Finland’s #1 Destination: Helsinki offers hundreds of summer events, magnificent islands, popular favourites and new attractions
Photo: Miikka Pirinen
Helsinki has been named Finland’s top domestic destination, offering the ideal holiday for visitors who want to spend a day or stay overnight in the nation’s capital. An increasing number of locals also prefer to stay in town during their holidays. The MyHelsinki website offers regularly updated tips by locals about how to experience their hometown.
The summer action begins already in May with two big urban events – Restaurant Day on Saturday 19 May and Cleaning Day on Saturday 26 May – inviting anyone who wants to set up their own pop-up restaurant or flea market. The Cirko Festival will entertain families with new circus performances at Suvilahti from Tuesday 15 May to Sunday 20 May. The World Village Festival in turn will attract thousands of people to enjoy the carnival atmosphere on Helsinki Railway Square and in Kaisaniemi Park on the last weekend of the month.
Helsinki celebrates its birthday each year on 12 June with hundreds of activities and events. In the middle of June you also have the chance to taste the very best that Helsinki has to offer at the Taste of Helsinki gourmet festival.
The summer’s music events kick off with the Sideways music and arts festival, which takes place from Friday 8 June to Sunday 10 June in a new location at Nordis by the Helsinki Ice Hall. Tens of thousands of festival-goers will flock to Suvilahti for the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival from Friday 29 June to Sunday 1 July and the Flow Festival from Friday 10 August to Sunday 12 August. The Helsinki Festival in turn will be marking its 50th anniversary this year from Friday 17 August to Sunday 2 September.
Discover Helsinki’s local neighbourhoods
Outside the city centre, many interesting events take place throughout the year in Helsinki’s unique districts. The Hanami Festival takes place among the cherry trees in Roihuvuori on Saturday 19 May, followed by the Kumpula Village Party on Saturday 26 May. The legendary outdoor swimming pool and diving platform in Kumpula opens for the summer season already on Sunday 13 May.
The Arabia Street Festival takes place at the start of the summer on Saturday 19 May, offering dance, circus and music performances in the artsy Arabianranta district. The biggest neighbourhood event of them all is the Kallio Block Party, which is being organised by locals for the 8th year in a row and will take place on Saturday 4 August. At the end of the summer, you can check out the Herttoniemi Block Party, which takes place on Saturday 25 August.
Explore the islands in the archipelago
Most island ferries and waterbuses begin operating on at the start of May, making it easy to get to Helsinki’s wonderful archipelago destinations. The popular recreational island of Pihlajasaari is perfect for sunbathing and even camping, and you can get there from Ruoholahti in just ten minutes.
From the Market Square you can get to popular island destinations like Suomenlinna, as well as to the recently opened recreational islands of Isosaari and Vallisaari. On the latter you will be able to try archery and yoga this summer. Helsinki Zoo on the island of Korkeasaari offers lots of fun activities throughout the summer, and you can get there by ferry from the Market Square and also from Hakaniemi beginning in June.
Naturally, the archipelago is easy to explore if you have your own boat. Helsinki region has hundreds of guest berths along the shoreline and islands.
Try fun activities
City bikes are a great way to explore the city, also with the kids. The system is easy to use, and city bike stations can be found throughout the city. The city bike network extends this year for the first time also to the neighbouring municipality of Espoo.
Summer is the perfect time to discover Helsinki’s thriving urban sauna culture. On the recreational island of Lonna you can enjoy a hot sauna while admiring the views out to sea. The Allas Sea Pool offers not only saunas, but also outdoor swimming pools by the Market Square in the city centre. Löyly is a sauna complex with a breathtaking design where you can enjoy a sauna and a dip in the sea before relaxing on the expansive terraces that hang out over the water. You can also enjoy a swim at one of Helsinki’s many public beaches, including the ever-popular Hietaranta and the newer Aurinkolahti. The most famous outdoor swimming pool of them all, the Swimming Stadium from the 1952 Summer Olympics, opens for the season on Sunday 27 May.
The classic Linnanmäki Amusement Park opened its doors in the end of April and celebrates with a circus carnival until Sunday 13 May. Throughout the summer the iconic amusement park will offer numerous concerts and other family events alongside all the rides.
Helsinki offers a unique skateboarding network, including around twenty skateparks scattered throughout the city. You can also experience the street culture by admiring all the murals and high-quality graffiti art, not only around town but also at the Graffiti exhibition currently running at the Helsinki Art Museum HAM.
Enjoy comfortable accommodation – from luxury suites to Airbnb apartments
Helsinki’s comprehensive hotel offerings have just been further expanded following the opening of St. George, the tenth hotel in the prestigious Kämp Collection. The new hotel is located in the city centre by the Old Church Park and specialises in comprehensive wellness services, complete with spas and bakeries.
Unique accommodation services are also offered by design hotels like Lilla Roberts and Klaus K. The classic Hotel Torni provides a real sense of Helsinki’s elegant history, as well as the perfect rooftop terrace for enjoying the sunset over the city.
Dozens of Airbnb apartments are available for rent throughout Helsinki. These are a good alternative for travellers, especially during the busiest weeks of the summer season. Airbnb apartments provide useful additional capacity during major events.
Eat out among an impressive range of restaurants
Helsinki boasts a thriving restaurant scene, offering a huge range of alternatives to satisfy all tastes. New restaurants include the local bistro Pontus and the Italian restaurant Bacco. Another interesting newcomer is Nolla, a zero-waste fine dining restaurant.
Helsinki’s restaurant scene has also gained international recognition. The restaurants Grön and Ora both received Michelin stars earlier this year. Helsinki also has three other restaurants with Michelin stars: Olo, Ask and Demo.
During the summer season you should also check out Helsinki’s wonderful open-air markets and indoor market halls. Hietalahti Market Hall is filled with interesting food stalls, and it also hosts a flea market on weekends. Hakaniemi Market Hall is currently under renovation, but you can still visit its stalls inside the temporary Glass Hall. The Old Market Hall next to the Market Square in the city centre sells the finest delicacies and fresh local food.
Find out more about this summer’s events online at MyHelsinki.fi.
Communications & Media Relations, Helsinki Marketing
Tel. +358 40 709 29 13
Helsinki Marketing is a company owned by the City of Helsinki. It is responsible for operative city marketing and business partnerships for Helsinki. Helsinki Marketing interacts with local residents, visitors, decision-makers and experts.