So, is it worthwhile to visit Helsinki? Definitely! There are many fantastic things to see and do in Helsinki regardless of whether you have little money to spend. I try to fit in as many free things as possible, and these generally ultimately end up having some among my favourite spots places. Helsinki is a costly location to visit, yet there are plenty of methods to cut costs, and now that I’ve gone, I am eager to come back and explore what I forgot during my first trip.
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Senate Square is likely to be near the top of any list of free things to do in Helsinki. The square is home to the historic Helsinki Cathedral, which is currently free to enter but will be subject to a €5 voluntary entrance fee beginning in March 2021. The church was in 1839 and has stood above Senate Square ever since. The square is fringed by excellent shops and restaurants, and it is just a short stroll from the waterfront.
Old Market Hall
An indoor market known as Old Market Hall, which goes back to the nineteenth century, sits along the waterfront. It was about to close when we arrived, but we had enough time to go around and enjoy some of the food stalls and delights on offer. Because it’s a market, it’ll be on the list of free things to do in Helsinki (unless you buy something).
The hall is near Market Square, which functions as an outdoor market during the day and contains a variety of interesting vendors to peruse.
Uspenski Cathedral is across the street from Market Square. It was in 1868 and is the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe! If you have any more time, I recommend taking the short, uphill trek to see the building up close. You also get a beautiful view of Helsinki’s city core from the top of the hill, which is a plus and, of course, something free to do in Helsinki! Unfortunately, the cathedral was when we arrived, so if you want to go, check the opening hours beforehand – admittance is free!
A stroll through Esplanadi Park is another excellent free thing to do in Helsinki. The park is near the Old Market Hall and is also located between two of Helsinki’s main retail avenues. It is the green heart of Helsinki and is Finland’s most famous park. We chose to go via the park rather than along the road, and we truly liked the change of view.
Explore the Outdoor Markets
Markets are popular in Helsinki, and it seemed like every neighbourhood we visited had at least one outdoor market. So, if you happen across one while roaming about Helsinki, I highly recommend spending some time there. There are generally some unique gifts for sale, and buying meals at these markets is often a fantastic way to save money! The one shown above was open every day we passed by, and it was even open in the evening. Of course, even if you don’t buy anything, attending a market is a wonderful free activity to do in Helsinki.
Kamppi Chapel of Silence
The Kamppi Chapel of Silence is one of the most unique sights to visit in Helsinki. It’s near to the Kamppi Shopping Centre, and its unique architecture makes it difficult to overlook. One of the best free things to do in Helsinki is to visit the chapel. Why? Because this one-of-a-kind piece of wooden Finnish architecture allows no noise from the outer world to enter. As soon as you enter the chapel, there is complete quiet, which is both terrifying and soothing.
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