Where to stay in Helsinki
Tips for travelers: Where to stay in Helsinki for tourists. Pros and cons of the different districts of Helsinki, as well as other useful information about the city, which is worth reading before booking a hotel or apartment. Choose the right places! Talusha shares her experience.
Like other Scandinavian capitals (Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen), Helsinki (Helsinki) does not please tourists with low prices for accommodation and in fact – the prices here are quite high, and during the whole year. Typically, a hotel 3-4 * will cost about 90-150 euros per room for two with breakfast. In this case to talk about high or low season for hotels in the Finnish capital is almost meaningless, because almost all year round here come many visitors from Russia and other European countries. Contribute to the bus tours and cruise ferries, bringing here a large number of tourists. In addition, exhibitions and conferences are regularly held in Helsinki, which enjoy interest in the business environment. Of course, the popularity of city hotels affects the proximity of St. Petersburg and the pricing policy of airlines: it is often cheaper to go to Helsinki and spend the night here, and then fly anywhere in the world from the Helsinki airport, not directly from St. Petersburg or Moscow.
At the same time in Helsinki is quite expensive not only hotels, but also public transport. Therefore, in order to optimize the budget is better to stay directly in the area or near the place where you plan to spend most of your time. In other words, from the placement on the periphery of the great benefit is not expected – most of the money saved on accommodation “eat” the transport. For example, if you plan to visit the outskirts of Helsinki, then consider as a place dislocation areas near the central train station. If you want to make long walks through the center and visit all the sights and visit the stores, the ideal place, perhaps, the Esplanade and the surrounding neighborhoods. If you want to live near the center, but at the same time in a more or less quiet place, it is worth looking at the area Cruununhaka. In fact, below is more detail and in order.
Which area of Helsinki is better to stay
The area around Helsink railway station
Helsinki Railway Station (Helsingin päärautatieasema) is located in the city center. The area around it is very convenient to stay if you plan to go out of the city. Stay here will be convenient if you are interested in walking to city sights and shopping – all this is in walking distance (to the Helsinki Cathedral from the station about 15-20 minutes on foot, to the Church in the Rock – a little more). In addition, from the station are all suburban trains, trains and many buses, including those that go to the airport. The latter is worth considering for those who take off from Helsinki early in the morning and does not want to get up, say, five hours before your flight. Station hotels are usually equipped with decent soundproofing, so the noise from trains and transport will not disturb you. The area is quite decent: no homeless, no garbage, or any other negative analogy with Russian stations. However, because of the location hotels are popular with tourists, and this threatens to lead to a small group at a breakfast – often you’ll have to wait for a table to open, or join a table with someone (which I personally don’t like). True, this problem usually resolves itself if you get up early. So the station area as a whole isn’t bad at all from the standpoint of being based in Helsinki. The hotels here are the Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Helsinki and the Holiday Inn Helsinki City Centre.
To the east of the station you’ll find the lovely and respectable Kruununhaka, bounded by Unioninkatu on the west and Esplanadi on the south; the eastern and northern edges are naturally seafront. Here are located the Helsinki Cathedral, the University of Helsinki, as well as government buildings. Until the streets, where the bulk of the stores, from here about 10 minutes on foot. But to the train station have to walk from 15 minutes to half an hour (depending on the location of the hotel). But under the side of picturesque, even in November and December, embankments, on which it is pleasant to flaunt, taking pictures of boats and colorful facades. The buildings in the quarter Kruununkhaka in the masses – the samples of art nouveau architecture of the beginning of the last century, and most of the locals own the house for generations. For travelers, this means the streets here are quiet, peaceful, safe, and most importantly, authentic.
