If you’re interested in architecture, history, and modern art then don’t fret as most of the Helsinki landmarks you’ll stumble upon are not only spectacular to look at but they will also give you an in-depth view of the city itself.
Boasting with interesting history and stunning architecture designed with neoclassic and art nouveau influences from notable Finnish architects, it is entertaining to see how the city has developed into modernity as new and upcoming talents are including minimalism and modernism to their latest designs.
Take a look at the famous Kamppi Church, for instance, it is one of the modern designed building you’ll witness located in the heart of the city itself. Apart from that, it is also one of the top attractions in Helsinki which was, and still being, visited by more than half a million people since it has opened its doors to the public in 2012.
Of course, this is just one example of what to expect when you visit Helsinki but despite its laid-back and chill atmosphere, there are indeed a lot of touristic things to see in this lovely capital which are often overlooked by the locals but well-loved by the travelers.
Here are some of the landmarks you must not miss when you visit Helsinki!
Top Helsinki Landmarks You Should Check Out!
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Suomenlinna Sea Fortress
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is a priceless treasure of Finland and surely, among the best Helsinki points of interest. Being built somewhere around the middle of the 1700s, this fortress consists a great history and archaeology of the medieval military and defense of Finland.
The fortress is constructed on an island and accompanied by six nearby islands in the Helsinki neighborhood. It has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1991 and has been on top of the Helsinki attractions for tourists around the world.
Alongside many archaeological specimens, the cannons for naval defense and the walls of the fortress are the interesting things to see inside Suomenlinna. Take a walk around the area to discover the biggest sea fortress of the world and be more and more amazed as you keep exploring. Also make sure to visit the underground tunnel as it is one of the exciting place to see in Suomenlinna! Nonetheless, if you visit in summer, make sure to bring some snacks with you and have a small picnic break somewhere around the premise while over looking the Baltic sea.
If you’re interested in visiting Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, commuting to this island is relatively easy as the ferries come and go almost every 15 minutes from the Pohjoissatama (North Harbor) and you can easily buy a ticket for 3USD (€2,50), and it is valid for one hour. Another alternative is to buy a day ticket and a trip to Suomenlinna is also consider a local transport thus you can use the same bus or tram ticket to get to the island.
Parliament House of Finland
The seat of the Finnish parliament gets a vital position in among the places to visit in Helsinki. After the beginning of constructional works of this Parliament House, it took 5 years to be entirely completed at 1931. It is one of the top Helsinki tourist attractions that boasts significant architectural design the city is highly proud of as its representation is significant and is one of the best must-see buildings in the city.
The exterior renovation of the Parliament house was finished in the summer of 2017 after almost two years of construction, however, guided tours are still not permitted on the premises but you can still certainly admire its beauty from the outside as it is indeed beautiful as it is highly influenced with the early 20th-century era’s Classism designs.
National Museum of Finland
If you are looking for what to see in Helsinki that will take you back to the stone-ages of even 10,000 years before, make sure you include the National Museum of Finland in your list and be surprised at the sight as you see the bear statue in front of the entrance (sorry-not-sorry for the spoiler!).
At the moment, the new Prehistory Exhibitions include a Russian Imperial Throne, which is currently, the most interesting specimen to see. There is a huge collection of vintage materials that draws tourists from all over the world to this very museum. The Elk’s Head of Huittinen is another 8 to 9 thousand years dating sculpture that can be found inside this renowned museum.
This is a fantastic Helsinki landmark not only for what you can learn about each exhibition inside the museum but take some time and have a closer look at the architecture of the building itself – it is a beauty with a classic medieval feel to it.
Seurassari Open-air Museum
Seurassari is said to be the best island part and one of the popular Helsinki tourist attractions not only because they build an amazing exhibition inside where they have collected old wooden buildings from around the country to culturally present how life used to be in Finland back in the days.
You’ll see an old church, staple houses, and old barns all made from wood and each represents a certain time in the history of Finland. Apart from all these, there’s a picnic area where you can grill and not far from the entrance is a small beach with sauna which you can also use if you’re interested!
