Chemical characterization of non-refractory submicron particles (NR-PM1) and source apportionment of organic aerosols (OA) were carried out at four different sites in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland, using an Aerodyne Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM). Two of the sites represented suburban residential areas, whereas the other two were traffic sites, one in a curbside in downtown and the other one in a suburban highway edge. The residential and the curbside measurements were conducted during the winter, but the highway campaign was carried out in the autumn. NR-PM1 were composed mainly of organics (40–68% in the different sites), followed by sulphate (11–34%), nitrate (12–16%), ammonium (7.8–8.5%) and chloride (0.24–1.3%). The mean concentrations of NR-PM1 were quite similar during the winter campaigns (10.1–12.5 µg/m3), but NR-PM1 was clearly lower during the autumn campaign at the highway site (6.0 µg/m3) due to the meteorology (favourable mixing conditions), small concentrations of long-range transported particles and non-intensive heating period locally and regionally. Using a multilinear engine algorithm (ME-2) and the custom software tool Source Finder (SoFI), the organic fraction was divided into two or three types of OA representing hydrocarbon-like organic aerosol (HOA), oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA), and in three sites, biomass burning organic aerosol (BBOA). At the downtown traffic site (Curbside), BBOA could not be found, probably because most of the local wood burning occurs in the suburban areas of the Helsinki region. OOA had the largest contribution to OA at all the sites (50–67%). The contribution of HOA was higher at the traffic sites (25–32%) than at the residential sites (15–18%). At the suburban residential and highway sites, the contribution of BBOA was high (25–30%). Especially during cold periods, very high BBOA contributions (~50%) were observed at the residential sites.