A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Helsinki vs. Istanbul for Attractions, Food, Backpackers, and Nightlife

Should you visit Helsinki or Istanbul?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Helsinki and Istanbul can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Helsinki

Helsinki is a active, nature-focused, and coastal city. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for nightlife, food, and shopping.

Istanbul

Istanbul is a diverse, beautiful, and historic city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Helsinki and Istanbul: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty


How is Helsinki different from Istanbul?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Istanbul and Helsinki. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Helsinki
Istanbul

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Helsinki and Istanbul.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Helsinki. Many of the city's sights and attractions center around nature and the water. Major hightlights of the city include the Fortress of Sveaborg, Seurasaari open-Air Museum, and Temppeliaukio Rock Church. The city is also home to The National Museum of Finland.

You'll find many recognizable landmarks that put Istanbul on the map. With such a long and diverse religious and political history, it has many museums, mosques, churches, and archeological sites that you can visit. Some of the most famous sights include the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Sarayi, and the Blue Mosque.


Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Food?

Helsinki
Istanbul

For a nice culinary experience, head to Istanbul, which is well known for it's local dishes and restaurants.

Many restaurants in Istanbul have been singled out for their culinary prowess. From Turkish classics to sweet desserts the city has it all. Popular dishes include Turkish style pizza, kebabs, and doner, which you'll find everywhere for affordable prices.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Helsinki area. Food in town is all about local flavors and simple ingredients. The dishes let the flavor speak for itself without fancy cooking techniques or complex flavor combinations. Many of the restaurants are locally sourced with traditional ingredients. You'll find a lot of seafood, herring, grilled sausages, pancakes, and desserts.

Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Nightlife?

Helsinki
Istanbul

The nightlife scene is relatively similar in Helsinki and Istanbul.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Helsinki. The nightlife scene is at its best on weekends when the city center comes to life with parties, dance clubs, and student activities. Many of the best clubs and bars are concentrated in the city center. Weekends are a bit calmer and things quiet down a lot.

Istanbul is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. Dancing, dining, and partying have all become part of Istanbul's culture. Top nightclubs in the city include Reina, Sortie, and Supperclub.

Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Shopping?

Helsinki
Istanbul

Shoppers can find a variety of stores in both Helsinki and Istanbul.

Helsinki is well-known for its shopping. The city is great for shopping, with many brands focused on sustainability. There are local boutiques as well as name brands. Flea markets and vintage shops are also popular.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Istanbul. It is the capital of culture and fashion in Turkey, and there are many shopping areas that carry all kinds of brands. For a more traditional, but touristy experience head to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market. For modern brands, Istiklal Caddesi is the most popular area for shopping.

Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Families?

Helsinki
Istanbul

Both Helsinki and Istanbul are fun to visit with kids.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Helsinki is very family-friendly. The coastal setting offers many activities that kids and adults alike will enjoy. This capital city has a calm atmosphere with plenty of parkland to explore. The shoreline is dotted by islands where you'll also find a zoo and a fort. Kids will also enjoy exploring the islands by boat.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Istanbul. The city has several kid-friendly museums, a couple of aquariums, and fun theme parks.


Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Couples?

Helsinki
Istanbul

Both Helsinki and Istanbul are good destinations for a couple's getaway.

Helsinki makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The city's many parks offer the perfect setting for a picnic or a walk. There are also botanical gardens, evening boat rides, and saunas that will help you enjoy a romantic trip away.

Couples visit Istanbul frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples who enjoy history, culture, and vibrant neighborhoods will enjoy a romantic stay here.

Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Helsinki
Istanbul

Istanbul is a more popular city for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Istanbul is extremely popular for backpackers. There are plenty of hostels and budget accommodation options, and there's also plenty of ways to meet other travelers. You'll find plenty of hostels concentrated in the Sultanahmet area.

Helsinki is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. With its active nightlife scene, vibrant atmosphere, and inclusive personality, this city is a fun place for backpackers, but you should expect to pay a premium for the experience. Many backpackers avoid the city because they have heard how expensive it is. There are a few hostels around that will help you keep costs a bit more manageable.

Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Students?

Helsinki
Istanbul

Both Helsinki and Istanbul are popular destinations for students.

Students come from all over to stay in Helsinki. The city has an active student life with plenty of culture and nature. It's active nightlife scene and beautiful natural areas make it a wonderful place to study.

Many students visit Istanbul. Students appreciate the city's vibrant neighborhoods, constant activity, and diverse population.

Is Helsinki or Istanbul Better for Public Transit?

Helsinki
Istanbul

Visitors will find public transit in both Helsinki and Istanbul.

