Helsinki summer events – must see

Suvilahti Flow

It’s the first of June and Helsinki has experience extremely warm days in May – nothing like before! The weather has tuned us into summer mood and here’s the check list for Helsinki summer. Do not miss these opportunities to enjoy summer in Helsinki.

Mid-Summer and Helsinki is empty – 22.-24.6.
In couple of weeks all Finns tune into mid-summer. For majority it means packing to summer cottage and leaving Helsinki. However, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t enjoy the quiet city. Enjoy Seurasaari mid-summer festivities and read tips from past year celebrations.

Tuska – direct translation Pain – metal music festival that you don’t want to miss. 29.6.-1.7.18
Even if you didn’t have any favourites or hadn’t listened metal before, don’t worry, just get your blacks on and enjoy the genuine atmosphere. This middle of Helsinki event is real and must visit event. Read earlier post about Tuska ››

Flow Festival – 10.-12.8.2018 – Flow
Every summer we write about Flow. It’s just a must see event in Helsinki. Music, food, great atmosphere and real Helsinki experience in the city. Get your 3 days tickets asap as they are often sold out and tune into Flow.

More about summer events in Helsinki – have a look ››

Sunset Torni

 

Hobby-horsing – a versatile hobby

Hobby-horsing is a very popular hobby in Finland. I asked Nekku to write a post about this versatile hobby, competitions and the stable she runs in Lahti, Finland. Enjoy hobby-horsing with Nekku!
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Hi! I’m Nekku from hobbyhorse stable Tähtiseinä located in Lahti, Finland.

In our stable we do many things. One thing of hobby-horsing is doing hobby horses. There are many kind of hobby horses and if I would tell them all it would too long list, so here are few of them:

  • horses by felting
  • horses from fabric
  • real kind of them…
Nekku_hobby_horse

One of Nekku’s hobby-horses (Picture by Nekku)

Also many fancier do a stable for their horses and the stables are quite different. Some of them are in bedroom (like mine), some of them are in play cottage. Some are big (there can be over 50 horses) and some are small (there can be less than 4 horses).

There are many different things to do with them. I don’t put them here because I don’t know them all and there comes new things quite often, but find more information from my pages and from internet.

We have also many kind of competitions, but most popular are Finnish championship and this year (2018) they are 28.7.2018 at Seinäjoki arena. The tickets costs a bit. There are sales tables, competitions and much of fun! Come and look!

To start this hobby, you will need a hobby-horse or you can try to find a club. And then start to ride with it!

You will find more information and a place to contact me from kht-tahtiseina.simplesite.com. Come and have a look!

Fun time with hobbyhorses!

What to buy in Helsinki – list for 2018

So you have gone through the main souvenir shops, grabbed some Iittala, Marimekko and Fazer with you and wondering if there is anything else you should buy in Helsinki? Oh yes! Check LivinginHel’s 2018 curated list for shopping and enjoy some unique Finnish products.

Joutsen
Joutsen (swan in Finnish) is a well known brand for its high quality down products. They have soft and comfortable pillows, duvets and down coats. A good thing is that their products are also suitable for people with allergies (approved by the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation). You can find Joutsen products from many retailers and at Joutsen store just behind the National Museum. Joutsen ››

A strong recommendation: Don’t miss this throw. It’s perfect for travelling, light and so warm (unfortunately the webstore is only in Finnish but you get the idea!) ››

Museokatu 8, Monday-Friday 10–18, Saturday 10–15

joutsen duvet

Balmuir
Balmuir products sit well with Nordic idea of beauty and quality: plain designs, subtle colours, natural materials and fine quality. The products vary from fashion to cosmetics and home textiles. Grab a warm cashmere scarf or a linen towel from Balmuir’s selection before heading home. Balmuir ››
Pohjois-Esplanadi 25-27, Monday-Friday 11–19, Saturday 10–17

Stepan Sarpaneva watches
Sarpaneva watches are made in his workshop at Kaapelitehdas and the quality and design are high class. However, these watches are not available in every corner shop and the best way to get his unique watches around your wrist is to mail him or simply giving him a call. A great opportunity to visit his workshop as well! Sarpaneva watches ››

 


Makia
Makia store is located in Lasipalatsi. Just like the building, also its cloths are functional and made for Nordic weather. Makia has also labelled some of their products as pure waste products. They use recycled textiles that would otherwise go to waste and manufacture new fashionable clothes out of them. Makia ››
Mannerheimintie 22-24, Monday-Friday 11–19, Saturday 10–18

