Central Helsinki consists of the central parts of Helsinki east of Mannerheimintie, south of Pitkäsilta and north of Esplanadi; in short the commercial downtown plus Kruunuhaka and Katajanokka.

This is undoubtedly the liveliest part of Helsinki and much of what a visitor would like to see and experience is located in central Helsinki or in its immediate vicinity. The cathedral, the city's symbol is located here, surrounded by the 19th century city centre. Further west is Aleksanterinkatu, which together with its side streets make up Helsinki's main shopping area with small shops and department stores. The area also offers plenty of alternatives for eating and drinking.

Get in

Getting in is easy as almost all local bus and rail lines end in or at least pass through the city centre. Moreover the central railway station, bus station and most major passenger ports are located in or very close to the area.

If arriving by plane, you can get to the central railway station by the I or P trains going on the new Ring Rail Line, alternatively you can take bus 615 or a taxi.

Get around


Pohjoisranta waterfront with Helsinki Cathedral is probably the most iconic view of Helsinki

The 19th century centre

The buildings south and north of the Lutheran cathedral were mostly designed by Carl Ludwig Engel and built in the early 19th century as a new unified city centre when Helsinki was made capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland. If you have come to look at the cathedral, why not walk around in the area and take a few photos? Buildings include the   Presidential Palace, the   City Hall and the   Swedish Embassy on the waterfront, the   Senate, the   Sederholm House and the   main building of Helsinki University around the Senate square and the   Bank of Finland,   House of the Estates and the   House of Nobility (Ritarihuone) "behind" the Senate square.


Esplanadinpuisto or just "Espa" is probably the best known park in Helsinki


Uspenski Cathedral


Art galleries



From the   restaurant on the top floor of the Sokos department store and the   bar on the top floor of Hotel Torni you have a quite nice view of the city. They aren't of course as high as the Empire State Building or even the Olympic Stadium Tower but entrance to both are free.


Performances are mostly either in Finnish or Swedish.


Department stores and shopping malls

Shopping in Stockmann

Helsinki's main shopping drag is Aleksanterinkatu (Aleksi), which runs from Senate Square to Mannerheimintie. On Aleksi you can find plenty of shops and the largest department store in Scandinavia, Stockmann, which is definitely worth a visit. The parallel Esplanadi boulevards have specialist and generally very expensive boutiques. Access to the area is easy, as trams 2, 4/4T and 7A/7B all run down Aleksanterinkatu, and the area is just a stone's throw from the Central Railway Station and Kaisaniemi metro stations. Close by, in the Kamppi area, you can find the shopping centres Kamppi and Forum and the department store Sokos. Large shopping malls can be found in the suburbs and accessed by public transport from the Central Railway Station.



The Market square with the Havis Amanda statue in the front of it




A "splizza" at restaurant Splizzeria.




Ravintola Kaisaniemi, perhaps the outside doesn't have that much charm during rain...

Central Helsinki is dominated by restaurants dedicated to international cuisine, and these are particularly useful for vegetarian visitors, Finnish food being largely meat-based. A particular touch is provided by a bunch of "Nepalese" restaurants, which actually serve generic north Indian food, but almost any of which you are guaranteed to leave happy and full. Localized Chinese and Italian cuisines are also well represented.

Pizza "Phangan Lover" at Classic Pizza, with crayfish, red onion, jalapeños, chili mayonnaise and fresh tomato.


Elielinaukio (Eliel square) during the night



The Esplanade offers some nice upscale cafés

Bars and pubs


The entrance to Mummotunneli in June.


Hotel Kämp, Helsinki's own "Hôtel Ritz"





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