Helsinki is a small seaside city that packs a big punch. It’s often overlooked by travellers because of its size but I tell you now, it’s not all about size. This puppy is worth adding to your Finnish bucket list.

Located on the Gulf of Finland, the city of Helsinki is a spot where coastal nature and urban culture collide. With both nature trials and city life on your doorstep, Helsinki is said to be one of the most liveable cities in the world. It’s time for you to go and see why for yourself.

Known for its innovative architecture, art and culture; you’ll find the city is brimming with interesting museums, art galleries and mouthwatering food. From quaint churches in the Cultural Quarter to impressive architecture in the Design District, there’s so much to discover.

If you fancy yourself a bit of a night owl, under the city’s surface, you’ll find some pretty wild underground dance parties and techno music.

There is something for everyone in this charming seaside town. But you’ll want to decide where to stay in Helsinki to be able to make the most of your time here. Whether you want to let loose on a night out or marvel at the incredible architecture, there will be an area in Helsinki suited for you.

Seems daunting, huh? Never fear – that’s why I’m here! I’ve compiled the best places to stay in Helsinki and categorised them by interest and budget. You’ll also find the best places to stay and activities to do in each area (you can thank me later, friend!)

So, let’s get down to business and find which area in Helsinki is best for you.

boats on a river overlooking Helsinki's city centre
Boat trip anyone?

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in Helsinki?

Not too fussed which area you stay in? These are my top picks for accommodation in Helsinki.

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

Hotel Indigo Helsinki Boulevard

The eco-friendly Hotel Indigo Helsinki-Boulevard offers contemporary furnishings and facilities in its comfortable rooms. Standard features include rainfall showers, Nespresso coffee makers, and hardwood floors. This apartment has plenty of space and a cosy room, yet it’s still close enough to the action to be a peaceful spot to sleep. Some of the top independent stores in the Design District can be found on the nearby streets.

The Yard Hostel | Best Hostel in Helsinki

The Yard Hostel Helsinki

The Yard is a boutique hostel in the heart of Helsinki on a street that is bubbling with bars, trendy restaurants, shops and sights. All dorms come with curtains and premium mattresses so you’re sure to get a good night’s kip. There is a common area with a smart TV with Netflix, perfect for mixing and mingling to find some new travel buds.

Modern Apartment in the City Center of Helsinki | Best Airbnb in Helsinki

Modern Apartment in the City Center of Helsinki Finland

This newly refurbished, completely equipped apartment features a huge bathroom, two comfy double beds, a kitchen and stunning views from the bay windows that overlook the nicest neighbourhoods in central Helsinki. It has all of the facilities you might want throughout your stay, including a killer home theatre!

Helsinki Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Helsinki

FIRST TIME IN HELSINKI
Helsinki City Centre, Helsinki
FIRST TIME IN HELSINKI

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

ON A BUDGET
Kallio, Helsinki
ON A BUDGET

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

NIGHTLIFE
Kamppi, Helsinki
NIGHTLIFE

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

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Punavuori, Helsinki
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

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

FOR FAMILIES
Kaartinkaupunki, Helsinki
FOR FAMILIES

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

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a compact city that looks more like a second-tier town to most of its European neighbours. 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 bustle of the city is pulsating through the City Centre, a small oasis with a variety of museums, lush parks, and unique shopping streets. It’s a centre of all things Finnish, ideal for fully embracing Helsinki’s spirit for first-time visitors.

The Kallio neighbourhood is a favourite 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.

Helsinki Finland
Bit chilly…

For a crazy party, you’ll need to head to the adjacent neighbourhood of Kamppi, bustling with cafés and trendy 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 for unique pieces.

Finally, Kaartinkaupunki is the best place to stay in Helsinki with your family. Tranquilly prevails supremely here, offering tired travellers a haven to relax and re-energize amid Helsinki’s beauties. Even yet, Kaartinkaupunki maintains its peacefulness while being ideally situated to provide easy access to Helsinki’s top attractions, making sure that everyone has an enjoyable visit.

Helsinki’s Five Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Read on for more detailed guides on each of these areas below. I’ve included my 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 Time

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.