 

 

Woodnotes
The textile designer Ritva Puotila’s paper yarn products range from carpets and furniture to bags, pillows and containers. They are inspired by Finnish nature and raw materials – wood and paper. Woodnotes products have received several design awards and are known for their elegant design and quality. Woodnotes ››
Vepsäläinen – Annankatu 25,  Stockmann – Aleksanterinkatu 52 B,  Artek Keskuskatu 1 B

place mat_woodnotes

Minna Parikka
Minna Parikka’s shoes and accessories have a fresh approach in Finnish design scene.  Pop-stars and fashion bloggers wear her shoes and the bunny ears are recognisable all over the world. Minna Parikka Universum is a flag ship store in Helsinki city centre and has a wide range of Parikka products. Minna Parikka ››
‘Aleksanterinkatu 36, Monday-Friday  10–18, Saturday  10–15

Minna Parikka, November 2015 in Helsinki, Finland.

Finlayson
This 1820 established company is producing home textiles with beautiful designs. THere are some well known characters like Moomin in their textiles and the Tom of Finland collection is a tribute to the art of Touko Laaksonen. You can find kitchen, bathroom, home decor and bedroom items in Finlayson’s collections. Finlayson flag ship store is located in Helsinki city centre. Finlayson ››
Eteläesplanadi 14, Monday-Friday  10–18, Saturday  10–16

finlayson-finnish-design

Enjoy your shopping!

Direct flight to Helsinki from Singapore or Hong Kong

Finnair flies daily from Singapore and Hong Kong to Helsinki and it has become a convenient flight to get to Europe. These direct flights take 11,5 hours from Singapore to Helsinki and 10,5 hours from Hong Kong to Helsinki.

The flights offer a nice experience to Finland. The new A350s are comfy to travel and the night flight helps you to get to the new time zone. If you fancy the most pleasant travel option, book yourself to business class. You’ll have a full flat bed, a curated selection of wines and food and a wi-fi!

Finns are proud of their design heritage and the nice thing at Finnair flights is that Iittala products and Marimekko prints are part of the experience. For a homesick Finn – or any design enthusiast – it’s just nice to travel in pretty environment.

As a last tip. Check the ceiling of the plane and maybe you catch some virtual northern lights too.

 

 

What to do at Helsinki-Vantaa airport

Many people know Helsinki-Vantaa airport through their transferring flights to Europe. In case you are not planning to stay couple of days in Helsinki, there are some nice options to spend your transfer time also at the airport.

If you need some sleep, pop into one of the go sleep tubes at gate 31. Take your ear plugs and pillow with you. Tubes are free from 6am to 10pm. Other times you pay an hourly rate.

Helsinki-Vantaa airport is not too bad for a quick shopping either.

  • Moomin shop, get some Moomin stuff from terminal 2, around gates 26-27: Sun-Fri 5-23 and Sat 5-19.30
  • Book Swap, how nice is this! Finished the paperback over flight? Bring it here, recycle and choose another one for the connecting flight. Terminal 2, gate 31 – Kainuu lounge (open for everyone 24h)
  • Marimekko, get some famous prints to your home at terminal 2, gate 27, Sun-Fri 5-23 and Sat 5-19.30
  • Iittala store, Finns like their tableware and glass items. Grab some classics at terminal 2, gate 28, Sun-Fri 5-23 and Sat 5-19.30
  • Alepa, this small every day grocery shop can be accessed through the arrival hall. Check what to buy in grocery stores and grab some Finnish goodies with you. Terminal 2, arrivals hall 2B. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

And the last but not least – Sauna

Every Finnish home and apartment building has its own, so why not the airport.
Situated between gates 36 and 37. It’s a unisex sauna and everyone whears a towel. It’s free for business class customers and other customers pay 48 euros. You can pay at the lounge reception or book in advance through Finnair’s website.

helsinki_airport

Helsinki-Vantaa airport

sleep_at_helsinki_airport

Time to have a nap.

 

Helsinki_airport_sauna

Helsinki Airport sauna. Picture by Finavia.

