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Covered in the Article
- Christmas Markets in Finland
- Best Christmas Markets in Helsinki
- Other Christmas Activities in Helsinki
- Good to Know in Helsinki
- Weather in Helsinki in December
- Should I Visit Helsinki Christmas Markets?
- Bottom Line
Christmas Markets in Finland
Christmas markets in Europe are an old tradition. Germany is perhaps the number one place to enjoy Christmas markets with tasty mulled wine. Luckily, it is possible to experience a Christmas atmosphere in Finland too, but to be honest, the markets in Finland are not as large as in bigger capitals. Combined with other events, Finland is still an excellent option to enjoy Christmas time.
There are a few things good to know before stepping onto Christmas markets in Finland: The weather may be cold and the price level is more expensive than in many other European countries. Alcohol laws, like in every Nordic country, are strict so there are designated areas to enjoy alcoholic drinks. The markets themselves are free but buying souvenirs and eating costs.
Best Christmas Markets in Helsinki
Tuomaan Markkinat is often called as the main Christmas market in Helsinki and it is also one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Traditionally, it has been on the Senate's Square just in front of the iconic Helsinki Cathedral. In the year 2021, the event is located a few hundred metres away from Market Square. The location is still excellent for photographing since all the main sights are near. Helsinki Christmas Market is open from Nov 27 to Dec 22.
In this market, you will find local food and snacks from outdoor stalls. Finnish handicrafts and souvenirs can be bought. And naturally, you can taste Nordic version of mulled wine called Glögi. Glögi is a hot spicy alcoholic drink just like mulled wine. However, the taste is stronger.
Entering Tuomaan markkinat is free. The market is open between Mondays and Thursdays from 11 am to 7 pm and between Fridays and Sundays from 10 am to 8 pm. On 6th December, the market is open only from 11 am to 4 pm.
Helsinki Market Square is easy to find. After reaching the centre, just ask for advice from local people.
Christmas Market in the Student House
Vanhan joulutori is an inside Christmas Market. It is arranged inside the Old Student House and seeing the building itself is a good reason to visit the market. Entering the market is naturally free. The market is open between 15th and 22nd December from 11 am to 6 pm.
There will be two floors full of the best Finnish design products and handicrafts. While shopping, remember to have a coffee or a drink in Cafe Vanha.
The Old Student House is only a few minutes walk away from the central railway station.
Teurastamo Christmas Market
During the weekend from 19th and 20th December, there will be a Christmas Market at an old slaughterhouse, Teurastamo. The market is open from 10 am to 4 pm. More than 50 entrepreneurs are selling their unique design products including clothes, lamps and other Nordic designs. Good food and drinks can be bought.
Teurastamo is located in the Kalasatama area near the Helsinki Centre. It can easily be reached by metro (Kalasatama metro station) in 10 minutes. Travelling using buses 55 and 56 is also possible. The closest tram stop is Lautatarhankatu, which is used by tram lines 6, 7A, 7B and 8.
Teurastamo was founded already in 1933 but it was opened to the public in 2012. Nowadays, Teurastamo is a food & city culture hub open for everyone.
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Private Christmas Markets
Many schools and small organisations are arranging their own small Christmas markets. These are less commercial and money is often collected for school projects or similar things. Also, the biggest shopping malls have Christmas squares and streets.
The best way to find private Christmas markets is to use Google. Websites may not be in English so we recommend searching them with the keyword joulumyyjäiset.
Other Christmas Activities in Helsinki
Aleksanterinkatu is the Christmas Street of Helsinki. The street is meant only for pedestrians and trams so the atmosphere is relaxed. The Christmas street will be decorated with white lights. Luckily, the street is also heated so there will be no ice or snow.
Aleksanterinkatu Christmas Street is a nice place to have a slow walk, do some shopping and eat in cosy restaurants. Stockmann is a big department store whose windows will be decorated with a Christmas theme.
