Ed’s Recommendation List for Helsinki

Updated June 2022

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Disclaimer:
***Before visiting any location on this list, please check opening hours on Google or the location s website.***

Restaurants

I highly recommend eating a big lunch (11:30pm – 2:00pm) as most restaurants are cheaper at this time and many offer a lunch time special (called “lounas”) which serves a dish of the menu but with up to a 40% discount, or a lunch buffet.

(The area the restaurant is located in is in brackets)

Cafés

In 2020, the Finns were named the second biggest coffee consumers in the world consuming 10kg of coffee per person!

Cafetoria – Runeberginkatu 31, 00100 Helsinki (Töölö)
By the Rock Church, highest rated café on TripAdvisor. Closed on Sundays.

Café Regatta – Merikannontie 8, 00260 Helsinki (Töölö) https://caferegatta.fi/inenglish/
The most famous place for cinnamon buns and coffee. Located very close to the Sibelius Monument.

Lasipalatsi Cafe – Mannerheimintie 22 24, 00100 Helsinki (Centre/centro)

Robert’s Coffee Jugend – Pohjoisesplanadi 19, 00100 Helsinki (Centre)
Robert’s Coffee is kind of the Finnish Starbucks, I recommend this one in particular because it is in a fantastic Jugenstil style building.

Café Java – Mannerheimintie 22, 00100 Helsinki (Centre)
The coffee here is very strong, nice sandwiches and cakes and other sweet treats.

Fazer Café – Kluuvikatu 3 and many more locations y en muchos sitios más.
Fazer is the biggest chocolate and confectionary brand in Finland and have very nice cafés dotted around the city. Kluuvikatu 3 (on the unicorn blck( is the location of their first café.

Café Esplanade – Pohjois-Esplanadi 37, 00100 Helsinki (Centre)
A legendary café on the north side of the Esplanade, very fancy inside but not any more expensive than anywhere else in the city.

Oodi – Töölönlahdenkatu 4, 00100 Helsinki (Centre)
A spectacular public library with 2 cafés, buffet lunch of weekdays and terrace (summers only).

The Good Coffee – Eerikinkatu 33, 00180 Helsinki (Punavuori)
A cosy Austrian run café with a nice atmosphere, good coffee and a friendly barista. They also organise Finnish language conversation sessions if you’re feeling adventurous!

Bike Café –  mainly Esplanade, Eira & Senate S quare
https://www.facebook.com/bikecafefinland/
A mobile café which serves Italian style coffee and can be found in different parts of the city depending on the day.

Bars, Karaoke and clubs

Public Transport

To use the metro, train, bus, and bikes in Helsinki, I recommend you use the HSL or Whim app.
Tickets are bought through the app before the journey begins and are shown to the bus driver when you get on and when an inspector asks for your ticket. The same ticket applies to all public transport in the city including to the Suomenlinna Fortress.

The airport is in zone C, so a ticket zone extension is necessary. This can be bought through the apps.

**If you are going to make more than 4 trips on public transport within 24h, it is cheaper to buy a 24 hour ticket for 8 €.**

Scooters are operated by a variety of different private companies, and each have their own app.
Download the corresponding app and follow the instructions.

Inter-city trains are operated by VR, book your ticket here: https://www.vr.fi/en/

Day Trip

Suomenlinna – 17th century fortress Unesco World Site (ferries leave every 20 minutes from the Market Square in the summer, every 40 minutes in low season, take the HSL boats and use your public transport card or the HSL App, or Helsinki Card, or tickets from the machine (around €5.80 return).

Valisaari – Old military base on an island just off Helsinki. JT Line boats can take you there from the Market Square. (SUMMER ONLY)

Nuuksio – A great example of Finnish countryside beauty about an hour away from the city, take the trains from the main railway station.