In my opinion, when considering this area, you should pay attention not so much to hotels as to apartments, which in some way allow you to feel like a local living in a traditional neighborhood. The main advantage of accommodation in apartments, apart from the home atmosphere and low (in comparison with the hotels) prices, it is a good opportunity to save on food, and often the only opportunity to provide the family members with their usual food (especially if some of the relatives have a special diet or your children are too picky in eating). Apartments are usually equipped with a separate kitchen or kitchen section, where there are both appliances and a set of dishes. But in the bathroom, you should not expect variety: the owners either save money or nature, or both, but the maximum you can count on – a shower gel and soap. In the cold season you may also be confronted with the fact that the rooms are quite cool. Slippers and bathrobes in apartments, as a rule, are not available, so if you plan to arrive in Helsinki is not in summer, it is worth bringing something warm with you from home. Typically, the owners of apartments for rent do not hire a concierge, so do not count on around-the-clock service. It may turn out that you will not even have a chance to meet the hosts or the staff that services the apartment: the fee will be taken from your card, and you will be sent access codes to all doors, or you will be told in a letter where to pick up / give the keys. In order not to wander through the Helsinki courtyards in search of the entrance, it is worth checking with the owners in advance and ask them for a scheme of access, and ask all your questions (where to take the trash, where to park the car, where the grocery stores and which cell phone to call in case of force majeure). It is also worth considering that the apartments are usually cleaned only after you leave. That is, during your stay in the apartment to put things in order by your own forces, for which you are usually provided at least a mop, broom, and dustpan. If the apartment has a dishwasher, there is usually a detergent for it.
Given the venerable age of most buildings in Kruununhaka, we should take into account that the elevators in the buildings are usually the size of a small shower cabin, where it is difficult to squeeze in with bulky luggage, and the size of the rooms may be small. But these are probably not so big disadvantages. In this area I can not miss the apartment complex SATO HotelHome Kristianinkatu.
Particular attention should be paid to the prestigious Esplanadi Boulevard, which is often compared to the Champs Elysees of Paris, then to the Berlin Unter den Linden. The boulevard is a green oasis in the middle of the city, formed by the two streets Esplanadi North and Esplanadi South and the park laid out between them, where during the warmer months you can enjoy picnics and close to Christmas you can watch the theme fair. On both sides of the boulevard is a large number of stores and restaurants. There are a couple of five-star hotels: Kämp and Hotel Haven.
It’s a nice place, no doubt, and if you splurge on a room with a view, you can see both the boulevard itself and the picturesque harbor with ferries and yachts in the palm of your hand. At the same time in terms of convenience hotels closer to the train station, are not inferior to the “colleagues” from Espaland, and are much cheaper. And the level of service “five” Boulevard, they are not inferior to. However, if the budget allows and you want to live in the “five stars”, the Esplanade is the most suitable place for this purpose. To the disadvantages of choosing an expensive hotel directly on the boulevard, except the price, are very expensive parking (for example, in the Hotel Haven – about 40 euros), high fee for the use of minibar (about 400 euros) and often inconsistency expectations for service and equipment rooms. For example, in several specified hotels in a number of rooms there is no kettle, the room rate does not include sauna, and breakfasts are greatly overestimated.
If you do not want your hotel to be located directly on the Esplanade, then there are a number of quite modern and comfortable hotels, where you can stay for much less money. For example, Glo Hotel Kluuvi, Scandic Marski or Next Hotel Rivoli Jardin.
I find Katajanokka an interesting area to stay in Helsinki. It borders with Kruununhaka. It is a former port-industrial area, which can be considered a prime example of how all over Europe, former warehouses and factories become modern hotels, offices and trendy residential neighborhoods. The majority of hotels are not located on the coast, but in the interior of the island, however, given that Katayanokka is a small district, it is not so important. In my opinion, live here for a change (when you are not for the first time in the Finnish capital and want to live in a radically new place), or if you have to travel on one of the ferries leaving the island, not to rush to the ship in the early morning rush through the entire city of Helsinki. For example, the hotel Scandic Grand Marina is located next to the Viking Line ferry terminal. Another reason to stay here is to see how a former prison can be converted into a hotel (Hotel Katajanokka), or just to stay in an old building (Essexhome Apartments). It is worth noting that parking on the island, as in the whole of Helsinki, is problematic: to leave a car on the street for 2 euros per hour, and these places are not enough, so check with the hotel in advance if they have parking spaces. If you travel without a car, this problem is irrelevant, and to get to the center will always help streetcars that regularly depart from the island (about 10 minutes away).