Helsinki Cathedral in the City Centre, Helsinki
Beautiful Helsinki Cathedral!

When you’re in the area, make sure to visit Senate Square. On Senate Square, a variety of art events have been set up, including concerts, snow buildings, and controversial snowboarding activities. However, throughout the majority of the year, Senate Square serves as Helsinki’s cultural hub, with the Helsinki Cathedral at the core. It is, for sure, the most photographed location in the city!

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

Aikatalo Mini Hotel | Best Budget Hotel in Helsinki City Center

Aikatalo Mini Hotel, Helsinki Finland

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. With its central location, the hostel is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Cathedral, shopping district, restaurants, and more!

Scandic Simonkenttä | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Helsinki City Centre

Scandic Simonkentta, Helsinki Finland

Featuring beautiful Scandinavian design and contemporary rooms, this hotel is one of the best places to stay in Helsinki’s city centre. 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.

The Yard Hostel | Best Hostel in Helsinki City Centre

The Yard Hostel, Helsinki Finland

The Yard is a boutique hostel in the heart of Helsinki on a street that is bubbling with bars, trendy restaurants, shops and sights. All dorms come with curtains and premium mattresses so you’re sure to get a good nights kip. There is a common area with a smart TV with Netflix, perfect for mixing and mingling to find some new travel buds.

Cozy Studio Apartment | Best Apartment in Helsinki City Center

Cozy Studio Apartment, Helsinki Finland

This gorgeous studio sleeps up to four guests. This stylish setting is 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 for the first time and want to stay in the heart of the action, then this place is perfect.

Things to see and do in Helsinki City Centre

trams on a busy street in Helsinki's city centre
The wonderful chaos that is Helsinki’s city centre
  1. Visit the stunningly white Helsinki Cathedral.
  2. Take a boat to the maritime fortress of Suomenlinna.
  3. Spend an afternoon wandering around Helsinki City Museum.
  4. Hop on board a sightseeing canal cruise to see the sights and sounds this city has to offer.
  5. Visit the iconic Senate Square.
  6. Walk along the Esplanadi.
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2. Kallio – Best Place to Stay in Helsinki on a Budget

Kallio is located just north of the Helsinki City Centre. The neighbourhood 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.

Kallio, Helsinki

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.

Sky Hostel Helsinki | Best Budget Hotel in Kallio

Sky Hostel Helsinki

The Forenom Hostel Helsinki Merihaka is a great option to stay in central Helsinki on a budget. It is located on the building’s 11th floor and offers self-service accommodations with stunning views of the city and sea. The prime location and accessibility of the stay are excellent; you get a lot of bang for your buck here!

Hilton Helsinki Strand | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kallio

Hilton Helsinki Strand

Hilton Helsinki Strand is perched gracefully on the waterfront, just a stone’s throw from the busy Hakaniemi Market Hall. Inside, there are cosy rooms with private bathrooms. Stay fit by using the on-site gym or taking a refreshing dip in the pool.

Cheap Sleep Helsinki | 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 – perfect for meeting other solo travellers!

Things to See and Do in Kallio

woman sitting on a wall looking down on Helsinki city centre
Watchin’ the world go by
  1. Try some local delicacies at Hakaniemi Market Hall.
  2. Grab a Helsinki card to get a unique experience of the city with free entry to museums, tours and public transport.
  3. Nature lovers will Lenin Park, a hilly park with shady trails and a Japanese walnut tree overlooking a pond.
  4. Indulge in creative small plates at the bohemian Restaurant Flät no 14.
  5. Look at the Art Nouveau interior of the Kallio Church.
  6. Experience Finnish traditions at the Kotiharju Public Sauna.

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, trendy 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 city 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.

Kamppi chapel of silence, Helsinki
Shh!!! It’s the Kamppi Chapel of Silence

If you are more of the museum-lover type, the Natural Museum of Helsinki is located in the Kamppi neighbourhood. A hidden secret exists within Helsinki’s Natural Museum: since the 1960s, a colony of venomous spiders has lived among the prehistoric antiquities and taxidermied animals. While tourists appreciate the exhibits, ignorant of their arachnid partners, the museum’s ancient hallways contain a quirky story about human-spider coexistence.

