Where to Stay in Helsinki (2020 • COOLEST Areas!)

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Helsinki is the capital of Finland, in Northern Europe. Often overlooked by tourists because of its small size, Helsinki is actually full of life and history and is well worth a visit.

However, figuring where to stay in Helsinki and which neighbourhood to choose can be tricky.

This is exactly why I have chosen to put together this guide on where to stay in Helsinki. Planning for a holiday should be a fun task, not a mountain of research!

After reading this guide, you will know exactly which neighbourhood and accommodation to choose in Helsinki depending on your style and your budget.

So let’s not wait any longer and explore where to stay in Helsinki.

 

Quick Answers – Where To Stay In Helsinki

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

 
Helsinki City Centre
The City Centre of Helsinki is quite compact and can be easily explored by foot. The main sight of the area is probably the Helsinki Cathedral, which has become an unofficial symbol of the city over the years
 
Places to Visit:
  • Take a boat to the maritime fortress of Suomenlinna
  • Visit the stunningly white Helsinki Cathedral
  • Walk along the Esplanadi

 

Where To Stay In Helsinki

 

Best Hostel in Helsinki: The Yard Hostel

The Yard Hostel is a stylish hostel located in the heart of Helsinki. The staff is super friendly and the hostel offers both private rooms with a shared bathroom and bunk beds in mixed and female only dormitory rooms. The hostel is quiet so you are sure to get some good rest, and a free breakfast is served in the morning.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Airbnb in Helsinki: Right in the heart of town

You can’t really get more central than this cool, clean little studio. The sheer abundance of things to do right on your doorstep: from museums to beaches, parks, cafe’s and bars, make this the ideal spot if it’s your first time in Helsinki. If times a factor, you really couldn’t ask for something more convenient than this.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Budget Hotel in Helsinki: Hellsten Helsinki Parliament

Hellsten Helsinki Parliament offers affordable accommodation close to the central train station. The rooms are comfortable and feature a private bathroom with a shower, a kitchenette and a refrigerator. Guests can enjoy free access to the sauna. In the lobby, a TV and laundry facilities are available for use.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Helsinki: Hotel Indigo Helsinki Boulevard

The Hotel Indigo Helsinki Boulevard is centrally located and a great choice for where to stay in Helsinki. This boutique hotel offers rooms with a private bathroom, air conditioning, heating, and a city view. The hotel provides a free Wifi connection, a 24-hour fitness centre and electric car charging stations.

View on Booking.com

 

Helsinki Neighbourhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Helsinki

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Helsinki City Centre

  • The City Centre of Helsinki is quite compact and can be easily explored by foot. The main sight of the area is probably the Helsinki Cathedral, which has become an unofficial symbol of the city over the years
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Kallio

  • Kallio is located just north of the Helsinki City Centre. A bohemian spirit lingers in the streets of this neighbourhood, which is also being kept alive by students
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Kamppi

  • The Kamppi neighbourhood is located right next to Helsinki City Centre. It is mostly filled with shops, restaurants and bars, as well as churches and museums on the cultural and historical side
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Punavuori

  • The Punavuori neighbourhood is part of the Design District in Helsinki. As such, shoppers will love the area as they will be able to find that unique, authentic piece to bring back from their trip to Helsinki
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Kaartinkaupunki

  • The Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood is located just south of the Helsinki City Centre and east of Punavuori. The neighbourhood is mostly home to shops and offices, and only around a thousand people live here
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Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a compact city that looks more like a second-tier town for most of its European neighbours. Despite that fact, Helsinki still has a lot to offer to its visitors and is bustling with culture, quaint restaurants and lively nightlife. You’ll also find plenty of accommodation options in Helsinki including hotels and more private Airbnbs as well as a range of budget hostels for backpackers visiting the city.

Most of the city can be seen walking or using the efficient public transport network. The city centre is quite small and assembles all the major museums and parks. Great shopping options are also available in the centre, but it still lacks dining and nightlife options.

For a crazy party, you will need to head to the adjacent neighbourhood of Kamppi, bustling with cafés, restaurants and bars. This area is lively at night and, thanks to the presence of the bus station, provides easy access to the rest of the city.

Punavuori is another Helsinki neighbourhood offering a vibrant food scene and lively bars to spend a night out with friends. Punavuori has also been dubbed the Design District, which means you will be spoiled for choice if you are looking to shop unique pieces.

The Kallio neighbourhood is a favourite of students in Helsinki, and everyone loves the grungy atmosphere around there. The area is mostly residential but remains lively, thanks to the presence of vintage shops and bars offering cheap drinks.

Around the central neighbourhoods, hundreds of tiny islands form the Helsinki archipelago. Not all of them are inhabited, but some have become real neighbourhoods of the city. This is, for instance, the case of Katajanokka, a mainly residential neighbourhood.