To the southwest of Helsinki Central Station is the Kamppi neighborhood. Here travelers, in my opinion, should consider the part near Mannerheim Avenue (Mannerheimintie) and Simonkatu Street (Simonkatu) for accommodation. In the center of this unique neighborhood there is a huge shopping and office center, and around it – a few nice modern hotels, for example, Scandic Simonkenttä and Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. The main city attractions are within walking distance from here, and all the stores are as close as you can get. For example, the Hotel Scandic has a closed transition to the huge shopping and entertainment center Kamppi. A short walk away, you’ll find a bus stop that takes you to the airport even early in the morning, and one of the city’s metro stations is near the mall.
Neighborhoods of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
At the beginning of this article I mentioned that Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (Helsinki-Vantaan lentoasema) is often extremely advantageous to fly to both European and other countries (particularly in Southeast Asia). A connecting flight to Helsinki can be much cheaper than a direct flight from Moscow or St. Petersburg. Some stopovers involve an overnight stay in Helsinki. And here you can, at least, have two options: spend the night in the city or in one of the airport hotels. The choice of location will depend solely on whether or not you have a desire to wander around Helsinki, because staying in hotels near the airport will cost about the same money as in city hotels (taking into account the cost of transportation between the airport and the city). You no longer have to fear the sound of planes taking off and landing in hotels near an airport – they are equipped with quality soundproofing. As a rule, such hotels have a modern design and can offer its guests additional services included in the accommodation price: the use of a swimming pool and sauna, and sometimes even its own entertainment center. When choosing a hotel near the airport, however, keep in mind that even if the hotel describes itself as an “airport hotel”, you should at least look at the map to see how you get there from the terminal. It may well be that the hotel is located near, at some kilometer, but you can not get to it on foot through the fence and roads. Therefore it is necessary to specify presence of a transfer (ideally free and regular). Nice options near the airport, I can recommend Cumulus Airport, Break Sokos Hotel Flamingo and Hilton Helsinki Airport.
What else do you need to consider when choosing a hotel in Helsinki
As mentioned above, accommodation in hotels in Helsinki is not cheap, and hotel prices do not vary greatly depending on the season. Some price fluctuations are due to the fact that in Helsinki exhibitions and conferences are held periodically, during which occupancy rate hotels usually increases (for a complete list of exhibitions see finnexpo.multiedition.fi). It should also be noted that the cost of accommodation in many hotels in Helsinki on weekends and holidays is lower than on weekdays by about one and a half times. Slightly lower prices in the summer. This “grace” period begins almost simultaneously with the summer sales, which begin after St. John’s Day (late June) and lasts until early August.
The Helsinki hotels have excellent buffet breakfasts. Most hotels in the morning offer both hot meals and a wide range of cold snacks, so it’s hard to go hungry. A big and indisputable plus is also that the vast majority of staff in hotels and just locals speak fluent English.
Design of most hotels in Finnish capital is made in so-called Scandinavian style: active use of natural materials, simple lines and laconic interior – everything is quite simple, but at the same time comfortable and functional. With a high degree of probability in your room will be a light floor of simple and inexpensive wood, often without carpeting (so it is worth bringing slippers). There is usually a kettle and tea utensils in the room, as well as an ironing board. In order to save water in the bathrooms usually only have a shower, and of nice little things you get just a couple of bottles of multifunctional gel, which can be used as a shampoo, and as a shower gel and hand soap. Sorting garbage is also common in Scandinavian hotels lately: there will be either a bucket with sections or even a couple of buckets in the room. Sorting garbage is highly desirable. Also, a number of hotels have their own sauna, the morning visit of which is often included in the room price along with breakfast. The rest of the time to use the sauna can be for a fee, and it is better to record in advance.
By the way, the number of stars on the reservation sites in the case of hotels in Helsinki is very relative. Certified hotels in Finland is not customary, and the aforementioned booking systems put the stars on their own, usually using the generally accepted European classification to facilitate the choice of travelers. Nevertheless, most hotels here correspond to 3-4 common European stars.
