Exploring Helsinki – A Perfect Destination for Family Fun

Looking for the perfect destination for your next family getaway? Consider Helsinki, a city that effortlessly blends modernity with natural beauty, making it an ideal spot for a memorable family vacation. Safe and excellently served by a well-connected public transport system, Helsinki offers experiences to delight both young and old. The city is filled with open green spaces, creating a child-friendly environment with plenty of activities and attractions to keep everyone amused and happy. From interactive museums to scenic parks, Helsinki promises a fun-filled adventure for the entire family. So pack your bags and get ready to explore this vibrant Nordic gem!


Family Adventures at LUOMUS: Natural History Museum and Botanic Gardens

Another excellent family attraction in Helsinki is LUOMUS, encompassing the Natural History Museum and its associated Botanic Gardens. Located near the city centre, the Natural History Museum offers educational and interactive exhibitions across three floors, showcasing the diversity of nature and the process of evolution. With ancient fossils, dinosaur bones, and detailed dioramas, it’s one of Finland’s most popular museums. Highlights include exhibitions on Finnish nature, the history of life, world nature, the secrets of bones, and climate change research.

In Summer 2024, the centenary “Festival in the Forest” exhibition will delight kids with surprises like crawling insects and bird-ringers. The museum also has a café, picnic-friendly courtyard, and souvenir shop.

Nearby, the Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden offers a tranquil retreat with historic paths, diverse plant collections, the Garden of the Senses, an arboretum, and ten glasshouses showcasing plants from various climates. A short bus ride away, Kumpula Botanic Garden, located in a picturesque district of old wooden houses, features diverse plant collections, picnic spots, an outdoor swimming pool, and geological collections at Kumpula Manor.

Family-Friendly Cruises from Helsinki

Tallink Silja Line offers fantastic day-trips and overnight cruises from Helsinki to Tallinn and Stockholm, perfect for families. The fast ferry to Tallinn takes just two hours each way, providing plenty of onboard entertainment for kids and adults alike, allowing for a full day of exploration in the Estonian capital’s charming Old Town.

Alternatively, families can opt for a 40-hour cruise to Stockholm on the Silja Serenade or Silja Symphony. These ships feature spacious accommodations, including special Moomin family cabins, and a variety of family-friendly amenities such as the Silja Land Playground. The FriendSHIP experience package delights children with activities and adventures, from receiving a letter from the captain to meeting beloved characters like Moomin and Harry the seal.

Dining options cater to all ages with special children’s menus, a family picnic area, and even kids’ cocktails. The cruise departs Helsinki in the evening, arriving in Stockholm the next morning, giving families a full day to explore the Swedish capital before the return journey. With breathtaking views, onboard shopping, and curated activities, these cruises make every moment of your family vacation exciting and relaxing.

Family Fun at the Ateneum Museum of Art

Finland’s most visited museum, the Ateneum Museum of Art, goes the extra mile to welcome families with children, offering free admission for everyone under 18. On the second floor, the Studio provides a space for all ages to draw, solve puzzles, read, rest, or simply hang out. Nearby, the Ateneum Game, a museum game console, features a series of cross-device multiplayer games related to the “A Question of Time” exhibition, allowing participants to play using a tablet or their mobile device.

On the third floor, the Eero Järnefelt exhibition includes a ‘Follow the Frog’ path for kids to explore. When hunger strikes, the Ateneum Bistro offers drinks, snacks, ice cream, and more for the whole family. The museum also hosts special events for children throughout the year, enhancing its family-friendly appeal. On the first Sunday of every month, visitors can enjoy exhibition introductions and guided tours in Finnish, Swedish, English, and Russian, providing a truly immersive experience for all.

Photo: Finnish National - Aleks Talve

Exploring Suomenlinna: A Family-Friendly Fortress Excursion

Just a charming 15-minute ferry ride from Helsinki’s famous marketplace, past some of the capital’s many islands, the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is a top destination for families. This UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises several islands, offering numerous parks perfect for picnics, a secluded beach ideal for swimming and sunbathing, and a variety of restaurants and cafés for tasty treats and refreshments.