 

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5 Best Neighbourhoods To Stay In Helsinki

At this point, you may still feel a bit confused regarding where to stay in Helsinki. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 best neighbourhoods to stay in Helsinki.

 

1. Helsinki City Centre – Where to Stay in Helsinki your First Time

The City Centre of Helsinki is quite compact and can be easily explored by foot. The main sight of the area is probably the Helsinki Cathedral, which has become an unofficial symbol of the city over the years. Perched on top of stairs and dominating the Senate square with its striking white colour, it is definitely a sight not to miss in Helsinki.

From the City Centre, it is also easy to catch a boat and head to the island where the Suomenlinna fortress is located. The trip takes around 15 minutes and the ferry runs every half hour in the summer. Built-in the 1700s by the Swedish, the fortress used to be the greatest in the whole Baltic Sea. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and one of the most visited places in Helsinki and all of Finland!

Several museums are also located in the Helsinki City Centre. The Ateneum Art Museum has the largest collection of art and paintings in Finland while the Helsinki City Museum retraces the history of the city from within a series of old buildings.

Helsinki City Centre, Helsinki

 

Things to see and do in Helsinki City Centre

– Visit the stunningly white Helsinki Cathedral

– Take a boat to the maritime fortress of Suomenlinna

– Walk along the Esplanadi

 

Best Hostel in Helsinki City Centre: The Yard Hostel

The Yard Hostel is a stylish hostel located in the heart of Helsinki. Although technically in Kamppi, it is really close to the City Centre. The staff is super friendly and the hostel offers both private rooms with a shared bathroom and bunk beds in mixed and female only dormitory rooms. The hostel is quiet so you are sure to get some good rest, and a free breakfast is served in the morning.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Airbnb in Helsinki City Centre: Right in the heart of town

You can’t really get more central than this cool, clean little studio. The sheer abundance of things to do right on your doorstep: from museums to beaches, parks, cafe’s and bars, make this the ideal spot if it’s your first time in Helsinki. If times a factor, you really couldn’t ask for something more convenient than this.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Budget Hotel in Helsinki City Centre: Kongressikoti Hotel

The Kongressikoti Hotel is located in the heart of Helsinki City Centre, just a short walk away from the cathedral. The rooms have a shared bathroom and include a refrigerator, heating, a desk and a seating area. There is also a sink in the rooms. The hotel provides a free wifi connection and a common kitchen where guests can cook.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Helsinki City Centre: Scandic Seurahuone

The Scandic Seurahuone is located directly opposite the central train station in Helsinki’s city centre, in an Art Nouveau building dating back to the early 20th century. It offers comfortable featuring a private bathroom, heating, a flat screen TV with satellite channels and a pillow menu.

View on Booking.com

 

2. Kallio – Where to Stay in Helsinki on a Budget

Kallio is located just north of the Helsinki City Centre. A bohemian spirit lingers in the streets of this neighbourhood, which is also being kept alive by students.

While it is mostly residential, Kallio has kept a lively environment and has kept several things to see and do. For a truly local experience, head to Kotiharjun sauna, the last wood burning public sauna in Helsinki. Men and women will enjoy separate saunas. It is not rare to see people playing chess in the changing rooms, or cooling off outside on the patio, especially when it is freezing cold in winter.

For a thrill at the amusement park, head over to Linnanmäki. The park is notably famous for its wooden roller coaster, built in 1951 and still in operation today.

To try out some local treats, the Hakaniemi Market Hall is the place to go. Small vendors perpetuate the traditional Finnish vibe of the market by selling local dishes, treats and fresh produce.

Kallio, Helsinki

 

Things to see and do in Kallio

– Try some local delicacies at Hakaniemi Market Hall

– Look at the Art Nouveau interior of the Kallio Church

– Experience Finnish traditions at the Kotiharju Public Sauna

 

Best Hostel in Kallio: Cheap Sleep Helsinki

The Cheap Sleep hostel is located further north from Kallio. It offers private rooms with an ensuite or a shared bathroom, as well as bunk beds in mixed and female only dormitory rooms. Wifi is available in all rooms and a free breakfast is served in the morning. Parties are regularly organised on weekends by the hostel.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Airbnb in Kallio: Enjoy a homestay at a bargain price

Helsinki is naturally on the more expensive side of things when it comes to global travel, so why not make a saving while enjoying some local hospitality? This homestay’s about as cheap as it can get for the city, it might be small and spartan, but the hosts’ hospitality will more than makeup for that. Access to cooking facilities will help you save a pretty penny as well.

