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Helsinki, one of the smallest European capitals, is often underrated by those who have not taken the time to visit it. In reality, Finland’s capital offers a laid-back environment that is still bustling with culture and life. Its prime location on the seaside has also given Helsinki a beautiful archipelago of around 330 islands.
Even though Helsinki is a pretty compact city, the large hotel choice available can make it hard to pick one place specifically.
This is exactly why we have made choosing where to stay in Helsinki a breeze with this comprehensive guide!
Specially put together by our team of travel experts, it will make picking a hotel in the best neighbourhoods of Helsinki look like the easiest task in the world.
After going through this list, YOU will be an expert on Helsinki and its neighbourhoods so that you can enjoy your Finnish adventure to the fullest!
These are our best picks for where to stay in Helsinki.
Table of Contents
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Helsinki.
Hellsten Helsinki Parliament offers affordable accommodation close to the central train station. The rooms are comfortable and feature a private bathroom with a shower, a kitchenette and a refrigerator.
Guests can enjoy a free access to the sauna. In the lobby, a TV and laundry facilities are available for use.
The Hotel Indigo Helsinki Boulevard is centrally located and a great choice in Helsinki.
This boutique hotel offers rooms with a private bathroom, air conditioning, heating, and a city view. The hotel provides a free WiFi connection, a 24-hour fitness centre and electric car charging stations.
This Art-Deco themed boutique hotel offers luxurious rooms featuring a private bathroom, air conditioning, soundproofing and a flat screen TV. The hotel features a fitness centre, a bar and bicycle rental service.
A tasty buffet breakfast is served for Hotel Lilla Roberts guests every morning. Family rooms can accommodate up to four people.
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is a compact city that looks more like a second tier town for most of its European neighbours. Despite that fact, Helsinki still has a lot to offer to its visitors and is bustling with culture, quaint restaurants and lively nightlife.
Hotel Jules Insider TipMost of the city can be seen walking or using the efficient public transport network. The city centre is quite small and assembles all the major museums and parks. Great shopping options are also available in the centre, but it still lacks dining and nightlife options.
For the latter, you will need to head to the adjacent neighbourhood of Kamppi, bustling with cafés, restaurants and bars. This area is lively at night and, thanks to the presence of the bus station, provides easy access to the rest of the city.
Punavuori is another Helsinki neighbourhood offering a vibrant food scene and lively bars to spend a night out with friends. Punavuori has also been dubbed the Design District, which means you will be spoiled for choice if you are looking to shop unique pieces.
The Kallio neighbourhood is a favourite of students in Helsinki, and everyone loves the grungy atmosphere around there. The area is mostly residential but remains lively, thanks to the presence of vintage shops and bars offering cheap drinks.
Around the central neighbourhoods, hundreds of tiny islands form the Helsinki archipelago. Not all of them are inhabited, but some have become real neighbourhoods of the city. This is, for instance, the case of Katajanokka, a mainly residential neighbourhood.
Helsinki’s neighbourhoods are all different and have their very own activities and atmosphere to offer. Let’s explore them one by one.
The City Centre of Helsinki is quite compact and can be easily explored by foot. The main sight of the area is probably the Helsinki Cathedral, which has become an unofficial symbol of the city over the years.
Perched on top of stairs and dominating the Senate square with its striking white colour, it is definitely a sight not to miss in Helsinki.
From the City Centre, it is also easy to catch a boat and head to the island where the Suomenlinna fortress is located. The trip takes around 15 minutes and the ferry runs every half hour in the summer.
Built in the 1700s by the Swedish, the Suomenlinna used to be the greatest fortress in the whole Baltic Sea. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site and one of the most visited places in Finland.
Back on the land side of Helsinki and within the Helsinki City Centre, the Esplanade Park provides a green stretch tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Locals like to come here to relax or just take a walk down the park.
During the summer, concerts are regularly organised at the Esplanade Park and ice cream and cold drinks stands are easy to find.
Several museums are also located in the Helsinki City Centre. The Ateneum Art Museum has the largest collection of art and paintings in Finland while the Helsinki City Museum retraces the history of the city from within a series of old buildings.
The Kongressikoti Hotel is located in the heart of Helsinki City Centre, just a short walk away from the cathedral. The rooms have a shared bathroom and include a refrigerator, heating, a desk and a seating area. There is also a sink in the rooms.