I can not help but add a couple of words for those who are going to visit Helsinki by car. Parking spaces in the city is disastrously lacking and the search for parking in the city center, especially on weekdays, can easily ruin your vacation. Even if you find a place at a paid parking, have to consider the local rather complicated rules and tariffs, and you should remember that leave the car for the whole day at any parking lot, even for money. And the car parked in the wrong place will be immediately towed to the impound lot. Therefore if you cannot do without a car you should at least find out in advance if the hotel has its own parking lot (and how much it will cost), and maybe even find out if it is possible to reserve a parking space for you.
It is also important to carefully read travelers’ reviews of hotels. From them you can get useful things, for example, that free Wi-Fi is available only to those who have a membership card of the hotel network, or that the hotel is planned renovation, or that the need to come to breakfast early, otherwise there will be no place to sit. Some reviews may be uninformative or unimportant (for example, I don’t care if the hotel has rooms for smokers or Russian channels), but they can give you a better idea of the hotel in general.
Where to stay in Helsinki: 7 best central hotels
The capital of Finland is a welcoming city. Where to stay in Helsinki city center? We found the 7 best hotels according to tourist reviews. Convenient Scandinavian lodging, close to attractions and without overpaying!
– discounted hotels. – Apartments and rooms. and Sputnik – interesting excursions.
Forenom Aparthotel Helsinki Kamppi 3*
Stylish apartment hotel is in the top budget hotels in Helsinki. Finns did their best! Accommodation 300 meters from the bus station in the city is well thought out in detail. Rooms open with a keyless lock. Each has a small kitchen and a desk to work on your computer. You can see the cityscape from the windows.
Double rooms start at 102€. The price includes final cleaning. You will not find a cheaper 3* hotel in Helsinki city center!
Popular Helsinki tours
Hellsten Helsinki Senate 3*
If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay in Helsinki, choose cozy accommodations in the Katajanokka area! Cool apartments with luxury kitchens will please anyone who is used to taking care of themselves. In fact, this is not a hotel, but a full-fledged studio apartment with all the amenities. You get a spacious room with a kitchen, coffee maker, microwave, kettle, fridge, full set of dishes and 7 towels per guest!
A double room costs from 116€ per night. Good value for money in Northern Europe!
Spacious studio in the center of the city.
This comfortable apartment is a great way to stay in the heart of Helsinki. The hotel is located 400 meters from the Kamppi mall. The large room is furnished in a Scandinavian ascetic way. There is a kitchen with all amenities, a microwave and a dishwasher. A studio apartment with a king-size bed costs 150€.
Popular Helsinki tours
Noli Katajanokka 4*.
The Katajanokka area is loved by tourists who are interested in architecture and historical sites. From one of the best hotels in Helsinki to the cathedral – just 1.4 km.
A beautifully furnished studio apartment with a dishwasher and an electric stove is perfect for families. Prepare meals directly in your room, in the shared kitchen or order in the hotel’s restaurant. For comfort, excellent design, quality housekeeping and free fitness facilities you will pay from 140€ per night.
Holiday Inn Helsinki City Centre 4*
Tourists feel great in a hotel of the world-famous Holiday chain! A popular brand guarantees high standards of service. One of the best hotels in Helsinki city center has its own fitness center and bar. It serves excellent breakfasts and accommodates guests with pets.
Small but cozy rooms are decorated in practical Scandinavian style. Nothing is superfluous, only necessary for relaxation! Wooden furniture and floor, neat curtains and soft pastel colors. Standard double room starts at 197 €.
Marski by Scandic 5*.
Eco-hotel in Kamppi meets luxury and polished staff. Many people come to Helsinki by car, so there is a private garage. The restaurant serves Finnish and international cuisine and the outdoor café serves aromatic coffee made of freshly roasted beans. A classic double room with breakfast costs from 283€.
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Helsinki 5*
One of the best hotels in Helsinki is located in the Kluuvi district, next to the Central Railway Station. It opened in 1917. In the eco-hotel stop shopping lovers, tourists who want to play in the Grand Casino Helsinki, or go to the play at the Finnish National Theatre. Luxurious room for two costs from 296€ per night. Price includes a sumptuous breakfast.