Porvoo – 13 century medieval town (¾ h – 1 hour away by train or bus from Kamppi shopping centre). I would recommend buying tickets with OmniBus as it is cheaper:
https://www.onnibus.com/home

Turku – Finland’s historic capital, 2 hours away by train. Medieval buildings, traditional Finnish
architecture. Book on VR

Tampere – The Manchester of Finland. An ex-industrial city with an interesting history and museums. 2 hours from Helsinki by train.

**If you are thinking of travelling abroad, check travel restrictions of the country you are going to.**

Tallinn – Estonia’s capital is only 2 hours away by ferry and can be seen well in about 6 hours. Silja Line, Ekerö and Tallink all operate services there, best to book a ticket online. Most ferrys leave from the West Terminal and cost roughly the same, take tram number 7 from the train station to the last stops Länsi Terminaali T1 and T2. Viking Line services leave from Katajanokka in the city centre.
Links to the main ferry companies below.

https://www.eckeroline.com/
https://www.tallink.com/
https://www.vikingline.fi/

**Routes are closed due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine**
St Petersburg – There are trains, buses, flights and cruisliners to St Petersburg and it is best to check online. Cruise liner tickets normally include a short visa stay (12-36h), train, bus and plane journeys must have visa and it must be obtained beforehand! There are agencies in Helsinki what can do this for you in and around the trainstation.

Stockholm – Silja line and Viking Line both operate daily ferries to the Swedish capital from the Olympia or Katajanokka terminals near the Market Square. There are generally two options: the fast ferry, or the overnight ferry. The overnight ferry costs more but it includes a sleeping cabin, buffet food with beer and wine as well as entertainment on board.

Saunas

Finland has more sauna’s than cars. Most hotels, Air BnB’s, hostels and friend’s homes will have access to a sauna, and this is the cheapest way to experience it. I would recommend bringing your own towel and bathing suit (optional) as renting can be expensive.

Allas Sea Pool – Katajanokanlaituri 2a, 00160 Helsinki) https://www.allasseapool.fi/en/
This sauna has multiple saunas, fresh and sea water pools, bar and restaurant.

Löyly – Hernesaarenranta 4, 00150 Helsinki http://www.loylyhelsinki.fi/en/front-page/
Voted as one of the coolest saunas in the world in 2018, I would recommend booking in advance which can be done online.

Kotiharjun Sauna – Harjutorinkatu 1, 00500 Helsinki.
https://www.kotiharjunsauna.fi/en/home/#pll_switcher
The best example of a local, traditional Helsinki public sauna. The temperatures are high, and the conversation is good.

Sauna Arla – Kaarlenkatu 15, 005 30 Helsinki.
https://arlansauna.net/?lang=en
A family and woman friendly sauna in the Kallio neighbourhood. €13 entrance fee and a full price list can be found on their website.

A more comprehensive list can be found following the link below:

https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/see-and-do/activities/8-public-saunas-in-helsinki

Churches

Helsinki Cathedral – The big, white Lutheran church in Senate Square. Recommended entrance donation of €5. https://www.helsinginseurakunnat.fi/en/index/tuomiokirkkoseurakunta.html.stx

Uspenski Cathedral – Russian Orthodox Church. Closed on Mondays!
https://www.hos.fi/kirkot/uspenskin-katedraali/

St John’s Church – One of the biggest churches in the city.
https://www.johanneksenkirkko.fi/en/index.html

Rock Church – Carved into a huge granite boulder in the 1960s. €5 entry. Lots of well-priced souvenir shops nearby. Check opening hours online in case of any private events, closed on weekends.
https://www.temppeliaukionkirkko.fi/en/index.html

Chapel of Silence – One of the newest churches in the city, a bubble of tranquillity in the busy city centre.
https://www.kampinkappeli.fi/index/visit_1.html

Kallio Church – Designed by Lars Sonck and built in 1912.
https://www.helsinginseurakunnat.fi/en/index/kallionkirkko.html.stx

St Henry’s Church – The first Catholic church in Helsinki built in the mid-19th century.
https://henrik.katolinen.fi/english.html

Museums

If you are thinking of visiting more than 3 museums in Helsinki, I would recommend you purchase the GoCity Helsinki Card which grants you entry to nearly all the museums in the city and includes public transport, hop on hop off bus es, Suomenlinna guided tours and much more. Available for 24, 48 or 72-hour periods.

