48 Hours in Helsinki

  • Brooke Saward
  • May 10, 2017
Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust
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I didn’t fall in love with Helsinki on my first visit two years ago, but my second visit to the city has convinced me this city has much to offer for a 48 hour stopover. Flying to Europe with Finnair for the second time, I decided to spend two days in Helsinki before embarking on the rest of my European adventure. Not only did the cold force me to shake my jetlag, but it also made for quite the comedic day out with friends as we saw snow falling in Spring!

Check In: Hotel Kamp

Suuuuuper swanky and in the most beautiful part of town, Hotel Kamp has long been on my list of hotel stays. Its the kind of hotel that will make you feel like Kevin from Home and Alone, wandering the long, lush hallways and winding up in your super luxe suite. There’s an indoor pool so pack your togs and be prepared to kick jet lag before you carry on on your adventure!

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Helsinki Cathedral

Visiting Helsinki usually starts with the Helsinki Cathedral, located smack bang in the centre of town and offering great insight in to architecture in Helsinki: imperial, imposing, and when you look closely, very intricate. I found the cathedral was best visited in the early hours of the morning, when the rest of the city was sleeping and you could enjoy the impressive church to yourself.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Cafe o’ clock

Helsinki has a strong emerging coffee and cafe scene, so I didn’t waste any time testing them out! Scandinavia has built a really strong reputation for drip coffee, which is best found at Paulig Kulma and Fratello Torrefazione. Other great coffee shops in own include Johan & Nystrom (hipster haunt), Cafe Fazer (chocolate, chocoalte, chocolate!!!) and Strindberg for great coffee in a casual setting.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Helsinki Harbour 

The harbour of Helsinki is one of the cities’ most central points and places of business. Here you can visit the local markets, wandering along the waterfront or even take in the view from the ferris wheel.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Market Hall

Located down on the waterfront is one of my favourite finds from my second visit to Helsinki, that I somehow overlook on my first visit two years ago! Inside the market hall you will find a variety of local produce, farm to table products, local delicacies and some traditional giftware.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

The Esplanade

Not far from the waterfront is perhaps my favourite area of Helsinki to wander around: The Esplanade. This is where you will find the cities’ most luxurious hotel; Hotel Kamp. Nearby are a range of upmarket restaurants and cafes, as well as upscale boutiques both local and international. Kappeli is a great place to grab lunch, especially in the warmer months when you can enjoy the outdoor seating. Don’t forget to look up when walking through this part of town – the architecture is amazing!

Experience the Finnish Sauna

One experience you absolutely must have in Finland is to enjoy a traditional Finnish Sauna. Many of the hotels in the city will have a sauna for you to use, but if not check out Helsinki Day Spa for the full experience. The more traditional way to spa (found outside of the cities) is to follow a hot sauna with an ice cold plunge in the lake (have tried it once, will never again!)

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Pastry shops to visit for a pick-me-up

After all your wandering, head to one of these great pastry shops for a sugary treat: Paulig Kulma, Fazer Cafe or the very cute Frangipani Bakery Boutique.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Uspenski Cathedral

Another impressive church in Helsinki from the Orthodox faith is Uspenski Cathedral, located near to the harbour. The church was but in the mid-late 19th Century and is the largest orthodox church in Western Europe.

Tallinn Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Take a Day Trip to Tallinn

As beautiful as Helsinki is, there’s an absolute gem of a city located just a two hour ferry ride away. You guessed it: Tallinn, Estonia! Ferries run very frequently every day and it is a great way to spend 6-8 hours of your day in Tallinn, before returning to Helsinki in the late afternoon or early evening.

Helsinki Photo Diary | World of Wanderlust

Useful Information:

Arriving in Helsinki Airport

Helsinki International Airport is located a 30 minute drive from the city. The most affordable and convenient way to the city is with one of the public buses or the Finnair city bus (both around the same price).

Arriving in Helsinki City

The buses will drop you off in the centre of town at the main train station. For convenience I would recommend booking a hotel within the Kluuvi area, especially if you are only in town for a couple of days.

Early arrivals

Arriving early in Helsinki? There are luggage storage lockers below the main train station, costing 4-6 euros for 24 hours (depending on the size of the locker required).

Ferries to Tallinn

Catching the ferry is extremely simple and affordable. Purchasing a ticket at the ferry dock cost me 35 euros. To reach the port, it is around 20-30 minutes walk from the main train station.

Money matters

Finland is on the Euro and ATMs are widely available both at the airport and in the city centre. Most places will take card payment.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!



  1. itsallbee@gmail.com'


    May 20, 2017

    Great info and so up my alley as I am heading to Helsinki in July and trying to figure out how easy it is to get to the ferries from the station. Your post has answered that question.

  2. Brooke Saward

    May 15, 2017

    Thank you so much 🙂 hope you have a great trip!!

  3. danielle.arnold23@gmail.com'

    Danielle Theriault

    May 15, 2017

    48 days (but who’s counting, right?) until I arrive in Helsinki. My husband grew up there, so I am super excited to see where he lived and to experience all things Finnish! Your pictures are beautiful! |

  4. uniah95@gmail.com'


    May 12, 2017

    So exiting to see and read about my home country and the city where I study from an outsider’s point of view!

  5. moonlighttravelblog@gmail.com'


    May 11, 2017

    Helsinki might be my holiday destination for this Summer, the photos are very convincing 😉

  6. Brooke Saward

    May 11, 2017

    Hey Daisy! I use an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II and edit with Lightroom 🙂 Thanks!

  7. jacqueline.x@gmail.com'


    May 11, 2017

    Your coat is gorgeous! Those photos near the Cathedral are just so stunning I can’t stop staring!!!! xx

  8. mattes@ruhrpics.de'


    May 11, 2017

    One of my best friends came from Finland and we alsways tried to take a vacation together for few days in Finland – at first in Helsinki. But we still didn`t find the time für holiday togethe :/
    Thanks for the impressions, so that i want more then ever to take a vacation in Helsinki…

  9. mochilera@gmail.com'


    May 11, 2017

    Finland is on my bucket list for sure! Love the pics. What camera do you use? Do you edit your pics as well? Gorg

  10. juliette.elise.kopp@gmail.com'

    Juliette | Namastay Traveling

    May 10, 2017

    Wow! That architecture is stunning. Plus a sauna? I’m sold.

  11. justzarabelle@hotmail.co.uk'


    May 10, 2017

    Beautiful photography as always! Never really thought to visit Finland before xo

  12. aaanna-@hotmail.com'


    May 10, 2017

    There is also a new local train from the airport to the city centre! It takes 25-30 min and at day time it arrives every 5 min. Same price as a local bus and a bit cheaper than Finnair bus

  13. coffeeavocados@gmail.com'

    Coffee & Avocaods

    May 10, 2017

    I’ve been wanting to visit Helsinki but other places just keep popping up before it on the list!
    Such beautiful pictures, sounds like a great place for a short break!

  14. erynmacgillivray@gmail.com'


    May 10, 2017

    Helsinki had never even been on my radar as somewhere I might want to travel until I saw your posts about it! Looks absolutely amazing! Love all your architecture shots 🙂

    Eryn, Diaries From The Window Seat

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