Try these affordable lunch places in Helsinki

There are several lunch restaurants in Helsinki that main stream tourist guides don’t mention but we think these are essential part of our lunch culture and wanted to dedicate couple of posts for them. In the first post, I’ll go through some university restaurants in the city centre of Helsinki that are also open for general public.

Before introducing the lunch places, a bit of background on the tradition. Since 1943 Finnish students and pupils have had the right to free meals during school days. It consists of a warm main course, a side of vegetables, bread and a drink.

(Examples of Finnish school meals. Pictures by Elli.)

This tradition has gone from schools to working life and universities. Student meals are subsidised and many employers provide lunch benefits. Most often people will go out for lunch and enjoy a hot meal with affordable prices from 8 to 10 euros.

These self-service restaurants offer homefood (a direct translation of the Finnish word which means meals made at home) which include drink, main course, sallad, bread and sometime coffee or even dessert. These restaurants are mostly located in university buildings – feel free to go inside and look for the restaurant.

Student/University restaurants
These restaurants are open also for general public. There are differnt prices for students as  their meals are subsidised. The highest price on the menu is generally for everyone else and they vary from 6-10 euros.

Päärakennus
This restaurant is located in Helsinki University’s main building. It’s on the ground floor. Just turn right after entering the building.
Fabianinkatu 33
Mon-Thu 8.30am-5pm and lunch 10.30am-4pm. Fri 8.30am-4.30pm and lunch 10.30am-3.30pm

Porthania
Porthania’s restaurant is located in the University block and is convenient to visit while exploring the city centre.
Yliopistonkatu 3, elevator to 2nd floor
Mon-Thu: 8am-4.40pm, lunch 10.30am-4pm. Fri: 8am-4pm, lunch 10.30am-4pm

Hanken
Hanken’s restaurant is very popular among students. It can get crowded around lunch time but worth of trying if you are around.
Arkadiankatu 22
open Mon-Thu 8.00-16.30, Fri 8.00-16.00. Breakfast Mon-Fri 8.00-10.15 Lunch Mon-Fri 11.00-15.00

Chydenia
Chydenia’s restaurant is located in the basement and has quite nice atmosphere.
Runeberginkatu 22-24
Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Lunch 11am-1.30pm

Proffa
Runeberginkatu 14-16
Open Mon-Fri, Lunch 11am-1.30pm

Latin Market Metsätalo
Fabianinkatu 39
Mon-Thu 7.45am-4.30pm and lunch 10.30am-4pm. Fri 7.45am-3.30pm and lunch 10.30am-3pm

Helsinki Christmas bazaars 2016

Helsinki is full of Christmas bazaars from November to December. You’ll find unique hand-made gifts, souveniers, high quality design, traditional pastries and much more in these events. Here are cople of tips where to go for Christmas bazaar shopping in Helsinki.

Tuomaan markkinat
In 2015, the Huffington Post ranked Helsinki Christmas Market among the 15 European Christmas markets we love to love.
In the centre of Helsinki, Senate Square
3.-22.12.2016
Mon-Fri 11am-8pm
Sat and Sun 10am-7pm

Vanhan Joulutori at the historic Vanha ylioppilastalo
Finnish handicrafts by Finnish designers and artisans.
Mannerheimintie 3
17.-22.12.2016
Mon – Fri 11am-8pm
Sat and Sun 11am-6pm
Fri Dec 23rd 11am-6pm

Korjaamo
You’ll find more international flavours in this market. Australia, Italy and India are present together with Finnish products.
Kulttuuritehdas Korjaamo
Töölönkatu 51 a-b
26.-27.11. and 10.-11.12.2016 11am-5pm

Ornamo Design Christmas Market
A selection of high quality design and handicrafts by professional designers
Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1, Helsinki
2.-4.12.2016, Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat and Sun 10pm-6pm

Women’s Christmas Fair
You will find hand-knit and embroidered Christmas decorations, pottery, jewelry, candles, leather and wood products and much more.
Pikku Satamakatu 3-5
2.-6.12.2016
Fri 2.12. 11am-7pm
Sat-Mon 3.-5.12. 10am-6pm
Tue 6.12. 10am-5pm

 

tuomaan_markkinatTuomaan markkinat. Picture: Jussi Hellsten

Try these mulled wine places in Helsinki

When winter arrives in Helsinki, it’s time to spend some time in candle light enjoying mulled wind, or as we call it glögi, with your friends and family. The tradition of drinking this warm, alcholic drink comes from 1800s and is nowadays mainly enjoyed around Christmas time.

