Intersected by the bustling Mannerheimintie Street, Helsinki's city center boasts the train station, Esplanadi Park, plenty of cafes as well as most of the hotels featured in our guide.
Chances are you'll be spending most of your time around this area: From the Kiasma and Ateneum art museums to the famous Stockmann department store, most of the city's attractions lie within the area northwest of Helsinki's north harbor. The central Kamppi and Kluuvi districts provide the best options for relatively cheap eats. Head south for the posh Design District.
East of Helsinki's commercial district, you'll find the quiet, largely residential neighborhood of Katajanokka. In addition to houses and businesses, the area boasts the stunning Uspensky Cathedral and the docking points of ferries such as the Viking Line.
The few hotels in this area cater to a diverse crowd: Choose from the budget-friendly Eurohostel or the giant Scandic Gran Marina popular with business travelers.