Sure, there are always ways to spend a huuuge amount of money, especially while on vacation. Luxury hotels, 5-star restaurants, entertainment’s finest – of course the Finnish capital has all of this to offer as well. But we reveal a few ideas how to keep your savings together here and there, if you are looking for a holiday on a small budget. At least this time, right?
Less is more, and so you probably won’t get lost in the metro system with its one line only. Instead you’ll easily reach every place you’d like to see and adults, which are pushing their child in a stroller, can use public transportation for free. Besides the metro, also buses and trams get you around Helsinki. If you hold a day-ticket, the ferry to Suomenlinna is included therein.
Situated on six islands outside the city of Helsinki Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a picnic next to its shire-lookalike hobbit hills and the large fortifications or just spend some time walking around on the coastline – either facing the open sea or getting a picture book worthy city view.
Too windy today? In that case there are plenty of museums to choose from. The National Museum of Finland allows free entry after 4 p.m. on Fridays as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, part of the Finnish National Gallery, on every first Friday of the month and to under-18s. But anyway, you can discover most attractions like the unique Temppeliaukio rock church or the skyline’s eye-catching Helsinki Cathedral at the Senate Square any time without paying a cent.
Being active is always a topic in the north and running, yoga or SUP (stand up paddling) are some current trending activities, with first lessons quite affordable. But what can’t be missed here is the well-tried Finnish sauna tradition: Sompasauna, a self-service public sauna, will introduce you to it in less than a blink.
You can come as you are (swim wear is optional), only bring a towel and some water and then relax in the heat for free. Afterwards take a swim in the Baltic Sea or prepare some delicacies on the nearby grill. To dive deeper into their culture look out for the annual sauna days, where many Finns open their private saunas to everybody.
And don’t worry about your children: The popular Linnanmäki amusement park is one option to keep the spirits high – here you can choose between over 40 different sized rides and other attractions. Some rides, mainly for the little ones, and general admission to the park are free of charge, so just decide on location if you dare to enter one of the adrenaline kickers yourself. From the panorama sightseeing tower you have at least a beautiful view above Helsinki’s scenery without getting sweaty hands.
Food & Accommodation
If you had enough for a day, pick up the brochure “Food Helsinki? HEL YEAH!” at the tourist information to get tips on local food offers, suiting your taste and hunger. It’s an easy way to discover and enjoy the culinary mix between eastern and western style kitchen in the heart of Helsinki or on its islands around.
You see, if you keep our recommendations in mind, you can explore Helsinki on a budget. Lastly just missing a nice place to stay, huh?
Text: Susanne Schick for Suomen Hostellijärjestö – Finnish Hostel Association
Main picture: Summer Night © Visit Finland