Ateneum – Finnish Classical Romantic art from the 19th and 20th century

Kiasma – Contemporary art 

Amos Rex – rotating collection

HAM – Contemporary art

Design Museum – The history of Finnish design and my favourite museum.

National Museum – More in-depth history of Finland in a wonderful National Romantic style building

Libraries

Helsinki has over 40 public libraries and I have listed the most interesting ones below.

Oodi – The best library in the world. Inaugurated in 2018 it has 3D printers, gaming areas, 2 cafés, over 100,000 books and unique styling. Located behind Kiasma and in front of the Parliament.

National Library – The oldest library in Helsinki and an Engel design. It is located in front of the entrance to the Cathedral of Helsinki (the white one).

Kaisatalo – One of the newest libraries belonging to the University of Helsinki. Located near the Senate Square.

Rihkardinkatu Kirjasto – One of the oldest libraries in the city built at the end of the 19th century.
Near Kasarmitori in the design district.

Useful Information

Emergency services: dial 112

Loss of passport or ID/crime report

The customer must visit the service desk personally in Pasila neighbourhood (Tram 2):

Poliisitalo 1, Pasilanraitio 13, 00240 Helsinki
Mon-Fri 8:00 – 16:15 pm
Sat – Sun 8:00 – 16:00

Telephone Advisory Service (2 numbers)

Mon-Fri 12:00-15:00 Tel. +358 295 417 921
Mon-Fri 8:00-16:15 Tel. +358 295 470 011

In addition, contact your country’s embassy.

Lost and found

HKL delivers finds from trams, metro trains or stations as well as from Suomenlinna ferry to the Lost and Found point in Kamppi center and are available from 4pm the next day.

Narinkka 3, Kamppi Center, Helsinki
9:00 to 21:00 weekdays
9:00 to 18:00 Saturdays
12:00 to 18:00 Sundays

Police Finding Goods Bureau

Pasilanraitio 13, 00240 Helsinki (Monday-Friday 9:00–11:00)

Finnish Lost and Found Service

https://loytotavara.net/helsinki

Puhelinpalvelu 0600 41006, 24h.

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport: Lentäjäntie 1, 01530 Vantaa
Mon-Fri : 9:00-17:00
Saturday: 9:00-17:00

Mäkelänkatu 56, 00510 Helsinki
Mon-Fri: 10:00-18:00
Saturday: 10:00-14:00

The next day will most likely provide information on the goods found. The Finnish Lost and Found Service charges a fee for its services. see. prices on the company’s website. https://loytotavara.net/helsinki

SIM Cards

In Kamppi shopping mall there are a couple of phone operators which sell pay-as-you-go SIM cards with data plans which are valid inside the EU. DNA and Telia are the biggest companies.

Alcohol and Tobacco

All alcoholic drinks up to 5.2% alcohol can be bought in supermarkets from 9am-9pm and it is very likely you will be asked for ID if you look under 30. Any alcoholic drink with more than 5.2% alcohol can ONLY be bought in bars, restaurants, and the state controlled Alko store which is open Monday-Friday 10am-9pm and Saturdays 10am-6pm. Cigarettes can only be bought in supermarkets at the cashiers.

Cash machines

Cash machines are very rare in Helsinki and are most commonly found in shopping malls such as Kamppi and train and metro stations. You can pay for nearly everything by card so no need to stress if you don’t have cash! Otto is the company that runs cash machines in Helsinki.

Money exchange

Foreign currency can be exchanged in most banks in the city centre such as the big Nordea Bank just off the Senate Square, in Kamppi shopping mall on the ground floor by the Starbucks and on Pohjoisesplanadi 21 near the Market Square.

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