It is a Lutheran church that has been made by executing a great use of nature. The whole church is surrounded by rocky stone walls and covered by a dome that gets support from parallel pillars that lie diagonally from the edge of the walls with the dome and the gaps between each one hosts the natural sunlight to fall upon the place.
Being established in 1969, the church is also very widely known as the Rock Church. The entrance fee is 3.50USD (€3,00), which will prove out to be much less compared to what it upholds. People often praise the creativity and the extraordinary use of this natural place for a church. That said, the place has now become a great spot for Helsinki sightseeing for those who are interested in architectural marvels!
A marvelous architectural design of one the world-renown Finnish architect, Alvar Alto; Finlandia Hall is a landmark located just in the heart of Helsinki is created in order to host the prime concerts, events, and also the Congress of Finland. The place is available for large and small conferences among the higher executives of the country.
The construction was completed in 1971 and the whole building is colored white with a splendid view of the exterior. This reputed Helsinki landmark consists of 340 seats in the main hall. Some places inside this great hall are designed in a way that natural light falls inside the building; following the piazzas of Italy.
So, people who are looking for things to do in Helsinki must visit this marvelous building by enjoying a concert or either by, taking a guided trip to Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall.
Note: Guided tour is available upon reservation and it will cost you about 16USD (€15). You can book it through Finlandia’s webpage.
Also famously known as the largest orthodox-church in the entire Western Europe, Uspenski Cathedral gives a clear Russian scheme; as the Russian architecture, Aleksey Gornostayev had designed the place.
Located in the neighborhood of Katajanokka near the North Harbor (Pohjoissatama), the cathedral is situated upon a hilly area, whereas you’ll have a good aeral view of port and the city. Since it is on a hill, you’ll have no trouble finding this church as it is also located rather near from the Senate Square!
Also, there’s no entrance fee to enter this church but there is a great chance of finding a gathering of people here as it has recently been a very alluring tourist destination of Helsinki.
Helsinki Senate Square and Helsinki Church
The picturesque Senate Square is enriched with some of the most historic Helsinki landmarks. The chief constructions of Finnish knowledge, government, and religion lie in the same boulevard center – The Helsinki cathedral, known as one of the most beautiful architectural marvel in the whole of Finland. Upon visiting this Helsinki landmark, you’ll also see the main building of the University of Helsinki, one of the most decorative centers of studies in the state.
Not far along, you’ll also get to see the Government Palace, the Sederholm House, the National Library, and the sculpted Statue of Alexander II are the other famous tourist attracting establishments of the place.
Visit Helsinki Cathedral during the day; from 9 am to 6 pm, exceptions the months of June, July, and August, when it is open until midnight.
The Sibelius Monument is established in the memory of the renowned Finnish composer, Johan Julius Christian (or, Jean) Sibelius.
Jean Sibelius is widely known to be the best composer ever born in the Finland, as he could express his feelings for the country very touchingly. This huge monument is made by the Finnish artist Eila Hiltunen, also entitled, Passio Musicae dedicated to the late composer.
The monument looks like a silver tree which is made of 600 steel pipes. The pipes used in the monument resembles the Finnish forests and the pores are made in order to create a whistling music, as the wind blows by. The monument is really massive, so you can easily walk around and underneath. The sculpted head or bust of Jean Sibelius is just beside the monument.
A similar monument can also be found at the United Nations headquarter in New York and, also at the UNESCO headquarter in Paris due to its charming elegance.
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Arts
Helsinki’s Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Arts is part of the Finnish National Gallery along with two other reputed museums of Finland all serving the same purpose – introduce different sorts of arts to the new generation. The exterior design of the museum itself is an example of modernism which is becoming a huge trend in Helsinki!
Designed by the American architect, Steven Holl, Kiasma is an architectural marvel on its own as Kiasma is the leading contemporary art museum in the Nordics. Housing some of best modern arts of today that expresses and provokes different emotions to whoever views them – the main aim of this impressive museum.
Useful infos about Kiasma:
- Tue 10-17
- Wed-Fri 10-20.30
- Sat 10-17
- Sun 10-17
Address: Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100, Helsinki, Finland
Phone number: +358 (0)294 500 501
Note: Mondays are closed for visitors and every first Friday of the month, Kiasma’s admission is for free.