Finland, Travel blog

Layover in Helsinki with Finnair – 1 day in Helsinki

Layover in Helsinki cathedrale

*Advertisment – This trip was sponsored my Finnair – All opinions remain my own!  

Recently I flew to Helsinki with Finnair. The airline that connects the east and west side of the world since 1923 allows you do do a longer layover in Helsinki or elsewhere in Finland.

How to book a longer layover in Helsinki with Finnair?

That you are flying to Asia, Australia, the Emirates or the Americas, you can decide to book a layover in Helsinki. On the Finnair booking page you just need to select the layover booking option. Enter destination, departure date and return date and if you would like to have your layover on your return on onward flight as well as how many nights you would like to stay in Finland. You can then choose your flight options, including the flight taking you to your final destination after your layover in Finland. Very easy!

With Finnair to Helsinki – Flying business class on my short haul flight from Paris

I flew with Finnair to the first time to Helsinki. I had a business class seat on a short haul flight from Paris.

The nice thing with business class is that you can use the lounges while waiting for your flight. At Helsinki airport you can use the Finnair lounges. There are three lounges. One in the Schengen area where you can relax, work and eat a little something. The Finnair lounge in the non shengen area even has showers and a Finnish sauna!

When on board you seat on a 3 row seats with the centre seat blocked off and enough leg space.  You will get a snack and drinks plus a Finnish inspired meal (read more about the Finnair Business class menu here). Also the staff is very friendly and asked me several times if I needed anything else.

How to get from Helsinki airport to the city center

Helsinki is quite close to the city center. It will take you 30 minutes by bus or taxi. Finnair also have Finnair City Bus taking you to the center from the airport every 20 minutes.

If you prefer you can also book a private transfer.

What to do during your Layover in Helsinki

Depending on how long you will stay in Helsinki you will have several options to discover the city.

Helsinki main sights – For 1 day in Helsinki

The main sights are all reachable within walking distance.

You will want to see the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral and Eastern Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral that remembers Russia with it’s red architecture.

On the way you will find Kauppatori, the main market square where you can shop for second hand articles, souvenirs from Finland but where you will also find tasty Finnish food : reindeer kebab / Salmon Soup / traditional lettu (crepes with strawberry jam) or lihapiirakka (meat pastry). But beware of the seagalls!! If you go in the winter you might prefer to go to the old market hall, a beautiful building designed by Finnish architect Gunnar Nyström in 1889. It is situated right next to the main market square and you will find Finnish gourmet delicacies. This is also where you will find the best bouillabaisse fish soup in town.

If you want to see the city from above you will want to go on the skywheel next to the square.

If you have time you can also go to the Church of the Rock in downtown Helsinki

Discover Finnish design and the Helsinki design district

Nordic countries are well known for their design skills. Finland is no exception. To explore the best of Finnish design you will want to go explore Helsinki’s design district. It is 25 streets with more than 200design and antique shops, fashion stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants and showrooms. You can look at the map to find what you are looking for.

If you want to bring something back home, there are some classic brands made in Finland that you should definitely not miss : Littalia famous for it’s glasses, Marimekko for it’s print, Lapuan Kankurit for it’s wool and linen, Artek for the furnitures.

Layover in Helsinki Design shop

Experience a Finnish Sauna

If you have enough time Finnish sauna is something you can’t miss.

Allas sea pool

The Allas sea pool is situated next to the main market square, it has three saunas, two warm water pools and one sea water pool. Perfect if you have only a little bit of time.


Löyli is a restaurant and sauna complex in the Hernesaari district. Beside being THE place to be in Helsinki, it’s particularity is that it has a traditional Finnish smoke sauna next to two other wood-heated saunas. Also at Löyli, you can have the real Finnish experience by jumping in the sea after your sauna session, and this even in the winter!

Layover in Helsinki Löyli

Go to the Moomins cafe

You probably know the Moomins, those white characters that look like hippopotamus from your childhood? Well they come from Finland and Helsinki has 2 of the 15 themed MOOMIN CAFES around the world. So it is not to miss! Open every day from 9 am until 7 pm

Mumin Kaffe
Liisankatu 21
00170 Helsinki

Mumin Kaffe
Mechelininkatu 3
00100 Helsinki

Take a trip to Suomenlinna Island

Don’t miss the Helsinki archipelago. It is 330 islands around Helsinki city. One of the most famous one is Suomenlinna Island, an 18th-century sea fortress and a UNESCO World heritage site

Where to sleep on your layover in Helsinki?

While in Helsinki I slept at the St George hotel. A very cool design hotels in the heart of the city with artwork from Wei Wei in the lobby. So cool. Book it here. 

Also below a good selection of hotels :

Luxury :

Hotel Lilla Roberts

Hotel Kämp


The Yard concept hostel 

Forenom serviced apartments

Close to the airport

Hotel Scandic Helsinki airport

Hotel Hilton Helsinki airport



*Advertisment – This trip was sponsored my Finnair – All opinions remain my own!  

helsinki: Get Your Guide