There is no doubt about it – Helsinki is quite more expensive than most of the European cities. The metro ticket costs € 2, a coffee with milk € 4-7, for a beer we will pay € 7-10 and to go out to dinner you have to spend at least € 50 (no wine and dessert). But this does not mean that you can not visit Helsinki on budget. We leave you few tips on how to do it.
1. A walk through the city center – the best way to visit Helsinki
Helsinki is a very easy city to visit. It doesn’t matter if you arrive by boat, by plane or train, you will always end up in the very center of the city. Here is where you find the most famous avenue “Esplanadi”, full of fancy shops, coffee houses and restaurants. If you are visiting Helsinki in the summer, Esplanadi is filled with people doing picnics and celebrating the famous white nights.
Esplanadi leads to the Market Square of Helsinki, or as the Finns call it – “Kauppatori”. From spring until the end of autumn, both locals and tourists can enjoy outdoor food and in winter get a pair of gloves and a hot hat to survive the cold. From the Market Square we can access the Plaza de Senado, where political, religious, scientific and commercial powers meet in the same place. We can see here: the Helsinki Cathedral, the Palace of the State Council and the Central Building of the University of Helsinki .
Following the tram route on Aleksanterinkatu street and turning on Keskuskatu street, we reach the emblematic Helsinki Central Station. All the medium and long distance trains can be taken from Helsinki Railway Station, as well as commuter trains and international connection with Saint Petersburg.
2. Churches for everybody!!!
A freedom for religion has been in Finland since 1923. The majority of the population is Evangelical Lutheran confession and the second religion is the Orthodox Church. In addition, other religious minorities coexist in the country: Protestant, Muslim, Christian and Jewish. Thanks to that variety, in Helsinki there are churches and temples for all tastes. Most of the churches are on our list to visit Helsinki on budget as the entrance is free of charge.
We leave you here 5 monuments that you can visit on budget and at the same time make an idea of religious variety of the Finns.
The Uspenski Cathedral:
The Uspenski Cathedral is an Orthodox cathedral. It was designed by a Russian architect Alexey Gornostaev between 1862 and 1868, inspired by motifs typical for sixteenth-century Muscovite art. It is the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe and the main Orthodox temple in Finland. The church is on a hill on the Katajanokka Peninsula. Its golden domes are quite a spectacle if you are arriving at the port on a sunny day.
Cathedral of Helsinki:
It is a Lutheran cathedral located in the very heart of Helsinki in Senate Square. It was built as a tribute to the tsar of Russia Nicholas I, from there until 1917 when Finland became independent, it was called “Church of St. Nicholas”. The green dome surrounded by four smaller domes forms part of the Helsinki skyline. Free tours of the city usually leave from the cathedral.
The Chapel of Silence:
The Chapel of Silence is a very special and original place. This beautiful wooden chapel is a lay space sponsored by the association of the Lutheran churches of the city, without priests. Definitely worth a visit!
Temppliaukio Church on Rock:
This is a Lutheran church in the Töölö neighborhood, close to the Sibelius Monument and café Regatta famous for its beautiful sunsets. The church was designed by brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened its doors in 1969, although the project began already before the Second World War. The interior of the Church was dug into the rock and it is bathed in natural light that enters through its glass dome. The church has excellent acoustics and is therefore often used as a concert venue.
This Lutheran church of gray granite is easily visible from almost everywhere in Helsinki. It is located in the modern neighborhood of Kallio, was designed by Lars Sonck and completed in 1912.
The “sisu”: true belief of the Finns
Above religions and atheism, the sisu is a state of mind shared by all Finns. After the II World War, Finland has been called the country of the three S: Sisu, Sauna and Sibelius. The sisu is a Finnish term hardly translatable. It is a mixture of perseverance, determination, courage and patience, with which the Finns face their day to day. The “good” sisu that allows the Finns to overcome themselves and the “bad” sisu that causes pride and stubbornness.
3. Get the best views of Helsinki
To enjoy the best views of Helsinki, it is not necessary to have a large budget. One of the most recommended places to see the panorama of the city, is the terrace of Hotel Tori. There is also a hotel bar where you can have a coffee or drink. In 2017 there was no need for consumption to be able to go out to the viewpoint. Please leave the comment below if anything has changed!
Another great option to get the best views of Helsinki is “Sky Wheel” near Market Square. You can be sure to have great views of sea and monuments from there! The price is 12EUR for adults. The ride lasts enough to take all the pictures and enjoy the views as well. The visit is worth every single euro, especially on sunny days to see the sunsets.
A little further from the city center, but also a nice spot to get some views of Helsinki is an amusement park Linnanmäki. If you are visiting Helsinki in the end of October, you cannot miss Lights Carnaval. If you are not interested to ride any of the attractions, no worries – the entrance to the park is free of charge.
I hope these tips will help you to visit Helsinki on budget. If you liked the city and you want to see more, take a look at our post on 6 best plans to do in Helsinki. We also leave you the link to the hotels (if you end the reservation after clicking on it, we will get a small percentage to build our budget for next trip ;)).
Wish you safe travels and let us know your experiences after visiting Helsinki!!!