Helsinki: A Mini Guide

Helsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi Blog
Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in any city I travel to but thought it would be fun if I’d share few of the gems we find on our travels in the form of new ‘Mini Guide’ series.
What better city to begin with than my beloved Helsinki. Sometimes the most exciting trips are to the places we already know we love. This year is special in many ways as Finland celebrates its centenary, and the festivities are taking place throughout the year.
To start with, I jotted down a few addresses that I’d been to before or new places that I’d heard about from locals to take some snaps for a little guide here on the blog, in the hope these tips help get your trip to Helsinki off to a great start or at least convince you that you need to go. Because you really do!
Fazer Cafe, Helsinki Finland | Helsinki Mini Guide | Karoliina Kazi BlogHelsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi Blog

Helsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi BlogSleep | Karoliina Kazi Blog


If you’ve been following my blog, then you probably already know I’m a huge fan of boutique hotels – I love the uniqueness and personalised service that so many of them offer. In Helsinki, make the Hotel Lilla Roberts your home away from home, I can’t recommend it enough. Located in the Design District, it’s definitely the place to stay, and I understand why with its impeccable interiors and friendly staff. The colours, the interiors, the breakfast – it’s all spot on!

Pieni Roobertinkatu 1-3, 00130 Helsinki  |  +358 9 689 9880

website | my full post from the hotel

Hotel Lilla Roberts, Helsinki | Helsinki Mini Guide | Karoliina Kazi Blog



Whilst the Artist Apartment Susi might not be in the centre, it’s just a couple of metro stops or a short walk away from all of the action. This is your chance to live like a local. Kallio neighbourhood is considered quite bohemian and there are tonnes of great restaurants and cafes nearby. We stayed here for New Years in 2016 and absolutely loved everything about the apartment – you can read more about it here.
Karhupuisto, Helsinki | Airbnb listing

Image source: Nanna Susi

Image source: Nanna Susi


The Cock is a hip, trendy eatery & rotisserie filled with locals. Take a seat at the cool dining room or at the bar and order a spread of shareable dishes, followed by some great cocktails. Make sure to save room for the chocolate fondant! Reservations recommended, but not required.

Fabianinkatu 17, 00130 Helsinki  |  +358 9 6128 5100  |  website

Image source: The Cock Helsinki

Image source: The Cock Helsinki

If you feel like having well-made pizza, then Skiffer is the place to go. It’s a cosy and modern pizzeria by the Diana Park serving crispy, stone-baked and oval-shaped pizzas with a Scandinavian touch. They also have a great wine list!
Erottajankatu 11, 00130 Helsinki, Finland  |  +358 45 344 5351  |  website

Image source: Skiffer Helsinki


Oh, my goodness. I have had a fair share of salmon soup, so you have to trust me when I tell you this one is well worth a visit. A huge bowl of simple, delicious and creamy soup at the Old Market Hall right by the sea – my idea of heaven. Daily soup available until 3 pm.

Vanha Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall), Eteläranta, 00130 Helsinki  |  +358 10 666 8458  |  website


It’s easy to fall in love with Healthinki, a clearly very popular breakfast and lunch spot in Ullanlinna. Delicious and beautifully presented smoothie bowls and avocado toasts. A must-visit!

Tehtaankatu 13, 00140, Helsinki  |  |  website

Image source: Healthinki


This charming café and restaurant in the Esplanadi Park is one of the most beautiful spaces in Helsinki and has been around since 1867. It was a famous hangout for artists, such as Jean Sibelius, back in the day. Cosy during the winter months and the terraces are fabulous for sipping coffee and people watching during the summer. Kappeli serves a delicious, locally sourced menu and has seasonal specialities such as Blini week in January and Asparagus menu in the Spring. I usually pop in here for coffee and cake.

Eteläesplanadi 1, 00130 Helsinki, Finland  |  +358 10 76 63880  |  website

Kappeli - Helsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi Blog


This is a sweet little patisserie is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up. The cinnamon buns/butter buns here are the best as far as I’m concerned. You’ll find them at almost any cafe and bakery, but I love the ones from Patisserie Teemu & Markus. They also have a gorgeous selection of cakes, and serve a soup lunch with homemade bread during the week.

