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One day in Helsinki, Finland: The perfect 24 h itinerary


1 Day in Helsinki – 24 hours of exploring and enjoyment

Helsinki is a vibrant city that effortlessly blends a rich history with modern design. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or a nature lover, Finland's capital has something to offer. If you only have one summer day to explore this Northern gem, follow this itinerary to make the most of your 24 hours in Helsinki.



Photo: Suomen Ilmakuva/Helsinki Partners

Morning: A Taste of Helsinki's History and Culture

8:00 AM - Breakfast at Scandinavia Café in the Old Market Hall

Start your day with a hearty breakfast at Scandinavia Café, located in the Old Market Hall of Helsinki, right at the Market Square. This charming café offers a variety of Finnish pastries, fresh coffee, and a cozy atmosphere perfect for easing into your day. For a Finnish-style breakfast, may we recommend a cup of coffee or tea, a sandwich and maybe a Karelian pasty, which is a traditional pirog made with rye crust and usually a rice porridge filling.

9:00 AM - Helsinki Cathedral and Senate Square

After breakfast, take a short walk to Senate Square, the historical heart of Helsinki. Here, you'll find the iconic Helsinki Cathedral, an architectural marvel with its striking white facade and green domes. Spend some time exploring the cathedral and the square, which is surrounded by neoclassical buildings. The statue in the middle of the square belongs to Tsar Alexander II. Just behind the corner is the National Library, also worth of popping in.

10:00 AM - Design District Helsinki

Helsinki is renowned for its design, and the Design District is the perfect place to experience it. Wander through the streets lined with boutiques, galleries, and studios showcasing Finnish creativity. Visit the Design Museum to gain insight into the country's design heritage, from classic Alvar Aalto pieces to contemporary innovations. Right next to the Design Museum you’ll also find the Museum of Finnish Architecture.



Photo: Stromma Finland

Afternoon: UNESCO World Heritage site Suomenlinna

12:30 PM – Head to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Catch a ferry from Market Square to Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This 18th-century sea fortress, spread across multiple islands, offers a fascinating glimpse into Finland's military history. Stroll through the scenic paths, visit the museums such as the Suomenlinna Museum and Submarine Vesikko, and enjoy the tranquil ambiance. The ferry ride takes approx. 15 minutes.

13:00 Lunch at restaurant Adlerfelt in Suomenlinna

Located in Suomenlinna Fortress, this restaurant is an excellent place to take a break from exploring and enjoy a delicious lunch. After lunch, you'll feel refreshed again and are ready to continue your adventures!

4:30 PM - Oodi Helsinki Central Library

Return to the city and make your way to the Oodi Helsinki Central Library, an architectural masterpiece and a hub of modern Finnish culture. The library's innovative design includes a rooftop terrace, a café, and various interactive spaces. Spend some time exploring the library's offerings or simply relax with a book.

Evening: Dinner at sea

5:30/6:30 PM – Pizza Cruise

For a dinner at sea, head back to Market Square and the yellow sightseeing flags. After a long day of exploring, the Pizza Cruise is your perfect opportunity to sit down, enjoy the summer vibes and indulge yourself with a hot oven-baked pizza from the Katajanokanluoto island. Yes, this is pizza delivery in the archipelago style!

7:30/8:30 PM - Esplanade Park

When back at the Market Square, head to the Esplanade Park just across the street! This park has been a popular spot for socializing since the 19th century.

10:00 PM - Nightcap at Ateljee Bar

End your day at Ateljee Bar, located atop the Hotel Torni. This rooftop bar offers panoramic views of Helsinki, making it the perfect spot to reflect on your day's adventures. Sip on a cocktail as you watch the city lights twinkle below - well, if you visit Helsinki later in the summer. If you arrive around the Midsummer, you will experience the view of the white night!

Helsinki_panorama_view_from_Ateljee_Bar_c_Nicole Bittger_Helsinki_Partners.jpg

Photo: Nicole Bittger/Helsinki Partners

Helsinki day ticket for 24 hours and other tips for transportation

Helsinki city center area can easily be explored on foot, but naturally there are also several transportation options to choose from. From April to October there are city bikes that you can rent for a day (in 2024 the fee is 5 €/24h including unlimited number of up to 60-minute rides) as well as electric scooters. If you would like to know more, check our Helsinki Practical Information package!

For public transport, you have two ticket options to choose from. The HSL Helsinki Region Transport Authority offers several public transport day ticket options. The easiest way to buy these tickets is to download the HSL app in advance.

Especially if you would like to visit the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, we recommend getting the Helsinki Card. With the Helsinki Card, you get not only public transport but also free or discounted admissions to several museums and attractions as well as discounts in restaurants, travel services and shopping.

In 2024, Scandinavia Cafe, Design Museum, Museum of Finnish Architecture, several museums in Suomenlinna, Submarine Vesikko, restaurant Adlerfelt and Pizza Cruise, all mentioned in this article, are included in the Helsinki Card programme with different kind of benefits.

Other places to visit in Helsinki in one day

We understand that this itinerary might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you are looking for more ideas for your stay in Helsinki, check our suggestions for other things to do!

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