"Helsinki, Finland" Helsinki by ZeekLTK
Helsinki Travel Guide: 3,783 reviews and 7,794 photos
In 1998 I had visited the rest of Scandinavia - Norway, Sweden, and Denmark - but not Finland, so when I had some free time in April 2012 I decided to finish off that region and finally see that country. Due to other things that came up during my planning (an unplanned trip to Florida that ate away about half of my vacation time) plus my desire to also visit Estonia on the same trip, I only had a total of 4 and half days to spend in Finland (4 days on the first go-around and then the evening before my departure at the end of the trip), so instead of rushing to visit multiple cities, I spent it all in Helsinki.
I felt like this was enough time to get a good idea of what the city was all about and see what it had to offer, so I hope the tips that I've created can help you plan your trip to this interesting city.
Unless you are coming for a specific event (which Helsinki does host fairly often - they were preparing to host the 2012 World Ice Hockey Championships while I was there), I would estimate that you need at least 2 days to see all of the major sights in Helsinki, though you might find it more relaxing to take your time and use 3. I was there for 4 days and I felt that was probably a little too long, although I didn't really have time to go to another city either so I was kind of stuck.
I would plan on:
-Half a day to walk around downtown and see the 3 main churches (Lutheran, Uspenski, and the Rock Church), the Central Rail and Bus Station, National Theater, Parliament Building, Olympic Tower, and any monuments you might be interested in (like Sibelius).
-Half a day at Suomenlinna
-Half a day to shop (probably not all at once though!) at Stockmann, the Forum, Market Square, and souvenir shops.
-Half a day to stroll through various museums (they are all closed on Monday though!)
Other things that would take a decent amount of time would be to visit the Helsinki Zoo, the Open Air Museum, and the Amusement Park - although I wouldn't say any of these are "must see".
You might also want to stay up late to participate in the vibrant night life, or relax in some of the interesting city parks during the day. Add even more time to your "budget" if you want to do these.
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