Suomenlinna boasts six museums, with the Suomenlinna Museum and Military Museum open year-round. Seasonal attractions include the nostalgic Toy Museum, a hit with kids; the fascinating Vesikko Submarine with its cramped quarters; the 18th-century Ehrensvärd Museum; and the Customs Museum.

The best way to explore Suomenlinna is on foot with a walking map from the tourism office or by joining a guided tour. Visitors can learn about the fortress’s history under Swedish, Russian, and Finnish control. For children, the island’s cobbled streets, ancient cannons, and dimly lit tunnels provide endless adventure and exploration. The cliff paths offer a scenic hike with views over the archipelago and sea, and wildflowers add vibrant colours to the green hills and pastures inland.

06062019 Suomenlinna, Helsinki. Sukellusvene Vesikko. Museopäivä. Kuva: Susanna Kekkonen, kuvattu: Suomenlinna

Restaurant Adlerfelt – The Hidden Gem of Suomenlinna

When visiting Suomenlinna, a stop at Restaurant Adlerfelt is highly recommended. Located in a 250-year-old building, Adlerfelt embodies the rich cultural heritage and culinary traditions of the area. Just a 20-minute ferry ride from Helsinki’s Market Square, this hidden gem offers modern interpretations of local food traditions with a menu that changes seasonally, ensuring fresh and innovative dishes. The restaurant is known for its responsible ingredient choices and a carefully curated wine list. Welcoming guests of all backgrounds, Adlerfelt creates a joyful and inclusive dining experience. Make sure to reserve a table to enjoy the best of Suomenlinna’s culinary delights in a beautiful and historic setting.

Nuuksio National Park – Gateway to Wilderness Retreat

For families seeking a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, Nuuksio provides the perfect setting. Nuuksio National Park offers a tranquil escape into the wild just 30 minutes from Helsinki city centre. It is a unique national treasure and the third most popular national park in Finland. Celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2024, Nuuksio will host a range of events throughout the year. Whether you’re planning a day trip or an overnight stay, Nuuksio offers a variety of services to help you explore and enjoy its delightful natural treasures.

The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia has diverse exhibitions and a range of outdoor activities, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Families can enjoy marked trails starting from Haltia, offering both short strolls and longer hikes through the Nuuksio wilderness. Changing exhibitions, such as the Finnish Nature main exhibition highlighting seasonal differences and Kalevala mythology, and the “Burn to be wild!” exhibition on the benefits of controlled forest burns, offer engaging educational experiences. The on-site restaurant serves delicious, locally sourced food with beautiful views of Nuuksio National Park.

Located in the serene beauty of Nuuksio National Park, Haltia Lake Lodge offers a perfect escape for families seeking solace and rejuvenation. Near the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, the lodge provides high-quality lodging experiences, from cosy rooms to luxurious glamping tents, catering to family needs. Guests can enjoy activities such as hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, or yoga amidst the breathtaking landscapes.

Finland’s southernmost reindeer park in Nuuksio offers families a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in natural wonder and authentic Finnish traditions, and to encounter the gentle majesty of Arctic reindeer. With an entrance fee that includes feeding the reindeer and cozying up by a campfire in a Lappish Teepee, visitors can enjoy a truly immersive experience. Tailored programs offer intimate experiences, such as digging for Lucky Stones from Lapland, Reindeer Yoga, guided hikes with reindeer, or staying in an eco-friendly Igluhut to watch and photograph reindeer. For those wishing to extend their stay, accommodations include cosy log cabins and eco-friendly Igluhuts, ensuring a memorable and immersive family experience.

TAHTO Sports Museum – A Fun-Filled Family Destination

Just a short tram ride from Helsinki’s city centre, the TAHTO Sports Museum, located in the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, offers an engaging and interactive experience for the entire family. Open every day, TAHTO provides a unique opportunity to dive into the world of sports, making it an excellent destination for both sports enthusiasts and families.