The hotel provides a free WiFi connection and a common kitchen where guests can cook.
The Scandic Seurahuone is located directly opposite the central train station in Helsinki’s city centre, in an Art Nouveau building dating back to the early 20th century.
This grand hotel offers comfortable featuring a private bathroom, heating, a flat screen TV with satellite channels and a pillow menu.
Housed in a historic 19th-century building, the Hotel Kamp is our top pick for where to stay in Helsinki City Centre. The rooms are spacious and feature a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning and heating for the winter.
The hotel is has a great fitness centre as well as a traditional Finnish sauna and a steam bath.
Kallio is located just north of the Helsinki City Centre. A bohemian spirit lingers in the streets of this neighbourhood, which is also being kept alive by students who have made Kallio their favourite place to live.
While it is mostly residential, Kallio has kept a lively environment and has kept several things to see and do. For a truly local experience, head to Kotiharjun sauna, the last wood burning public sauna in Helsinki. Men and women will enjoy separate saunas.
It is not rare to see people playing chess in the changing rooms at Kallio, or cooling off outside on the patio, especially when it is freezing cold in winter.
For a thrill at the amusement park, head over to Linnanmäki. Entrance to the park is free and visitors only pay for the rides they want to do. The park is notably famous for its wooden roller coaster, built in 1951 and still in operation today.
To try out some local treats, the Hakaniemi Market Hall is the place to go. Small vendors perpetuate the traditional Finnish vibe of the market by selling local dishes, treats and fresh produce.
The Forenom Hostel Helsinki Merihaka is our top choice for where to stay in Helsinki on a budget. Located on the 11th floor of the building, it provides self-service accommodation with beautiful views over the city and the sea.
The rooms at the Forenom have a shared bathroom and include a free WiFi connection.
The Hilton Helsinki Strand is located on the waterfront, just a few minutes’ walk away from the Hakaniemi Market Hall.
There are comfortable rooms at the Hilton Helsinki Strand, featuring a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning and heating. The hotel also has an indoor swimming pool and a fitness centre.
The Scandic Paasi is a design hotel offering comfortable and spacious rooms in Kallio. They are all fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning, heating, and a flat screen TV with satellite channels.
Scandic Paasi’s guests can use bicycles and Nordic walking sticks for free. A tasty buffet breakfast is served every morning.
The Kamppi neighbourhood is located right next to Helsinki City Centre. It is mostly filled with shops, restaurants and bars, as well as churches and museums on the cultural and historical side.
Shopping lovers will enjoy spending a day at the mall Kampin Keskus, filled with international and local brands. For a break from running around from store to store, make a pit stop in one of the numerous cafés and restaurants of the area.
Just a few streets up from Kamppi, do not miss the unique Church in the Rock. The church was completed in 1969 and directly excavated into solid rock. As such, it has an architecture you will not see anywhere else! The church dome is made of copper and the interior walls have kept the raw rocks uncovered.
If you are more of the museum-lover type, the Natural Museum of Helsinki is located in the Kamppi neighbourhood. There, visitors will be able to see remains of prehistoric animals, minerals and taxidermied animals.
A funny anecdote about this museum is the fact that it has been infested with a venomous type of spiders since the 1960s. The origin of the infestation is still debated but it could have been caused by a shipment coming from Latin America. No need to worry, however, as only one spider accident has been reported in 50 years.
The Omena Hotel Lonnrotinkatu is our top pick for where to stay in Kamppi on a budget.
This centrally located self-service hotel offers rooms fitted with a private bathroom, a flat screen TV, free toiletries and a refrigerator. Vending machines can be accessed at all times in the lobby.
Hotelli Finn offers functional rooms decorated with the work of local artists. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom, a flat screen TV with satellite channels and a free wifi connection.
The hotel applies a non-smoking policy and family rooms accommodating up to 4 people are available.
The Hotel St George offers luxury accommodation in the heart of Kamppi in Helsinki. Located in a historical building from the 1850s, the hotel offers spacious rooms fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom, an extra-long bed and a flat screen TV.
An indoor swimming pool and a fitness centre are accessible to Hotel St George guests.
