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Helsinki, Finland’s capital, is large enough that most visitors will have enough to see unless they spend more than just a few days. If you’re looking to extend your Finland visit, here are the best day trips from Helsinki, from nearest to farthest.

Best Day Trips From Helsinki

aerial view of sunset from Suomenlinna, a day trip from Helsinki, Finland


As we all know, Finland makes the ranking the happiest country in the world. As a result, a simple visit is worthwhile. For instance, you can enjoy a day trip to Helsinki and visit the Sea Fortress Suomenlinna. It is a maritime fortress located in a group of islands in the city.

It was built to defend Sweden from Russia. However, Sweden surrendered before finishing building the fortress. Thus, it was governed by Russia for some time until the Finnish government took control after the Finnish civil war in 1918.

How to get to Sea Fortress Suomenlinna?

You can only get to the Sea Fortress Suomenlinna by sea. Do not worry, it only takes 15 minutes by ferry from the Katajanokka ferry port in Helsinki.

Things to do:

The fortress is one of the most popular attractions in Finland, and it is free to the public. Thus, expect it to be busy. You should arrive there early in the morning.

Sea Fortress Suomenlinna is like an open-air museum. You can walk around and learn about the rich history of Finland when Sweden was taken over. While walking around, you can see some traditional Scandinavian old wooden houses, huge canons, lighthouses, historical boats, a Nordic art center, the Suomenlinna Museum center, and ancient tunnels.

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Nuuksio National Park view of shore from lake with pine trees

Nuuksio National Park

Nuuksio National Park is a beautiful nature destination located just outside of Helsinki. The park is easy to reach by public transportation, making it one of the most popular day trips from Helsinki for city dwellers and tourists who want to briefly escape the bustling center.

From Helsinki, there are various ways to get to Nuuksio National Park. The most popular entrance is via the Haukanpesä Guide Hut, where you can find all the guidance and rent equipment for exploring the park. There is also a private sauna and conference room for rent here.

Once in the park, there are plenty of activities to enjoy. In the summer, you can go hiking on the park’s many marked trails and enjoy lovely views of its lakes, ponds, woodland, and valleys. Other summer activities at Nuuksio National Park include mushroom picking, biking, swimming, and rock climbing.

During the winter months, come here for exciting activities such as cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. In addition, the park is also a great place to see wildlife, with plenty of opportunities to spot animals like deer, hares, foxes, flying squirrels, and even the occasional moose.

No matter what time of year you visit, Nuuksio National Park is sure to offer a unique and memorable experience.

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Colorful houses in Porvoo, Finland


Porvoo makes a great day trip from Helsinki, being a mere hour away by bus. The heart of the city is its picturesque old town on the banks of the Porvoonjonki. For the best views, walk along the western bank of the river to see the old red warehouses, the colourful wooden houses, and the cathedral towering over them on the other side. 

The imposing cathedral traces its origins to the 11th Century and was the scene of historic events such as the opening of the first Diet of Finland in 1809 after the Russian Empire annexed the nation from the Swedes. The small old town is easy to walk around apart from the uneven ground, with very few vehicles apart from those of its inhabitants. Besides the Porvoo Museum and Doll Museum, those with a sweet tooth would also enjoy visiting and shopping at the Brunberg outlet shop. 

Nature is close by too–the former site of an ancient wooden castle is now the Iso Linnanmäki park, there is bird-watching on the island of Sikosaari, and in winter, people go ice-fishing in the middle of the frozen river. Many Finns would agree that Porvoo makes a nice change of scenery from the capital, so you will definitely be far from alone on weekends!

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Aerial view of downtown Tampere, Finland

Tampere, Finland

If you’re looking for a day trip experienced by Finns, then Tampere is a relaxing destination. The city is perhaps best known as “the sauna capital of the world.” The town is located at a narrow point of land between two larger lakes, creating rapids that go through downtown. 

Tampere has refurbished old red brick warehouses and buildings and repurposed them as restaurants, shops, and attractions. The area also houses many children’s activities, making it a perfect destination for families.

So about those saunas? Tampere has more than 50 public saunas! The oldest public sauna in Finland, founded in 1906, Rajaportti, offers a traditional wooden sauna environment. Or try Saana, which in addition to indoor saunas, features outdoor pools and a lake open year-round for a quick dip!

If you’ve got the extra time and want to experience an authentic Finnish family vacation, take a day trip to Tampere!

Best Day Trips From Helsinki Outside of Finland

View of Old Town Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

A popular Helsinki day trip is going to Tallinn, Estonia. A ferry ride lasting approximately two to two-and-a-half hours will get you across the Gulf of Finland. The route is so popular that there are multiple daily options. But if you’re looking for a medieval historic center, then Tallinn is the perfect destination.

Old Town Tallinn, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is easily walkable from at least one of the ferry terminals. Stroll through the cobblestone streets, visit the buildings that have been around since the 14th century, and enjoy an excellent traditional Estonian meal in the Old Town Hall. Climb up to the Kohtuotsa Viewing Platform to take an iconic photo with the city in the background

Or visit more recent history by visiting the Viru Hotel and the KGB Museum. You’ll learn all about the dark history of the KGB in Tallinn and how the Soviet occupation changed the city and its people. 

During your ferry trip back, you’ll see that all the Finns accompanying you have stocked up on the cheaper alcohol sold in Estonia!

canal view of St. Petersburg, Russia - one of the best day trips from Helsinki

St. Petersburg, Russia

A mere three-and-a-half hours train trip is all that separates Helsinki, Finland, from St. Petersburg, Russia. If you’d like to visit the cultural heart of Russia, then you’re in the right place. Do remember that Russia requires visitors from most countries to obtain a visa before they can visit, and many countries have current travel advisories recommending against travel to Russia.

Formerly known as Leningrad and Petrograd, St. Petersburg was founded in 1703. The city served as the capital of the Russian Empire for approximately 200 years. The historic center is now on the UNESCO Heritage list. 

Visitors to St. Petersburg should not skip visiting the Hermitage, one of the world’s largest art museums. The Winter Palace, which houses the museum, is impressive for those who aren’t fans of art museums. Nearby, stop at the Church of the Spilled Blood, with its world-famous mosaics. And if you’ve got the time, explore the canals that lead to the city’s nickname, the “Venice of the North.” 

So which day trip from Helsinki appeals to you the most? Share with us below!

Happy travels,
Annick, The Common Traveler

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