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Top 10 Things to do in Helsinki

Our Top Ten things to do in Helsinki - Don't leave until you've experienced the best Helsinki has to offer

Helsinki, the capital of Finland is a beautiful coastal city with plenty to do and see for the tourist. It is well known for its young and vibrant culture and is considered the party capital of Scandinavia. I’ve listed my top ten things you ought to see or do in this beautiful, clean city.
1 Temppeliaukion, the Church of the Rock
Temppeliaukion, the Church of the Rock
A very strange and intriguing building, this is the brainchild of two architect brothers who, in the 1960s, designed the church to be built into solid rock. Ever since it has become one of Helsinki's most famous tourist traps. The walls are granite and are topped off with a hole in the rock covered with a metallic dome ceiling that has over 180 pieces of glass. The glass is used for brightening the church using the natural light above it. With superb acoustics, the church also serves as a great place for musical events.

2 Senaatintori , The Senate Square
Senaatintori , The Senate Square
Dubbed one of the most attractive city squares in Europe, the Senaatintori or the Senate Square is the centre of Helsinki. The Square houses the palace of the Senate, as well as the main building of the University of Helsinki both of which were designed by famed architect Engel. In the middle of the square is a statue of the Emperor Alexander II. It is a popular place for people to meet and is the hub of the city centre.

3 Tuomiokirkko, The Helsinki Cathedral
Tuomiokirkko, The Helsinki Cathedral
Found near Senate square is one of Helsinki's greatest piece of architectural design, Helsinki Cathedral. Again designed by Engel, the neoclassical style Cathedral was built between 1830 and the early 1850's. The cathedral seats up to 1300 and is unusual in having zinc statues of the apostles on the roof. These statues are the biggest zinc statues in the world. For a change of perspective on Scandinavian religious architecture, the cathedral warrants a visit.

4 Soumenlinna, The 18th Century Sea Fortress
Soumenlinna, The 18th Century Sea Fortress
In the 18th century, Russia developed a desire to take over Finland and regularly attacked Helsinki. The Sea Fortress was built in the 1740's to secure Helsinki against the attacks that had hindered the development of the city. The fortress called Suomenlinna was constructed on a group of six islands outside the city's harbour. It was once known as "The Gibraltar of the North" and is one of the largest sea fortresses in the world. Today you can visit by boat and enjoy Suomenlinna which now houses museums, parks, gardens, cafes and assorted restaurants.

5 Ateneum Art Museum and National Museum
Ateneum Art Museum and National Museum
Finland is the home of more museums per capita than any other place in the world. Over five million visitors a year pass through the country's many museums. Two of the top museums for visitors to see are the Ateneum Art Museum and National Museum. The Ateneum Art Museum houses perhaps the finest collection of Finnish art in the country. This museum is located near the Senate Square. Also located in the central part of the city is the National Museum. This museum holds a vast collection of Finnish pre-historic artefacts.

6 Hame Castle
Hame Castle
Built towards the end of the 13th century, this beautiful medieval castle is surrounded by a moat and a lake. In the late 1830s the castle was converted into a prison. It remained a prison until the early 1970s, but was then restored to the present day historical monument. The castle now holds historical exhibits and houses a restaurant and a delightful summer café.

7 Linnanmäki, Amusement Park
Linnanmäki, Amusement Park
Linnanmäki, the oldest amusement park in Finland, is famous for the multitude and variety of its rides. There are 37 rides in total, a play castle, a museum, assorted traditional amusement park games and a games arcade. The most popular ride is the Vuoristorata or Mountain Rail. And it’s not just children that love it. Due to the park's location on a hill, this ride gives visitors a superb aerial view of the city. The amusement park is very busy and attracts over a million visitors annually so get there early or go off peak to avoid queues.

8 Korkeasaari , The Helsinki Zoo
Korkeasaari , The Helsinki Zoo
There are few zoos in Europe that attract the numbers of visitors that Korkeasaari does. Over half a million visitors each year pass through its gates and it is home to animals from the nearby frozen tundra of the artic to tropical rain forests. Built in the 1950s the park is home to over 200 different species of animals. In addition, it has a botanical section which is home to over a thousand different species of plant life. Helsinki Zoo is known for its extensive work in protecting endangered species. Here you will find such rare zoo creatures as the artic fox and the snowy owl. The zoo is located on an island near the centre of the city and is accessible by a fifteen minute ride on a ferry.

9 Finlandia Hall
Finlandia Hall
Designed by Alvar Aalto in the early 1960s and completed in 1975 with the addition of the Congress Wing, Finlandia Hall is an internationally known concert and conference hall. Alto tried to create a building that was not only functional but also decorative. The special design of Finlandia Hall's roof helps improve the acoustics of the concert hall. The Hall holds many musical events throughout the year including those of the renowned Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

10 The Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium
Originally built to hold the Olympic Games of 1940, these were cancelled due to the onset of World War II. However, eventually the Olympic Stadium did get to host the Olympics but not until 1952. The Stadium's design includes a soaring tower that was later imitated by other stadiums designed for Olympics. The 225 feet tall tower has an observation deck which looks out across the Olympic Village and to the city beyond.

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