There are plenty of places in Helsinki to buy souvenirs and mementos of Finland beyond the usual tacky tourist traps. At these stores you can uncover food, Christmas decorations, local crafts and Scandinavian design. Here are some of the best stores in the city to seek out and find a diverse range of souvenirs and gifts.
The central department store next to the railway station stocks a huge variety of items, including a large souvenir section. This is one of the most affordable places in the city to buy reindeer skins, which make great decorations or warm blankets. At the butcher’s section you can pick up some canned specialty meats to take home, including reindeer, boar, bear and even moose.
Anyone with an interest in the Moomin series should definitely stop by one of these shops for a wide range of Moomin souvenirs such as figures, phone charms, books, stuffed animals and key rings. Helsinki has two such shops: one in the Helsinki-Vantaa airport and one in the central Forum shopping centre, both recognizable by the Moomintroll outside.
The home country of Santa Claus is the best place in the world to buy Christmas gifts and decorations that are more unique and traditional than those found elsewhere. You can find a year-round Christmas shop at Kankurin Tupa, the largest souvenir shop in the city, which also has stores in central Helsinki and at the airport. The Christmas shop is located in the basement of their main store and is the only one of its kind in Helsinki. Their ‘Finspiration’ range also includes wooden products, homeware, ceramics and Moomin items.
Finns are some of Europe’s largest consumers of sweets, so much so that a government initiative was launched to encourage parents to permit children to have a ‘candy day’ only on the weekends, to save their teeth. One of the best places in Helsinki to buy sweet souvenirs such as Finnish salmiakki is either of the two locations of Roobertin Herkku, a traditional sweet shop. The original owner founded the shop in 1963 and it was re-opened by her grandchildren in 2014. The shop’s interior really does give an impression of stepping back in time.
If you have been enchanted by the beautiful simplicity of Scandinavian design, head to the flagship store of Finland’s most popular fashion brand, Marimekko, at the Galleria Esplanad. There you can pick up clothes, homeware, fabrics and much more in the latest Marimekko designs. They are pricy, worth it for their quality and unique aesthetics.
When you’re looking for special handicrafts made by local artists, Artisaani is one of the best shops in Helsinki to begin. It sells jewellery, homeware, art prints, clothing and more, sourced from around 60 Finnish artists. It’s a great chance not only to find one of a kind gifts, but to support the local art scene.
One of the oldest and largest souvenir shops in Helsinki, Anne’s Shop, just outside the Rock Church, sells a large range of traditional crafts and souvenirs such as dolls, knitted clothing, crystal and Helsinki-branded homeware. There are also popular gifts such as wooden cups, Finnish knives, Moomin products and reindeer skins at competitive prices. The shop and its staff aim to give tourists the best impression of Finland and the Finnish people, making it a crucial stop for authentic Finnish gifts to add to your shelves.
Another popular shop for Scandi design, the Aarika company makes and sells bright and cosy nature-themed items made from natural, eco-friendly materials, including jewellery, figurines and home products. The majority of their products are handmade by Finnish artisans, giving them even more of an authentic touch. Buying from this shop not only allows you take home a pleasant gift but also provides employment to Finnish artists.
This store is run by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and sells nature-themed items such as stuffed animals, bags, clothing, towels and books. Many of their products feature Finland’s rarest animal, the Saimaaa ringed seal, in an effort to raise conservation awareness and funds. The cuddly toys of Finnish animal species are especially appealing gifts for children.
One of the best specialty shops in Helsinki for music lovers, particularly for fans of Finland’s heavy-metal scene, Music Hunter sells not only CDs and records, but also music paraphernalia and band merchandise such as rare posters, collectables, shirts and more.