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Things to see in Helsinki

Tourist Offices

City of Helsinki Tourist Office

Address: , Pohjoisesplanadi 19, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 3101 3300.
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 0900-1800, Sat-Sun 0900-1600.

Website: http://www.visithelsinki.fi

Tourist passes

The Helsinki Card (www.helsinkiexpert.com/helsinki_card) entitles visitors to free entry to sights and museums, a free city tour, free travel on the buses, trams, trains and metro, and special discounts at stores, restaurants, theatres, concerts and the opera. The pass is valid for one, two or three days, and can be purchased online, or from the City of Helsinki Tourist Office, the railway station Hotel Booking Centre, or from travel agencies, city centre kiosks and hotels. The price includes a guide book in Finnish, Swedish, English, German and Russian. Prices start from €38 for adults and €16 for children.

Attractions

Suomenlinna (Sea Fortress)

About 1.5km (1 mile) offshore from Eteläsatama harbour, the sea fortress of Suomenlinna was once the bastion of the Swedish empire, with a larger population than Helsinki itself. Founded in 1748 to protect the coast from Russian attack, the fortress island was finally surrendered to Russia in 1808. This superb fortification was one of the main reasons why the Russians moved the capital from Turku to Helsinki in 1812. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the fortress buildings contain the Suomenlinna Museum, the Ehrensvärd Museum, the multimedia Suomenlinna Experience, the Suomenlinna Toy Museum, the Military Museum's Manege, the Customs Museum and the WWI-era Submarine Vesikko, amongst other attractions, restaurants and bars. Despite the looming cannons, the rest of the island is a peaceful green haven, and locals flock here for summer picnics. During the summer months, there are daily guided tours around Suomenlinna in English, Swedish and Finnish. In the winter there are tours in English during the weekends. Helsinki City Transport runs regular ferries to Suomenlinna from Kauppatori (free with a Helsinki Card, journey time - 15 minutes). JT-Lines runs a waterbus service on the same route from May to mid-September.

Address: , Suomenlinna, Helsinki,
Telephone: (029) 533 8410.
Opening times:

Various (see website for details).

Website: http://www.suomenlinna.fi
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Finlands Nationalmuseum (National Museum of Finland)

Located opposite Finlandia Hall, about 10 minutes' walk from Helsinki's city centre, this museum contains rich archaeological and ethnographic collections depicting Finnish life from the earliest times to the present day. The sections on prehistoric Finland and the culture of the Sami people of Lapland are particularly interesting, and the museum building, constructed in 1916, is a Helsinki landmark. Guided tours available.

Address: , Mannerheimintie 34, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 4050 9544.
Opening times:

Tues 1100-2000, Wed-Sun 1100-1800.

Website: http://www.nba.fi/en/nationalmuseum
Admission Fees:

Yes (free on Tues 1730-2000).

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Finlandia-Talo (Finlandia Hall)

Built in 1971, Finlandia Hall is one of Alvar Aalto's most iconic works. Stately, angular and unmistakably Modernist, this striking building serves as Helsinki's main conference and concert venue, and is the current home of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, founded by Robert Kajanus in 1882. If you are unable to visit for a performance, guided tours are offered on fixed dates (see the website for details).

Address: , Mannerheimintie 13, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 402 4211.
Opening times:

During events (guided tours by appointment).

Website: http://www.finlandiatalo.fi
Admission Fees:

Yes (for tours)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Senaatintori (Senate Square)

Dating back to the first half of the 19th century, Helsinki's neoclassical heart was constructed by German architect Carl Ludvig Engel, who was also the official architect of Tallinn in Estonia. Engel was heavily influenced by the architecture of St Petersburg, and the Senaatintori has been used as a stand-in for St Petersburg in numerous Cold War espionage films, including Gorky Park (1983), Reds (1981) and White Nights (1985). Facing a statue of Tsar Alexander II, the white-domed Tuomiokirkko is flanked by the grand neoclassical facades of the Government Palace, Helsinki University, Helsinki Cathedral and the National Library of Finland.

Address: , Senaatintori, Helsinki,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily dawn til dusk.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Kiasma (Contemporary Art Museum)

Constructed by award-winning architect Steven Holl, this top-class Helsinki museum is a sculpture all by itself. Contained inside this geometric wave are examples of Finnish art and design from the 1960s to the present day, with approximately 4,000 pieces on display at any one time. The museum has an excellent bookshop and the design-savvy café is a popular meeting point for arty locals.

Address: , Mannerheiminaukio 2, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 1733 6501.
Opening times:

Tues 1000-1700, Wed-Fri 1000-2030, Sat 1000-1800, Sun 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.kiasma.fi
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Sibelius Monumentti (Sibelius Monument)

Hundreds of steel pipes shaped by sculptor Eila Hiltunen make up the impressive monument to the famous Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). A rebel under oppressive Russian rule, Sibelius wrote tunes that have become synonymous with Finnish patriotism - 'Finlandia' came to symbolise the Finnish struggle for independence. A journey to this monument is a pilgrimage for most Finns.

