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Where to Stay in Helsinki?
Helsinki’s Kluuvi is the heart of the city and is where many of the city’s hotels cluster. Stay in a cheap hotel in Kluuvi and you’re close to the famous Finnish mega department stores Stockmann and Sokos plus the Kluuvi shopping centre, the main Helsinki university campus and the Ataneum Art Museum, the national gallery of Finland which houses the largest collection of art in the country. You’re also within striking distance of Engel’s masterpiece the Lutheran Cathedral, with its beautiful rooftop zinc statues of the 12 apostles glinting when it’s sunny, and Finlandia Talo concert hall.
There are more hotels clustered further along Brunnsgaten towards Mannerheimvegen, a busy area close to the central station and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. The central Kamppi area was the least built-up area of Helsinki until the giant Kamppi shopping centre was built a few years ago, turning this small section of the city into a shopping mecca with 150 stores, around 20 restaurants and a transport hub that brings in shoppers and their purses from all over the city. Hotels are dotted around this complex, which neighbours the Amos Anderson Art Museum, specialising in 20th century Finnish Art.
Helsinki Accommodation Options
There is a range of starred accommodation in Helsinki although the bulk of the hotels tend to fall into the three-star category. That said, this is a city that is happy to discount should the rooms be sitting empty so it’s worth chancing your arm at the five-star places - you could end up with a cheap hotel room. Often business hotels will drop their prices considerably in the summer or at weekends. Wherever you stay, you can expect very good service, very good all-inclusive breakfast buffets.
If you really want to save your pennies for eating out and seeing the sights, there is a very popular campsite just outside the centre, Rastila which is about 8.5 miles away. It’s on the metro line, is served by a great many buses into the heart of Helsinki and has some lovely cottages, a beach, restaurant, sauna and bike rental.
At the other end of the spectrum, the dazzling Hotel Kamp, a landmark building opened in 1887 as one of the first great hotels in Scandinavia, sits opposite the Esplanade Park and has hosted royalty and celebrity in its fabulously swish suites.
Helsinki Hotel Recommendations?
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel sits right in the heart of the relatively newly built Kamppi district and its soaring modern tower means you have cityscape views from your room that are hard to beat. The Hotel Haven on Unioninkatu represents good value for money, offers breakfasts hearty enough to keep you going all day and is nicely situated over the harbour, a reminder that you are in a city surrounded on three sides by water. The Hotel Glo in the Kluuvi district is considered one of the trendier places to stay in Helsinki, is right in the heart of the commercial centre of the city with its concert halls, bars, clubs, restaurants and sights and has a very cool spa on the top floor.
Transport in Helsinki
It’s a 35-minute Helsinki City bus ride from the airport to the city centre, or you can catch the train in slightly less time to Tikkurila railway station. Alternatively, hop into a fixed fare share-taxi or grab your own, if you’re willing to pay more. Once you’re in the city, you can buy a one, three- or five-day pass and travel anywhere in the city by bus, tram, metro or ferry. Buy a ticket at ticket machines or at tourist information offices.
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