The streets of Helsinki beguile with the scent of mulled wine and sparkling Christmas decorations; it is Christmas season! Let us dive in and discover the main Christmas markets of Helsinki.
In reality, there are tons of markets held in the Finnish capital, but most of them are held for a short time, like a day, a weekend, or a specific week. You can find up-to-date information online since the list changes yearly. But if you found yourself in Helsinki city center in December, strolling the streets and looking for magic, there are few markets you can always visit.
Let us start with the oldest local Christmas Market; it is held right on the Senate Square. The small and cozy, atmospheric, and peaceful, Helsinki Christmas Market is waiting for guests. You can find local handicrafts and buy Christmas goods. As usual, there is a hot mulled wine on every corner. By the way, due to alcohol restrictions, you can find an alcoholic version of mulled wine only in specific places, which have permission to sell alcohol. So look for a bar or a restaurant inside the Christmas market to taste the real "glögi." My favorite things about Helsinki Christmas Market are the old carousel and the view from the stairs of Tuomiokirkko Church. I love to come here for the loveliest atmosphere and a great view. If you are visiting with kids, check the Market schedule, since there is a full program for the season. Expect many choirs singing Christmas songs, karaoke, and gingerbread decoration. The Market is so atmospheric that even Santa can not miss it, so keep all your Christmas wishes in mind.
The second lovely market, just a short walk from Senate Square, is "Manta's Market." Remember the gorgeous woman in the middle of the fountain on Market Square? Well, traditionally, the Market turns into a cozy Christmas corner. It is like the smaller and more private version of a previous market, so I usually come here to escape the crowds. There are also some food stalls around. Remember to try a rice porridge we eat for Christmas or a traditional creamy salmon soup.
There is one more place that traditionally opens its doors for the Christmas season, the Old Student House. This is the best place to buy your gifts. The whole market is a gathering of local designers and artisans, and you can get the best handicraft here right from the hands of an artist. Out of all markets, my longest stroll is always through this enchanting place; every piece of craft is so unique and interesting. Well, I will not lie, being held in a warm building also plays a role. Handicraft is highly appreciated in Nordic countries, so the prices might be high, but you can also find something cute for a smaller budget. Here you can get everything that can be handmade: makeup and jewelry, chandeliers and toys, bags, and clothes. I even found a woman who was selling spells! Honestly, this place is my favorite of all and is not to be missed. It usually opens for the second part of December.
So, while wandering through the streets of Helsinki somewhere in December, do not forget to visit the Senate Square for the atmospheric and cozy Christmas Market. When you get tired of people, just take a short walk to the Manta's Market. From there, you can stroll through a decorated Esplanade to the Old Student House to buy your Christmas presents. Your gift wraps will be filled with true Finnish handmade design! And of course, you might meet Santa somewhere between.
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