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Free things to do in Helsinki

Helsinki and the whole of Finland has a reputation as an expensive destination – but if you know where to look, you can find and do a lot of fun and interesting things to do without spending a single euro. Here are some experiences you can have in Helsinki for free – with the bonus of hanging out in places where the locals hang out.

Top three libraries in Helsinki

There are some very atmospheric libraries in the capital city and they have great services. The staff are knowledgeable and helpful. Even if you are not able to borrow the books, you can still soak up the atmosphere and read some magazines and books. Check out:
1.    Kallio Library
2.    Rikhardinkatu Library
3.    Library 10 (Kirjasto 10)
For more libraries in Helsinki and the area visit www.lib.hel.fi

Kallio library
Photo by hugovk on Flickr

Top three galleries

1.    Laterna Magica is a photo gallery that is also a secondhand book store, located in the lovely Kruununhaka neighbourhood in central Helsinki.
2.    Galleria Alkovi is a window gallery in Kallio area. You can take either the 3B, 9 or 8 tram and get off at Helsinginkatu or if you’re taking the metro, get off at  Sörnäinen.
3.    Helsinki Contemporary. You should not miss this one either, especially since it’s so conveniently located!

And also consider these seven Helsinki City Museums – they’re all free!

Top three parks for picnics in the summer

1.    Alppipuisto Park is a great neighbourhood park in Alppila, next to the Linnanmäki Amusement Park. In the summer you get to enjoy free festivals in the park too.
2.    Sinebrychoff Park, very central. Just be aware that there is an automatic watering system in use that goes off after 22.00!
3.    Tervasaari is peaceful little island connected to the Kruununhaka neighbourhood in central Helsinki.

Alppipuisto Park in summer 2013 during a free festival.
And if not for free, then at least some cheap shopping can be done in:

Top three flea markets

1.    Fida Hakaniemi (Address: Hämeentie 5 a. Trams 3B, 6, 7, 9. Metro stop: Hakaniemi) and Fida Sörnäinen(Address: Hämeentie 31. Trams: 6, 7, 8. Metro stop: Sörnäinen)
2.    Reuse Centres. There are two shops in Helsinki. Since you probably won’t be shopping for furniture, visit the other that is more central. Address: Lönnrotinkatu 45, take tram number 6 (or walk).
3.    Emmaus Vallila. Do some shopping in the Vallila neighbourhood. Address: Mäkelänkatu 54, trams 1 and 7.
and in the summer the legendary Hietalahti (Hietsu) open air market, next to the Sinebrychoff Park.

Hietalahti open air flea market
Photo by Helsingin kaupungin matkailu- ja kongressitoimisto/Carolina Laaksonen

Check out our Helsinki hostels here and start planning your budget getaway!

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