Yrjönkatu 25, 00100 Helsinki |  +358 401 355 783  |  website

Helsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi Blog


Alvar Aalto, Angry Birds, Marimekko, and about 1000 other designer’s works drive home the Finnish vibes of Helsinki’s Design Museum that draws a crowd interested in creative design. The Design Museum, founded in 1873, is one of Helsinki’s most celebrated museums for its range of exhibits. Love it!

Korkeavuorenkatu 23, 00130 Helsinki  |  +358 9 6220 540  |  website

Image source: Wallpaper


This Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral is a must-see. I mean, you’d be hard pushed to miss it on a trip to Helsinki as the city isn’t huge, and this is the tourist hot-spot. Whilst you’ll have to battle with other tourists taking photos, it’s worth a visit – it’s pretty impressive. Don’t miss the stars on the domes.
Unioninkatu 29, 00170 Helsinki
Helsinki Cathedral - Helsinki Mini Travel City Guide | Karoliina Kazi BlogHelsinki Cathedral - Helsinki Mini Travel City Guide | Karoliina Kazi Blog


You should wander out to the open-air market on Kauppatori for fresh seasonal produce, souvenirs, outdoor cafes serving traditional food and, all sorts! Be aware of seagulls though, they are quick and pretty mean.

There is a ferry that connects Kauppatori with Suomenlinna Island. If you are visiting during the summer, then you probably want to spend as much time outside in the sunshine. The market and Old Market Hall are perfect for filling your picnic basket with fresh strawberries (best in the world!) and sandwiches for a picnic and sunbathing on Suomenlinna Island. Very popular with locals.

Eteläranta, 00170 Helsinki

Helsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi Blog


Hernesaaren Ranta is an outdoor seaside area, close to the city centre with excellent transport connections. There are bars, street food stalls, boat docks, lots of activities and concerts throughout the summer months and lounge chairs for relaxing on the beach. A perfect spot for enjoying the sunshine with some street food and ice creams from the vendors and lounge around by the seaside. I have written about it before, here.

Hernesaarenranta 6, 00150 Helsinki  | +358 40 739 7201  |  website


Now, this place is fun! Located on Katajanokka island, you’re still close to everything but you’ll get a sense of escapism. The seasonal menu consists of fish and seafood, served with modern veggie dishes. The interiors are stunning and super Instagrammable! A perfect destination for dinner, fab cocktails and getting drunk on Holiday spirit!

Kanavaranta 7, 00170 Helsinki  |  +358 9 6128 5121  |  website

Image source: Holiday Bar Helsinki


More than 200 shops on 25 streets are part of the Design District Helsinki, including jewellery makers, design and antique shops, fashion stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants, hotels and showrooms. If you are into Scandinavian design, this is the place to be to see all the variety in Finnish design today. Little shops, pretty painted houses and quiet streets made for walking.

To make things easier, you also check out the Design District map

For more information and their event calendar check out their website


You may have seen Minna Parikka’s famous Bunny trainers, but did you know they come from Finland? Her flagship store on Aleksanterinkatu is filled with bold and gorgeous designs. I love my white leather Bunny trainers, they’re so comfortable and fun to wear – and have you seen the kiddie versions – don’t even get me started. High up on my go-to spots in Helsinki!
Aleksanterinkatu 36, 00100 Helsinki  |  +358 9 667554  |  website
Minna Parikka, Helsinki | Karoliina Kazi Blog


Marimekko is known for its bold and colourful patterns and organic designs; in this flagship store, you’ll find the most diverse range of fashion, accessories, handbags and home accents for your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

(Flagship) Mikonkatu 1, 00100 Helsinki  |  +358 50 572 5632  |  website

Marimekko has multiple locations in Helsinki and across Finland – check their website for a location near you.

