Helsinki Tourist Attractions

Helsinki tourist attractions include Senate square, 3T tourist tram ride, Suomenlinna, Helsinki Zoo, and Linnanmäki amusement park.

Senate square is the most famous of Helsinki’s squares, and includes several of the city’s most well-known tourist attractions, such as Carl Ludvig Engel designed buildings of…

  • Helsinki Cathedral,
  • Government Palace, and
  • University of Helsinki main building.

Of the Senate square buildings, especially the Cathedral of Helsinki has become a symbol for the city, in the same way that, say, Brandenburg Gate symbolizes Berlin, or the Eiffel Tower symbolizes Paris.

The Senate square area is also central to the other major tourist attractions and best shopping in Helsinki.

From next to the Senate square, you can take a ride with the 3T tram(aikataulut.hsl.fi/en/3T-route), which travels a route that has been designed for tourists, circulating via the most central parts of Helsinki and its attractions.

Along the 3T tram route, you will see, for example:

  • Aalto University Business School,
  • Senate square,
  • Aleksanterinkatu (Helsinki’s financial district),
  • Eira – a district of foreign embassies, and
  • Kauppatori and Hakaniemi marketplaces.

A popular place to hop off the 3T ride is at Ullanlinna area, from here you can walk to the nearby Kaivopuisto park and Helsinki Seaport areas, both popular hangout and relaxation areas for locals and tourists alike, on summer weekends.

Suomenlinna (suomenlinna.fi), meanwhile, a UNESCO World Heritage listed sea fortress, was built in the 18th to an island in front of Helsinki.

You can get to the Suomenlinna fortress using ferries that depart from the harbor next to the central marketplace, Kauppatori, a stone’s throw from Senate square.

VIDEO: European travel journalist Rick Steves’ tour of the Suomenlinna fortress.

You can tour Suomenlinna fortress and its island quite freely, with the locals, especially on summer weekends, coming here to relax and enjoy a picnic on the coastal cliffs and grassy areas surrounding the fortress.

Highlights at the fortress include:

  • King’s Gate, the historical main entrance gate to the fortress,
  • Suomenlinna church, and
  • Museum submarine Vesikko.

Helsinki Zoo (korkeasaari.fi) is located, similarly to Suomenlinna fortress, within one of the city’s coastal islands, and you can reach the zoo also from the ferries that depart from the harbor next to the Kauppatori.

The zoo contains around 150 animal species and nearly 1,000 species of plants for you to explore.

Similarly to the areas in Suomenlinna fortress, also the cliffs within the zoo’s island, Korkeasaari island, are popular places for the locals to have a picnic on summer weekends.

Of the Helsinki tourist attractions, Linnanmäki amusement park (linnanmaki.fi) is a popular entertainment area not too far from the city center, and includes amusement park rides (including a historical wooden roller coaster), games arcades, restaurants, cafes, shops, shows and performances.

You can combine a visit to the Linnanmäki to a theater experience (performances are mostly in Finnish, however), as the popular Peacock theater works within Linnanmäki during the summer months.