Areas and suburbs in Helsinki

An expat’s budget will be the biggest factor determining where they live in Helsinki. Other things to consider include proximity to work and international schools, availability of amenities, the demographic make-up of the local community and personal lifestyle choices.

These are some of the city’s most popular expat neighbourhoods.

Recommended neighbourhoods in Helsinki


Built in the first half of the 20th century in response to a major housing crisis. Töölö is an excellent example of Nordic Classicism and is home to a wide array of trendy boutiques and cafés. Set against Töölö Bay, this is a beautiful area to live in. It’s a vibrant area where residents can buy fresh produce from the small local market square. Excellent transport links make getting around the rest of Helsinki really easy. 


This once-rundown Helsinki neighbourhood used to house many of the city’s lower-income residents. Today, it is one of the most densely populated urban areas in Finland, making it the epicentre of city culture in Helsinki and the birthplace of many global trends. Kallio is also a laid-back residential area which is popular with bohemian artists, young creatives, professionals and expats alike.

It’s home to an eclectic range of art galleries and boutique shops, and those who enjoy eating out will find a host of good restaurants in the area, with a number specialising in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Rental prices in Kallio are typically low, but have recently been climbing as a result of the area’s growing popularity. Expats should note that, owing to its original purpose as working-class housing, apartments can often be quite small.


Located in eastern Helsinki, just a few kilometres from the city centre, Itäkeskus offers functional and affordable apartment accommodation. The highlight of the area is the Itis shopping centre, one of the largest shopping centres in the Nordic region.

Itäkeskus is served by efficient public transport and road links which make it easy to get to other parts of the city. 


Not far from the city centre lies the ecological heart of Helsinki. Viikki is home to some of the finest parks and natural areas in Helsinki, including the Vanhankaupunginlahti nature reserve.

Helsinki’s university is also located here and is a hive of activity, providing a large number of jobs for residents. There are also several good schools in the area, making it a great neighbourhood in which to raise a family.


Although this leafy suburb may be a bit too far from the city centre for some, it’s a quiet and peaceful area. Families may find this to be an ideal area due to the close proximity of a well-reputed international school. There are also bus links into the city. 

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