Winter Travel Guide: Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki can be a magical destination to visit during the winter season. Here is a travel guide to help you make the most of your visit to Helsinki during the winter season.

Best Time to Visit Helsinki in Winter:

The winter season in Helsinki typically lasts from November to March, with the coldest months being December and January. The best time to visit Helsinki in winter is during the holiday season, when the city is adorned with festive lights and decorations. However, keep in mind that the days are short during this time, with only a few hours of daylight.

Getting to Helsinki in Winter:

Helsinki is easily accessible by air, train, and ferry. Helsinki Airport is located about 20 kilometers from the city center and is served by many international and domestic airlines. Train travel is also a popular way to get to Helsinki from other parts of Finland and Europe. Helsinki can also be reached by ferry from Stockholm, Sweden, and Tallinn, Estonia.

Getting Around Helsinki in Winter:

Helsinki has a comprehensive public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and metro lines. The easiest way to get around is by using a Helsinki Card, which offers unlimited travel on public transportation and discounts on attractions. If you plan to stay in Helsinki for an extended period, you may want to consider purchasing a regional travel card, which offers discounted fares on public transportation.

Top Winter Attractions in Helsinki:

  1. Christmas Markets: Helsinki has several Christmas markets that are open throughout the holiday season. The most popular markets include the Helsinki Christmas Market at Senate Square and the St. Thomas Christmas Market.
  2. Ice Skating: Helsinki has several outdoor ice skating rinks that are open during the winter season, including the ice skating rink at Railway Square.
  3. Saunas: Saunas are an important part of Finnish culture and a great way to warm up during the winter season. Helsinki has several public saunas that are open year-round, including the Löyly sauna and the Kotiharjun sauna.
  4. Snow Activities: If you’re looking for outdoor activities, Helsinki offers plenty of options. You can go skiing or snowboarding at the Serena Ski Resort, which is located about 30 minutes from the city center, or take a winter hike in Nuuksio National Park.
  5. The Northern Lights: Although Helsinki is not the best place to see the Northern Lights, you may be able to catch a glimpse of them on a clear winter night.

Food and Drink in Helsinki in Winter:

Helsinki has many excellent restaurants and cafes that serve warm and comforting winter dishes. Traditional Finnish winter dishes include pea soup with ham, meatballs, and Karelian stew. You can also warm up with a cup of glögi, which is a Finnish version of mulled wine.

Shopping in Helsinki in Winter:

Helsinki is a great place to shop for unique winter souvenirs, including reindeer hides, woolen mittens, and traditional Finnish design items. The most popular places to shop for souvenirs include the Market Square and the Helsinki Design District.


Helsinki is a beautiful destination to visit during the winter season, with plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, Christmas markets, or warm winter cuisine, Helsinki has it all. Plan your visit and enjoy all that this winter wonderland has to offer.

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