Walking Tours in Helsinki | Explore the Finnish Capital

What are the best walking tours in Helsinki? Let’s talk about it, but first real brief some general info about the vibrant Finnish capital. It’s located on the southern coast of the country and has a population of around 650,000 people. Helsinki is located on a peninsula and several islands. It has a large archipelago of more than 300 islands, which offer opportunities for boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Helsinki seamlessly blends modernity with tradition! The Finnish capital is a city that has a lot to offer, whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or simply having a good time.

Helsinki Clean and Green City

One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive in Helsinki is how clean and green the city is. The streets are lined with trees, parks are abundant, and the air is fresh and crisp. One of the best places to take in the city’s natural beauty is the Sibelius Monument. This is a stunning sculpture dedicated to the famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. The monument is made up of over 600 steel pipes that create a unique and mesmerizing sound when the wind blows.

If you’re interested in history, Helsinki has plenty to offer. Before exploring on your own, it’s a good idea to join a walking tour to get a good overview of the city.

Helsinki Landmarks

Helsinki’s most iconic landmark is the Helsinki Cathedral, a stunning neoclassical structure that towers over Senate Square. Built-in the 19th century, the cathedral is a symbol of Finland’s independence. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting the city. For a deeper dive into Finnish history, head over to the National Museum of Finland. Here you can learn about the country’s past from the Stone Age to the present day.

Finnish Culture

For those looking to immerse themselves in Finnish culture, Helsinki is the perfect place. The city is home to numerous museums and galleries. If you’re interested in contemporary art, be sure to check out the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. It features exhibits from both Finnish and international artists.

Finnish Food and Drinks

Of course, no trip to Helsinki would be complete without sampling some of the city’s famous food and drinks. Finnish cuisine is known for its hearty, comforting dishes, such as meatballs and reindeer stew. For a taste of the local cuisine, head over to the Old Market Hall. This is a historic indoor market that offers a wide variety of traditional Finnish foods, including freshly caught fish and artisanal cheeses. Why not join a food tour? And for a night out, there’s no better place than the Kallio neighborhood, which is known for its lively bars and clubs.

Helsinki is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or simply having a good time, Helsinki is sure to delight and inspire you.

Walking Tours in Helsinki

Helsinki is a great city for walking tours, with plenty of options to suit a variety of interests. Here are a few different walking tours in Helsinki you might want to consider:

Helsinki Walking Tour

This tour takes you through the heart of the city. You’ll learn about the city’s history and architecture as you walk, and get a feel for what life is like in modern-day Helsinki.
A historic, classic walking tour of Helsinki is a great way to learn about the city’s fascinating past and see some of its most iconic landmarks.

Here’s an example of what such a tour might include:

The tour might start at Senate Square, the heart of Helsinki and home to some of its most impressive buildings. You would see the Helsinki Cathedral. This is a magnificent neoclassical structure that was completed in 1852 and is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. You’ll also see the Government Palace and the main building of the University of Helsinki, Both of which date back to the 19th century and are great examples of Helsinki’s architectural heritage.

From there, you might walk down Aleksanterinkatu, one of Helsinki’s main shopping streets. The street leads to the impressive statue of Alexander II. The statue was unveiled in 1894 and is a tribute to the Russian Emperor who granted Finland increased autonomy in 1863.

Walking Tours in Helsinki – Market Square

Next, you can visit Market Square, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Helsinki. The square has been a hub of activity for centuries and is home to dozens of food stalls selling everything from fresh fish to reindeer meat. This is a great place to experience Helsinki’s lively atmosphere and sample some of its famous food.

Uspenski Cathedral

After the Market Square, the tour could continue to the Uspenski Cathedral. The Cathedral is one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals in Western Europe. It was built in the mid-19th century and is a beautiful example of Byzantine Revival architecture. You’ll learn about the history of the cathedral and its importance to Helsinki’s Russian-speaking population.

Esplanade Park

Finally, the tour could end at Esplanade Park. This popular gathering place attracts locals and tourists alike. The park was designed in the early 19th century and is home to several statues and monuments, as well as a variety of street performers and musicians. It’s a great place to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Helsinki.

A classic walking tour of Helsinki is a great way to learn about the city’s rich history and see some of its most iconic landmarks. With so much to see and do in Helsinki, this type of tour is a great way to get a feel for the city.


Helsinki Food Tour

If you’re a foodie, this tour is a must-do. You’ll visit some of Helsinki’s best restaurants and food markets, sampling local specialties like reindeer meatballs, smoked fish, and Finnish cheeses. Along the way, you’ll learn about Finnish cuisine and culinary traditions.

A Helsinki food walking tour is a fantastic way to explore the city’s culinary scene and try some delicious local food.