Marimekko Store | Helsinki Mini Guide | Karoliina Kazi BlogMarimekko Store | Helsinki Mini Guide | Karoliina Kazi Blog


High quality and easy to wear fashion brand by designer pair Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi that combines Nordic minimalism, fun prints and feminine cuts and is inspired by real women. The Finnish Elle magazine calls it “The Finnish version of Acne Studios”. They have a website and they’ll ship internationally if you fancy taking a look at the beautiful designs – most definitely worth a snoop.

Fredrikinkatu 18, 00120 Helsinki  |  +358 44 702 1111  |  website

Shopping in Helsinki - R/H Store, Helsinki Mini Guide | Karoliina Kazi Blog


I didn’t get any snaps of this place, but if you’re in Helsinki you must go! You’ll find antique furniture, lots of Finnish design glassware and ceramics, vintage clothing, home textiles and silver. It’s a huge space for exploring and bargain hunting.

Korkeavuorenkatu 5, 00140 Helsinki |  +358 9 260 9970  |  website

Helsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi BlogHelsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi BlogHelsinki Mini Guide | Helsinki City Guide | Helsinki Kaupunkiopas | Karoliina Kazi Blog

A true Finnish sauna is an essential experience, as any Finn will tell you. Most locals get their fix at home or at their summer cottages, but definitely, give the sauna venture a try. There are many public saunas in the city – however, my recommendation goes for a one with beautiful sea views, option for swimming, striking architecture and sustainable business. Check out the exceptionally stunning Löyly Helsinki in Hernesaarenranta. Easily reached by public transportation or even walking. You can also read more about Löyly here.

Hernesaarenranta 4, 00150 Helsinki  |  +358 9 6128 6550  |  website

Helsinki certainly deserves a spot on your To Visit list. It’s staying firmly on mine, for obvious reasons, and I already can’t wait to go back!
If you have any ideas to add to my Helsinki Mini Guide, I would love to hear about them – leave a comment below!
Want more City Guides? Check out my Mini-Guide to Istanbul!


    • 9th May 2017 / 9:59 am

      Thank you Annika. That’s really kind of you to say xx

  1. 8th May 2017 / 1:42 pm

    Oh wow! What a gorgeous and complete guide I’m sure this is very helpful for anyone planning a trip to Helsinki. With what device have you taken those photos btw? They all look amazing. 🙂

    I could add restaurant Passio to your list because they serve amazing menus from Finnish ingredients. I could also add some brunch places and restaurants with beautiful city views (like Loiste or Hotel Torni’s bar). Anyhow, excellent quite!

    • 9th May 2017 / 9:58 am

      Thank you Nora, I’m so glad you like it – I thought of Passion but didn’t add it since I haven’t been, however, your blogpost and so many of my friends are telling me it’s the best restaurant in Helsinki. So everyone reading the comments – make a note of Passion Restaurant 🙂 I need to check out Loiste next time I’m in Helsinki – thanks for the tips xx

      • 9th May 2017 / 10:15 am

        You’re very welcome! 🙂 Loiste might not be the best restaurant in Helsinki (though it sure is a good one) but the views over Helsinki are stunning from there! 🙂

  2. 8th May 2017 / 2:22 pm

    I’ve never thought about visiting Helsinki. The architecture is beautiful. And those pink pom pom shoes are to die for!

    • 10th May 2017 / 10:27 pm

      Hopefully it will go on your list now 🙂 Helsinki is amazing city with its beautiful pastel-hued buildings (and lovely people!) – I loved those pink pom pom’s too 🙂

  3. 8th May 2017 / 5:43 pm

    AH, absolutely loved this! This is good for people who travel to Helsinki and well, for me as well even though I’ve lived here for 5 years now haha 😀 I’ve still got so much to explore!

    • 10th May 2017 / 10:29 pm

      Thank you Jasmin, means a lot coming from someone living in Helsinki 🙂 It’s the same for me in London, there’s always something new to see and explore… xx

  4. Analesha
    8th May 2017 / 9:14 pm

    I love the look of the design museum! And the architecture of the buildings is so pretty

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:33 pm

      Hi Analesha – the architecture is one of my favourite things in Helsinki for sure – and the pastel hues 🙂

  5. 8th May 2017 / 11:00 pm

    I bookmark this as it full with valuable information. Helsinki is a pretty awesome city and it’s one of the cities in Europe that I really want to visit.