The Christmas Street opens on 27th November.
Ice Skating in Helsinki
If you have never skated before, you can try ice skating in multiple locations around the town. Check the locations of traditional and artificial skating rinks on Helsinki website. Even though the temperature may rise over 0 centigrade in December, artificial skating rinks will still stay open.
We recommend heading to Brahe sports field artificial ice rink in Kallio district. Skates, helmets and hockey sticks are available for rent there. Make your skating even more enjoyable by buying warm juice and hot chocolate.
There may ice skating rink, called Helsinki Ice Park, also next to the main railway station. It is still unclear if it will be open in the season 2021 - 2022.
Lucia Day's Parade
Every year a young maiden is chosen to represent Lucia on Dec 13th. The parade will start from Helsinki Cathedral and after a few kilometres, it will end most likely at the market square. Following the parade is naturally free.
Celebrating Saint Lucia is especially popular in Sweden.
Good to Know in Helsinki
There are a few minor things we would like to emphasize.
Alcohol in Finland is expensive. The alcohol laws are also strict and you are not allowed to take alcohol drinks out from the Christmas market's dedicated areas. If you are used to German markets, the rules in Finland may feel strict.
Helsinki is also an expensive city. Christmas related things are pricey. Concentrate more on the feeling than doing unnecessary shopping.
Remember to buy Glögi. Hot glögi is the best to be enjoyed outside when it's cold. The recommended way to buy a souvenir bottle of Glögi is to visit Government's alcohol store, Alko. Don't buy bad quality versions from supermarkets.
Where to Stay?
Majority of the travellers in the winter season stay only a few days in Helsinki. That is why it is advised to stay close to the city centre. We picked up our favourite hotels.
Sokos Hotel Vaakuna is a 4-star Finnish hotel above Sokos department store. The location is perfect and the hotel has a nice restaurant on the top.
Radisson Blu Aleksanteri Hotel is a 4-star hotel and well-located near the events. Radisson Blu chain is a safe choice if you are looking for the quality.
Glo Hotel Kluuvi is a 4-star modern and trendy hotel close to the Market Square. If you are looking for a short walk to the Christmas Market, this hotel is yours.
Hotel Kämp is maybe the best hotel in Helsinki. People who prefer 5-star accommodation, this hotel is the best choice.
See all hotels in Helsinki on Booking.com.
Weather in Helsinki in December
Helsinki is a coastal city and snow arrives usually late. It is more probable that there will be no snow in December yet. However, the weather is unpredictable. If you are lucky, the snow has already arrived in December. In some cases, it may also be cold but normally the temperature is around 0 degrees in December.
One thing is sure. The days are short and there is not much daylight. The sun rises at 9am and sets at 3pm. That does not mean that you will see the sun because it is usually cloudy and in every case, the sun will stay low on the horizon.
If you are looking for snowy Christmas markets, we advise you to fly to Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus. In Lapland, it is common to have much snow already in December. Seeing Northern Lights is possible there too.
Wishing to have a letter from Santa? Order one from Santa Letter Direct.
Should I Visit Helsinki Christmas Markets?
We would not say that you should come to Finland only to see Christmas markets. But we advise you to come to Finland to see the Finnish winter. Helsinki is a lively city and there are much to see in addition to Christmas markets. Even though, it is cold in December, you can always warm up yourself in a sauna.
Looking for tasty food in the Helsinki Centre? Finnish Offerilla is similar to Groupon that sells about 50 per cent discounted vouchers to many restaurants.
We recommend visiting Helsinki during Christmas time. Despite the weather, the atmosphere is warm. The sun sets early but events and Christmas lights keep the city still bright.
After Helsinki, continuing to Tallinn Christmas Market is a great choice. Christmas markets are cheaper and Tallinn has also a fascinating Old Town that you wont't find in Helsinki. We have also written a guide how to book a ferry to Tallinn.
Where is your favourite Christmas market? Comment below.