Helsinki is one expensive city, a very expensive one at that. Budget backpackers with a freaky thing for Finland needn’t worry though. There’s plenty to see and do in the capital that’s completely free, you’ll forget you even have a budget.
Summer is by far the best time to enjoy the city’s free attractions, from parks to free summer music concerts, picnics and park games. This is the season to spend time outdoors and breathe the city in and experience it as the locals all embrace the sunny days before it’s time to return to their winter hibernation. Keep this guide handy for the next time you book flights to Helsinki.
Suomenlinna Fortress – The star-shaped bastion from the 1700s is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts tons of visitors to its surrounding church, theatre, craft galleries and onsite museums. One museum is an entire submarine that you can go inside and explore! While the island is free to visit, you’ll need to cough up a couple of coins to take the ferry over.
Hakaniemen Kauppahalli – This central market hall is a great place to explore on a rainy day. There are over 70 shops here selling all sorts of Finnish knickknacks, a great place to pick up some unique souvenirs!
Temppeliaukio Church – This church is remarkable; it was built inside rocks and is definitely one of Helsinki’s must-see sights. You’ll find it at Lutherinkatu 3.
Lutheran Cathedral – The Lutheran Cathedral, pictured at the top of the post, is one of Helsinki’s most recognisable sights and is free to visit. It’s an incredible piece of architecture and is located right in the city centre, in Senate Square.
Hakasalmi Villa – For free exhibitions of Helsinki, this is the place to go.
Free museums in Helsinki
Some museums offer free entry on certain days and at certain times in Helsinki, like in most cities. There is free admission on Fridays at the following museums:
- Tennis Palace Art Museum
- Meilahti Art Museum
- Museum of Finnish Architecture
The National Museum of Finland and the Museum of Culture are both free on Tuesdays after 5pm.
Summer in the city
If the weather treats you and the sun is out, head out to Hietaniemi Beach with your swim suit and a towel. This is a really popular place in summer for the locals, so make sure you arrive early in the day on weekends to reserve your place on the sand.
A trip to Linnanmäki amusement park is a must in summer. The park is free to enter and there’s even a free observation deck around 50 metres up where you can enjoy views over the entire city.
Enjoy a free summer music concert in Alppipuisto Park. They usually take place in the early evening, just remember to bring along a blanket to sit on. Esplanadi Park also hosts a number of free events and concerts in the summer, just be aware that they are very popular so it’s essential to arrive early.
Play some park games for free at Sinebrychoff Park. You can borrow them for free from the Fanny Bar & Kitchen.
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