Tour of Helsinki's Ullanlinna District (Self Guided), Helsinki

Ullanlinna is a district in the south part of Helsinki. The name of the district comes from the town fortifications that were standing in this place during the 1700s. During the 19th century the residential wooden houses were replaced by stone buildings, mainly designed in the Jugendstil style. This tour will show you the most interesting places of this area.
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Tour of Helsinki's Ullanlinna District Map

Guide Name: Tour of Helsinki's Ullanlinna District
Guide Location: Finland » Helsinki (See other walking tours in Helsinki)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Author: naomi
1
Design Museum

1) Design Museum

The Design Museum is located at Korkeavuorenkatu 23 in a ponderous building that was built in 1894. The façade of the building is neo-Gothic style. That may be a bit misleading because the inside of the building has a cornucopia of design some of which is very modern.

The exhibits feature the progression of design from not only Finland but around the world from the late 1800s to the present. While thoughts usually turn to furniture and furnishings when thinking of Scandinavian design, there is also excellent representation from the fashion world and graphic design.

There are over 140,000 drawings in addition to over 30,000 objects to view so be sure to allow enough time to enjoy the exhibits. There is an emphasis on the progression of utilitarian function from the rural farmhouse to today’s simple functional yet exquisitely beautiful pieces of work.
The location is very close to the Architecture Museum, so plan on taking the majority of the day to see both venues.

Operation hours: September 1 - May 31: Tuesday: 11 am – 8 pm; Wednesday – Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm;
June 1 - August 31: Monday – Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm
2
Museum of Finnish Architecture

2) Museum of Finnish Architecture

The Museum of Finnish Architecture has an interesting story behind the building in which it is housed. One might expect that a building would be especially designed for this sort of museum. However, this building was built in 1899 for the Learned Societies. This was just the first of three structures that were to be tied together over time. However, that was not to be, though several attempts have been made. In fact, there is still a movement afloat to build between this museum and the Design Museum to tie the buildings together.

This interesting old building has a huge central staircase that is magnificent, but would be a bit more fitting in the larger structure that was originally envisioned. The exhibits here are fascinating, and there is an extensive traveling collection too that tours the country and also the world. Some of the favorite exhibits involve the scale models of buildings. There are thousands of drawings and photos of buildings from medieval times to the present.

While Finnish architects are showcased, there are also exhibits showing the work of architects the world over. There is also a bookstore for that eclectic gift and a library for the vacationing bookworm.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm; Wednesday: 11 am – 8 pm
3
German Church

3) German Church

The German Church is located at Bernhardinkatu 4 and is an important part of the community. This beautiful old church was built in 1864 and its Neo-Gothic style is a favorite of brides in Finland. One look at this picturesque venue makes it easy to see why it is so popular.

The Front entrance to the church is breathtakingly beautiful. The brick work is amazing and the door is framed by six large gothic windows in the transept. There is a large spire that was added in 1897 which just adds to the majesty of the building. The entire building underwent a massive refurbishing in 2001, and the results are wonderful.

For such a large exterior the sanctuary is amazingly intimate. The muted color scheme aids in this illusion. The altar is exquisitely carved with great detail and so elegantly frames a painting of Christ at the Crucifixion. The pews are very simple so they do not distract from the elegance of the altar.

Services are held here on Sunday mornings at 11am and the services are in German. Services are also held on occasion at 11 pm as well as special activities around church holy days, so be sure to check the schedule when visiting.
4
Observatory Hill

4) Observatory Hill

Observatory Hill is the location of the institution that used to be in Turku. This spot was actually Finland’s first observatory. It was built in 1819. Sadly though, a huge fire destroyed the city in 1827, including this institution. So, Tsar Nicholas I ordered the location to be moved to Helsinki, along with the University that was being developed.

The famous architect Carl Engel drew up the design that was used for the place. He is well known for many buildings that still reside in downtown Helsinki. The new observatory was completed in 1834, and was considered one of the best built to that point in history.

The hill itself is also quite famous, as it used to be the place where signal fires were lit when danger was approaching the city. The fires from “Fire Hill”, as the locals called it, could be seen for miles. Eventually, this place was developed into a lovely park also. While you are here, you may also want to see the famous sculpture “shipwrecked” by Robert Stigell. It is part of the park that surrounds the observatory on the hill.
5
St. Henry's Cathedral

5) St. Henry's Cathedral

This Roman Catholic Church is the official Cathedral of Helsinki for that faith tradition. It was dedicated to Bishop Henry of Uppsala, who was very famous in the country. Henry was believed to have helped King Eric conquer the country. He also died as a martyr. The building was finished in 1860, and took three years to complete.

The overall architectural style of Gothic Revival was used to design the building. It was given that name for the way in which old Gothic styles have been used alongside neoclassical elements. There are also some beautiful sculptures here of the old bishop, as well as Saint Peter and Saint Paul. You will find these adorning the exterior of the building.

Interestingly enough, there are very few natives of Finland who use this facility for worship. That is because most of the population is Lutheran. It was built primarily for foreigners who come to Helsinki. In an effort, though, to serve the area well, it offers mass in many languages.
6
Cygnaeus Gallery

6) Cygnaeus Gallery

The Cygnaeus Gallery is one of the most famous tourist sites in Helsinki. It also happens to be the oldest art museum in Finland. It was opened to the general public in 1882, and has been in business since that time. This is a state owned facility, managed by the Board of Antiquities.

The artwork stored here is mostly from the 19th Century, and is also mostly from Finland. The collection was started by Professor Fredrik Cygnaeus, who left the art to the country upon his death in 1881. By that time, he had amassed over two hundred pieces of art. One hundred of these are paintings, but you will also be able to see some beautiful sculptures and drawings as well. The artists represented are people like Ferdinand von Wright, Albert Edelfelt, and Aukusti Uotila.

