Are you planning a city break in Helsinki and looking for where to stay? Here is a complete guide to the 8 best neighbourhoods in the Finnish capital, with the top sustainable hotels in each area.
The vibrant capital of Finland attracts many travellers each year with its captivating blend of rich culture, stunning architecture and Nordic allure. As you plan your visit to this beautiful city, one crucial aspect to consider is where to stay.
Selecting the right area can significantly improve your experience, immersing yourself in the local culture whilst conveniently accessing the main attractions and highlights.
In this article, I selected for you the 8 best areas, each offering a unique atmosphere and amenities, no matter if you visit the capital for a weekend or a week. Whether you seek the pulsating energy of the city centre, the trendy vibes of hip neighbourhoods or the elegant tranquillity of historic districts, Helsinki has something to suit every traveller’s preferences.
So, let’s discover together the ideal location and green hotel for your stay in this captivating Nordic capital.
My Helsinki experience: Duration 5 Days Dates visited June 21 - June 26 Season Summer Where I stayed Kallio
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- Overview: the 8 best neighbourhoods in Helsinki
- Top areas to stay in Helsinki – Map
- Where to stay in Helsinki: 8 best areas
- 1- Kluuvi: the best area for first-time visitors
- 2- Kamppi: the best area for nightlife
- 3- Punavuori: the best area for art lovers
- 4- Kallio: the best budget-friendly area
- 5- Kaartinkaupunki: the best area for families
- 6- Katajanokka: the best quiet & hidden area
- 7- Töölö: the best area for nature lovers
- 8- Ruoholahti: the best area for marine experience
- Helsinki travel planning guide
- Where to stay in Helsinki – FAQ
Overview: the 8 best neighbourhoods in Helsinki
- Kluuvi: the best area for first-time visitors
- Kamppi: the best area for nightlife
- Punavuori: the best area for art lovers
- Kallio: the best budget-friendly area
- Kaartinkaupunki: the best area for families
- Katajanokka: the best quiet & hidden area
- Etu-Töölö: the best area for nature lovers
- Ruoholahti: the best area for marine experience
Looking for the best things to do in Helsinki? Check out this article:
Helsinki Travel Guide: 10 Best Things to Do
Top areas to stay in Helsinki – Map
Click on the top left of the map to display the list of stops and locations.
Where to stay in Helsinki: 8 best areas
Within this article, you will also find the top places to visit and the best sustainable hotel in each location. I selected these hotels by researching on ETIC Hotels or bookdifferent, carefully reading their website and looking for green certification.
In addition, I want to mention that I understand these hotels are not the most budget-friendly places to stay in Helsinki, but they are the most eco-friendly. Unfortunately, mixing the two is not always easy, and I have tried to select accommodations that focus on making a difference whilst being affordable. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.
Fancy a unique winter getaway in Lapland? Check out this article:
Travel Guide to Lapland, Finland in Winter
1- Kluuvi: the best area for first-time visitors
Kluuvi, the city centre and heart of Helsinki, pulsates with energy and offers a dynamic urban experience. This bustling district surrounds the central area, making it an ideal base for first-time visitors wanting to be nearby the main attractions and historic sites whilst enjoying the vibrant city life.
Plus, Kluuvi is well-connected to the other neighbourhoods and the rest of the country thanks to the Helsinki Central Station, an impressive landmark opened in 1919.
Within a short walking distance, you will find:
- The Senate Square: a large architectural complex featuring the iconic Helsinki Cathedral. This stunning monument, with its distinctive green dome, is an emblem of the Finnish capital and a must-see on your visit.
- The Market Square: just a few steps away, you can immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of a harborside market open all year round and sample local delicacies at the food stalls.
The city centre also comes alive after sunset with some of the best restaurants and bars in the capital. Whether you prefer to sip craft cocktails, listen to live music or dance the night away, this area has something for everyone.
In addition to its animated nightlife, you will find a paradise for shoppers here. The streets are filled with international brands, high-end boutiques and local shops offering Finnish design and craftsmanship.
Best green hotel in Kluuvi: Scandic Grand Central Helsinki
The atmosphere at Scandic Grand Central Helsinki is one of elegance, comfort and a touch of modernity. As you enter the hotel, you will be greeted by an elegant and welcoming lobby decorated with contemporary decor and soothing colours.
Additionally, the hotel provides an eco-friendly stay through various initiatives such as energy-efficient lighting, motion sensors and smart HVAC systems to reduce energy consumption. It also implements comprehensive recycling and waste management systems to lower waste generation.
