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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 most well-known country to host Christmas markets but surely, it is possible to experience the Christmas atmosphere in Finland, too. Christmas markets in Finland are not as large as in bigger European capitals but visitors can be enticed by a special Scandinavian atmosphere. Combined with a white winter, Finland is an excellent option to enjoy the Christmas time.
There are a few things good to remember when visiting Christmas markets in Finland: The weather in December is cold and the price level is more expensive than in many other European countries. Alcohol laws in Finland like in every Nordic country are strict. When visiting the Helsinki Christmas Market, beware that there are designated areas to enjoy mulled wine and other alcoholic drinks. Entering the Christmas market zones is free. The best thing is that the people are friendly and the atmosphere is magical and relaxing.
Best Christmas Markets in Helsinki
Helsinki Christmas Market - Tuomaan Markkinat
Helsinki Christmas Market (Tuomaan markkinat in Finnish) is regarded as the the main Christmas market in Helsinki and it is also one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. is the oldest outdoor Christmas market in Helsinki visited by 300,000 people every year. Traditionally, it has been at the Senate's Square just in front of the iconic Helsinki Cathedral. In 2021, there was an exception as it was held at the market square but we are happy to see that the traditional Christmas Market is returning to its original place, at Senate Square. The location is excellent for photographing since all the main sights of Helsinki are just nearby. Helsinki Christmas Market is open to the public from December 1 to December 22.
In this market, you will find outdoor stalls of delicious food and snacks and local handicrafts and souvenirs. The heart of the market is an old-time carousel and a fully-licensed food court that invites visitors to enjoy the flavours of Christmas. For example, you can taste the Nordic version of mulled wine called Glögi. Glögi is a hot spicy alcoholic drink just like mulled wine but the taste is stronger.
In addition to the stalls, the market offers many kinds of entertainment from choir singing to playing elves. Of course, there is a big Christmas tree which is a great background for holiday photos. The market is suitable for the whole family. In addition to a carousel ride, children can meet elves and cute animals not forgetting Santa Claus.
Entering Helsinki Christmas Market is free.
Christmas Market is only 15 minutes walk from the central railway station.
Christmas Market in Student House
Vanhan joulutori is an inside Christmas Market. It is arranged in Old Student House and seeing the building itself is a good reason to visit the market. Entering the market is free. The market is open between the 15th and 22nd of December.
There are two floors full of the best Finnish design products and handicrafts. While shopping, remember to have coffee or drinks in Cafe Vanha.
Old Student House is only a few minutes walk away from the Helsinki central railway station.
Teurastamo Christmas Market
During the weekend from 19th and 20th December, there is a Christmas Market at an old slaughterhouse, Teurastamo. The market is open from 10 am to 4 pm. Entrepreneurs sell 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. The Teurastamo Christmas market can also be reached by bus 55 or 56. If you intend to go by tram, the closest tram stop is Lautatarhankatu, from which you can take tram lines 6 or 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 to everyone.
Private Christmas Markets
Many schools and small organisations arrange 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 since 1949. The street is meant only for pedestrians and trams so the atmosphere is relaxed. The Christmas street will be decorated with white lights. 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 19th November. On this Saturday, the lights are turned on and there is a Christmas Parade through the city centre. The parade starts and ends at Aleksanterinkatu.
Ornamo Design Christmas
Ornamo Design Christmas is an annual sale event bringing together Finnish design as well as arts and crafts professionals. It offers the opportunity to purchase responsible Christmas gifts directly from designers. For example, you can buy top design and arts, fashion and jewellery.
In 2022, Design Christmas is arranged from the 25th to the 27th of November in the shopping mall REDI. The mall can be reached in 10 minutes from the Helsinki central railway station by metro.
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 is open in the season 2022 - 2023.
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 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 about local habits.
