A VICTORIAN guest house in Bathurst has topped the list of the highest-selling residential properties in the Central West for 2018. Domain has collated a list of

What are good neighborhoods to live in in Helsinki, and why? I’m looking to live abroad and am not sure about what area to think about.

All neighborhoods in Helsinki are good neighborhoods. All places are safe, all places have good schools, you can find basic services close by wherever you live, and so on.

When it comes to quality of, it depends a lot on what kind of life you like to live. Here are a few questions for you to think about:

  • Do you want to have a lot of urban amenities at your finger tip?
  • Do you really want to drive everywhere or would you rather walk, bike, and use the public transit. I would suggest you try the non-car approach if you come from a car centric city. It can change your life. For the better.
  • How much do you want to be close to nature?
    • Do you want the sea or the forests? Or both?
  • Do you want to be where there’s a lot of people or few?

Urban amenities and downtown

Let’s start with the urban amenities. One reasonably good way of determining places with urban amenities is to look at the tram map. For historical reasons those two overlap a lot. You can find the current map below

You can divide the ‘downtown’ to the center peninsula and the western and eastern parts. The peninsula is really expensive and dense, except for the Eira/Ullanlinna areas in the south which have great parks. Downtown is the most costly place in the city to live.

Both the western and eastern extensions have nice urban amenities and differing combinations of nature/parks/public transit. So as an example, Töölö would be a great (and costly) place for a person looking for urban amenities, public transit, and sea (it also has the forest in the form of central park nearby).

On the eastern side Kallio is the former worker’s area and is nowadays really lively with all kinds of urban happenings.

Train and metro

Another possibility is to live either close to a train or metro station. These provide lower cost together with reasonably good public transit, nature, and amenities mostly in the form of shopping malls. A few examples:

  • Lauttasaari or Kulosaari, if you want to live by the sea with few other people and still just a couple of miles from the center. Both have or will soon have a metro station
  • Vuosaari provides access to the sea, a great forest, basic services for 30000 people, and a subway station
  • Leppävaara has a great shopping mall, various types of housing, 10+ minutes from downtown and close to the major IT-related office areas.
  • Myyrmäki is a 70s suburb with a train station and loads of interesting culture stuff going on. The apartments are much cheaper this side.

The metro extension to the west should be completed this fall. If you consider moving to western side of the city, then you should factor this in. It was supposed to be completed in August 2016, but has been delayed. If we’re lucky, it might start operating this fall.

Houses

There are many areas for houses, if that’s what you are looking for. Pirkkola, Pakila, and Tapiola areas are some that you might want to look at, if you’re looking for a house for a family. When choosing from these, look where you have your preferred combination of price, closeness to sea/forest, urban amenities (mostly shopping malls), and big roads (noise can be a problem).

Lastly, a few tools for your use:

  • Routeplanner (Reittiopas) is a great way to see what kind of public transit a location has.
  • HSL (Helsinki Regional Transit) has also a Matka-aikakartta tool for checking the overall quality of public transit in any given place. It’s in Finnish, unfortunately, but the maps speak for themselves. Write down an address and time of day and it gives you a map of how long it takes to get everywhere. (You can also compare public transit, car, and bike).
  • If you are planning to buy an apartment, the biggest online services are Etuovi (Real estate and homes for sale) and Oikotie (Myytävät asunnot).
  • If you are planning to rent an apartment, Vuokraovi.com is one of the places a lot of renters advertise in. There’s also a Facebook group and a site for searching for flatmates (Kimppakämppä.fi and KimppaKämppä.fi – Aloitussivu).

You can find the list of actual sales that happened recently per zip-code in the government maintained site (Asuntojen.hintatiedot.fi). A few things to know:

  • In Finland, we list the number of rooms – not bedrooms, so make sure you don’t get confused.
  • People usually look at the number of square meters and euros per m2 is a common point of price comparison.

Helsinki is a great city to come to whether you are coming alone or with a family. Our city is safe, fun, and has a lot to offer.

Here’s a picture of Töölönlahti, half a mile from our central railway station and the urban core of the city.

Photo by Lumijaguaari – Self-published work by Lumijaguaari, CC BY 2.5, File:Töölönlahtea.jpg – Wikimedia Commons