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.

Omena Hotel Lonnrotinkatu | Best Budget Hotel in Kamppi

Omena Hotel Lonnrotinkatu, Helsinki Finland

A small but inexpensive and charming self-check-in hotel with a central location. It is ideal for solo travellers because it is less than 850 metres from Helsinki Central Station and the Kamppi Shopping Centre. It provides modest rooms with free WiFi, a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator, and a microwave, as well as an easy keyless entry system. In addition, each room has a kettle with tea or coffee, which really helps to start the morning in a good mood!

Hotel Finn | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kamppi

Hotelli Finn, Helsinki Finland

The hotel has a prime location – it’s right in the centre of everything, so you can walk anywhere. The rooms are bright and spacious, with comfortable beds. There are several different eateries, cafés, and pubs in the vicinity of the Finn Hotel. The staff will gladly recommend dining options.

Cute Bedroom in City Center | Best Airbnb in Kamppi

Cute Bedroom in City Center, Helsinki Finland

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 trendy 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.

Things to See and Do in Kamppi

inside the chapel of silence in helsinki
It’s awful quiet in here
  1. Visit the Kamppi Chapel of Silence for a quiet moment to reflect.
  2. Spend a few hours in the Natural Museum of Helsinki.
  3. Go check out the neighbouring Church in the Rock.
  4. Visit Sinebrychoff Art Museum and check out the awesome art galleries and exhibitions.
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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 city trip to Helsinki. However, Punavuori tends to be a bit more expensive than other neighbourhoods in terms of accommodation.

Skyline of the city in Punavuori, Helsinki
How’s that for a skyline?

Punavuori means “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.

Punavuori really comes to life in the summer, with people flocking to the parks and having drinks out on the terraces. All nature lovers should head to Sinebrychoff Urban Park. It’s 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.

Hotel Anna Helsinki | Best Budget Hotel in Punavuori

Hotel Anna Helsinki Finland

Situated in this lovely suburb, Hotel Anna enjoys a prime location. Ideal room size for a city break, complete with all the necessities and city views. The staff at Helsinki’s art and design quarter, Punavuori, may suggest hip eateries and well-liked bars.

Original Sokos Hotel Albert | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Punavuori

Original Sokos Hotel Albert, Helsinki Finland

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.

Hostel Diana Park | Best Hostel in Punavuori

Hostel Diana Park, Helsinki Finland

The affordable, cosy and friendly Hostel Diana Park is located in the heart of central Helsinki and has a homely atmosphere. I appreciated the small extras, such as tourist information and a supply of feminine hygiene supplies provided in the lobby. They let you to leave your bags and use the facilities if you arrive in the city early, which is really appreciated!

Modern Apartment in the City Center of Helsinki | Best Airbnb in Punavuori

Modern Apartment in the City Center of Helsinki Finland

This newly refurbished, completely equipped apartment features a huge bathroom, two comfy double beds, a kitchen and stunning views from the bay windows that overlook the nicest neighbourhoods in Helsinki. It has all of the facilities you might want throughout your stay, including a killer home theatre!

Things to See and Do in Punavuori

a frosty morning in a central park in helsinki
Uhh, picnic anyone?
  1. Shop for some unique pieces in the local designer shops.
  2. Visit Aleksanterin teatteri, a Russian Tsarist-era theatre hosting concerts, opera & dance performances.
  3. During the summer, relax at Sinebrychoff Park.
  4. Admire centuries-old paintings at the Sinebrychoff Museum.

5. Kaartinkaupunki – Best Neighborhood in Helsinki for Families to Stay In

The Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood 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 central Helsinki can be found in Kaartinkaupunki, at Market Square by the water. Market Square is a year-round waterfront market including food vendors, handmade goods, and a heated cafe tent during the winter months. Here, visitors will find anything from Finnish treats and fresh produce to handicrafts and souvenirs.

Kaartinkaupunki, Helsinki
Photo: Mahlum (WikiCommons)

For an even more traditional feel, head to the Old Market Hall. Enjoy fresh products such as bread, shellfish or spices.

