The city center, characterized by its large multistory malls, is densely packed and easily explored on foot, the main tourist sites grouped in several clusters; nearby islands are easily accessible by ferry. Just west of Katajanokka, Senaatintori and its Tuomiokirkko (Luthern Cathedral) mark the beginning of the city center, which extends westward along Aleksanterinkatu. The wide street Mannerheimintie is comparable to New York's Broadway, moving diagonally past the major attractions of the city center before terminating beside the Esplanade. Southern Helsinki is a tangle of smaller streets, some of them curving and some of which run for just a few blocks before changing their names; carry a good map while exploring this area.

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  • 1. Suomenlinna


    A former island fortress, Suomenlinna is a perennially popular collection of museums, parks, and gardens, and has been designated a UNESCO World...Read More

  • 2. Suomenlinna Museo

    Suomenlinna | Museum/Gallery

    The Suomenlinna Museo is housed in the same building as the visitor center. exhibits cover the building of the fortress and the fleet and early...Read More

  • 3. Ehrensvärd Museo

    Suomenlinna | Museum/Gallery

    This museum is named for Augustin Ehrensvärd, the military architect who directed the fortification of the islands of Suomenlinna from 1748...Read More

  • 4. Havis Amanda

    Keskusta/Kauppatori | Fountain

    This fountain's brass centerpiece, a young woman perched on rocks surrounded by dolphins, was commissioned by the city fathers to embody Helsinki...Read More

  • 5. Hietalahden Tori

    Hietalahti | Market/Bazaar

    The brick market hall is crammed with vendors selling fish, flowers, produce, and meat. You can also find antiques, collectibles, and art. A...Read More

  • 6. Jugendsali

    Kauppatori | Visitor Center

    In a former bank building from 1906, the Helsinki City Tourist & Convention Bureau's Tourist Information has free information about the...Read More

  • 7. Kauppatori


    At this Helsinki institution, open year-round, wooden stands with orange and gold awnings bustle in the mornings when everyone—tourists and...Read More

  • 8. Kaupungintalo

    Keskusta/Kauppatori | Government Building

    The light-blue building on Pohjoisesplanadi (North Esplanade), the political center of Finland, is the home of city government offices. ...Read More

  • 9. Korkeasaari Eläintarha

    Korkeasaari | Zoo/Aquarium

    Snow leopards and reindeer like the cold climate here, at one of the world's most northern zoos. Entirely within the limits of this small island...Read More

  • 10. Obeliski Keisarinnan Kivi

    Keskusta/Kauppatori | Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    This obelisk with a double-headed golden eagle, used by Imperial Russia, was erected in 1835, toppled during the Russian Revolution in 1917...Read More

  • 11. Presidentinlinna

    Keskusta/Kauppatori | Castle/Palace

    The long history of this edifice mirrors the history of Finland itself: built between 1813 and 1820 for a German businessman, it was redesigned...Read More

  • 12. Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo

    Hietalahti | Museum/Gallery

    The wealthy Russian Sinebrychoffs owned a brewing company and lived in this splendid yellow-and-white 1840 neo-Renaissance mansion filled with...Read More

  • 13. Suomenlinna Visitor Centre

    Suomenlinna | Visitor Center

    From June through August, guided English-language tours leave daily at 11 am and 2 pm from the Suomenlinna Visitor Centre; call to arrange tours...Read More

  • 14. Svenska Teatern

    Esplanadi | Arts/Performance Venue

    Dating from 1827, the first wooden theater on this site was considered too vulnerable to fire and was replaced by a stone building in 1866....Read More

  • 15. Vanha Kauppahalli

    Kauppatori | Market/Bazaar

    Piles of colorful fish roe, marinated Greek olives, and much more—the old brick market hall on the waterfront is a treasury of delicacies. The...Read More

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