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Best Budget Hotel in Kallio: Forenom Hostel Helsinki Merihaka

The Forenom Hostel Helsinki Merihaka is our top choice for where to stay in Helsinki on a budget. Located on the 11th floor of the building, it provides self-service accommodation with beautiful views over the city and the sea. The rooms have a shared bathroom and include a free Wifi connection.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kallio: Hilton Helsinki Strand

The Hilton Helsinki Strand is located on the waterfront, just a few minutes’ walk away from the Hakaniemi Market Hall. It offers comfortable rooms featuring a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning and heating. The hotel also has an indoor swimming pool and a fitness centre.

View on Booking.com

 

3. Kamppi  – Best Area to Stay in Helsinki for Nightlife

The Kamppi neighbourhood is located right next to Helsinki City Centre. It is mostly filled with shops, restaurants and bars, as well as churches and museums on the cultural and historical side. With its close proximity to the centre as well as many eateries and nightlife, it’s the perfect area to stay on a weekend trip to Helsinki.

Just a few streets up from Kamppi, do not miss the unique Church in the Rock. The church was completed in 1969 and directly excavated into solid rock. As such, it has an architecture you will not see anywhere else! The church dome is made of copper and the interior walls have kept the raw rocks uncovered.

If you are more of the museum-lover type, the Natural Museum of Helsinki is located in the Kamppi neighbourhood. Visitors will be able to see remains of prehistoric animals, minerals and taxidermied animals. A funny anecdote about this museum is the fact that it has been infested with a venomous type of spiders since the 1960s.

The origin of the infestation is still debated but it could have been caused by a shipment coming from Latin America. No need to worry, however, as only one spider accident has been reported in 50 years.

Kamppi, Helsinki

 

Things to see and do in Kamppi

– Visit the Kamppi chapel

– Spend a few hours in the Natural Museum of Helsinki

– Go check out the neighbouring Church in the Rock

 

Best Hostel in Kamppi: The Yard Hostel

The Yard Hostel is a stylish hostel located in the heart of Kamppi. The staff is super friendly and the hostel offers both private rooms with a shared bathroom and bunk beds in mixed and female only dormitory rooms. The hostel is quiet so you are sure to get some good rest, and a free breakfast is served in the morning.

View on HostelWorld

 

Best Airbnb in Kamppi: Bars abound outside this well fitted flat

There’s adventures to be had from this basecamp. The place is encircled by the best of brightest of Helsinki nightlife, meaning you’ll save on the inevitable taxi fares. There’s plenty of reason to drag yourself out of bed the morning after as well, with a plethora of great coffee shops on your doorstep, and the famous Church in the Rock just minutes away!

View on Airbnb

 

Best Budget Hotel in Kamppi: Omena Hotel Lonnrotinkatu

The Omena Hotel Lonnrotinkatu is our top pick for where to stay in Kamppi on a budget. This centrally located self-service hotel offers rooms fitted with a private bathroom, a flat screen TV, free toiletries and a refrigerator. Vending machines can be accessed at all times in the lobby.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kamppi: Hotelli Finn

Hotelli Finn offers functional rooms decorated with the work of local artists. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom, a flat screen TV with satellite channels and a free wifi connection. The hotel applies a non smoking policy and family rooms accommodating up to 4 people are available.

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4. Punavuori – Coolest Place to Stay in Helsinki

The Punavuori neighbourhood is part of the Helsinki’s esteemed Design District. As such, shoppers will love the area as they will be able to find that unique, authentic piece to bring back from their trip to Helsinki. However, Punavuori tends to be a bit more expensive than other neighbourhoods in terms of accommodation.

Punavuori means the “red rock”, and got its name from the stones that are found in the neighbourhood. Today, Punavuori is not only filled with designer boutiques, but also with trendy cafés and restaurants where visitors can enjoy international and local cuisine.

During the summer, the Punavuori really comes to life, with people flocking to the parks and having drinks out on the terraces. The Sinebrychoff urban park is particularly popular among local to relax and enjoy the sun. Right next to the park, the Sinebrychoff Museum displays the largest painting collection in Finland dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Historic furniture and artefacts are also exposed.

