It's a pleasant city to just walk around, admiring the buildings while eating an ice cream, and a good starting point is the Kauppatori where you'll find the Havis Amanda statue, regarded as a symbol of the city.
Suomenlinna which is a Unesco World Heritage Site:
Nearby is a harbour with a number of lovely old wooden boats. I never did work out how to get trips on them, but guess they might be reserved for parties from the many cruise ships that dock here.
Tuomiokirkko, a neoclassical Lutheran cathedral (top of page). Inside its plainly decorated with the exception of its magnificent organ:
Temppeliaukio church cut into sold rock it has the feel of a James Bond set:
There's a lot of art and music in Helsinki too. When I was there (summer 2012) the Ateneum art gallery (near the station) had a major exhibition of the Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck and you can usually hear live bands playing in Esplanade Park.
I managed to eat in a number of good restaurants, namely:
- Elite: this is a bit off the beaten track and I stumbled upon it by accident, but it was a treat, my favourite. Worth making an effort clothes-wise. Classic Finnish cuisine well prepared with great atmosphere
- Toscanini: a city centre Italian which understands that Italy cuisine is more than just pizzas.
- Salve: at the south of the city this sailor themed restaurant is Finnish cuisine based but more relaxed than Elite. I had the two course special that included a free ticket to the Atenium art gallery.
All in all a very pleasant city with much to see and do.