12 TOP Day Trips from Helsinki ✔️ (by a Local) Full Guide!

Aerial view of a road in a forest near a lake.

How exciting is it to visit Finland’s capital, Helsinki?! 🇫🇮 🏒

Since I live here and know all the amazing day trips from Helsinki, I have picked the 16 most fabulous ones! I promise that whichever you take, you will have an enriching experience that will stay with you forever! I have also linked some fun day tours and spilled some insider tips, so you can make the experience even more memorable. 😌

This stunning city has so many great attractions, from amazing museums to theme parks and green areas. One of the coolest things is the easy access Helsinki has to so many different cities and national parks. You’d be a fool not to take advantage of this when you can.

Let’s check out the best day trips from Helsinki! 😎

Quick Picks for Your Stay

If you don’t have a lot of time to read the whole article, here are the main things to book in advance:

Since we’re talking about day trips, here you have a map to help you understand all the different towns and cities mentioned in this article.

1. Discover the medieval charm of Porvoo’s old town

Colorful houses on a hillside near a body of water.

Porvoo is the 2nd oldest town in Finland, so if you come all the way to Northern Europe, go and explore the historical town of Porvoo with its wooden houses!

This cute and charming medieval town was settled in the 13th century, so you can imagine all the history that lies in its buildings and old cobblestone streets!

A must-stop in town is Porvoo Cathedral, open to the public with no entrance fee. It boasts a stunning Gothic style, so you better get your camera ready! Next, visit the Porvoo Museum, which used to be the city’s old Town Hall, now a functional museum where you can learn about the town’s interesting history and art.

Walk along the famous Porvoo River, and admire the red-wine-painted wooden boat houses. Sit down at any cute café and enjoy coffee or hot chocolate with a view!

There are several ways to reach Porvoo, but I think this one is the most convenient. It is a small group guided tour that takes you from Helsinki to and around Porvoo, where you will learn about the town’s historic sites and main attractions from a professional tour guide.

TIP: if you are still figuring out where to stay in Helsinki, check out this amazing guide with the best areas and hotels in Helsinki.

Getting there: the car drive from Helsinki is about 1 hour, and you can find the best route and specific directions on Waze.

Getting by public transport: there are also buses from the main bus station leaving every hour and you can purchase tickets from OnniBus.

TOUR PRICE: from €95 per person

Book your Porvoo guided tour

2. Take a ferry to Tallinn, Estonia, for a cultural experience

A yellow and orange cruise ship in a harbor.

A Tallinn day trip is another one of the many classics of Helsinki day trips for visitors and even for locals! By ferry, you can get to Tallinn in only a few hours, spend the entire day there, and then return with bags full of souvenirs and treats!

Tallinn is Estonia’s capital and will make your jaw drop with its stunning medieval cobblestone streets, beautiful hills, and cute alleys full of history!

I recommend visiting the Danish King’s Garden. The story goes that the Danish flag was created here 🇩🇰; When in this area, climb up Toompea Hill and admire its stunning views!

To help you organize your day trip, I found a nice round-trip tour to Tallinn by ferry across the Baltic Sea and a guided city tour with a local to learn about Tallinn and all its hidden gems!

NOTE: visiting Tallinn would be a great experience for everyone, but keep in mind that there will be quite some walking which may not be convenient if you’re traveling with small kids. To learn more about Tallinn, read our guide.

Getting there: the ferry ride from Helsinki lasts around 2.5 hours and departs from the Ferry Terminal.

TOUR PRICE: from €32 per person

Book your ferry tour to Tallinn

3. Visit vibrant Turku, the ancient Finnish capital

A church with a clock tower in the snow.

Turku is the oldest city in Finland, and former capital of the country, and a city worth visiting all year round.

If you’re visiting in winter, you can admire Turku Cathedral, built at the end of the 13th century, and Turku’s city Hall by the Aura River. You can also buy salmon soup or other Finnish treats at the city market hall!

In the summertime, don’t miss the chance to discover the charming coastal city of Turku and its medieval castle. There is nothing better than going for a walk along the river until reaching Turku Castle or sitting by the many cute restaurants and cafés, just enjoying urban life and visiting interesting art galleries! There are many festivals, so it’s very likely you’ll encounter a few!

History buffs and everyone who loves strolling around beautiful old cities will enjoy the day trip. I don’t recommend the trip to families with small kids as they might get tired of walking.

Getting there: the drive to Turku from Helsinki lasts around 2 hours. Check here for exact directions.

Getting by public transport: take the OnniBus departing from Kamppi Bus Station or departing from the main Train Station with VR.

4. Revel in the natural beauty of Nuuksio National Park

A woman in a yellow hat sitting on a rock overlooking a lake.

Visit the big city of Helsinki and experience the natural beauty of Nuuksio National Park! This day trip is perfect for nature lovers who can take any of the several marked trails and see reindeer and flying squirrels. You can go running or biking in the park, or you can simply go berry and mushroom picking! There’s no fee to enter the park.