The building itself is the Professor’s old summer villa. It was also left to the people of Finland. It is designed in a romantic style of architecture. It was created by J. W. Mieritz. It also happens to be one of the only remaining wooden buildings in the downtown area.
7
Mannerheim Museum

7) Mannerheim Museum (must see)

The Mannerheim Museum is centrally located in the city of Helsinki, next to Kaivopuisto Park. The purpose of the institution is to preserve and display information related to the life and work of the famous man by that name, Carl Mannerheim. He was a statesman and member of the Finnish Military.

The building used to be the home of Mannerheim from the 1920s, until his death in 1951. It was built in the year 1874, however. At that time, it was known as the Boman Villa. Interestingly enough, Mannerheim never actually owned the home but rented it for all those years from a man named Karl Fazer. The Museum Foundation finally purchased the home in 1957.

The exhibitions best display the way the home looked during the 1940s. Most of the furniture is original, and the home has many personal items from the famous man. You can view many of the medals and honors he won. Compare all that, though, to the rather Spartan-like manner in which he kept his bedroom – it can tell you a lot about him.

The location receives over ten thousand visitors a year. The fee to get in also includes a guided tour of the building. The tours are done in Finnish, Swedish, English and other European languages.

Why You Should Visit:
To explore and uncover the history of Finland through Mannerheim's fascinating life story.
The house is located in a beautiful area of Helsinki with other big houses (many of which are now embassies) and great views.

Tip:
There's no free roaming around the rooms – it is a guided tour only.
Don't go last minute as being in the last group you might feel rushed out.

Opening Hours:
Fri-Sun: 11am-4pm
8
Kaivopuisto Park

8) Kaivopuisto Park (must see)

Kaivopuisto Park is located just off the Gulf of Finland, which gives the local park a beautiful seascape as part of the overall view. If you go just to the north of the park, you end up in an upscale neighborhood that is the home of many foreign ambassadors.

There is a lot of room to walk, run, and enjoy the outdoors. The overall topography can take you from flatlands by the sea to cliffs. If you are a bit of a history buff, you will also find some remnants of an old fort from the 18th Century.

In the summer, this is one of the most popular spots for sunbathers in town, while in the winter, the big hill in the park is also a popular spot for sledding. If you get a chance to visit in spring, you may want to do so on May 1st, when there is a large celebration following the Walpurgis Night holiday. The locals will come in costume and have a picnic, complete with lots to drink, and enjoy lots of very loud music – it’s like the Finnish version of Woodstock.

Why You Should Visit:
Nice park in both summer and winter, with many small marinas, where you're free to watch the boating life, sip on a drink or take a walk on the coastal sidewalk.

Tip:
Try to visit Löyly (restaurant & sauna where you can jump into the sea and have a swim) and/or the nice restaurants on the small islands.
9
Cafe Ursula

9) Cafe Ursula

One of Helsinki's most beautiful places is the small colorful seaside Cafe Ursula located at the end of Kaivopuisto Park. Completed in 1952, the cafe was designed by architect Markus Irmeli Visanti. The staff is dressed in traditional Finnish costumes. Many customers come from a long distance to enjoy Ursula's views and good service. Since the cafe is located in the vicinity of a number of foreign embassies, some very distinguished and interesting guests have been spotted at Ursula.

Walking Tours in Helsinki, Finland

Create Your Own Walk in Helsinki

Create Your Own Walk in Helsinki

Creating your own self-guided walk in Helsinki is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Nightlife Tour of Helsinki

Nightlife Tour of Helsinki

Most of Helsinki's nightlife is concentrated in the center of the city around the main train station. Almost all the establishments are a mix of bar, disco and concert venue. Finnish people are great lovers of live performances. No matter what band or artist is playing, they always enjoy the show. So, take this tour to experience the vibrant nightlife of Helsinki.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Religious Buildings Tour of Helsinki, Part 1

Religious Buildings Tour of Helsinki, Part 1

Helsinki features many impressive places of worship where you can enjoy a peaceful moment and admire the beauty of the religious buildings. Helsinki has two main religious denominations: Lutheran and Orthodox, but there are also some beautiful Anglican and German churches. Take this tour to see the most interesting religious buildings in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Cultural Tour of Helsinki

Cultural Tour of Helsinki

As the capital, Helsinki is the cultural center of Finland. The city is famous for its concerts and shows. It is also home to some internationally-known artists. There are three major theaters in the city and a couple of cultural centers. Take this tour to find out more about Finnish culture.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Helsinki, the capital and the largest city of Finland, is a multi-faceted place unique in many ways with much to offer to any visitor. While the greater Helsinki comprises peninsulas and large bays, the city center is very symmetrical with well-organized streets and straight boulevards. On this orientation walk you can visit some of Helsinki's not-to-be-missed attractions.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 km
Architecture Tour of Helsinki

Architecture Tour of Helsinki

There are many examples of great architecture in Helsinki. The predominant styles are Art Nouveau (Jugend in Finnish) and Neo-Clasical. Much of the city's architecture has social and cultural significance, particularly buildings such as the Academic Bookshop, Finlandia Hall, Helsinki Central Railway Station and Erottaja Fire Station. This tour presents some of the most beautiful buildings of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Landmarks Tour of Helsinki

Landmarks Tour of Helsinki

As the capital of Finland and one of the major cities of Scandinavia, Helsinki has a great and interesting history. The city is full of sculptures and monuments dedicated to some of the most important people and events in its history. This self-guided tour will help you visit some of Helsinki's greatest landmarks.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.6 km

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