📍Vilhonkatu 13, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
⭐️ 4.3/5 (Google reviews)
💵 From £117 per night
2- Kamppi: the best area for nightlife
Kamppi is a busy area known for its modern architecture, bustling shopping centres such as Kamppi Shopping Centre and the Hietalahti Flea Market, and vibrant entertainment venues. It offers convenient transportation connections and is home to several popular attractions, independent galleries and museums, including the Helsinki Art Museum.
With its contemporary buildings and elegant design, Kamppi stands out as a lively hub in the Finnish capital. By day, dine at one of its upscale restaurants or waterfront bistros and, by night, dance in one of its hip bars or LGBTQ+ friendly clubs playing live pop and rock music.
You guessed it, Kamppi is a perfect area for sightseeing in the morning, shopping in the afternoon and partying all night.
And whilst walking around, have a look at:
- Kamppi Chapel: this contemporary church chapel provides a space for quiet reflection amidst the urban buzz, built with a distinctive wooden structure and interior.
- The Design District: located nearby and known for its creative and artistic vibe, it offers a treasure trove of design stores, galleries and cafes.
Best green hotel in Kamppi: Hotel Helka
If you would love to find the best green accommodation in Kamppi, check out Hotel Helka. This urban hotel, located in a renovated building from the 1920s, offers elegant rooms, a peaceful environment for a relaxed stay and a breakfast buffet offering a varied selection of organic and local products.
With its unique Finnish design, panoramic city views and convenient location, this hotel also emphasises sustainability through green initiatives that comply with the Green Key certification criteria, such as using renewable energy sources within the property.
📍Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 23, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
⭐️ 4.4/5 (Google reviews)
💵 From £114 per night
3- Punavuori: the best area for art lovers
Welcome to Punavuori, an arty district with a vibrant foodie scene, standing as a stylish and trendy location.
This neighbourhood effortlessly blends vintage charm and contemporary trends, creating the perfect atmosphere for fashion-forward individuals and creative souls.
Punavuori is also part of the Design District, full of fashion boutiques, contemporary art galleries and interior design showrooms. And after dark, the area comes alive with hip bars and lively venues drawing crowds for craft beers and live music.
Whilst exploring Punavuori, ensure you check out:
- Iso Roobertinkatu: this pedestrian street in Punavuori is lined with charming boutiques, cafés and restaurants. It is a great place to shop for fashion, jewellery, home decor and unique gifts.
- Sinebrychoff Art Museum: located in a beautiful 19th-century building, this museum houses an impressive collection of European art, including works by renowned masters like Rembrandt, Goya and Rubens.
- Sinebrychoff Park: a beautiful green park that offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, popular for picnics and relaxing, plus sledding in the winter.
Best green hotel in Punavuori: Radisson Blu Aleksanteri Hotel
Travellers seeking luxury accommodation with an eco-friendly focus will love the Radisson Blu Aleksanteri Hotel, a Green Key-certified hotel offering a warm atmosphere that combines modern comfort with historic charm.
The elegant lobby, contemporary design and classic Finnish elements create a welcoming ambience where you can relax and unwind. During your stay, experience a true Finnish sauna, eat at the in-house restaurant presenting a variety of dishes using seasonal ingredients or, in the summer, enjoy a meal on the courtyard terrace.
📍Albertinkatu 34, 00180 Helsinki, Finland
⭐️ 4.3/5 (Google reviews)
💵 From £219 per night
4- Kallio: the best budget-friendly area
Kallio is renowned for its laid-back and bohemian atmosphere. This neighbourhood has a unique charm that captivates locals and visitors alike and is the perfect area to stay in Helsinki if you travel on a budget.
The streets of Kallio are lined with colourful buildings, independent coffee shops, vegan restaurants, trendy bars and an array of vintage shops. The district is also known for its arts and culture scene, with numerous galleries, theatres and music venues showcasing the works of local artists.
Although one of the best ways to experience Kallio is by strolling through its lively streets, there are a few exciting things not to miss. For instance, make sure you stop and marvel at:
- Linnanmäki Amusement Park: this famous amusement park promises fun and excitement for travellers of all ages. It offers a range of thrilling rides and entertaining shows, providing a perfect destination for family outings.
- Kallio Church: known as Kallion Kirkko in Finnish, this iconic red-brick church carved into granite stands tall and is a significant landmark in the district, hosting concerts and organ recitals.
- Hakaniemi Market Square: situated on the eastern edge of Kallio, Hakaniemi Market Square offers a lively atmosphere and a chance to experience the local culture.
- Harjutori Park: this charming green space in the heart of Kallio provides a peaceful retreat from the urban surroundings.
- Kallio Library: designed by renowned Finnish architect Martti Välikangas, the Kallio Library is a place for book enthusiasts and an architectural gem.
