‘Finland’s capital is a popular city for a long haul layover, so if you’re stopping over and have a day to spare, these are the must see sights to catch with 24 hours in Helsinki…’

We recently flew to Seoul for a two week break with Finnair and ended up with a quick overnight stay in Helsinki.

Getting There

Helsinki Airport is located in the Vantaa region, which lies around 19k north of the city centre.  It has a dedicated rail link, which connects the airport to downtown Helsinki and takes approximately 30 mins.

There are two main lines; the I and the P.  Both trains runs to Helsinki Central, but take different routes.  A single adult ticket costs around EU3.  We were staying on the harbour, so we had a couple of changes to make along the way.  I simply put the info into Google maps and it spat out a 56 min journey, including changes and station names and it was perfect.

There are also buses running to the city from the airport and more information on transport options can be found at HSL’s website.

Helsinki Cathedral 

This Evangelical Lutheran icon of the diocese of Helsinki is located right in the heart of the city.  The brilliant white Neoclassical structure has been standing since 1852.  It’s a massively popular attraction, drawing in around 350,000 visitors each year.

Entrance to the Cathedral is 7 Euros and also includes access to the Helsinki Military Museum.

Time – 45 mins / Helsinki Cathedral 

The Chapel of Silence

Also known as the Kamppi Chapel, this oddly shaped building is located at the entrance to the Kamppi Mall, in Narinkka Square.  The Chapel of Silence exists to give the city’s residents (and visitors) a quiet space to relax and think.

The chapel is made from Finnish wood and has won several awards for its unique design.  The Chapel is free to enter.

Time: 15 mins / The Chapel of Silence

Market Square

If you’re in the mood for some Finnish treats, then Market Square is the place to be.  This open air market, sitting in Esplanade Park, is the most famous in Finland and is a great place for a spot of people watching.

Here, you can find moose meat, freshly caught fish, and some very unique Finnish souvenirs to take back as a memento of your trip.

Time: 30 – 60 mins / Market Square

Cafe Ekberg

This Helsinki bakery and Cafe is the oldest in Finland and sits on Bulevardi in the city centre.    produces its own freshly baked bread and pastries, which is offers with a variety of teas and coffees.

During the summer, you can enjoy the outdoors seating. However, winter time generally calls for an inside seat, which we were more than grateful to find after a few hours of exploring.

Time: 30 mins / Cafe Ekberg

The Winter Garden

Helsinki’s impressive Winter Garden has been the go-to meeting place for locals for more than 100 years.  Regardless of the season, the team behind the varieties of plants and flowers in the garden ensure that there is always something to see.

There are more than 200 different species on show and the location is also used to grow flowers for other parks, which are then transplanted when necessary.   The garden has no admission fee.

Time: 1-2 hours / Winter Garden 

Helsinki City Museum

Named as the European Museum of the Year, the city museum was reopened in 2016.  There are 5 main buildings, each covering a different time period and all linked by a series of inner courtyards and alleys.

In addition the city museum, which focuses on the history of Helsinki and its people, the other 4 buildings are: Villi Hakasalmi, the Tram Museum, the Worker’s Housing Museum and the Burgher’s House Museum.

Time: 2-3 hours / Helsinki City Museum 


What are your top sights to see with 24 hours in Helsinki?



Suz xx