Helsinki is a colorful and vibrant city. Often overlooked by tourists because of its small size, the Finnish capital is full of life and history and is well worth a visit.
Helsinki packs a real punch, and has something to offer every type of traveler. From quaint churches in the Cultural Quarter to impressive architecture in the Design District, there’s so much to discover.
With so much on offer, deciding where to stay in Helsinki can be tricky. There are a variety of areas and neighborhoods, and some are better-suited to travelers than others.
To help you out, we’ve created this guide on the best places to stay in Helsinki. We’ve included the best accommodation and things to do in each area, so you know exactly what to expect.
Not too fussed which area you stay in? These are our top picks for accommodation in Helsinki.
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Best Airbnb in Helsinki: Cozy Studio Apartment
This gorgeous studio boasts contemporary furnishings, a kitchenette, a balcony, and space for four guests. It’s the ideal place to stay if you’re discovering Helsinki for the first time thanks to its central location close to top attractions and transport connections.
Best Hostel in Helsinki: The Yard Hostel
The Yard Hostel is a stylish hostel in the heart of Helsinki. The staff is super friendly and both private rooms and dorm rooms are available. A free breakfast is provided each day, making this place great value for money.
Best Budget Hotel in Helsinki: Sky Hostel
The Forenom Hostel Helsinki Merihaka is one of the best places to stay in Helsinki on a budget. Each room comes with a shared bathroom and free wifi. The hotel sits on the 11th floor of a building, so you’ll have great views of the city.
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, and city views.
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
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
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
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
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
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a compact city that looks more like a second-tier town for most of its European neighbors. Despite this, Helsinki still has a lot to offer its visitors and is bustling with culture, quaint restaurants, and lively nightlife.
You can explore most of the city on foot 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 here. With so much culture on offer, we highly recommend staying here if you’re visiting Helsinki for the first time.
The Kallio neighborhood is a favorite of students in Helsinki, and everyone loves the grungy atmosphere. The area is mostly residential but remains lively, thanks to the vintage shops and bars offering cheap drinks. It’s the best place to stay if you’re visiting Finland on a budget.
For a crazy party, you’ll need to head to the adjacent neighborhood of Kamppi, bustling with cafés and bars. This area comes to life at night and, thanks to the bus station, provides easy access to the rest of the city.
Punavuori is another Helsinki district offering a fantastic food scene and awesome 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.
Finally, Kaartinkaupunki is the best place to stay in Helsinki with your family. It’s a mostly residential area and is a lot quieter than the other neighborhoods, while still offering easy access to Helsinki’s top attractions.
Helsinki’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in
Read on for more detailed guides on each of these areas below. We’ve included our top accommodation and activity picks in each, so you know exactly what to expect.
1. Helsinki City Centre – Where to Stay in Helsinki for your First Visit
The City Centre of Helsinki is quite compact and can be easily explored on foot. The main sight of the area is probably the Helsinki Cathedral, which has become an unofficial symbol of the city over the years.
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.
Best Airbnb in Helsinki City Center: Cozy Studio Apartment
This gorgeous studio sleeps up to four guests. It’s modern and filled with natural light, and comes with a kitchenette, dining area, and a balcony. It’s close to Helsinki’s top attractions, and sits just 50 metres from the metro station. If you’re visiting Helsinki for the first time and want to stay in the heart of the action, then this place is perfect.
Best Hostel in Helsinki City Centre: The Yard Hostel
The Yard Hostel is a stylish hostel located in the heart of Helsinki, very close to the city center. Breakfast is provided each morning, and there’s a full kitchen where you can prepare your own meals. Private rooms are available, and each dorm bed comes with privacy curtains.
Best Budget Hotel in Helsinki City Center: Aikatalo Mini Hotel
Aikatalo Mini Hotel is a family-run hostel offering simply furnished rooms for a great price. Each room has access to free wifi and a shared bathroom. Centrally located, the hostel is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Cathedral, shopping district, restaurants, and more!
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Helsinki City Center: Scandic Simonkentta
Featuring beautiful Scandinavian design and contemporary rooms, this hotel is one of the best places to stay in Helsinki city center. Guests can enjoy free wifi, as well as access to the on-site gym and sauna. The restaurant provides an organic breakfast each day, and the bar boasts views over the city.
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.
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2. Kallio – Where to Stay in Helsinki on a Budget
Kallio is located just north of the Helsinki City Centre. The neighborhood retains a bohemian spirit and is kept young by the large student population.
While it is mostly residential, Kallio has kept a lively environment and has several things to see and do. For a truly local experience, head to Kotiharjun sauna, the last wood burning public sauna in Helsinki. It’s not rare to see people playing chess in the changing rooms here, 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, which was built in 1951 and is 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.
Best Airbnb in Kallio: Flat with Beautiful Views
This stunning Airbnb provides great value for money in Helsinki’s Kallio district. It offers cozy and spacious accommodation with a full kitchen, free wifi,laundry facilities, and room for three guests. It’s a short walk from public transport connections and is close to shops, restaurants, and city attractions.
Best Hostel in Kallio: Cheap Sleep Helsinki
The Cheap Sleep hostel is slightly north of Kallio but is a great option for budget accommodation in Helsinki. It offers private and dorm rooms and wifi is available throughout. The hostel puts on various parties on the weekends, and offers a free breakfast each morning!
