Best Day Trips from Helsinki
Helsinki is the Finnish capital although you will find a strong Swedish, Baltic, and Russian influence as you navigate through the city. Finland is often known as the happiest country in the world, so if you ever find yourself in Helsinki then you are in for a treat. It holds the title of the coldest capital city in all of the Nordic region, although you can keep warm by visiting the saunas that are found basically everywhere around town. Come find out what the locals love so much for yourself! On your trip, you will also get to see the best museums in Helsinki, dine at fabulous restaurants, and view the Nordic design of the architecture that earned it the spot as the World Design Capital in 2012.
The city of Helsinki is a gateway to the rest of Finland and a great starting point for road trips. Once you've had enough of this city you can start exploring the surrounding area since there are plenty of other incredible villages and places to discover. Ready to depart on your day trip? Stop by a Helsinki luggage storage facility and be confident knowing that your bags are safely waiting for you when you get back. After all, why carry more than you need?
How to get out of Helsinki
One of the highlights of visiting Helsinki is that you can get around the city easily, even if you don't have your own car. The buses, trams, ferry services, metro, and commuter trains can all be used to travel from place to place and, since you can often use the same ticket for different types of public transportation, it is very affordable as well.
Traveling into the city is easy via the Helsinki Airport, although when you are going out on day trips you won't be taking a plane. There are 330 different islands in the archipelago off the coast of Helsinki which can be accessed using a boat or ferry, and other locations on land can be reached using buses, trains or taxis. If you end up renting a car for your trip you can also drive yourself, and it can be convenient to not have to rely on the bus or train schedules.
From Helsinki to Nuuksio National Park
The gorgeous Nuuksio National Park is one of the best hiking destinations in all of Finland, which is saying something since there are somewhere around 40 different national parks in the country. It is the perfect place for nature lovers to go on day trips from Helsinki. Created back in 1994, this space of pristine wilderness features deep gorges and valleys that were formed back during the Ice Age. Some of the moss covered cliffs rise up to 110 meters in height and offer incredible panoramic views overlooking the area.
Many of the forested areas in Nuuksio National Park have been undisturbed for nearly 150 years and they are home to plenty of wildlife and plants. Keep an eye out for creatures like elk, hares, deer, grey wolves, flying squirrels, moose and foxes! On site you will find 30 kilometers of clearly marked trails that you can explore and there are communal fireplaces situated throughout the park as well; pack some food and use them to cook yourself a meal during your trek! Some of the paths can be explored by bike or even horseback, and activities like rock climbing, mushroom picking and swimming are available as well. If you visit in the winter months you can participate in outdoor activities like cross country skiing
How to get to Nuuksio National Park
With lush green forests and clear blue lakes, the Nuuksio National Park is the perfect place to get away from busy city life. The journey here is easy enough using public transportation, although you will have to use both the train and the bus. The whole trip will take between an hour and an hour and a half, or you can drive yourself there in just over half an hour.
From Helsinki to Tallinn
While you are already close by in Helsinki, a day trip to Tallinn should not be missed. This city is the capital of Estonia and also one of the best preserved cities in Northern Europe. It has a fascinating past and was a powerful force back in the 14th and 15th centuries, and today it has both a modern and traditional aesthetic. The Old Town resembles something that you see in a fairytale and more contemporary architecture can be spotted in other parts of the city. You will love strolling along the cobblestone streets and buildings of the medieval town.
The Old Town is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are several places that you should visit during your time in Tallinn. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St Olaf's Church are some of the top landmarks, and if you want to stop by a nice viewpoint overlooking the city we suggest going to Toompea Hill. Aside from sightseeing, you will find plenty of shopping and dining to enjoy.
How to get to Tallinn
Tallinn can be reached easily from Helsinki and is a simple ferry ride away. It takes about two hours to cross the Gulf of Finland each way and the ferries arrive regularly.
From Helsinki to Turku
Turku is a great city that was founded back in the 13th century and is actually the oldest city in Finland. Much of the old city was destroyed during the Great Fire of Turku which broke out in 1827, which is why many of the buildings and structures are from more modern days. The older buildings that did survive are now local landmarks and popular places to go sightseeing.
On your sightseeing itinerary, you should include the Turku Cathedral which is of Finland's oldest cathedrals still standing. The Turku Castle is also an impressive sight, and both of these buildings were constructed sometime at the beginning of the city's timeline in the 13th century. To get from one place to the other you just have to walk along the Aura River. For an afternoon filled with medieval buildings and modern art, you can check out the Aboa Vetus museum.