Here’s what you can expect on a Helsinki food tour:

  • A knowledgeable guide: Your tour will be led by a knowledgeable guide who is passionate about Finnish food and culture. They’ll be able to answer your questions and give you insights into the dishes you’re trying.
  • A variety of food stops: The tour will typically include several food stops, where you’ll be able to sample a variety of Finnish dishes. This might include traditional Finnish pastries, smoked salmon, reindeer meatballs, Finnish cheeses, and more.
  • Local markets and shops: The tour will likely take you to some of Helsinki’s best food markets and specialty shops. Here you’ll be able to see local ingredients and products up close. You might also have the opportunity to talk to local producers and learn about their craft.
  • Cultural insights: Along the way, your guide will provide insights into Finnish food culture and traditions. As well as giving you the history of Helsinki’s food scene. You’ll learn about the ingredients and techniques that are central to Finnish cuisine. Probably also how Finnish food has been influenced by its neighbors over the centuries.
  • A relaxed and fun atmosphere: Helsinki food walking tours are typically very relaxed and fun. You’ll be able to enjoy the food and company of your fellow travelers, as well as the beautiful surroundings of Helsinki.

A Helsinki food walking tour is a great way to experience the city’s culinary scene and learn about Finnish food and culture. Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a fun and delicious way to explore Helsinki, this type of tour is sure to be a highlight of your trip.


Suomenlinna Island Walking Tour

Just a short ferry ride, from Helsinki’s harbor, Suomenlinna Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site that once was a military fortress. On this tour, you’ll explore the island’s fortifications, tunnels, and barracks. As well as, its beautiful parks and beaches.

The fortress was built in the 18th century by the Swedish Empire. It was built as a military stronghold to protect Helsinki and the Gulf of Finland from Russian attacks. Originally it was called Sveaborg, which means “Swedish Fortress” in Swedish.

Today, Suomenlinna is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. They come to explore the island’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Visitors can take a ferry from Helsinki’s Market Square to Suomenlinna Island, which takes about 15-20 minutes. Once on the island, visitors can explore the fortress’s tunnels, ramparts, and museums. Some simply enjoy a picnic in the scenic surroundings.

Suomenlinna also hosts several cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, theater performances, and art exhibitions. The island’s stunning views of the city skyline and the surrounding archipelago make it a popular destination for photographers and nature lovers.

Overall, Suomenlinna is a unique and fascinating destination that offers a glimpse into Finland’s rich history and culture. It also offers stunning natural landscapes.

Here are some things you can expect on a tour of the Island:

  1. The boat ride: To get to Suomenlinna Island, you’ll need to take a boat from the Helsinki Market Square. The boat ride takes about 15-20 minutes and offers great views of Helsinki and the surrounding islands.
  2. Suomenlinna Fortress: The Fortress is considered to be one of the largest sea fortresses in the world with over 200 buildings and 7 kilometers of walls. The fortress was built on a group of six islands connected by bridges and causeways.
  3. Cultural events: Suomenlinna Island is also home to several cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, theater performances, and art exhibitions. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch one of these events during your visit.
  4. Scenic views: Suomenlinna Island offers some of the most beautiful views of Helsinki and the surrounding archipelago. From the island’s high points you can see the city skyline, the Baltic Sea, and the many islands that make up the Helsinki archipelago.

Overall, a tour of Suomenlinna Island is a must-do when visiting Helsinki. It offers a unique glimpse into the city’s history and culture, along with some of the most stunning views in the region.

Helsinki and Porvoo tour

A Helsinki and Porvoo tour is a popular day trip option for visitors who want to explore the country’s history by venturing out. Helsinki is the capital city of Finland, and Porvoo is a charming town located about an hour east of Helsinki. Here is an overview of what you can expect from a Helsinki and Porvoo tour:

The tour typically starts with a visit to Helsinki’s main attractions, including Senate Square, the Helsinki Cathedral, and the bustling Market Square. You have the opportunity to learn about the city’s history and culture from your knowledgeable guide as you explore these sites.


After spending some time in Helsinki, you travel to Porvoo, one of the oldest towns in Finland. The town’s old town is known for its colorful wooden houses and cobblestone streets. They date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. You will have the chance to stroll through the old town and take in the quaint, picturesque scenery. Porvoo Cathedral, which dates back to the 15th century and is one of the most famous landmarks in the town, is also worth a visit.

During the tour, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to shop for souvenirs and sample traditional Finnish cuisine. Porvoo is known for its local delicacies, such as the famous Runeberg cakes and fresh seafood.

A Helsinki and Porvoo tour is a great way to experience the rich history and culture of Finland. Along with enjoying some of the country’s most picturesque scenery. Whether you’re interested in history, or just want to explore a new destination, this tour is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Finland.