Best green hotel in Kallio: Hilton Helsinki Strand
The Hilton Helsinki Strand in Kallio is a perfect blend of luxury and environmentally-friendly accommodation. This hotel prioritises sustainability by minimising its carbon footprint with its innovative design and green features, providing eco-conscious travellers with a guilt-free and rejuvenating stay.
The waterfront hotel also benefits from an ideal location in a quiet area whilst only being a 5-min walk from the city centre. Explore the surrounding, indulge yourself in locally-sourced meals at its restaurant or enjoy a cold drink at its cocktail bar, which echoes its loyalty to nature and creativity as each beverage is flavoured with homemade syrups that reflect the seasons.
📍John Stenbergin ranta 4, 00530 Helsinki, Finland
⭐️ 4.5/5 (Google reviews)
💵 From £114 per night
5- Kaartinkaupunki: the best area for families
Famous for its friendly atmosphere, Kaartinkaupunki is a waterfront neighbourhood, home to Kauppatori Market Square and Old Market Hall, where vendors sell Nordic handicrafts and local Baltic snacks like fried herring.
Adding to its appeal, the district is blessed with lush green spaces such as Esplanade Park, where concerts are held in the summer, and recreational parks, ideal for children and providing a serene and tranquil atmosphere amidst the buzz of the city.
Thanks to its prime location near the city centre and its many museums and attractions for all ages, Kaartinkaupunki is an excellent area to stay in Helsinki for families.
Here are a few places you should put on your must-see list:
- Esplanade Park (Esplanadi): located in the heart of the district, the park is a charming green space that offers an oasis of peace in an urban setting. It is the ideal place to relax, have a picnic or listen to live music in the summer.
- Old Market Hall: a traditional 19th-century venue featuring shops and stalls presenting unique Finnish specialities. The perfect place to shop for local products.
Best green hotel in Kaartinkaupunki: Hotel Fabian
Kaartinkaupunki is home to several eco-friendly accommodations that provide a responsible and eco-conscious stay. Among them is Hotel Fabian, a refined boutique hotel dedicated to sustainable practices.
This green hotel presents stylish and thoughtfully designed rooms and offers a relaxing break away from the bustle of the city. Enjoy stunning interior details with all the comforts of home – guilt-free! Hotel Fabian is Green Key certified, committed to raising environmental awareness among its staff and guests, improving energy and water efficiency and reducing the impact of its operations.
📍Fabianinkatu 7, 00130 Helsinki, Finland
⭐️ 4.6/5 (Google reviews)
💵 From £106 per night
6- Katajanokka: the best quiet & hidden area
Katajanokka is a quiet harborside district famous for its well-preserved architecture, elegant Art Nouveau buildings, gold-domed and red-brick Uspenski Cathedral and exclusive seafood restaurants.
This quaint neighbourhood exudes an old-world charm and is an excellent kept-secret place to stay in Helsinki to enjoy the local life whilst being close to the main attractions and the city centre.
Additionally, the serene atmosphere of Katajanokka is enhanced by its beautiful waterfront location, with SkyWheel Helsinki offering stunning views of the city and nearby islands.
Whilst walking around the district, you should see:
- Uspenski Cathedral: this magnificent Orthodox cathedral is a must-visit attraction in Katajanokka. Admire its striking red-brick exterior, intricate details and iconic golden onion-shaped domes.
- Allas Sea Pool: an outdoor swimming and sauna complex offering a peaceful oasis in the heart of the Finnish capital. This marine spa has three saunas, two hot-water pools and one seawater pool.
Best green hotel in Katajanokka: Hotel Katajanokka
Hotel Katajanokka is a unique eco-friendly hotel, renovated into the historic premises of the former Helsinki prison dating back to 1837. Inside its walls, you will find a magical world of contrasts with comfort unaltered, elegant design and a touch of Nordic luxury.
This charming hotel is also Green Key certified and presents many sustainable initiatives for a memorable and eco-conscious stay. In addition, you will find in the basement of the old county jail the Restaurant Linnankellari offering local and organic Finno-Scandinavian cuisine that varies according to the season.
📍Merikasarminkatu 1 A, 00160 Helsinki, Finland
⭐️ 4.6/5 (Google reviews)
💵 From £120 per night
7- Töölö: the best area for nature lovers
Located along Seurasaarenselkä Bay, Töölö is a leafy residential district in Helsinki known for its many parks and attractions. It offers a perfect blend of natural and cultural experiences, including a sandy beach, sports fields, a convention centre and museums such as the Finnish Museum of Natural History.
