Helsinki's elegant city centre is graced with beautiful buildings in National Romantic style, Finland's distinctive interpretation of art nouveau. While it's primarily a place of business and commerce, there are some standout attractions for visitors, including major museums and beautiful botanic gardens.
Punavuori & Ullanlinna
A trove of shops displaying furniture, art, fashion, accessories and homewares fill Helsinki's world-famous Design District, which centres on hip Punavuori. To its south, the more residential area of Ullanlinna shelters some beautiful parks, while creative and recreational spaces continue to open in the southwest on and around the Hernesaari waterfront.
Traditionally a working-class neighbourhood, Kallio is rapidly gentrifying to become one of Helsinki's most up-and-coming areas. Repurposed post-industrial venues here buzz with creative activity – from food labs to a cutting-edge distillery – with public art continuing to pop up throughout its streets, parks and squares.
Kruununhaka & Katajanokka
Waterfront wraps around this maritime neighbourhood, which spans the Kruununhaka area – home to Helsinki's main market square, the kauppatori, where boats depart for cruises in summer – and the adjacent genteel island of Katajanokka, which is linked by bridges to the mainland and awash with National Romantic art nouveau architecture.