Nature Hiking Tours Outside of Helsinki

Hiking is a popular outdoor activity in Finland, and several hiking experiences outside of Helsinki offer beautiful scenery and natural landscapes. Here are some of the best hiking experiences to consider:

  1. Nuuksio National Park: Located just 30 kilometers north-west of Helsinki, Nuuksio National Park offers several hiking trails that wind through forests, lakes, and rocky cliffs. Visitors can choose from short, easy walks to longer, more challenging hikes, such as the 17-kilometer Nuuksio Hiking Trail.
  2. Porvoo River Valley: The Porvoo River Valley is located about an hour east of Helsinki and offers several hiking trails that lead through forests, fields, and meadows. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the river and the surrounding countryside, and there are several rests stops along the way.
  3. Teijo National Park: Teijo National Park is located about two hours west of Helsinki and offers several hiking trails that wind through forests, lakes, and rugged coastal landscapes. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Baltic Sea. Also, explore the park’s rich biodiversity, which includes rare plant and animal species.
  4. Repovesi National Park: Repovesi National Park is located about two and a half hours north of Helsinki. It offers several hiking trails that lead through rocky cliffs, deep gorges, and crystal-clear lakes. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the park’s rugged landscapes and explore its rich cultural history, which includes ancient rock paintings and logging traditions.

Overall, these hiking experiences outside of Helsinki offer visitors a chance to explore Finland’s natural beauty. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting, there’s a hiking trail that’s perfect for you.

Design / Art Walking Tours in Helsinki

Helsinki is known for its design scene, and this tour takes you through the city’s Design District, which is home to dozens of shops, galleries, and studios. You’ll see examples of Finnish design, from furniture to fashion, and learn about the city’s role in shaping the design world.

Helsinki also has a vibrant street art scene, and this tour takes you through some of the city’s most colorful neighborhoods to see murals, graffiti, and other street art. You’ll learn about the artists and their work, and get a sense of Helsinki’s creative energy.

These are just a few examples of the walking tours available in Helsinki. Whether you’re interested in history, food, design, or something else, there’s sure to be a tour that suits your interests.

Helsinki a Great Tourist Destination

Helsinki is a great tourist destination for several reasons. Here are some of the main reasons why people visit Helsinki:

  1. Rich history and culture: Helsinki has a rich history and culture that dates back to the 16th century. Visitors can explore the city’s museums, galleries, and historic landmarks Places such as the Helsinki Cathedral, Senate Square, and the Ateneum Art Museum.
  2. Beautiful architecture: Helsinki is known for its beautiful architecture, which ranges from Art Nouveau to modern designs. The city has several buildings designed by renowned architects, such as Alvar Aalto and Eliel Saarinen.
  3. Vibrant arts and music scene: Helsinki has a vibrant arts and music scene, with numerous festivals and events throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy classical music concerts, contemporary art exhibitions, and street performances.
  4. Natural beauty: Helsinki is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea and is surrounded by numerous islands and parks. Visitors can explore the city’s natural beauty by taking a boat tour, visiting the Helsinki Zoo, or hiking in the nearby forests.
  5. Culinary experiences: Helsinki has a thriving culinary scene, with a variety of restaurants and cafes serving traditional Finnish cuisine. Visitors can sample local delicacies, such as smoked salmon, reindeer meat, and Finnish berries.

Helsinki offers a unique blend of history, culture, architecture, and natural beauty. Experiences that make it a great tourist destination for visitors from around the world.

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Written by 

Born and raised in Sweden, now living in the US, Veronica has a passion for Scandinavian travel. As a former product design specialist with a Scandinavian tour operator, she has extensive knowledge of tour planning and the Scandinavian countries.

8 thoughts on “Walking Tours in Helsinki | Explore the Finnish Capital

  1. Hello!! 
    I am surely going to visit Finland someday!!! I enjoyed reading your article and have discovered a lot of interesting info! Would love to visit Helsinki while walking. It looks like such a beautiful town to wander about. That sounds awesome!! I would love also to try Finnish food like deer stew. Thank you for sharing! Great read!

  2. Helsinki is surely one of the cities in Europe that I would love to visit at some point in the future. I love nature and I know that there are some great places you can visit there both in winter and in summer. Its one of the places in my short list that I will definitely go when I get the chance.

    1. Helsinki is a beautiful city. Finland has so much to offer if you enjoy nature, all year around like you say. Fun winter activities like hunting for the Northern Lights, snowmobiling, husky rides and more. Summer is perfect for hiking, biking and camping for example.

  3. This is just fascinating!! I have always wanted to visit there! What a treasure you have here! Thank you so much for such an extensive well written article! It is wonderful how you have it laid out and what you can expect from each type of tour!! This is incredible work! Keep it up!!

  4. Hey, thanks for the great offer of this spectacular place. As you mentioned, I have heard before that Helsinki is a clean city. walking tours are one of my favourites It is a nature-loving activity and it can also help the body’s health. I think you made my day, I will take part in this tour.

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