How to get to Turku
You can use the public transport services in Helsinki to reach Turku without any problems. If you hop on a bus you will reach your destination in a bit under two and a half hours, and the journey by train is just a bit quicker than that.
From Helsinki to Porvoo
When you are searching for Helsinki day trips consider going on a trip to Porvoo. This medieval city has a beautiful old town area lined with adorable wooden houses and cobbled streets. Being built back in 1380, Porvoo is actually Finland's second oldest city just after Turku. As you make your way throughout the city you will find plenty of buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries as well as modern shops, art galleries and many cafes where you can grab a tasty lunch.
The Porvoo Old Town is home to the oldest house in Finland, which also happens to be the former residence of J.L. Runeberg, a national poet. Nearby you will also find the Old Town Hall which was built in the 18th century and the gorgeous Gothic Porvoo Cathedral, which has been destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout the years. Just a little way south of Porvoo is the National Urban Park where you can get some fresh air or participate in outdoor activities. You can also rent out a canoe or kayak and set out for a ride on the Porvoo River! Reserve a couple of hours to visit the Porvoo Museum and the Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum as well.
How to get to Porvoo
Porvoo has a rich history and is a great place to visit year round. You can get from the Helsinki city center to Porvoo by taking the bus and the whole trip will only take an hour.
From Helsinki to Tampere
Consider visiting Tampere the next time that you are looking for interesting things to do on your vacation. If you have been enjoying the saunas in Helsinki then you will be happy to hear that Tampere is considered to be the sauna capital of the world! In total there are over 50 public saunas in this one city, including the oldest one in all of Finland which was opened in 1906. As Finland's third biggest city, Tampere is home to a variety of other natural attractions and is a great place to visit as a family since there are plenty of exciting activities for kids as well.
The red bricked buildings lining the streets hint at what the city used to be like as an industrial town, although today many of them have been given a new life. Some of the activities that you should seek out include a visit to the Tampere Art Museum, the Police Museum and the Sarkanniemi Amusement Park. The latter is fun for the whole family and perfect for people traveling with kids as it has an aquarium and planetarium on site! You should also stop by the Pyynikki observation tower and Market Hall to do a bit of shopping.
How to get to Tampere
Once you are ready to make the journey to Tampere you can just hop on the commuter train. The ride will last about two hours and then you will be ready to experience what the city has to offer. You can also get here using the bus which will take you about two and a half hours each way.
From Helsinki to Hameenlinna
Hameenlinna is a medieval town that holds a significant spot in Finnish history. It is a place worth visiting because of its history as well as its pleasant natural setting. You can easily spend a day here and Helsinki is the perfect departure point. When you are in Hameenlinna you should take the time to visit the home of Jean Sibelius, a Finnish composer who was once quite popular. If you are a fan of his work then you will want to stop by the Sibelius Monument which is found back in Helsinki. Don't forget the Hämeenlinna Art Museum as well.
The main attraction of Hameenlinna is the Häme Castle, one of the best preserved royal castles in Finland. Inside you will find the Artillery Museum, the Prison Museum and the Historical Museum which can teach you all about the castle, how it was constructed and why it is such a notable landmark in Sweden. According to the museum the fortress was built in the 13th century to protect the city against the Russians, although it was eventually used as a home for Swedish nobility as well. Later on, the castle spent 150 years serving as a prison up until the 1970s when the restorations began. There is still so much to learn about the castle so make sure that you stop by during your visit!
How to get to Hameenlinna
Traveling between Helsinki and Hameenlinna is fast and easy. It will only take an hour to get between the historic center of this city and the Finnish capital, so it is very doable as a day trip.
The Most Popular Day Trips Around Helsinki
As Finland's capital city, there are plenty of Helsinki museums and other attractions to check out during your stay. With so many other amazing cities located just a few hours away, the temptation to venture further out is just something too great to pass up.
We've given you plenty of choices for day trips from Helsinki but the truth is that the options are endless. As a bonus day trip, we suggest taking the ferry to Suomenlinna Island which is home to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. This impressive structure just off the coast of the city served as a defense against the Russian Army. Want to learn more about it? Take a day out of your vacation in Helsinki to go on a guided tour of the fortress!