A definitive guide to find accommodation, as told by locals
Last updated: April 2018
How to rent a place in Helsinki
Renting an apartment in Helsinki city center can be quite difficult and the rents are high. If you’re on a budget, it’s reasonable to look for housing accommodations in the neighboring boroughs and they are easily accessible by train. You will find a lot of student accommodation in the suburbs (Vantaa, Espoo). It can be hard to find housing in the private market: few options at a high price. We, from Housing Anywhere, are here to help you find the most suitable accommodation for your stay in Helsinki.
I’m Megane, a 22 years old international business student. I was born and raised in France but since age 16 I am used to living abroad on my own and I know how hard it can be to find accommodation and get used to another culture’s traditions. I have had the opportunity during my studies to live in Helsinki for 1 year and here are some helpful tips for those who will be moving there.
Living in Helsinki and its neighbourhoods
Let’s start this with a nice walk!
You may have heard of me… the marketplace in the harbor also known as Kauppatori, the Lutheran and Uspenski orthodox Cathedral, Finlandia Talo, the Kiasma contemporary art museum, both the isles of Korkeasaari and Seurasaari, the Rock Church are just a few examples of what this Scandinavian Capital could offer during your permanence here. The taste of this city will probably remind you of berries, fish, and vegetables with a little add of local meat and potatoes: several restaurant and marketplaces will certainly satisfy your appetite! Nightlife in Helsinki is reasonably held indoors and offers all different kind of music tastes. Here just a reminder for you: if you’re under 20 you can’t enter a pub! Last but not least: are you an active and sporting person? No problem! Finns love practicing sports, especially ice hockey, football, and athletics. Have we mentioned the other national sports like wife-carrying race and the mobile-throwing competition?
Face the cold days with HSL pass
Walking around Helsinki’s city center is feasible however during the winter you will need a travel pass for the cold days. It is very easy to travel around Helsinki thanks to the HSL pass: you can take the metro, tramway, city train and even the local ferry! If you arrive in Helsinki by plane, the airport is only 30 minutes away from the city center and can be easily accessible by the city train. There are also a lot of buses going from Helsinki to the other cities of the country (Tampere, Turku, Jyväskylä…).
Quality of life
Let the city slowly gain your trust: you’ll have no idea of what you can find out!
One of the finest Harbor cities in Scandinavia, Helsinki is the Capital of Finland and the biggest city in the country, with almost 600 000 inhabitants. The countless number of islands toward its coast diversifies the city’s urban pattern: a few examples? The isles of Suomenlinna, the Fortress Island, and Seurasaari and its open-air museum. It can be surprising how harsh winter and extreme day-night cycles do not affect the daily rhythm of the city: no matter what, people in Helsinki always keep going! Even if it’s advisable to learn the local language when moving to another country, in Helsinki all the services are offered in English, Finnish and Swedish: none is left behind. Let’s say that if you really love challenges, this language with 15 declinations could be the one for you! In addition to the most common Holidays, in Finland, you find the 6th December as the Independence Day, Vappu the 1st of May, and of course the Midsummer Day the 24th of June.
“Puhutko Suomea?” Here’s what most of people don’t know about Finland!
White and cold landscapes, sauna and, of course, the Santa’s reindeer. These could easily be the first images coming to mind when thinking about Finland. But, if you scratch the surface a little, you may discover the most unexpected! As an example, you may not know that gender equality standards are the highest in the continent (Finland is the first country in Europe that gave to women the right to vote), or that Finnish education system is considered one of the best in the EU (Business Insider). The deep relation developed by people with nature has also given birth to one of the most surprising habits of this country: swimming in the ice holes! How so? It’s pretty simple: after relaxing in your sauna, after a certain time you run out and dive into the iced water! Why? Because it seems to be quite healthy! Seeing is believing.
The heart of the city
Kamppi is in the city centre of Helsinki. You will find many shops, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, clubs but it is also where most of the buses depart from. In June, the restaurants install their terrace to enjoy the return of the sunny days. Most of Helsinki’s museums are also located in the area. It is a very dynamic spot in the city and many expats choose to settle there, however, the rent can be expensive.
Quiet but touristic area
Töölö is more touristic but also quiet. It is a nice area where you can walk around the south shore of Töölönlahti bay or go visit the Helsinki Olympic Stadium and admire the view over the city from the panorama tower. It is a residential area where mostly families live and the rent is higher than in other neighbourhoods. When going to Töölö don’t forget to stop at Regatta to enjoy a nice warm hot chocolate by the water!
For young professionals and students
Kallio is becoming the place to be! Very popular for students and young professionals. The rents are more affordable in this part of the city. It is one kilometer away from the city centre and easily accessible by tram. It is a lively and trendy neighbourhood with boutiques and cafés. The night scene in Kallio is also a figure of Helsinki!
Home of the university campuses
5 minutes away from Helsinki city center, Pasila is a business area but also the heart of student housing. It is the perfect location for students: close to the center and to the campus as many universities are located in Pasila. The neighbourhood is also full of interesting places: Linnanmäki amusement park, sports centers, parks, lake….
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