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:34 pm

      Hi Rose – thank you for that 💗I’m so glad you like the guide. Let me know when you are planning on visiting and I can send you some more recommendations 🙂

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:36 pm

      Thank you, that’s so sweet 💗 Helsinki is a great city and we dream of moving there one day – let me know when you’re going and I’ll happily send you some more recommendations x

  6. 9th May 2017 / 2:19 pm

    Wow! These photos are awesome! Helsinki just moved higher on my list of places to see!

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:29 pm

      Thank you! Helsinki is so pretty, I love all those pastel coloured buildings.

  7. 9th May 2017 / 5:17 pm

    I was born in this city but you seem to know so many more nice places there than I do 😀 I need to pop in to that Healhtinki next time I’m around!
    Super nicely made article!

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:29 pm

      I doubt that Tiina 🙂 However, I do know how easy it is to get use to going to same spots (believe me, we do that too!). Plus, I’m looking at Helsinki from a tourists point of view since I don’t live there. Healthinki is super nice, definitely check it out!

  8. 9th May 2017 / 6:59 pm

    Beautiful photos! I’ve heard the food scene in Finland is amazing. Really want to visit now.

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:26 pm

      Thank you Elizabeth – the food scene is Helsinki is awesome and I’m always so excited to try new places when I visit 🙂

  9. 9th May 2017 / 7:13 pm

    This is pretty much covered every area to help a tourist..the street screams so much life and fun

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:24 pm

      Thank you – these are the things I think about when visiting a city, so it was so much fun putting the guide together.

  10. 9th May 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Thanks for great info! Haven’t visited this place, but maybe someday in the future. As long as not on winter, I would love to visit!

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:21 pm

      Thank you! Winters are cold, but summer in Finland is wonderful – and we have the famous midnight sun during the summer months which is quite exotic for most visitors 🙂

  11. 10th May 2017 / 1:50 pm

    WAHHH! This place looks nice! I am adding this to my travel list! huhU! wish i can visit here too!

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:22 pm

      I’m so happy to hear Helsinki is going on your list 🙂

  12. 10th May 2017 / 6:29 pm

    Your pictures are so GORGEOUS! Anyone would want to visit Helsinki just by looking at your pictures! I liked how you’ve posted a complete guide to the city!

  13. 11th May 2017 / 6:37 am

    Awesome post with excellent recommendations! I would add Skiffer Liuskaluoto, as it’s on an inlet, you go over on a boat ❤️ Also, the best sauna experience is at Kaurilan sauna, it’s very authentic and cosy 😍 xx

    • 11th May 2017 / 8:01 am

      Thank you Suvi! I need to check out Skiffer at Liuskaluoto sometime. I’ve been dreaming of booking Kaurilan sauna for a girls pampering afternoon – it looks so lovely and authentic. xx

      • 13th May 2017 / 9:01 am

        I definitely recommend Kaurila, it’s the perfect place for a girls get-together! I have a post coming up with more photos next week 😊

        • 13th May 2017 / 6:20 pm

          Excellent – can’t wait to see your pictures and post about it 🇫🇮

  14. 15th May 2017 / 9:34 pm

    Great photos! Helsinki looks like a great city 🙂

    • 30th May 2017 / 3:19 pm

      Thank you Andrew! Helsinki is a fantastic city – I recommend visiting during the summer, and up north in Lapland during the winter.

  15. 16th May 2017 / 1:26 pm

    Great guide! So comprehensive and the pictures are simply beautiful!!

  16. Anonymous
    16th May 2017 / 4:27 pm

    Great post! Absolutely adore the photos and little recommendations, you’ve definitley given me some serious travel envy xx

    • 16th May 2017 / 7:11 pm

      Thank you, I really appreciate that ❤️

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