From November onwards you can find several bars and restaurants in helsinki that serve glögi in its various formats: alcoholic, non-alcoholic, with red or white wine or even with a dash of vodka or brandy. The spices makes it special and most often you’ll find cinnamon, ginger, cloves, bitter orange peel or star anis in it.

Glögi is served with almonds and raisins and you can choose to add or leave them out depending on your preference.

Try some of the following places around Espa for warm glögi and cozy winter atmosphere.

Kappeli
Eteläesplanadi 1

kappeli_650x225_etusivu_eng

Strindberg
Pohjoisesplanadi 33

strindberg_helsinki

Salutorget Bar
Pohjoisesplanadi 15
(picture borrowed from Salutorget’s website)
salu_baari2015

Read next:
Christmas markets – Tuomaan markkinat. This year 3.-22.12.2016
Christmas pastries – see the video on how to make traditional Christmas stars

Northern Lights in Helsinki

Can you see Northern lights in Helsinki and when should you travel to see the lights, are the most common questions from my foreign friends. Yes, you can see them also in Helsinki and other southern parts of Finland.

You should travel to see Northern lights when evenings get dark. Finland is famous of nightless nights summer so wait until autmun and winter for darker nights. According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, four nights out of five are illuminated by Northern lights in Northern Lapland (Kilipisjärvi-Utsjoki area). However, in order to see the lights the sky needs to be also cloudless. Further South you go, the probability of seeing Northern lights decreases. This doesn’t mean you wouldn’t been able to see them in Helsinki at all, there are just less evenings and nights to see them.

According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the best months to see Northern lights are from February to March and from September to October and the best time during the day is between 9pm and 1am local time. If you are in a city, try to find a spot that isn’t disturbed by city lights or reflections. In autumn and especially in winter the nights can be cold also in Helsinki so remember to wear warm cloths and shoes for Northern lights spotting.

So, if you came to Finland just to see the Northern lights then book a trip from Helsinki to Northern parts of Finland to ensure better probability to see the lights. If you are visiting only Helsinki, keep looking in the Northern sky in the evenings to get a glimpse of the colourful lights.

Check out also the Auroras Now service for Northern lights alerts.
And for clouds in Nordics, you can visit Finnish Meteorological Institue’s cloud satellite service.

You can try Observatory Hill (in Finnish Tähtitorninmäki or Tähtitorninvuoren puisto) for spotting the Northern Lights if you are in Helsinki. In case you don’t manage to see the lights at least you’ll visit one of the nicest parks in Helsinki. You can get there either through Tähtitorninkatu (tram number 10’s final stop and through Kasarmikatu to Tähtitorninkatu) or through Unioninkatu.

See also thee northern lights Sky Cameras

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 8.06.11 pm

Northern lights in Helsinki by Kimmo Niemelä

Northern lights in Helsinki by Kimmo Niemelä. Follow Kimmo and his beautiful pictures from Finland at Instagram ›› or contact for any queries: Kimmoniemelaphoto@gmail.com

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The hippiest cafe in Helsinki

 

Helsinki is full of beautiful cafes and restaurants and in the past years probably thanks to the Restaurant Day, it seems there are new places popping up every week.

However, there are also some classics that have been there for a long time like Bear Park Cafe which you can find in the hippiest part of Helsinki, Kallio. The summer cafe spreads to Karhupuisto and serves coffee and various delicacies like pulla (cinnamon buns) and ice creams from Helsingin jäätelötehdas.

Remember, this cafe area is wi-fi free so just enjoy the atmosphere without social media 😉

The Bear Park Cafe is located in a small kiosk called ’lippakioski’. There are still some 19 kiosks around Helsinki and they were designed around 1940s and 1950s. You can find similar kiosks also from Esplanade park in the centre of Helsinki. They were built close to the bus stations and they have had the same purpose since then: to serve refreshments to townspeople.

The Bear Park Cafe has also another small cafe on the same street called Kulmakahvio. This cozy cafe operates through out the year and is a very nice place to observe just Kallio and its colourful atmosphere.

How to get there:
Bear Park is located in Kallio
You can take tram numbers 1, 1A, 3B or 9 that stop directly in front of the park. Hakaniemi metro station is also a short walk from the park.
Kulmakahvila’s address is: Agricolankatu 13.