Address: , Sibelius Park, Töölö, Helsinki,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily dawn to dusk.

Website: http://www.taidemuseo.fi
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Temppeliaukion Kirkko (Temppeliaukio Church)

Consecrated in 1969, the 'Church in the Rock' is one of Helsinki's most iconic buildings. Designed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, the church was built into the bedrock beneath Helsinki and finished using stone quarried on the site. Its inner walls are raw, unfinished rock and the roof is a futuristic dome of copper plates. Come during one of the regular concerts to hear the impressive acoustics.

Address: , Lutherinkatu 3 (entrance is at the end of Fredikinkatu), Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 2340 5920.
Opening times:

Mon and Wed 1000-1700, Tues 1000-1245 and 1415-1700, Thurs-Fri 1000-2000, Sat 1000-1800, Sun 1145-1345 and 1530-1800.

Website: http://taivallahti.kirkkohelsinki.net
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tuomiokirkko (Helsinki Cathedral)

The imposing, ice-white Helsinki Cathedral on the north side of the Senaatintori was constructed between 1830 and 1852 by Carl Ludvig Engel. Although it was built for Lutheran worship, the cathedral has a distinctively Russian Orthodox flavour thanks to later alterations by Ernst Lohrmann, who drew inspiration from Saint Isaac's Cathedral in St Petersburg. The stone steps leading up to the Tuomiokirkko are a great place to watch the comings and goings of life in the capital.

Address: , Unioninkatu 29, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 709 2455.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1800 (Sep-May); daily 0900-0000 (Jun-Aug).

Website: http://www.helsinginseurakunnat.fi/seurakunnat/tuomiokirkkoseurakunta.html
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Ateneum (National Gallery)

With all the excitement about contemporary Finnish design, it's easy to forget that Finland has a rich history of fine art, showcased at this excellent gallery near the train station. Inside, you can see works by such Finnish icons as Albert Edelfelt, the Von Wright brothers and Akseli Gallen-Kallela, whose famous triptych showing scenes from the Kalevala - the Finnish national epic - is the star attraction.

Address: , Kaivokatu 2, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 6122 5510.
Opening times:

Tues and Fri 1000-1800, Wed-Thurs 1000-2000, Sat-Sun 1100-1700.

Website: http://www.ateneum.fi/en
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Mannerheim Museo

This fascinating museum was the home of Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, the Imperial Russian Army officer who led Finland to independence in a bloody civil war that saw 30,000 Finns killed in 108 days. A particular hero for Swedish-speaking Finns, Mannerheim later served as Commander-in-Chief, Regent of Finland and Finland's sixth president. His former home remains much as the great man left it, and inside, visitors can see such heirlooms as Mannerheim's war medals and hunting trophies. Guided tours are available in seven languages.

Address: Kaivopuisto Park, Kalliolinnantie 14, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 635 443.
Opening times:

Fri-Sun 1100-1600; other times by appointment.

Website: http://www.mannerheim-museo.fi
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Taideteolisuusmuseo (Design Museum)

Finnish design is world-famous and this interesting Helsinki museum tracks the history of the Finnish design movement, from the fabrics of Marimekko to the Arabia ceramics of Kaj Franck, the glassware of Timo Sarpaneva and the furniture and buildings of Alvar and Aino Aalto. There are regular special exhibitions and the museum café has chairs by celebrated designer Yrjö Kukkapuro.

Address: , Korkeavuorenkatu 23, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 622 0540.
Opening times:

Tues 1100-2000, Wed-Sun 1100-1800 (Sep-May); Daily 1100-1800 (Jun-Aug).

Website: http://www.designmuseum.fi/en/
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Sederholm Talo (Sederholm House)

Just near Senate Square, this stone building is the oldest in Helsinki (1757). Built in 18th-century rococo style, Sederholm Talo has been turned into a museum that documents the life of Johan Sederholm, a Counsellor of Commerce who lived in the early part of the 18th century, complete with all the appropriate fixtures and fittings.

Address: , Aleksanterinkatu 16-18, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 3103 6529.
Opening times:

Wed and Fri-Sun 1100-1700, Thurs 1100-1900.

Website: http://www.hel.fi/wps/portal/kaupunginmuseo_en
Admission Fees:

Yes (free on Thurs)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Kaapelitehdas (Cable Factory)

Originally owned by Nokia, the defunct Finnish Cable Factory in the Ruoholahti district was leased out to artists in the 1980s, creating one of Finland's most successful artists' colonies. Today, the building is home to 12 galleries, design studios, recording studios and offices of dance companies, theatre companies, TV and radio stations, as well as three art museums. The complex is open daily and you can break for lunch at the suitably arty Ravintola Hima & Sali. The Kaapelitehdas lies on tram line 8, or take the metro to Ruoholahti station.

Address: , Taliberginkatu 1C , Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 4763 8300.
Opening times: Website: http://www.kaapelitehdas.fi
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

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