The public transit in Helsinki can get you around easily. Transit options include bus, tram, metro, commuter train and ferry services.

Visitors in Istanbul can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. It has a comprehensive and diverse public transit system that includes buses, trams, minibuses, ferries, funicular, and more.


Is Helsinki or Istanbul a more walkable city?

Helsinki
Istanbul

Helsinki and Istanbul are similar when it comes to walkability.

Helsinki is a somewhat walkable place. Many neighborhoods are easy to explore on foot. The air is also clean and the setting is refreshing.

Istanbul is a very walkable destination. Although it is huge, most of the neighborhoods that tourists visit are incredibly walkable and pedestrian-friendly.

Should I spend more time in Istanbul or Helsinki?

How long in Helsinki or Istanbul?

Both Helsinki and Istanbul have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Istanbul than Helsinki.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Helsinki is 2-4 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Istanbul is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Helsinki or Istanbul? Ideal Length of Stay
    Helsinki 2-4 
    Istanbul 3-7

One day in Helsinki or Istanbul?

The beautiful city of Helsinki offers food and shopping. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Istanbul is a big city with plenty to do. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Helsinki or Istanbul?

Helsinki is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Helsinki, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Istanbul is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Helsinki or Istanbul?

Helsinki is a popular choice for travelers. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Istanbul is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Istanbul, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


A week in Helsinki or Istanbul?

Helsinki is a great place to explore. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Istanbul is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Istanbul has to offer. This city offers something for everyone.

Which city is cheaper, Istanbul or Helsinki?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Helsinki is €112, while the average daily cost in Istanbul is €39. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Helsinki and Istanbul in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Helsinki 59
    Istanbul 24
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Helsinki 118
    Istanbul 48
Compare Hotels in Helsinki and Istanbul

Looking for a hotel in Helsinki or Istanbul? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Helsinki


Hotels in Istanbul


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Helsinki Hotel Prices and Istanbul Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Helsinki 18
    Istanbul 2.30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Helsinki

Also for Helsinki, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Ultra - Helsinki Private Transfer from City Centre to Helsinki Cruise Port: $8.71
  • Ultra - Helsinki Private Transfer from Helsinki Cruise Port to City Centre: $8.71
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Helsinki to Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL): $33
  • Private Departure Transfer from Helsinki City Center to Helsinki Airport (HEL): $34
  • From Tallinn: Return Day Trip Ferry Transfer to Helsinki: $36
  • Private Departure Transfer from Helsinki City to Helsinki Vantaa Airport: $40
  • Airport transfer in Helsinki: $50
  • Best Transfer Helsinki: $50
  • VIP Transfer Helsinki Airport: $53
  • VIP car Airport Transfer Helsinki: $56
  • Private Chauffeur Transfer Helsinki: $56
  • Arrival Private Transfer Business Car Helsinki Port to Helsinki City: $62

Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Ferry
    0.14
  • Local Bus
    0.15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • ─░stanbul Private Airport Transfer: $19
  • ─░stanbul Airport Transfer: $45
  • istanbul airport transfer-sabiha gokcen airport transfer-vip transfer: $28
  • istanbul airport cheapest vip transfer by private car: $14
  • istanbul airport & sabiha gokcen airport transfer by private car: $30
  • VIP Transfer Services for Airports, Hotels or Other Location: $80
  • VIP Airport Transfer and Shuttle: $62
  • VIP Airport Transfer: $56
  • Turkish Bath in Istanbul with transfer: $199
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Istanbul Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $57
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Istanbul Old City to Istanbul Airport: $51
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Istanbul Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $61

Is it cheaper to fly into Helsinki or Istanbul?

Prices for flights to both Istanbul and Helsinki change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Helsinki 27
    Istanbul 9.88

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Helsinki

For Helsinki, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Helsinki Food Tour Including Tastings: $137

Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    0.10
  • Turkish Delight
    0.03
  • Dessert
    0.42
  • Pastries
    0.07

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Istanbul.

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus: $38
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony: $40

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Helsinki 22
    Istanbul 14

Tours and Activities in Helsinki

For Helsinki, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Skip the Line: Flying Cinema Tour Of Helsinki Experience, single ticket: $15
  • Skip the Line: SEA LIFE Helsinki Entrance Ticket: $19
  • Helsinki Self-Guided Audio Tour: $20
  • Sea Life Entrance Tickets: $22
  • Highlights & Hidden Gems Self-Guided Walking Tour: $25
  • Sightseeing Boat Tour in Archipelago of Helsinki: $27
  • City Highlights 1.5-Hour Archipelago Cruise: $28
  • 90-minute Helsinki Boat Sightseeing on Beautiful Canal Route: $28
  • Helsinki Archipelago: Sightseeing Boat Tour: $28
  • Private Tour with a Local Guide: $33
  • Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour Valid for 24 Hours: $34
  • City Sightseeing Helsinki Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $37

Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    0.98
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    0.98
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    0.49
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    1.47

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • 1 Day - Istanbul Tour: $315
  • 1 Day Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour From Istanbul: $300
  • 1 Day Istanbul & Ephesus Tour By Plane - YK230: $419
  • 1 Day Regular Cappadocia Tour by Plane - YK0011: $384
  • 1 Day Tour - Sapanca: $300
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Tour from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $496
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Travel from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $509
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $513
  • 1 Night 1 Day Trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $490
  • 1 Night 2 Days Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $521
  • 1 Night 2 Days Ephesus, Kusadasi, Hierapolis & Pamukkale Tour from/to Istanbul: $372
  • 1 Night Cappadocia Trip with Hot Air Balloon Tour: $525

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Helsinki 13
    Istanbul 3.52

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Helsinki and Istanbul, we can see that Helsinki is more expensive. And not only is Istanbul much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Istanbul would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Istanbul and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Helsinki would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Helsinki than you might in Istanbul.


When is the best time to visit Helsinki or Istanbul?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Helsinki or Istanbul in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Helsinki as well as Istanbul. Most visitors come to Helsinki for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Istanbul because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Helsinki is generally cooler than Istanbul. Temperatures in Helsinki average around 17°C (62°F), and Istanbul stays around 24°C (74°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Istanbul. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Helsinki this time of the year. In the summer, Helsinki often gets less sunshine than Istanbul. Helsinki gets 275 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Istanbul receives 333 hours of full sun.

Helsinki usually gets more rain in July than Istanbul. Helsinki gets 58 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Helsinki 17°C (62°F) 
    Istanbul 24°C (74°F)

Should I visit Helsinki or Istanbul in the Autumn?

Both Istanbul and Helsinki are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The autumn months attract visitors to Helsinki because of the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Istanbul this time of year.

Helsinki is much colder than Istanbul in the autumn. The temperature in Helsinki is usually 6°C (42°F) in October, and Istanbul stays around 16°C (61°F).

Helsinki usually receives less sunshine than Istanbul during autumn. Helsinki gets 90 hours of sunny skies, while Istanbul receives 169 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Helsinki usually receives around the same amount of rain as Istanbul. Helsinki gets 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Helsinki 6°C (42°F) 
    Istanbul 16°C (61°F)

Should I visit Helsinki or Istanbul in the Winter?

Both Istanbul and Helsinki during the winter are popular places to visit. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Helsinki this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Istanbul for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

It's quite cold in Helsinki in the winter. In the winter, Helsinki is much colder than Istanbul. Typically, the winter temperatures in Helsinki in January are around -6°C (21°F), and Istanbul is about 6°C (43°F).

In the winter, Helsinki often gets less sunshine than Istanbul. Helsinki gets 39 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Istanbul receives 75 hours of full sun.

Helsinki usually gets less rain in January than Istanbul. Helsinki gets 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 99 mm (3.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Helsinki -6°C (21°F) 
    Istanbul 6°C (43°F)

Should I visit Helsinki or Istanbul in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Helsinki and Istanbul. Many travelers come to Helsinki for the natural beauty. Furthermore, many visitors come to Istanbul in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Helsinki. In April, Helsinki is generally much colder than Istanbul. Temperatures in Helsinki average around 3°C (37°F), and Istanbul stays around 13°C (55°F).

Helsinki usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Istanbul during spring. Helsinki gets 183 hours of sunny skies, while Istanbul receives 180 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Helsinki usually receives less rain than Istanbul. Helsinki gets 41 mm (1.6 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Helsinki 3°C (37°F) 
    Istanbul 13°C (55°F)

Typical Weather for Istanbul and Helsinki

Helsinki Istanbul
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -6°C (21°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 6°C (43°F) 99 mm (3.9 in)
Feb -7°C (20°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 6°C (44°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Mar -3°C (27°F) 34 mm (1.4 in) 8°C (47°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Apr 3°C (37°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
May 9°C (49°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 17°C (63°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Jun 15°C (59°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 21°C (71°F) 21 mm (0.8 in)
Jul 17°C (62°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 24°C (74°F) 19 mm (0.7 in)
Aug 16°C (60°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 24°C (74°F) 26 mm (1 in)
Sep 11°C (51°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 20°C (69°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 6°C (42°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 16°C (61°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 1°C (33°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 12°C (54°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Dec -4°C (26°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 9°C (47°F) 122 mm (4.8 in)


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Helsinki vs. Istanbul Travel Comparison

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