Best Budget Hotel in Kallio: Sky Hostel Helsinki
The Forenom Hostel Helsinki Merihaka is one of the best places 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 free Wifi.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kallio: Hilton Helsinki Strand
The Hilton Helsinki Strand is located on the waterfront, just a few minutes away from the Hakaniemi Market Hall. It offers comfortable rooms with an ensuite bathroom, and also boasts an onsite gym and swimming pool.
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
3. Kamppi – Where 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. 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 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.
Best Airbnb in Kamppi: Bars abound outside this well fitted flat
There are adventures to be had from this awesome Helsinki Airbnb. The place is encircled by the best of Helsinki’s nightlife, meaning you can avoid those inevitable taxi fares. The unit features modern furnishings and is perfect for two guests.
Best Private Room in Kamppi: Cute Bedroom in City Center
There aren’t any hostels in the area, but this private room offers a great budget-friendly alternative if you want to be close to bars and nightlife. You’ll have access to a shared kitchen and laundry facilities, as well as wifi and a workspace. The property is within easy walking distance of shops, attractions, and public transport connections.
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 self-service hotel is clean and modern, and rooms have everything you’ll need for a great stay.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kamppi: Hotelli Finn
Hotelli Finn offers cozy rooms decorated with the work of local artists. Each room comes with a workspace and is uniquely decorated with the work of local artists. It’s just a 30 minute drive from the airport and a short walk from top attractions.
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
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4. Punavuori – Coolest Place to Stay in Helsinki
The Punavuori neighborhood is part of 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 neighborhoods in terms of accommodation.
Punavuori means the “red rock”, and got its name from the stones that are found in the neighborhood. Today, Punavuori is not only filled with designer boutiques, but also with trendy cafés and restaurants where visitors can enjoy international and local cuisine.
Punavuori really comes to life in the summer, with people flocking to the parks and having drinks out on the terraces. The Sinebrychoff urban park is particularly popular among locals 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.
Best Airbnb in Punavuori: Minimalistic Nordic Apartment
Situated in the coolest district of Helsinki, this minimalist apartment is the ideal base for couples or solo travelers. The studio offers a kitchen and free wifi, as well as free parking and self check-in. The apartment is centrally located in the Design District and is surrounded by boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and galleries.
Best Hostel in Punavuori: Hostel Diana Park
The Hostel Diana Park is located just in between Punavuori and Helsinki City Centre. Rooms are pretty simple but modern, and the hostel provides free wifi. It’s centrally located just a few steps from attractions, shops, and bars.
Best Budget Hotel in Punavuori: Hotel Anna Helsinki
The Hotel Anna is one of our top choices for where to stay in Punavuori. It offers cozy and comfortable rooms fitted with a bathroom with a heated floor, a flat-screen TV, and soundproofing. Each room provides views over the city.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Punavuori: Original Sokos Hotel Albert
Make your trip to Helsinki even more memorable by staying at this unique hotel! Rooms are spacious and modern, and the interior design of the hotel is influenced by local artists and galleries. A breakfast buffet is available daily, and the on-site wine bar is inspired by local bohemian restaurants.
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
5. Kaartinkaupunki – Best Area in Helsinki for Families
The Kaartinkaupunki neighborhood is located just south of the Helsinki City Centre and east of Punavuori. The area is mostly home to shops and offices, and only around a thousand people live here.
The most popular markets in Helsinki can be found in Kaartinkaupunki, by the water. Here, visitors will find anything from Finnish treats and 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. Enjoy fresh products such as bread, shellfish or spices.
Best Airbnb in Kaartinkaupunki: Design District Studio
Situated in the design district, this contemporary minimalist studio provides a small but cosy base for families or groups heading to Helsinki. The flat sleeps four guests and features a kitchen, free wifi, and laundry facilities. A high-chair, cot, and children’s books and toys are also provided. The studio sits in a quiet residential area but is close to city center attractions.
Best Apartment in Kaartinkaupunki: 2ndHomes Apartment
This awesome two-bedroom apartment can sleep up to eight guests at once, providing comfortable accommodation for larger families or groups traveling to Finland. The flat is spacious and modern and boasts a large kitchen and free wifi. Located next to the Esplanade Park, you’ll be a short walk from the Olympic Stadium, Cathedral, and Kamppi Shopping Center.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kaartinkaupunki: Hotel Fabian
This four-star hotel is one of the best places to stay in Helsinki with family. Rooms are stylish and modern and come with a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, and free wifi. Some rooms also offer a kitchenette. Staying here, you’ll be five minutes from Market Square, shopping streets, bars, and restaurants.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kaartinkaupunki: Hotel Rivoli Jardin
The Hotel Rivoli Jardin offers comfortable accommodation near 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. Breakfast is also provided each morning.
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
FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Helsinki
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Helsinki and where to stay.
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Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Helsinki
Helsinki is beautiful, authentic, and full of history, and it is one of my favorite capitals in Europe. It’s still low on the radar of many, but part of me thinks it should stay that way as the city does not get too crowded.
My favorite neighborhood to stay in in Helsinki is the City Centre. It’s compact and sits close to all the main attractions of Helsinki.
If you are traveling 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.
For something more upmarket, check out the Hotel Indigo. Rooms here are beautifully decorated and have everything you’ll need for a great stay.
Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments!
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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,