We offer 11 Helsinki holidays. The Finnish capital city of Helsinki is well-known for its design culture, its historic architecture, fascinating east meets west history, and its outdoorsy lifestyle. In Helsinki you can shop for high quality design objects and one-off fashions, cycle through parkland, and even ice skate on a frozen sea. Whatever you're in the city for, we have an excellent range of Helsinki holidays to suit all travellers and fit all budgets. From well-placed campsites to top-class hotels, our Helsinki holidays offer something for everyone.
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Walking in HelsinkiThe best way to see a city is to get out and about on your own two feet and walking in Helsinki is second to none, thanks to its pleasant streets, expansive squares and compact size. Start your holiday in Helsinki with a stroll around the historic city centre, where you’ll find stately government buildings, high quality museums and the city’s crowning glory, it’s beautiful cathedral. This is the place to soak up the city’s past and marvel at the work of town planners Johan Albrecht Ehrenström and Carl Ludvig Engel who rebuilt the city after the devastating fire of 1827.
The city’s coastline, with its beautiful bays and historic harbour, is also a lovely place for a walk. Start at the Market Square where you’ll find the Presidential Palace, before continuing along the water to Kaivopuisto Park and the Ullanlinna shoreline.
Maps and information about walks on specific themes are also available – try the Font walk to discover the city’s graphic design heritage, or follow routes based on culture, food or urban living created to celebrate Helsinki’s status as World Design Capital 2012. Read more about walking in Helsinki
Ice swimming in HelsinkiNo holiday in Helsinki would be complete without indulging in one particular local custom – ice swimming.
For centuries, Finns have used the icy waters of winter as a traditional health tonic, bathing in near-frozen lakes to invigorate the immune system and ward off colds and flu. Ice swimming is also good for the circulation and is said to eliminate toxins and even elevate your mood. Entering the water (which is usually around 1 degree) can be a painful experience for the uninitiated, but the Finns have the perfect antidote – an icy swim is generally followed by a relaxing sauna.
The idea is to switch from one to the other, following each bone-chilling swim with a warming sauna, and the whole affair is generally rounded off with a drink. It’s a sociable experience and one that you will never forget, so leave those inhibitions at home and reap the benefits of this natural health booster. Read more about ice swimming in Helsinki
Helsinki by bikeHelsinki has a lot to offer the cyclist. With a network of some 10,000km of cycle paths, there is everything from an easy cycle along the coastline to a more challenging leg-stretch around the area’s parks – and almost every corner of the city can be reached by bike.
On your holiday to Helsinki you could try out the new Baana cycling corridor, which runs from the Western Harbour area to Kamppi and Töölö Bay along the disused harbour railway. Alternatively, you could load your bike onto one of the regular ferry services to the outlying islands and explore Helsinki’s extensive archipelago. Wherever you choose to go, you’ll see more if you go by bike. Bikes can be picked up in numerous places around Helsinki. Many hotels offer them for guest’s use, while the Bicycle Centre on Narinkka in the Kamppi district offers bikes for hire, as well as repair services and a wealth of information on all things cycling. There is also plenty of bike parking around the city and next summer the popular CityBike service, which offers free bikes to borrow from stands around the city, is due to be reintroduced. Read more about cycling in Helsinki
Skiing and snowshoeing in HelsinkiWinter is a magical time to take a holiday in Helsinki, with snow covering the ground more or less constantly from November until April. During these months there’s no better way to get out and about than by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. At Paloheinä snow field on the edge of Central Park just north of the city you’ll find dozens of trails and tracks through the forest which are ideal for cross-country skiing. Experienced skiers can simply strap on their skis and go, while beginners can join a lesson with an experienced teacher, who will take them step by step from a gentle, flat run to whizzing through the forest.
If that sounds like too much activity for you, you could try snowshoeing instead. This easy and enjoyable pastime is suitable for anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. Snowshoes can be hired at Paloheinä and simply fit over your own shoes to allow you to walk across the snow without sinking or slipping. Read more about skiing and snowshoeing in Helsinki
Ice skating in HelsinkiIce-skating is one of Helsinki’s most popular activities – not to mention one of its most affordable and accessible – and is sure to be a highlight of your holiday here. If you’ve got your own skates you can skate on the sea for free, joining the locals on one of the well-maintained trails across the ice. Common starting points for these include Hietalahti, Puotila in East Helsinki, and Laajalahti and Suvisaaristo in Espoo.
Alternatively, the Helsinki Icepark is a manmade rink on Railway Square, which is open daily from the beginning of November until the end of March. Tickets for the rink cost just €5 for adults and €3 for children, and get you access for the full day. Skate rental is an additional €5 and there are numerous events taking place here throughout the season, including ice hockey friendlies, DJ sessions and even icebic – an exercise class which combines aerobic exercises with ice skating. There are also skating lessons and an ice hockey school, as well as a café, which serves sweet and savoury snacks and delicious hot chocolate and is the perfect place to warm up and take in the view of the beautiful surrounding skyline. Read more about skiing and snowshoeing in Helsinki
Swimming in HelsinkiHelsinki has 315 islands, almost 100 kilometres of shoreline and literally dozens of beautiful beaches. So, where could be better for a swim? Swimming outdoors is a popular pursuit in Helsinki and there are plenty of places for you to take a dip on your holiday here. The most popular beach is Hietaniemi in the Töölö district of central Helsinki, which has a long, sweeping stretch of gently banked sand. Further afield, the beaches of the outlying islands are generally more attractive, as well as more relaxing, thanks to the lower number of visitors. Try Pihlajasaari Island for sandy stretches backed by swaying pine and rowan trees, or head to Uunisaari for a cute little beach with old-fashioned changing rooms. Alternatively, visit Kivinokka beach in Kulosaari for a quiet atmosphere and fantastic views across the water to the city.
The city itself is also blessed with numerous swimming pools. The more impressive of the two is the Helsinki Swimming Stadium, which was built for the Olympic Games and offers a 50-metre swimming pool and a separate pool for children, built in stunning 1930s style. The 25-metre Kumpula outdoor pool was built as a training venue for the athletes and today also provides visitors with a children’s pool and play area, a diving pool and a sun plateau. Read more about swimming in Helsinki
Helsinki ArticlesDiscover why a city break in Helsinki is quite unlike any other. Read more about Helsinki city breaks