Summer vacation days in Helsinki are sure to be all but boring – you certainly won’t run out of things to do. The best-known and most popular family destinations in Helsinki are the Linnanmäki amusement park and Korkeasaari Zoo, but there’s also a wealth of other family-friendly options to choose from in the city. For instance, the Suomenlinna fortress offers much to see for visitors of all ages. Helsinki also boasts a number of museums suitable for children.
Check out the following tips and make the most of your time in the city!
Treat yourself and your kids to a boat trip to the Helsinki archipelago. The Beautiful Canal Route sightseeing cruise takes you out to sea to see the shore landscapes of Helsinki. The comfortable ship allows you to admire several attractions from the sea, such as the Suomenlinna fortress, Korkeasaari Zoo, the icebreakers and the narrow Degerö canal. The ship also has a cosy café with a licence to sell alcohol. There are coloured pencils and colouring books in the café, so even the youngest in the family will have fun activities to do on the trip. And who wouldn’t enjoy a nice ice cream on the ship’s large sundeck?
Hopping on an open top Hop On Hop Off bus is a fun way to get to know Helsinki with the kids. Kids won’t get tired of walking when you can hop on a bus to move around the city. The route goes through the inner city and consists of 18 stops.
>> Daily sightseeing cruises from the Market Square, more information here.
>> City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off departures from the Senate Square daily between 10:00 and 16:00. Read more here.
>> Both tours are free of charge with the Helsinki Card!
Time really flies in the historic Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. Guided tours are organised in the area that are suitable for adults and children alike. Children’s own adventure tour takes you on an exciting journey back in time to the 18th century fortress.
Several interesting museums can also be found in Suomenlinna. Families with children love the Submarine Vesikko, which was used in WWII. You can even explore it on the inside! Another favourite among the small ones is the Toy Museum where you can marvel at old toys from ages past.
Suomenlinna is the perfect picnic spot in the summer. The many grass areas and the rocks on land and by the shore invite you to spread a picnic blanket on the ground and enjoy the amazing sea views. Suomenlinna also has a sheltered swimming beach.
In addition to the museums in Suomenlinna, Helsinki has many other museums children are sure to enjoy. If you’re interested in flying and airplanes, the Finnish Aviation Museum in Vantaa is the number one destination for you! The museum’s collection consists of more than 70 airplanes as well as other fascinating items related to aviation.
Located in the Nuuksio National Park, Finnish Nature Centre Haltia is a prime destination for families with children. The breathtaking exhibitions at Haltia focus on the environment and nature, bringing all four seasons of Finnish nature to life. Haltia’s main exhibition illustrates the cycle and ecosystems of nature by means of several different media, interactive presentations and works of art. To explore the forest, look for Nuuksio’s marked trails. The shorter trails are suitable for children as well.
Only a few kilometres from the Helsinki city centre, on a beautiful green island lies the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum. Explore the traditional Finnish lifestyle in cottages, farms and mansions over the course of the past 400 years and see old objects, furniture and attire. The Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is a one-of-a-kind journey back in time to the Finnish life of the past.
The Finnish Science Centre Heureka, located in Tikkurila, Vantaa, offers a great variety of experiences in the form of year-round interactive exhibitions, planetarium films and science programmes. At Heureka, the whole family can really experience science. The dynamic exhibitions give you a chance to explore and experiment with science and technology, offering a fun and educational way to learn about them.
>> Entry to the Aviation Museum is available at a discounted price with the Helsinki Card.
>> Free entry to Haltia's exhibitions with the Helsinki Card!
>> You can also get 50% off a guided half day tour from Helsinki to Nuuksio with the Helsinki Card – read more about the tour >>
>> Free entry to the Seurasaari museum area with the Helsinki Card!
>> Discounted entry to Heureka with the Helsinki Card.
The best-known attraction in Helsinki is the Linnanmäki Amusement Park. Entry to the area is free. Linnanmäki has a variety of rides to pamper both thrill seekers and those who prefer something more easy-going. The youngest in the family can enjoy children’s rides free of charge, although some height restrictions apply. Getting to Linnanmäki is easy – for instance, you can hop on a Hop On Hop Off bus for free with the Helsinki Card.
Located in the same area as Linnanmäki, Sea Life Helsinki lets you take a look at life underwater at close quarters. In the aquariums, you may spot fish, corals, crabs and even a shark. Sea Life is open year-round.
Skywheel Helsinki offers an unbeatable view to the historic capital city. Skywheel is located right next to the Market Square. A ride on the Skywheel lasts 10–12 minutes, which leaves you plenty of time for other fun activities in the city as well.
Take your family to Korkeasaari Zoo for a fun day trip! One of the most popular travel destinations in Helsinki, Korkeasaari Zoo houses more than 150 animal species from all over the world as well as over 1,000 different plant species. See the inhabitants of the northern tundra and the tropical rainforest, from big cats to macaques and brown bears! Over the course of the day, you also have a chance to see the animals being fed.
>> Discounted entry to Korkeasaari Zoo with the Helsinki Card.
Helsinki has numerous beaches for a nice day out with the family. We’ve rated the best beaches on our blog >> read more.
The Hietaniemi beach is the most popular, but if you’re looking for a quieter beach, we recommend going to one of the many islands in Helsinki.
>> Check out our island tips here.
If the sea feels too chilly, you can always head to the Helsinki Swimming Stadium. At the Swimming Stadium, you’ll find diving towers as well as a wading pool for the smallest in the family.
Header & 6: Julia Kivelä / Visit Finland
1: Strömma Finland Oy Ab
2: Dorit Salutskij / Helsinki Marketing
3: Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Marketing
4: Sea Life Helsinki
5: Mari Lehmonen / Helsinki Marketing