If you only have 24 hours to visit the capital of Finland, don’t miss these things to do in Helsinki in one day.
I always say that the best way to see a city is by planning well, knowing what to see, the main activities and tourist attractions. You should create an itinerary so you won’t miss any important places.
And don’t forget to walk and explore the least touristy places, to discover the small shops that are hidden and the best local restaurants for a delicious dinner!
Even so, there are times when we don’t have enough time to discover a place the way we’d like to. And on these occasions, we have to choose well which essential monuments to visit to get a first impression of a city.
If you’re wondering what to do in Helsinki in one day, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is packed full of the best sights and attractions in the city, for you to add to your one day Helsinki itinerary.
Ready to discover the best Helsinki one day tour? Here are the top 10 places that you can’t miss. And I assure you that you’ll love to visit the city.
Índice / Table of Contents
- 1 One day in Helsinki – Things to do
- 2 Useful information for visiting Helsinki in a day
One day in Helsinki – Things to do
The following destinations are my favorite places to visit in Helsinki in one day. They offer a brilliant cross-section of what the city has to offer, and make for an amazing day of exploring!
Market Square Helsinki: Kauppatori
This outdoor market located at the harbor very close to the Uspenski Cathedral, will surprise you. Full of food booths, the Finns buy herrings, fruit marmalades, and giant pickles with vinegar. So delicious!
I recommend that you walk around the market to breathe in the good environment they have, with live music, boats where you can savor the local cuisine and small vessels where you can buy fresh-caught products.
It’s the perfect place to eat Finnish famous white sausages while enjoying a day at the market. Without a doubt, it’s one of my favorite places to visit when spending a day in Helsinki.
Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral
This red brick with green domes cathedral that is crowned with orthodox crosses, takes you immediately to Russia.
After passing the Bridge of Love, full of many colorful locks, you can locate the Uspenski Cathedral. Once inside, the smell of incense is strong, the walls are full of paintings, and the golden color prevails on all of them.
Once outside, from the top of the Uspenski Cathedral, you can see the dome of the Lutheran Cathedral (also known as Tuomiokirkko or Helsinki Cathedral), another of the indispensable places to see in Helsinki.
Helsinki Senate Square
The Senate Square is impressive. It could be said that all streets run into it.
There are lots of elegant and colorful buildings and here is where you can find the oldest stone house in Helsinki.
There is another magical place: the central statue where tourists and locals sit down on the benches surrounding it, to calmly enjoy the greatest attraction of the square: the amazing Tuomiokirkko (cathedral). Built between 1830 and 1852, the magnificent Helsinki Cathedral is one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks.
If you’re deciding what to see in Helsinki in one day, The Senate Square and its constituents are a great place to start.
Lutheran Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)
It’s one of the most famous monuments and one of the must-do things to do in Helsinki in a day. Located at the top of the stairs that start at the Senate Square, as soon as you see that stunning building, it will surprise you.
It’s so white, that it seems that it’s cleaned every day. Its giant columns, its huge doors, and the light-green colored domes decorated with stars are the final touch.
Inside, it has the simple characteristics of Lutheran churches and cathedrals. Without paintings on the walls, the only things that stand out are the precious orange lamps that hang down from the ceiling and the enormous organ that crowns the central part of the cathedral.
For contemporary art lovers, this modern building with squared cuts, surrounded by green grass and fish sculptures will be a delight.
It’s located in front of the Parliament and next to the Music Center.
Esplanadi is a long avenue, with symbolic and elegant buildings on both sides, in downtown Helsinki.
This avenue is very famous in Helsinki and on weekends, it’s filled with people that pass it by to shop, (as the best shops in the city are located there), or simply to have a great time at one of the coffee shops and spend the afternoon there. It’s a must on your itinerary for one day in Helsinki.
Helsinki Parliament is an austere building but gets the attention because of its beautiful location, in front of the Kiasma Modern Art Museum.
What a wonderful monument! I never imagined I would see a church like this!
You start out with your itinerary in a residential area and you can’t imagine what’s next. A church made from rock appears right in front of you.
When you go inside, everything is just silent. There are 2 floors so don’t forget to go to the second one before leaving, from where you have a panoramic view of the whole church. The ceiling is a giant spiral that makes you go crazy if you look at it for a long time. The fuchsia accents get your attention and the rock walls make this church a masterpiece. It’s the perfect place to visit for one day in Helsinki in winter.
Rautatientori Metro Station
Around the world, there are train stations with a special touch. Some of them are famous for their interior, like New York’s Grand Central Terminal, and others for their exteriors, like Helsinki’s train and bus station.
Helsinki Station Square
In the same square as the Rauratientori station, the historic buildings that surround it grab most of the attention, now occupied by private companies and other institutions.
The one in the picture is the building that I liked the most, with its medieval-looking red roof tiles. Don’t miss it!
- Looking for more Helsinki sights? Check out these one day trip itinerary ideas.
- If you are traveling to Finland, don’t miss all these things to do in Lapland and this guide to visit Lapland with kids.
Useful information for visiting Helsinki in a day
Now that you know what to do in Helsinki for a day, you may be wondering about some of the practicalities. Here are some helpful tips and travel resources for your day in Helsinki.
Where to stay in Helsinki
Looking for cheap hotels in Helsinki? Here you have the best options to stay in Helsinki.
How to fly to Helsinki
Click here to find the cheapest flights to Helsinki (from $100 return).
How to get around Helsinki
Once you arrive at Helsinki’s airport, the best option to get to the city center is by bus or taxi. The last one takes 20 minutes and it cost less than 40 euros.
The most economical option is the bus. There are 2 different tickets; one for 4.5 euros for the public bus and another one for 6.5 euros for Finnair’s official bus. Both leave you at the Rautatientori station, located in downtown Helsinki and takes 25 minutes.
I hope you like these 10 Essential things to do in Helsinki in one day and that they are valuable additions to your Helsinki one day Itinerary.
Over to you
Have you been to Helsinki? Did you find other musts that we need to know about?
Tell us in the comments below!