Punavuori, Helsinki

source: Travellaggio (Shutterstock)

 

Things to see and do in Punavuori

– Shop for some unique pieces in the local designer shops

– During the summer, relax in the Sinebrychoff Park

– Admire centuries old paintings at the Sinebrychoff Museum

 

Best Hostel in Punavuori: Hostel Diana Park

The Hostel Diana Park is located just in between the neighbourhoods of Punavuori and Helsinki City Centre. All the rooms are fitted with heating, a sink, and have access to a shared toilet and bathroom. A free Wifi connection is available on the premises. The hostel also features a common kitchen that guests can use at their convenience.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Airbnb in Punavuori: The cutest place in the deisgn district

The beautiful interior of this flat really reflects the vibe of Punavoria. If you’re here to soak up aesthetics, you won’t miss a beat given you’ll be in the heart of Helsinki’s design district, and within touching distance of the countries largest art collection! If you’re visiting in summer, make use of this flat’s ideal location to join the locals for a sunset drink along the terraces.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Budget Hotel in Punavuori: Omena Hotel Lonnrotinkatu

The Omena Hotel Lonnrotinkatu is our top pick for where to stay in Kamppi on a budget. This centrally located self-service hotel offers rooms fitted with a private bathroom, a flat screen TV, free toiletries and a refrigerator. Vending machines can be accessed at all times in the lobby.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Punavuori: Hotel Anna Helsinki

The Hotel Anna is centrally located and one of our top choices for where to stay in Punavuori. It offers cosy and comfortable rooms fitted with a bathroom with a heated floor, a flat screen TV, and soundproofing. The rooms also have a view over the city. A free wifi connection is available everywhere in the hotel.

View on Booking.com

 

5. Kaartinkaupunki – Best Neighbourhood in Helsinki for Families

The Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood is located just south of the Helsinki City Centre and east of Punavuori. The neighbourhood is mostly home to shops and offices, and only around a thousand people live here. however, the neighbourhood is not cheap and was the place where the most expensive residential space in Helsinki was sold in 2017.

The most popular markets in Helsinki can be found in Kaartinkaupunki, by the water. Here, visitors will find anything from Finnish treats, to fresh produce, to handicrafts and souvenirs. take the time to appreciate the hustle and bustle of the square and stop at one of the local cafés tents once you are done shopping – they are heated in the winter!

For an even more traditional feel, head to the Old Market Hall, which is much more focused on food. Enjoy fresh products such as bread, shellfish or spices. There are some tables available inside the hall if you wish to eat inside.

Kaartinkaupunki, Helsinki

source: Mahlum (Wikicommons)

 

Things to see and do in Kaartinkaupunki

– Wander through the stalls of the main market square in Helsinki

– Grab a bite at the Old Market Hall

– Pick up some decoration ideas at the Helsinki Design Museum

 

Best Hostel in Kaartinkaupunki: Hostel Diana Park

The Hostel Diana Park is located just in between the neighbourhoods of Punavuori, Kaartinkaupunki and Helsinki City Centre. All the rooms are fitted with heating, a sink, and have access to a shared toilet and bathroom. A free Wifi connection is available on the premises. The hostel also features a common kitchen that guests can use at their convenience.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Airbnb in Kaartinkaupunki: Flexible apartment will suit most families

Nestled between the water, parks, and museums, this place is ideal for a family getaway. Flexible sleeping options can be adapted to your family’s needs. The kitchen is really generous, and there’s even a couple of options for dining areas if you want to split up your group for a little while.

View on Airbnb

 

Best Budget Hotel in Kaartinkaupunki: Hotel Anna Helsinki

The Hotel Anna is centrally located just a few steps away from the Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood. It offers cosy and comfortable rooms fitted with a bathroom with a heated floor, a flat screen TV, and soundproofing. The rooms also have a view over the city. A free wifi connection is available everywhere in the hotel.

View on Booking.com

 

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kaartinkaupunki: Hotel Rivoli Jardin

The Hotel Rivoli Jardin offers comfortable accommodation near the Esplanadi Park in Kaartinkaupunki. Each room has a unique decoration and features a private bathroom, air conditioning and a flat screen TV. Guests have access to a well-equipped fitness centre and a bar. a tasty breakfast is served every morning.

View on Booking.com

 

Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Helsinki…

Helsinki is beautiful, authentic, and full of history, and it is one of my favourites capitals in Europe. It is still low on the radar of many visitors, but part of me thinks it should stay that way as the city does not get too crowded, which is a pretty great thing!

My favourite neighbourhood to stay in Helsinki is the City Centre. It is quite compact and close to all the main attractions of the city while providing good accommodation options.

In terms of hotel, my top choice is the Hotel Indigo Helsinki Boulevard. It has a great location and offers comfortable rooms with a free Wifi connection and a fitness centre.

If you are travelling as a backpacker, The Yard Hostel is a great place to stay. It is modern and comfortable and is a great base to go explore the city around.

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments!

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1 Comment

  • Avatar Allyson says:

    Hi,
    I’m thinking of visiting Helsinki in December, before Christmas. I thought I’d try to make it up to Lapland. I probably will only have a week. What do you think? Worth it? Is Lapland too far for such a short amount of time? Go first to Lapland then back to Helskinki? Are there Christmas markets?
    Thanks so much,
    Allyson

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