Alcohol in Finland is expensive. The laws are also strict. For example, alcoholic drinks bought from the Christmas market stalls can only be drunk at the Christmas market's specified areas for consuming alcoholic drinks. If you are used to German Christmas markets, the rules in Finland may feel more restrictive.
Helsinki is considered an expensive city and so, Christmas-related things may sound pricey too. Still, you can enjoy the Christmas feeling while visiting the city without spending much. You may opt to avoid unnecessary shopping if you're on a strict budget.
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 restaurant with a great view from the top.
Radisson Blu Aleksanteri Hotel is a 4-star hotel and well-located near these Christmas markets. Radisson Blu chain is a great choice place to stay if you are looking for quality.
Glo Hotel Kluuvi is a 4-star modern and trendy hotel close to Senate's Square. If you are looking for a place to stay just a short walk from the Helsinki Christmas Market, this hotel is your best choice.
Hotel Kämp is the best hotel in Helsinki. If you prefer supreme quality accommodation, this 5-star hotel in Helsinki is the choice.
How to Book a Hotel Room?
For succesful hotel bookings, follow our simple checklist:
- Compare hotels and their room prices on Booking.com.
- Think about the hotel's location. A good location costs more but you will save time and public transportation costs.
- Check the basic things about the room: size, bedding configuration, amenities and photos.
- Calculate the value of included meals. A complimentary breakfast is a good way to start a new day.
- Read previous customers' reviews. If the hotel has many bad reviews, skip it and choose a hotel with a better rating.
- Double check all the details CAREFULLY before paying the room.
- Pay the booking with a credit card to get extra protection.
Weather in Helsinki in December
Helsinki is a coastal city and snow arrives usually late. In December this year, there is a lot of snow and it becomes stormy at times. In short, the weather is unpredictable. Thanks to a lot of snow, a merry white Christmas atmosphere is felt in Helsinki this year. The temperature is around -9 degrees to 1C in December. Warm clothing and thick coverings are therefore a consideration when packing your things to protect yourself while outside.
One thing is sure. The days are short and there is not much daylight. The sun rises at 9 am and sets at 3 pm. 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 the northern lights is possible there too.
Should I Visit Helsinki Christmas Markets?
Christmas markets in Helsinki are not the only reason to visit Finland but we advise you to come to Finland to experience the Finnish winter. Helsinki is lively and there is much to see in addition to Christmas markets. Even though it is cold in December, you can always warm up yourself in a sauna or try local spas.
- Is there more than one Christmas Market in Helsinki?
- Yes. Tuomaan Markkinat is the biggest but there are a few smaller ones too.
- Where is Helsinki Christmas Market?
- The main Helsinki Christmas Market is at Senate Square in the Helsinki centre.
- What is the weather like in Helsinki in December?
- The temperature is around 0 centigrade, the sky is cloudy and there is not much daylight.
- Is Helsinki expensive?
- Yes, Helsinki is quite expensive but still the cheapest of Nordic countries.
- Is mulled wine served in Helsinki Christmas Market?
- You may find mulled wine but most likely, you will find the more spicy Finnish version called Glögi.
- Does public transport in Helsinki work well?
- Yes, the public transport network is well-working and affordable.
- How to travel to Helsinki?
- Take a flight to Helsinki or take a ferry from Stockholm or Tallinn straight to the Helsinki centre. Compare flight prices on Skyscanner.
We recommend visiting Helsinki during Christmas time. Despite the cold winter weather, the atmosphere is warm. The sun sets early but events and Christmas lights keep the city still bright.
After exploring Helsinki and if you have still time, we also recommend visiting Tallinn Christmas Market. Tallinn Christmas markets are cheaper and Tallinn has also its fascinating Old Town that you won't find in Helsinki. Our Tallinn ferry booking guide helps you to find the most suitable connection. After Tallinn, it is easy to continue by bus to Riga. There is another beautiful Baltic Christmas Market which makes your Christmas feeling even stronger.
Where is your favourite Christmas market? Comment below.