What to do in Helsinki in the summer

Kaisaniemi Botanic garden, Helsinki, Finland

Originally, I was planning to write a post about the things I like to do in Finland in the summertime. But as soon as I started making the list, I realized that it will take me forever to put it all together. Finland is a big country and there are simply too many places to write about in one post. That is why I’ve decided to divide it in few parts.

I would also like to point out that I’m going to share only those places which I have visited myself. I saw Finland for the first time back in 2005, and 9 years ago I’ve made it my home. So, as you can imagine, I have been to many Finnish cities, towns and villages over the years. But there are still plenty to see and discover.

And if you wish to add something that I haven’t mentioned in my list, then please do so in the comment section down below. I think this information will be useful not only for me but for the other readers as well.

So, what to do and what to see in Helsinki during the summer? If it’s your first trip to the Finnish capital, then I think it’s best to start with the most common touristic attractions, such as:

  • Helsinki Senate Square (there are many restaurants in the area, some are hidden in the inside yards)
  • Helsinki Cathedral
  • Esplanade
  • Market Square; Helsinki City Hall and The Presidential Palace are located on the opposite side
  • Uspenski Cathedral, main cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Finland

One of the fun things to do is to take a ride in a vintage tram, which was made in the beginning of 20th century. It leaves every 30 minutes from the Market Square tram stop next to Havis Amanda nude female statue. You can purchase tickets from the conductor. The tour takes about 15-20 minutes.

* if I’m not mistaken the price is around 5 euro

Or you could take a ride in the Pub tram. That way you can see the city and enjoy a beer or lonkero** at the same time. Two birds, one stone!

** lonkero a.k.a. long drink is made from gin and most commonly grapefruit soda, very refreshing in the summertime. I love it! I think it’s one of the best Finnish inventions!

What else there to see?

Suomenlinna or Sveaborg, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s an inhabited sea fortress built on the few islands in the 18th century, when Finland was still part of Sweden. Suomenlinna is my absolute favorite place in Helsinki! You can play outdoors games here, explore the fortress, have a picturesque picnic or take the sun and simply enjoy the beauty around you. There are also museums, craft shops, restaurants and summer theater. More info and photos you will find here.

Kaivopuisto. It’s one of the best-known parks in Helsinki. Locals come here to relax, to have a picnic, to take a sunbath or simply to sit on a bench or a rock and enjoy a beautiful day and the sea view.

If you come here on a sunny day, then I’d suggest you walk to the Café Carusel. You will find an ice cream kiosk next to it. It’s called Helsingin Jäätelötehdas, and they make one of the best ice creams in Helsinki.

Linnanmäki. The most popular amusement park in Finland and my absolute favorite. I’ve been to Särkänniemi in Tampere city and Power Park in Alahärmä, but there is no place like Linnanmäki. Main reason I like it so much is because it’s not overpowered by the crazy rides. There is something for everyone, from adrenaline junkie to family with kids.

The most famous ride is the wooden roller coaster Vuoristorata, which was opened back in 1951; you can see it in the background on the photo below:

Admission to the park is free. As for the ride prices, they vary. But I wouldn’t recommend buying each ride separately, it will be too expensive. Cheapest option is to purchase a day wristband, which allows you to go on any ride of your chose for the entire day. It costs around 40 euros. You can find more info on the official Linnanmäki page.

Korkeasaari Zoo. The largest zoo in Finland, located on the island of Korkeasaari.

I normally try to avoid places like Zoo and Circus (with the animals shows), because in most cases they make me sad. I do not enjoy animal suffering. But Korkeasaari is not like any other zoo. Here, in Finland people are actually taking a very good care of the animals. And you won’t see terrifying things here like what I’ve seen in Dehiwala Zoological garden in Sri Lanka.

Korkeasaari is also known for its animal birth rates. For example, did you know that more than 100 snow leopards and more than 20 Amur leopards have been born in Finnish zoo? And last year a rare red panda gave birth to a new resident of Korkeasaari.

Snow leopard was the main reason I wanted to visit Helsinki zoo. I’m in love with this amazing creature and I desperately wished to see it with my own eyes.

Another cool thing about this zoo is that peacocks are walking freely on its territory:

* it is cheaper to purchase tickets online; check official Korkeasaari page for details

** you can get there by car, by bus, by ferry or water bus (from the Market Square)

Tervasaari is one of many islands in Helsinki area. It’s a lovely, peaceful place where you can relax and enjoy a beautiful sunny day. It’s not that far from the city center, yet it feels like you are miles and miles away.

There is a restaurant on this island, an ice cream kiosk, children’s playground and a dog park with a pond for swimming.

Seurasaari. You probably guessed it already… it’s another island. One of the open-air museums is located here. Old wooden buildings were brought to Seurasaari from different places around the country and placed in the dense forest of the island.

I personally prefer to call it the Squirrel island; it’s one of those places where these cute fluffy-tailed animals come to eat from visitor’s hands. That is why I always bring some food (nuts and bread) for little fellows.

And if you are lucky, you might feed the swans as well.

Käpylä or Puu-Käpylä to be exact is an old suburb, that was built between 1920-1925. It’s a really nice neighborhood filled with cute two-story wooden houses, which make the streets of Puu-Käpylä look like the postcards from the past. Beautiful and idyllic.

Not the most popular tourist attraction but I think it is worth visiting.

* you can come here by tram Nr 1

Last but not least on my list is Kaisaniemi Botanic garden.

* entrance is free of charge; information about prices to the glasshouses and the time schedule you will find on luomus.fi

Some of the places I’ve mentioned you can see in my latest IGTV.

Hope you enjoyed it!


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