The museum’s main exhibition, “The Story of TAHTO,” is designed to engage all senses, much like the experience of sports itself. Highlights include the rare silver torch from the 1952 Olympics, designed by Aukusti Tuhka, with only 22 ever made. The museum maintains a national collection of Finnish sports, boasting nearly 36,000 objects and 500,000 photographs.

The museum’s interactive exhibitions offer enjoyable activities for the whole family, allowing visitors to break a sweat if they wish. Whether exploring the rich history of Finnish sports or participating in hands-on activities, TAHTO promises a memorable and fun-filled experience for everyone.

SEA LIFE Helsinki – Dive into an Astonishing Underwater Wonderland

Conveniently located next to Linnanmäki, Finland’s biggest theme park, SEA LIFE Helsinki invites visitors to explore its underwater realms and embark on a mesmerising journey through the earth’s oceans. From the vibrant hues of tropical seas to the icy depths of the Arctic, and even the serene waters of the Baltic, SEA LIFE Helsinki offers an immersive experience like no other.

SEA LIFE Helsinki features eight different sections to explore. Start with Rainforest Rivers and Estuaries, home to electric eels, fierce piranhas, and delicate terrapins. In the Tropics, you’ll encounter colourful clownfish and coral, as well as octopuses and pufferfish. Step into the expansive 250 cubic metre Ocean Tank and stroll through a transparent tunnel as sharks glide overhead. Continue your adventure by coming face-to-face with captivating seahorses, enjoying the antics of playful rays at Raypool Bay, and interacting with fascinating creatures like sea stars, sea urchins, and anemones at the Rockpool.

Fotoshooting SeaLife am 25.05.2015 in Timmendorer Strand. Foto: Ulrich Perrey

Krapi – A Perfect Family Retreat in Lake Tuusula

Just 15 km from Helsinki Airport and 30 km from the city centre, Krapi provides the perfect retreat for families with kids. Situated by the shores of Lake Tuusula, Krapi is a sustainable resort offering authentic Finnish experiences amidst breathtaking landscapes. Krapi’s family-friendly accommodations feature cosy rooms and delicious meals at Restaurant Mankeli, ensuring a relaxing and comfortable stay for all. Families can enjoy activities like cycling, boating, mini-golf, and golf, and unwind in the sauna for a truly Finnish experience. Krapi promises an experience that will leave a lasting impression on the whole family.

Krapi’s location by Lake Tuusula makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the area’s rich natural and cultural heritage. The lakeside, once home to many of Finland’s ‘golden age’ artists, still houses their preserved homes and estates, some now open as museums.

Krapi offers this summer a special Dinosaurs Package for families. This package includes one night’s accommodation and tickets to enter the exciting dinosaur exhibition at Aino Areena in Järvenpää, available either on the arrival or departure day, making it a fun and educational outing for the children. Adding to the excitement, a small dinosaur-themed package awaits the kids in the hotel room. Guests can also enjoy the relaxing guest saunas and start their day with a delicious buffet breakfast.

Discover Art & History with Kids at Sinebrychoff Art Museum

Housed in a majestic, historic building, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum is a wonderful cultural destination for families with children, inviting them to explore a realm of timeless art and captivating discoveries. In the House Museum, visitors can step back in time into the world of the Sinebrychoff family, passing through meticulously preserved rooms filled with their collected treasures.

Young explorers will delight in uncovering hidden treasures and little surprises as they wander the museum’s halls. Every corner, nook, and cranny holds new discoveries, from ancient fossils to golden artefacts. Imaginations are given full rein as kids embark on quests to spot elusive animals and peculiar creatures within the museum’s eclectic collection. With changing exhibitions and guided tours tailored for children, the Sinebrychoff Art Museum promises an unforgettable experience filled with boundless curiosity and creative inspiration. Best of all, admission is free for children under 18, ensuring that the magic of art is accessible to all who wish to explore its wonders.’

Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Iisa Smeds
Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Aleks Talve