Originally built for the 1952 Summer Olympics, Helsinki Airport is the largest airport in Finland & 4th largest in the Nordic countries.
The airport is roughly a 30 minute drive from the city centre, so it’s best to pick up a rental car directly from the airport itself.
Things to Do in Helsinki and the Surrounding Areas
Amble around the Senate Square, Esplanade Park and, if you’re brave enough, visit the Stadium Tower. The Stadium Tower is 72 metres high and once you’re at the top, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view over Helsinki.
If you’re visiting Helsinki with children or you’re just young at heart, the Linnanmäki Amusement Park makes for a fun afternoon. It's the oldest amusement park in Finland, over a hundred years old, and offers all the traditional rides from a monorail to a roller coaster and a carousel. Even at night the charming atmosphere continues with all the lights and music.
In Helsinki there are plenty of museums to choose from so you will always have a lot to do and for little cost. One to definitely visit though, is the Museum of Contemporary Art or better known to locals as Kiasma (Finnish for charisma). Since its completion in 1998, Kiasma has risen from a once-contested structure to a well-respected architectural highlight of Helsinki and that’s just the outside. Housed in this sweeping glass structure is the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery, where you can take in some of the greatest painting, sculpture and interactive art of the last few decades.
Another area to check out is Soumenlinna, though technically it’s not actually in Helsinki. It’s easily accessible by ferry from the Helsinki market place. This inhabited sea fortress is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki and offers fantastic waterfront views of the city. Suomenlinna has been in operation since the 18th century under Swedish, then Russian, then Finnish control, and its eventful history is visible across its six islands. A variety of museums full of swords, uniforms and artillery chart the contested history of the fortress, while more modern attractions like the docked WWII-era submarine provide even more great photo opportunities.
It may be a little off the beaten track, but if you're coming to Finland for the first time and fancy getting out of the city you should make the effort to go and see Kaitalampi Lake. Embraced by nature, you forget you are only about 40 minutes' drive from Helsinki city centre. This small, narrow and deep lake is very beautiful, with colourful swamps, needle tree woods and steep rocks around it. Everything here grows in abundance from blueberries to raspberries to forest strawberries. It is quite possible to take a walk around the forest and come back stuffed to the gills for free! This is not a tourist hotspot at all, so very few people who come to Finland even know this area exists. If you have the opportunity it is highly recommend that you go.
'The Weegee Exhibition Centre’ in Espoo is a huge complex that was originally designed as a printing house by the architect Aarno Ruusuvuori. Inside this building you can find EMMA (Espoo Museum of Modern Art), KAMU (Espoo City Museum), Finnish Toy Museum and the Espoo School of Arts. The exhibition centre is mostly for contemporary art, but it is open to very different kinds of art pieces as well.