Did you know this national park has a history from Finnish people dating from the Ice Age? The park features the most stunning moss-covered cliffs, and a lot of visitors go birdwatching in the area.

If you like water sports, you can go canoeing or swimming in the many lakes and ponds, just note that these are not official beaches with lifeguards.

During the wintertime, you can go skiing in the park or visit the nearby Swinghill, where you can go ski jumping!

Those of you who want just to sit and relax and leave the planning to someone else can take a guided tour by a naturalist. It will take you around stunning hiking trails and will explain to you everything about the Ice Age stone formations and different wildlife in the area! The starting point is the Central Railway Station in Helsinki!

Getting there: 30 minutes by car from Helsinki. For exact directions check Waze.

Getting by public transport: it takes a little over 1 hour with public transport. I advise you to check on HSL for the best connections.

TOUR PRICE: from €90 per person

Book your Nuuksio full-day tour

5. Immerse in Tampere’s industrial heritage

A docked sauna in the water next to a building.

Did you know Tampere is the sauna capital of the world? Pretty impressive, right? But Tampere is not all saunas. It is a city full of history and surrounded by stunning nature! Apart from treating yourself to a sauna session, on your visit to Tampere, see the unique Tampere Cathedral and the many art museums around the city. This city is great for families for its theme parks, beaches, and beautiful parks!

Tampere is also home to a huge amusement park that has around 34 attractions, so if you love adventure or have kids, Näsinneula is a must-stop! If you love nature, I advise you to visit the Arboretum de Hatanpää and Rauhaniemi Beach.

Getting there: the car drive from Helsinki city center is around 2 hours, and you can use Waze for exact directions.

Getting by public transport: you can also go from the main Train Station with VR.

6. Experience the fortress island of Suomenlinna

A group of people standing on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean.

While in Helsinki, visit the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and dive into the history of Loviisa’s sea fortress! This gorgeous island is located only a short ferry ride from Helsinki city center, and it offers visitors not only the most beautiful landscape of Finnish nature but also an insight into Finnish history and how it became the country it is today!

This incredible tour takes you to different parts of the city (for example Olympic Stadium) and then to Suomenlinna Island by ferry, where you will have a sightseeing tour! The departure point is Helsinki Market Square, more specifically, Kauppatori!

This day tour is perfect for those interested in learning about Suomenlinna Island and Finnish history and those who love spending time in nature!

Getting there: the ferry ride back and forth is less than 30 mins altogether and it is purchased with the HSL app from Kauppatori.

TOUR PRICE: for €170 per person

Book your tour

7. Fall in love with Ruissalo’s natural beauty

The sun is setting over a lake with trees in the background.

I think Ruissalo is my favorite place in Finland. I cannot explain how beautiful this place is, so if you are coming to Helsinki, you need to take a day trip to Ruissalo. I promise you will fall in love with this place, too!

Ruissalo is an island in the archipelago of Turku, and yes, you need an entire day to enjoy it properly. During the summertime, you can hike around and stumble upon beautiful beaches and cute farm animals, and in winter, when everything is covered in white snow, you can go cross-country skiing on the island!

I highly recommend renting a bike and exploring the island. The scenery is so beautiful you will want to stay here soaking in the natural beauty forever.

Cows grazing in a field with a rainbow in the sky.

PRO TIP: Pack food for a tasty lunch picnic. There are many cafés in the area, but I think a picnic will only enhance the natural experience. Bring a swimsuit and comfortable shoes and clothes for hikes. You can do it all in Ruissalo!

Getting there by car: from downtown Helsinki, the drive is around 2 hours. You can check directions on Waze.

Getting by public transport: first you need to get to Turku, and from there you can take the bus no.8 from Market Square. Once you get to the island, you decide when you get off, at the first stop or at Saaronniemen Uimaranta (the beach), the last stop. You can buy the ticket in the public transport app.

8. Explore the coastal vibes of Naantali

A boat docked at a dock with a church in the background.

Naantali feels like Finland’s hidden gem. This small town is only a 15-minute drive from Turku and a 2-hour drive from Helsinki. Naantali is such a charming place. It feels like a different universe where everything is perfect, the harbor, the hills featuring views, and the cute little restaurants and cafés by the waterfront!

If you come to Naantali, one of the most popular things to do while in town is Moomin World. The Moomins are loved by all Finns and are part of their identity! It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you live in Finland, you must have a Moomin coffee mug, tote bag, or whatever. I, myself, have 2 coffee mugs and a little can box where I put my coffee!😍 If you have kids, you will have a fantastic time in the theme park!

Getting there: you can reach Naantali by car from Helsinki in around 2 hours, enter the exact starting point and follow the directions here.

Getting by public transport: you can also take a bus from Turku, which departs from many points of the city, usually bus no. 7 or 6, you can check the timetable in HSL.

 MOOMIN WORLD PRICE: €35 per person

Get your Moomin World ticket

9. Sail to serene islands in the archipelago

A red building on the shore of a body of water.

