What To Do During A Layover In Helsinki, Finland

 In Finland
Well I totally didn’t account for the time difference when planning for my 6 hour stop over in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.
After leaving home for the airport at 7am it felt as if the day had started early enough for me to still have the day to explore in Helsinki. Wrong.4.40pm came and I’d only just hopped on the FinnAir bus from the Airport into the city centre, taking 30minutes and arriving just before 5.30pm.

{These buses are available for everyone to use, departing every 20 minutes from platform 10 at Helsinki airport and every 20 minutes from the bus station platform 30 back to the airport. €6.20 one way / €11 return}
This left me with around 4 hours to explore Helsinki before I needed to head back to the airport. A mission I was ready to complete.
Only one problem…
it was a Monday and closing times of my chosen hotspots were fast approaching / already been and gone.
So tip number 1 when planning your layover in Helsinki – Check your arrival time, allow for delay, add 30minutes + 20max waiting time for bus, THEN plan your itinerary (check opening times too).
The bus stop itself is right in the centre of the city so, once there, you can continue straight onwards and wander the rest by foot.
I decided, first, to head to the Old Market Hall passing by Senate Square and the gorgeous Helsinki Cathedral (accidentally) on the way.

I just about made it to the Old Market Hall within 10 minutes of it closing.
The Old Market Hall is a detached, one level building, meters from the waterfront filled with an array of independent stalls and eateries.

Had I had time to sit down, there were a couple of cute cafes worth mentioning… but instead I took my Korvapuusti (traditional danish pastry) and sat by the waterfront as the sun began to sink behind the clouds.

The market square, where I sat with my cinnamon bun, would usually be filled with the hustle and bustle of grafters, shoppers and tourists, all checking out the city’s most popular food market.
This was on the top of my to-do list but was unfortunately already closed upon my arrival (Mon – Friday shuts 4pm).

Second on my Bucket List and one a lot of you guys recommended to me via Instagram / Snapchat is the Ateljee Bar.

This popular ‘bar with the view’ sits at the 14th floor of the Sokos hotel in the centre of Helsinki showcasing panoramic views over the capital.I can vouch for the fact the 360 was super beautiful and I can imagine even more so at sunset, so it’s totally clear why this is a favourite.

The prices were of that you’d expect for a central rooftop city bar – slightly high, but obviously, it’s the experience you’re paying for.

The bar and seating area itself is rather small and was jam packed, even on the Monday evening when i was there. So definitely book or get down early if this is a MUST for you and want to get a good spot 🙂 


Once I had absorbed the view over Helsinki I walked back into the chilly-aired streets and dropped by the Silent chapel, something that had previously caught my eye online.The chapel is a place you can come for some time out and as indicated by the name – some silence, which is exactly what I did.


By the time i came out of the chapel the sun has disappeared, the darkness was looming and the temperature had dropped – so I decided to head back to the airport.
Despite my visit being limited due to timing and sunlight – Helsinki was a very pleasant place for a stopover. Helsinki has a very open and spacious feel to the streets and the quality of light illuminates the city and its variety of artistic architecture, so beautifully.
If you’re considering a flight with a stop off in Helsinki – it’s most certainly worth doing.
My only advice would be to make sure the time you have in Helsinki is in the day so that daylight and opening hours are on your side.

My Quick Stop Helsinki Bucket List ::

Korvapuusti (Cinnamon Bun)
Kamppi Chapel (Chapel of Silence)
Market square
Finnair Sky Wheel
Helsinki Cathedral
Senate Square
Old market hall
Ateljee Rooftop Bar
Kallio Neighbourhood 


Mollie xxxx
{P.s. I’ve just arrived in Bali – come check out my first day exploring Sanur!)
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4 Days In Southern Finland exploring Helsinki, Salo and Hanko | Where's Mollie? A UK Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog-21