Last Updated on
The clean, modern city of Helsinki is a slice of paradise in the Nordics. Consisting of over 330 small islands, glistening lakes, and unparalleled natural beauty, Helsinki caters to outdoor adventure and enthusiast travelers.
And although you might visit Helsinki to spend quality time outside, you’d be missing one of the best parts of the city – the museums! Especially considering that Finland is one of the most design-focused capitals in all the world, which means it’s home to some fantastic art galleries.
That’s why we put together this list of our favorite museums in Helsinki. You’re guaranteed to find something new and interested to see in this Finnish wonderland!
Table of Contents
Housing everything from Finnish industrial decor to international graphic arts, the Design Museum Helsinki is a design lover’s paradise. The only permanent exhibition is about the history of Finnish design over the last 150 years.
With over 200,000 objects, paintings, and drawings, you’ll walk away with a new appreciation for this design capital. Past temporary exhibits have included Marimekko fashion design, mid-century design, and also Arabia factory production.
With the Helsinki Card City, you can get free entry into the Design Museum Helsinki, along with dozens of other museums!
As part of the Finnish National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma houses the country’s most extensive contemporary art collection. There are over 8,000 artists on display, many of which come right here from Helsinki.
However, you’ll also find other famous artists, including Antonio Rotta, Cornelis Bega, and Nicolas Berchem. And the building? The design was chosen out of 500 applicants in an architectural design competition.
Ready to book? Here are our favorite areas to stay in Helsinki!
Step back in time as you explore thousands of years of Finnish History! At the National Museum of Finland, you’ll find thousands of artifacts from the Stone age all the way until the present day. But don’t worry, the museum is divided into six parts, so you can easily explore the different type periods at your leisure.
If you want a taste of Finnish culture, don’t miss the Land and Its People exhibit. Here, you’ll learn about what life was like in the Finnish countryside before the rise of industrialization!
Stop by the National Museum of Finland on your hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Helsinki!
Whether you’re a professional or amateur photographer, you’ll enjoy a visit to the Finnish Museum of Photography! Dedicated to the art and practice of photography from around the world, the museum showcased both Finnish and international artists.
You’ll even find a small exhibit on local emerging talent. And for a unique souvenir, don’t forget to stop by the gift shop for a photography book or postcard.
Like most Scandinavian countries, Finland is known for its art nouveau architecture and design! Housed in a neo-renaissance building, the Museum of Finnish Architecture contains an extensive collection of drawings, photographs, and even small-scale models of buildings!
Explore Helsinki’s unique architecture through the ages, from the small wooden huts to the modern buildings you see dotting the sky today.
Don’t have much time? Take a look at these great hotels in Helsinki to save you doing all the searching yourself.
You can’t miss the Finnish Museum of Natural History, especially if you walk by it! It’s the only building in Helsinki with two large giraffes having coffee on the balcony! But the inside of the building is equally as entertaining and showcases the plants, biological specimens, and the natural beauty of Finland.
You’ll find dinosaur bones, diagrams of local trees, and even Finnish dioramas of the landscape. This museum is fun for kids, but also kids at heart!
Interested in Helsinki? Read up on the history of Helsinki!
Located on the peaceful island of Seurasaari, the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum takes you back centuries in Finnish history. Explore the historic crofts and manors, take a peek inside a smoke cabin, and see what life was like in the countryside.
The whole island is yours to explore, which makes the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum the perfect escape from the city.
Over the last century, Finland fought in many prominent wars, many of which are unknown to most foreigners. At the Military Museum’s Manege, you can learn about Finland’s defense forces and what life was like during these tumultuous times.
From the fight for independence in 1918 to the Lapland War from 1944-1945, you’ll have the opportunity to explore years of Finnish history.
Not sold on Helsinki? There are some incredible things to do in Helsinki that won’t believe!
For a glimpse of fine European art, head to the Sinebrychoff Art Museum. It’s home to some of the most expensive, and most influential masterpieces to ever come from Finland.
With over 4,000 paintings, you’ll be impressed when marveling at the works from the European old masters. But besides the art pieces, half of the museum contains furniture and artifacts from the Sinebrychoff estate of the 19th century.
Relive the memories from your childhood by exploring the Suomenlinna Toy Museum in Helsinki! Many of the toys date back to the beginning of the 19th century and continue until the mid-1960s.
You’ll find adorable teddy bears, rare toy trains, and hundreds of antique, porcelain dolls! This charming museum appeals to both adults and children, and makes for a wonderful day out in Helsinki!
Located on the quaint island of Kuusisaari, the Didrichsen Art Museum holds two or three rotating exhibits each year. From Finnish contemporary art to international fine art, there’s always something exciting to see on display.
Build inside the former mid-century residence of Marie-Louise and Gunnar Didrichsen. They were utterly devoted to curating only the highest quality of art to show to the public, and are even buried on the property of the museum.
How many museums are in Helsinki?
There are several dozen museums in Helsinki and the surrounding area. While you can find many unique and quirky places to visit, Helsinki is known for its art and design, which is reflected by the sheer number of art museums in the city.
How many free museums are in Helsinki?
While most museums charge an entry fee, they almost always have free entry at certain times or certain days of the week. It’s common for the museums to offer free visits during the first Friday of each month and in August during the Night of the Arts.
What are the hours of Helsinki museums?
Most museums in Helsinki are open from 9 or 10 in the morning until 6 or 7 in the evening. However, many museums stay open later, until 8 or 9 pm. Some museums close on Mondays, and almost all are closed during public bank holidays.
What can I bring into Helsinki museums?
In certain places, like art museums, photography and videography are prohibited. However, it’s usually allowed in history, science, and natural history museums. For specific rules on what is allowed inside each Helsinki museum, we recommend checking out the visitor information on their website.
As you can see, there’s more to Finland’s capital than meets the eye. Not only does it have stunning landscapes and jaw-dropping natural beauty, but Helsinki also is thriving with culture and history. Not to mention that the city’s fantastic collection of art is second to none!
So on your next visit to Finland, don’t forget to check out of a few museums in the area. Helsinki has one-of-a-kind art galleries, vibrant natural history museums, and even bizarre and quirky exhibits! Not only will you learn something new, but it will also deepen your appreciation of this fabulous city.
*** Some of the links on Hotel Jules are affiliate links, which means if you do make a purchase, we may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you.) Thank you for using our links! Your support keeps the site going***
Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!