The archipelago has the most beautiful islands full of wholesome nature where you can relax and let go of all your worries in this little piece of paradise. For example, you could take a ferry (from this location) to the beautiful Island of Pihlajasaari and spend your day on white-sanded beaches or hiking. If you need a break, there are cute cafés on the Island.

Another amazing idea is to go for a walk through the picturesque Vallisaari Island, where sometimes there are open-air art exhibitions happening. This island is perfect for hiking and relaxing in a natural landscape for people of all ages, and you can reach it by ferry.

Getting there: getting to both islands doesn’t take more than 10 minutes.

FERRY PRICE: €20 per person

Book your Vallisaari Island ferry ride

10. Connect with nature in Sipoonkorpi National Park

An aerial view of a lake surrounded by trees.

Sipoonkorpi National Park is another must-stop during your stay in Helsinki. It is located near Vantaa and is the perfect place for a wholesome retreat from the big city into the wilderness! One of the coolest activities you can do in Sipoonkorpi National Park is geocaching. You can play with a GPS or check out a geocaching website!

If you want the real Finnish experience, this Sipoonkorpi tour will take you through hiking trails, grill a tasty lunch, and end the day with a sauna session and a swim! What an experience, I’d say!

TIP: If you are into national parks, you can explore the hiking trails in Teijo National Park, less than 2 hours away from Helsinki, or the UNESCO site of Ekenäs Archipelago National Park, which is also 2 hours away.

Getting there: only a 30-minute drive from Helsinki, for exact directions depending on your starting point follow directions on Waze.

Getting by public transport: you can reach the park usually by bus no.739. Check timetables here.

TOUR PRICE: from €160 per person

Join a Sipoonkorpi Tour

11. Wander through the coastal town of Hanko

An aerial view of a church in a small town.

Hanko is a beautiful spa town located only 2 hours away from Helsinki, and it is super popular in Finland, especially during summer, as it is the perfect little oasis to relax on white sand beaches or simply stroll around the harbor with the beautiful wooden houses in the background.

Hanko is known for being a spa town, and one of its iconic landmarks is Hanko Water Tower which offers stunning 360° views of the Baltic Sea and the town. This paradise town offers beaches, islands, and amazing forests. So whether you want to swim, hike, or relax under the sun, this town got you covered!

Getting there: 2 hours car drive from Helsinki. See directions on Waze.

Getting by public transport: you can take the train from the main Train Station with VR.

12. Venture to the historical town of Hämeenlinna

A castle sits on top of a hill next to a body of water.

If you are interested in history and art, Hämeenlinna is the perfect place to dive into the amazing wonders of the past in Häme Castle. This medieval castle is known for its use as a fortress and home of the Swedish nobles.

Another stop while in town is the Prison Museum, which used to be a real prison from the late 1800s until 1993, and it holds the town’s history, as well as a lot of philosophical rhetoric works.

Jean Sibelius is one of Finland’s most prominent figures. He was a famous composer, and his birthplace and home for the first 20 years of his life were in Hämeenlinna. Pay a visit to his childhood house (€8), and if you are lucky enough, you might visit when there is a concert happening in the museum’s hall.

Getting there: located only 1 hour’s drive from Helsinki, depending on your starting point. See the best route on Waze.

Getting by public transport: you can reach the town from the main Train Station with VR services.

🌲 Best day trip for nature:Nuuksio National Park
🏛️ Top day trip for history:Guided Tour to Porvoo
🌆 Best day trip for city lovers:Tallinn Guided Tour
🏰 Top unique day trip:Suomenlinna Fortress

FAQs about day trips from Helsinki

A view of a forest with trees and a body of water.

🇫🇮 How many days in Helsinki is enough?

I recommend staying at least 4 days. There are so many things to see in this beautiful city, and you don’t want to miss anything! Check out our article to find out all the great things to do in Helsinki.

🌍 Which countries are close to Helsinki?

Finland has Sweden, Norway, and Russia as its neighbors, and Helsinki is super close to Tallinn, Estonia, which makes it perfect for a ferry ride day trip! Learn all about Tallinn in our complete guide.

🛥️ Is it worth going to Porvoo for Helsinki?

Yes! Porvoo is such a unique town. It is the 2nd oldest town in Finland with a special charm. This guided tour with transport is perfect for those looking to visit from Helsinki.

🇪🇪 Is Tallinn worth the trip from Helsinki?

Yes, it is worth it! Estonia is a beautiful country, and Tallinn is a picturesque medieval city with a lot of history and art. This is a great guided tour in Tallinn, and you can book your Helsinki-Tallinn ferry ride here.

Conclusion

A woman is standing in front of a church at night.

That’s a wrap for today, my world adventurers! Those were some of the most amazing day trips from Helsinki you can take during your visit to Finland! I have covered a wide range of options, from castles, and national parks, to medieval cities with cute cafés!

If you are taking a day tour of these attractions and cities, book them in advance. Some of the tours sell out very fast, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to learn about Finnish history and get a deeper insight into the country!

Which of these Helsinki day trips are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments, and if you have any questions, ask away!

Until the next adventure

Daniela


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various houses on the rocks by the watere

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