The Punavuori neighbourhood is part of the Design District in Helsinki. As such, shoppers will love the area as they will be able to find that unique, authentic piece to bring back from their trip to Helsinki.
Punavuori means the “red rock”, and got its name from the stones that are found in the neighbourhood. It is located just south of the central neighbourhoods of Kamppi and Helsinki City Centre and was the city’s first residential area.
Today, Punavuori is not only filled with designer boutiques, but also with trendy cafés and restaurants where visitors can enjoy international and local cuisine.
During the summer, the Punavuori really comes to life, with people flocking to the parks and having drinks out on the terraces.
The Sinebrychoff urban park is particularly popular among local to relax and enjoy the sun. The park was originally designed as a garden for the neighbouring brewery built by Nikolai Sinebrychoff, who also has his house there. The layout is geometric, with ponds and an observation tower scattered around.
Right next to the park, the Sinebrychoff Museum displays the largest painting collection in Finland dating from the 14th to the 19th centuries. Historic furniture and artefacts are also exposed.
The Hostel Diana Park is located just in between the neighbourhoods of Punavuori and Helsinki City Centre. All the rooms are fitted with heating, a sink, and have access to a shared toilet and bathroom.
A free WiFi connection is available in the Hostel Diana Park premises. The hostel also features a common kitchen that guests can use at their convenience.
The Hotel Anna is centrally located and one of our top choices for where to stay in Punavuori. It offers cosy and comfortable rooms fitted with a bathroom with a heated floor, a flat screen TV, and soundproofing.
The rooms at the Hotel Anna also have a view over the city. A free WiFi connection is available everywhere in the hotel.
The Original Sokos Hotel Albert offers modern rooms in the Punavuori neighbourhood of Helsinki. The rooms feature a private bathroom, air conditioning, heating, a flat screen TV with satellite channels and hardwood floors.
A very good buffet breakfast is served every morning at the Original Sokos Hotel Albert, and a free WiFi connection is included.
The Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood is located just south of the Helsinki City Centre and east of Punavuori. The neighbourhood is mostly home to shops and offices, and only around a thousand people live here.
The neighbourhood is not cheap and was the place where the most expensive residential space in Helsinki was sold in 2017.
The most popular market square in Helsinki can be found in Kaartinkaupunki, by the water. Here, visitors will find anything from Finnish treats, to fresh produce, to handicrafts and souvenirs.
Take the time to appreciate the hustle and bustle of the Kaartinkaupunki and stop at one of the local cafés tents once you are done shopping – they are heated in the winter!
For an even more traditional feel, head to the Old Market Hall, which is much more focused on food. Enjoy fresh products such as bread, shellfish or spices. There are some tables available inside the hall if you wish to eat inside.
Finally, the Helsinki Design Museum is a great opportunity to discover and learn more about Finnish design. Guided tours and workshops can be organised.
The Hostel Diana Park is located in the neighbouring area of Punavuori. It is possible to access Kaartinkaupunki in just a few steps.
The hostel offers simple rooms with heating and a sink and provides access to a shared bathroom and toilet. A breakfast is served every morning.
The Hotel Rivoli Jardin offers comfortable accommodation near the Esplanadi Park in Kaartinkaupunki. Each room is uniquely decorated and features a private bathroom, air conditioning and a flat screen TV.
Hotel Rivoli Jardin Guests have access to a well-equipped fitness centre and a bar. a tasty breakfast is served every morning.
The hotel Haven provides elegant accommodation in the Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood. The rooms are modernly decorated and fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub, a flat screen TV, soundproofing and air conditioning. Some rooms have a sea view.
Guests at Hotel Haven can make use of the good fitness centre and enjoy a good breakfast in the Sundmans building, the second oldest stone building in the city.
Helsinki may lie on the small side when it comes to European capitals, but it has a lot to offer to visitors nonetheless.
During the summertime, make sure not to miss the visit of the Suomenlinna fortress, which used to be the most important fortress on the Baltic sea.
When it comes to places to stay, we have a crush on the Hotel Lilla Roberts. Its distinctive Art Deco style and the comfortable rooms will set you up for a memorable trip to Helsinki, for all the good reasons.
Did we forget to mention your favourite place in Helsinki? Let us know in the comments and we will add it right away. Happy travels!
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Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.