Helsinki overnight

our flight gets in at 1030 pm November 8 and we don't fly out until 230 the next day. we are planning on grabbing a hotel so we can get a little rest and tour the next morning . would you suggest staying near the airport or staying in the city center? are most places open on sunday? any hotels that you know offering shuttle service? what sights should we concentrate on since we will only have around 4-5 hours to walk around.
thanks for any suggestions,
Traci

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
7474 posts

The Finnair bus between airport and train station runs 3x/hour and takes about 35 minutes, and will stop at some hotels on request, so I would stay downtown. Rick's Helsinki chapter is available in 3 different books, but the cruise-focused book doesn't have hotel listings.

See a summary of Helsinki sights here. Everything on the list is open Sunday, but the churches don't allow sightseeing until noon. The Open-Air Folk Museum opens at 11:00 and would take too long to see. Rick's book includes descriptions of self-guided walking tour (starting from Market Square, market has tourist items instead of veg on Sundays) and a tram tour (1 hour roundtrip, map also available from Tourist Info office) that would be better bets for your morning.

Posted by Val
Long Beach, USA
212 posts

I agree taking the bus is cheap and efficient. Buses are very clean and comfortable.
I would stay downtown so you can just walk out of the hotel in the morning and be ready to explore.
Helsinki is somewhat compact and you can actually see a lot in 4-5 hours. I am not sure what is or is not open.
But I would just suggest a nice stroll in town...maybe a lunch at the market near the water with typical finnish food...
Main 2 churches are few minutes apart by walking. You could go up Hotel Torni and get a stunning 360 view of the city... no need to stay there for that.
You can check the airport shuttle option on the kayak website. Not sure what your budget is.

Enjoy!

Posted by Todd
Colorado
19 posts

Hi Traci,

Had almost the same type of layover not long ago. Agree with advice before...the Finnair bus is great, cheap, and puts you right in the center of things since it drops at the Central Rail Station. You can imagine it as a hotel shuttle service if you stay by Central Station. There are a couple of Radisson's that are nice nearby and some Scandic brand hotels as well. Once there you are an easy walk to many attractions. I took Rick's advice and had a coffee at Cafe Kappelli (on one his shows)...the place was great and was near Helsinki Harbor where Silja and Viking lines dock. I have to say that Helskini was a pleasant surprise and I will return someday....Enjoy!! By the way, the airport is a fair distance from the airport but I would still try to stay the night in the city center if possible...there is also a city bus that runs the same route for a little less but it makes a few more stops...stick with the Finnair for your itinerary.