The past two decades that I have lived in Finland (!) Helsinki and Finland have emerged as captivating travel destinations for families. Nestled in the heart of Northern Europe, Finland's unique blend of natural beauty, and family-friendly attractions beckon to adventurers of all ages. From the iconic Moomins that have charmed generations to the vibrant cityscape of Helsinki and the endless wonders of the Finnish wilderness, this Nordic destination offers an unforgettable journey tailored to create cherished memories for families seeking a truly immersive and enchanting getaway.
If you wish to discover the enchanting allure of Helsinki and Finland and seeking for sights, attractions and family-friendly activities in Helsinki (or near Helsinki), here are my recommendations below:
1. Moominworld in Naantali
While not in the capital Helsinki, Moominworld is a dedicated Moomin theme park located in Naantali (about 2 hours from Helsinki). This could be a great option for a day trip if your family is into Moomins. Unfortunately, Moominworld is not open all-year round, so please check the opening hours on their website.
2. Linnanmäki Amusement Park
Linnanmäki is a popular amusement park in Helsinki that offers a variety of rides suitable for children and adults. It could be a fun family outing.
Sea life-themed aquarium located near Linnanmäki Amusement Park so you can combine the two.
4. Heureka: The Finnish Science Centre
Heureka is an interactive science center where kids can learn through hands-on exhibits and experiments. It's an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family.
5. Helsinki Zoo
The Helsinki Zoo is a great place to visit with a young child. It's home to a wide variety of animals and provides a fun and educational experience.
6. Suomenlinna Sea Fortress
Take a ferry to this UNESCO World Heritage site. It's a historic sea fortress with tunnels, cannons, and beautiful views. Kids usually enjoy exploring the fortress.
7. Pihlajasaari island
The beloved Pihlajasaari island, also known by nicknames Pihlis and Rönsskär, is one of the most important summer oases for Helsinkians, who just love their sea and archipelago. For sunbathers the island offers both picturesque sandy beaches and plenty of rocks on the other side of the island, where everyone can find a peaceful spot. The ferry trip from the city takes only around 10 minutes. In addition to delicacies, the charming Restaurant Pihlajasaari, in an old wooden villa, provides excellent views of the glistering waves of Gulf of Finland. The seaside terrace of Restaurant Pihlajasaari is one of the best summer terraces in Helsinki.
The Pihlajasaari restaurant is open every day from 20.5.-27.8.2022, as such: Restaurant 11:30 – 20:00 Kitchen 12:00-19:00
8. Moomin Ice Cave
The Moomin Ice Cave is located at the Sport and Spa Hotel Vesileppis in the city of Leppävirta, 5-6 hours by train from Helsinki. The Moomin Ice Cave is30 meters underground inside a mined stone cave. The exhibition features Moomin ice sculptures and various winter activities, for example a snowslide, sleigh carousel and a snow tube track.
The theme of the summer season of 2023 (which closes its doors on September 3, 2023) is the favorite scenes from Tove Jansson's original comics. The scenes from the story Moomin Valley Turns Jungle (Tove 1956) have the major role in the exhibition. At the exhibition you can find carnivorous plants, jungle wildlife and the Hobgoblin.
Free activities for travellers and families in Helsinki
1. Helsinki Cathedral
The Cathedral, by Carl Ludvig Engel, rising on the northern side of the Senate Square is the stage of national and academic festive services and one of the most popular tourist sights. The church is part of Helsinki's Empire era centre and a landmark for those arriving by sea. It has become the symbol of the whole of Helsinki. Earlier called St. Nicholas Church and Great Cathedral, the current main church of the Helsinki Diocese was completed in 1852. Sculptures of the twelve apostles guard the city from the roof of the church.
2. Uspenski Cathedral
Completed in 1868 in the Katajanokka district of Helsinki, the Uspenski Cathedral is the largest orthodox church in Western Europe. With its golden cupolas and redbrick facade, the church is one of the clearest symbols of the Russian impact on Finnish history.
3. Tove Jansson Park
Tove Jansson is one of the best and loved Finnish artists of all time and also the most widely read Finnish author in the world. She was a multitalented artist who is mostly remembered as a creator of the Moomins.
Katajanokka Park was created in 1897 based on the designs of City Gardener Svante Olsson. The view from the park up to Uspenski Cathedral with its golden cupolas is itself magnificent. In 2014 the park was renamed Tove Jansson Park, celebrating the 100th anniversary since the birth of Tove Jansson, artist and author of eg. the famous Moomin books.Tove used to play by the Uspenski Cathedral and the park next to it. In 2014 the park was finally named Tove Jansson Park. Her home street Luotsikatu used to cross the park.
4. Esplanade Park
A lovely park in the city center where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, and let your child play.
5. Market Square and Old Market Hall
The Market Square is a bustling area where you can find fresh produce, local crafts, and souvenirs. The Old Market Hall offers a variety of food stalls and restaurants.
6. Töölö Bay
If the weather is nice, spending time by the water can be enjoyable. Töölö Bay offers walking paths.
7. Jean Sibelius Park
Jean Sibelius Park, located in Helsinki, Finland, is a captivating destination for visitors. Named after the renowned Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, the park offers a serene retreat from the bustling city life, featuring lush greenery, and winding pathways perfect for leisurely strolls. The highlight of the park is the striking Sibelius Monument, an abstract sculpture resembling organ pipes that pays homage to the composer's music, which is an awesome backdrop for photos.