Before visiting Helsinki, I’d been told to expect a steep increase in price over there and to take a lot of money. Actually, we ended up taking WAY more than we needed as the prices for most things are on a par with London; vintage items were a bit cheaper,and alcohol a bit more expensive. Also, there’s also a huge amount of free stuff to do and almost all of our favourite things were completely free. Helsinki is such a beautiful city (you can see my photo diary here) that just walking down some of the streets feels like a treat! Rather than posting a diary for each day we were there, I’ve rounded up some of my favourite free things to share with you. There’s 17 of them…!
Visit some of the many gorgeous parks in Helsinki. My favourite was Esplanadi Park (which currently has a Yayoi Kusama exhibition), but you can find a perfectly neat and tidy park on pretty much every main street.
Admire the beautiful interior (and exterior!) of Helsinki Cathedral, and sit on the steps to Senate Square.
Spend five minutes in perfect quiet at the Kamppi Church Of Silence.
Browse the stalls at Market Square – fresh blueberries are a must.
Stop in at the flagship Marimekko store. Such beautiful things!
Visit Grand Central Station and it’s world-renowned architecture.
See the Russian architecture of stunning Upenski Cathedral.
Imagine all the love stories that have been locked onto the Kanavakatu bridge.
Light a candle and listen to some live music at the Temppeliaukion Rock Church – a beautiful church literally built into the rock.
Walk along the harbour – but remember your sunglasses as there’s not much shade.
Listen to your favourite Sibelius piece whilst standing in the Sibelius monument (recommendations: Symphony no 3 or The Swan of Tuonela).
Look at the beautifully coloured buildings (more on this soon!).
Swoon over the stunning visual merchandise of the shops in Kallio (aka vintage district), or the Design District.
Admire the beautifully painted wooden houses (more on this coming soon).
Choose your favourite crockery in the amazing Astialiisa crockery shop.
Find the wedding chapel in the back of the Garageland vintage store.
I’ve also written a guide to the best vegan places in Helsinki here and about our trip to the Natural History Museum (not free, but worth it!) here. If you’re interested you can also see what amazing souvenirs I brought home!