultural history of its town with permanent exhibitions as well as yearly temporary exhibitions.
Depending on how many days in Helsinki you have, there are numerous places to visit. This guide has provided a highlight of some of the best day trips from Helsinki. Now it’s time for you to plan your trip. Research the many hotels in Helsinki and decide where to base yourself. Next research the various Helsinki attractions you would like to prioritize and see. Based on this, decide on how many day trips you would like to take. This will certainly round off your travels well and provide with a truly Finnish experience.
Helsinki transport, accommodation, and tours tips
- Plan your trip ahead of time and as well your route as depending on the season, transport might be a little tricky. That said, booking your train ticket via VR (Finland’s rail company) to go to places such as Tampere and Hämeenlinna is your best option all year round. It takes about 2 hours ride for each way. But if you’re a cheapskate, you can book your trip from Onnibus (cheap bus transport) but your travel time will be much longer.
- You can check time schedules to other places via Matkahuolto and Onnibus.
- The best time to visit Helsinki is during the summer season (End of April until end of August) and even though it is peak season, there’s plenty of space for everyone so it won’t feel too crowded plus the weather is at its best.
- Accommodation in Helsinki is rather expensive but regardless, there are hostels that comes cheap per night. Also, Airbnb is available in the city. Nevertheless, I highly suggest checking out some of the city’s finest design hotels as they are really beautiful and worth the price!
- If you’re planning to see Helsinki’s top landmarks and CityPass, I highly suggest getting a CityPass. This enables you to use the public transport (only in Helsinki) until the validity of amount of days purchased, enter all museums in Helsinki, and even get discounts on some restaurants. It is really handy.
- Last but not the least – travel insurance. Do you need one? Depends on how risky you want to be but one thing for sure is that hospitals in Finland for tourists are expensive. If you don’t want to risk paying thousands of Euros for whatever may happen to you, I suggest getting one.
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