Take the time to appreciate the hustle and bustle of the square and Esplanade Park next door and stop at one of the local cafés tents once you are done shopping – they are heated in the winter!

Hotel Fabian | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Kaartinkaupunki

Hotel Fabian, Helsinki Finland

This four-star hotel is one of the best places to stay in Helsinki with family. Enter chic, contemporary rooms with flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, and private bathrooms—all the amenities you could want. For even more convenience, certain suites have functional kitchenettes. Situated only five minutes from Market Square, this place offers excitement and countless opportunities at every turn! It’s a shopping haven with lots of trendy bars and delicious restaurants.

Hotel F6 | Best Luxury Hotel in Kaartinkaupunki

Hotel F6, Helsinki Finland

This one-of-a-kind boutique hotel, located just next to Esplanadi shopping district, is beautifully adorned and furnished throughout. All rooms come equipped with a flat-screen TV, minibar, electric kettle, and wooden floors as standard. Every morning, Hotel F6 serves a traditional Finnish breakfast. As a guest, I felt special because the person at the front desk and breakfast room staff treated me with care and politeness.

2ndHomes Apartment | Best Apartment in Kaartinkaupunki

2ndHomes Apartment, Helsinki Finland

This fantastic two-bedroom apartment is more than simply a place to stay; it’s the starting point for an unforgettable trip to Finland! Rally the troops: this home can accommodate up to eight people, making it ideal for families and groups looking for comfort and space. Enjoy a sleek, stylish setting and a fully equipped kitchen for all of your culinary endeavours. You’re just a short walk from the Olympic Stadium, Cathedral, and Kamppi Shopping Centre, which are all located near Esplanade Park.

Things to see and do in Kaartinkaupunki

Kaartinkaupunki Helsinki Finland
A market lover’s dream!
  1. Wander through the stalls of the main market square in Helsinki.
  2. Join a hop-on hop-off bus tour to do a tour of the city.
  3. Grab a bite at the Old Market Hall.
  4. Pick up some decoration ideas at the Helsinki Design Museum.
  5. Hop on a cruise boat tour to see more of the archipelago.
  6. Learn about the history of Finnish design at the modern art museum, Design Museum.
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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.

What To Pack For Helsinki

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

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Keep your laundry organized and stink free
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What is the best place to stay in Helsinki for families?

Hotel Fabian in Kaartinkaupunki is the best place to stay for a family. It is within walking distance to the best attractions, and includes breakfast – I’m a sucker for a free brekky!

Where is the best place to stay in Helsinki for one night?

Helsinki City Centre is your best bet to stay in Helsinki on a whistlestop tour if you’re backpacking Finland. It’s close to all of the best sights of the city and is generally accessible from the airport and main train station.

Is Helsinki a walkable city?

If you don’t mind the cold, Helsinki is a very walkable city. Just make sure to wear sturdy shoes—snow and ice can turn the sidewalks into slippery slopes, making your stroll feel more like a challenging hike!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Helsinki

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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 favourite cities 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.

Helsinki’s vibrant neighbourhoods each provide a distinct tapestry of experiences ready to be discovered. I recommend that you begin your journey in the heart of the city, where the vibrant energy of the City Centre calls all the main attractions of Helsinki, with iconic buildings such as Helsinki Cathedral and Senate Square.

If you are travelling as a backpacker, The Yard Hostel is a great place to stay. This boutique hostel is modern and comfortable – a great base to meet other travellers backpacking Scandinavia.

For something more upmarket, check out the Hotel F6. Rooms here are beautifully decorated and the staff go above and beyond to make sure you have an unforgettable trip.

With its numerous neighbourhoods and limitless options for exploration, Helsinki invites you on a journey of discovery unlike any other. So pack your bags, lace up your walking shoes, and get ready to witness the enchantment of Finland’s capital city firsthand. Hey, you never know, you could even hit the jackpot and see the Northern Lights!

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

helsinki cathedral towering over other buildings on the coastline, helsinki
Helsinki is small, but it sure is mighty.
Looking for more info on travelling to Helsinki and Finland?

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