We listed the best Christmas markets in Helsinki. Read the article and know which markets you should visit in December 2023.
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 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 zone 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. It is the oldest outdoor Christmas market in Helsinki which attracts 300,000 visitors every year. Helsinki Christmas Market is located at Senate Square, Helsinki which is the main square of the Finnish capital. The location is excellent especially for first-time visitors since all the main sights of Helsinki are just near it. Helsinki Christmas Market is open to the public from December 1 to December 22, 2023.
During our last year's visit to the Helsinki Christmas Market, we had the pleasure of exploring numerous stalls featuring talented artisans, small local producers, and passionate restaurant owners. Yearly, the vendors at the Helsinki Christmas Market undergo a meticulous selection process to guarantee that the products meet specific criteria. These criteria include being domestically produced, of exceptional quality, responsibly made, and suitable for gifting, enjoying during Christmas festivities, or savouring on-site. We had the opportunity to indulge in delectable traditional Finnish food and drinks while also purchasing remarkable 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 makes a great background for holiday photos. The market is suitable for the whole family. Children can enjoy the antique Dutch carousel rides, meet elves and cute animals not forget the delight of Santa Claus.
Entering Helsinki Christmas Market is free.
Christmas Market is only a 15-minute walk from the Helsinki Central Railway station (Rautatientori).
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 and it is open December 15-22, 2023.
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 15th and 16th December, there is a Christmas Market at an old slaughterhouse, Teurastamo. Entrepreneurs sell their unique design products including clothes, lamps and other Nordic designs. Great food and drinks can be bought.
Teurastamo is located in the Kalasatama area near the Helsinki Centre. It can easily be reached by metro (from 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 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 their 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.
How to Book a Ferry Ticket?
For easier booking, follow our simple checklist:
- Compare prices on Ferryscanner.
- Choose the most suitable connection and travel class.
- Fill out the passenger (and vehicle) details.
- Decide if you need a Cancellation Protection.
- Double check all the details CAREFULLY before the payment.
Other Christmas Activities in Helsinki
Aleksanterinkatu has been 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 are nicely decorated with a Christmas theme.
The Christmas Street opens on 18th November. On this Saturday, the Christmas 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 2023, Design Christmas is arranged from the 9th to the 10th of December in Little Finlandia. It can be reached in 5 minutes from the Helsinki central railway station by foot.
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 2023 - 2024.
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 the Government's alcohol store, Alko. Though it is possible to buy cheaper but lower quality glögg 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.
Hobo Helsinki 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. Last year in December, there was a lot of snow and it became stormy at times. In short, the weather is unpredictable. If you are lucky, white snow will bring a merry Christmas atmosphere to Helsinki this year, too. The temperature is around -9 to 1 degree 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 Helsinki 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 the Helsinki Christmas Market?
- The main Helsinki Christmas Market is at Senate Square in the Helsinki Centre.
- When is the Helsinki Christmas Market?
- The main Christmas Market will held from the 1st to 22nd December.
- 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 among the Nordic countries.
- Is mulled wine served in the 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 reliable and affordable.
- How to travel to Helsinki?
- You can fly to Helsinki Airport 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. More importantly, there is a magical Christmas atmosphere which surely visiting families with children will cherish.
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.
If you have already visited the Baltics, heading to Stockholm by ferry is another good choice. Stockholm has two bigger Christmas Markets and many smaller Christmas events. It takes only an overnight on a ferry and you will be in Stockholm.
Where is your favourite Christmas market? Comment below.
About the Author
Ceasar, an immigrant in Finland, co-founded Finnoy Travel out of his passion for exploring new horizons. His content primarily centres around immigration, travel, and life in Finland. An avid road tripper, Ceasar also shares insider tips on car driving abroad.
When not embarking on adventures, he meticulously proofreads every article before it gets published on the Finnoy Travel site. His responsibilities also extend to managing the social media channels of Finnoy Travel.