This peaceful neighbourhood is home to the neoclassical Parliament House and Temppeliaukio Church. It also boasts a variety of green spaces, including the serene Töölö Bay and the picturesque Hesperia Park, offering many opportunities for outdoor activities and relaxation.
It is the perfect area to stay in Helsinki for a peaceful weekend getaway with friends or as a couple. You can enjoy a slow holiday surrounded by nature whilst the city centre is easily accessible by foot or public transport.
At the heart of Töölö, you will find:
- Finnish National Opera and Ballet: a world-class venue showcasing remarkable opera and ballet performances.
- Finlandia Hall: a modernist building designed by renowned architect Alvar Aalto, hosting concerts and conferences.
- Sibelius Monument: a tribute to the renowned Finnish composer made by Eila Hiltunen with over 60 steel pipes forming a wave-like shape representing music.
- Café Regatta: a Finnish red cottage located by the sea where you can sample traditional food or have a drink with beautiful views.
Best green hotel in Töölö: Scandic Park Helsinki
Housed in a glass-and-concrete building, this contemporary hotel welcomes you for a comfortable and memorable experience in a stylish setting, with the views from the rooms ranging from the peaceful courtyard to the beautiful scenery of Töölö Bay.
Beyond its welcoming atmosphere, Scandic Park Helsinki is committed to sustainability. Its in-house Restaurant Famu focuses on organic ingredients and serves international dishes with a contemporary twist. In addition, its ecological breakfast buffet offers different local products with fresh Fairtrade coffee.
📍Mannerheimintie 46, 00260 Helsinki, Finland
⭐️ 4.1/5 (Google reviews)
💵 From £84 per night
8- Ruoholahti: the best area for marine experience
Contemporary architecture, modern museums and picturesque waterfront promenades characterise this vibrant neighbourhood of Ruoholahti. The district boasts elegant and modern buildings conveniently located near various attractions.
Along the waterfront and the Ruoholahti Channel, you can enjoy scenic walks, take in sea views and relax in charming outdoor cafés. Remember to also stop by Kellosaari Park, a playground area that features green spaces and small flowering trees.
Finally, if you are more into avant-garde culture and art, check out The Cable Factory or Kaapelitehdas, an old factory housing a cultural centre with museums, galleries and theatres, including the Hotel and Restaurant Museum, Theatre Museum and the Finnish Museum of Photography.
Best green hotel in Ruoholahti: Holiday Inn Helsinki West
Holiday Inn Helsinki West offers a friendly and welcoming atmosphere not far from the sea, where guests can feel at ease and relax during their visit. The staff is also known for their attentive and personalised service, ensuring every need of the guest is met with a smile.
In addition to providing a comfortable atmosphere, the hotel prioritises sustainability by adopting eco-conscious practices through the IHG Green Engage system to measure and manage their environmental impact – their way of protecting the surroundings of their guests today and for the future.
📍Sulhasenkuja 3, 00180 Helsinki, Finland
⭐️ 4.3/5 (Google reviews)
💵 From £104 per night
Planning a trip to Levi, Lapland? Check out this article: 15 Best Things to Do in Levi, Finnish Lapland
Helsinki travel planning guide
Yes, buying insurance is always valuable when travelling abroad. Enjoy your city trip to Helsinki stress-free with one of my favourite providers, Nomad Insurance.
Yes, tap water is safe to drink all over Helsinki (which ranks among the highest quality in the world). However, I also recommend travelling with the UltraPress Purifier Bottle, a lightweight filtered water bottle perfect for reducing plastic and staying hydrated.
Yes, renting a car in Helsinki is easy and is a great way to explore outside of the capital and the country freely. I recommend booking yours with Rentalcars.com – they offer a variety of operators for all budgets.
The best way to book your accommodation in Helsinki is with Booking.com – my favourite platform to compare and reserve places to stay each night, from affordable guesthouses to luxury hotels.
I recommend booking your plane with Skyscanner. It has been my favourite platform for years, as it allows me to book the cheapest flights whilst lowering my carbon emissions.
Where to stay in Helsinki – FAQ
Helsinki is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is located on the shore and is the seat of the Uusimaa region in the southern part of the country, the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea.
Spring and summer are the best times to visit Helsinki, when the weather is sunny, the days are longer, and you can enjoy many events in the city.
Yes, Helsinki is a very safe city (one of the safest cities in Europe) to walk at night or explore as a solo (female) traveller. On the other hand, be mindful of pickpockets in crowded areas during pick seasons.
Helsinki is famous for its innovative art, stunning architecture, trendy bars, green spaces, waterfront markets and traditional saunas.
And you, where is your favourite place to stay in Helsinki?
Let me know in the comments below!
With love ♡