Kuopio, the capital city of the Northern Savonia region of Eastern Finland, is known for its lake surroundings, natural forests, and simple local culture. This is exactly what makes it the perfect city in Finland to pick up souvenirs, like handmade crafts and local specialties. These are some of the best souvenirs you can buy in Kuopio, and where to find them.
VB Photographic Centre is a small but unusual museum which brings many rare and fascinating photo exhibits to the city. The best and cheapest way to remember these exhibits, and support the artists, is to pick up some postcards from the museum gift shop. If you’re lucky, there may even be some postcards left over from past exhibits.
VB Photographic Centre, Kuninkaankatu 14-16, 70100, Kuopio, Finland, +358 (0)44 744 6424
Taito Shop is a national chain that specializes in providing more opportunities and income for local artists and small craft businesses, and that includes the Kuopio shop near the main market square. Items found in the store include kitchenware, bags, jewelry, sweets, candles, tea, and a lot more. Entering Taito Shop is like exploring an Aladdin’s cave of local treasures.
Taito Shop, Haapaniemenkatu 28, 70110, Kuopio, Finland, +0440 162 277
This small boutique sells handmade jewelry, including wedding rings, with personal service, much of it made by the in-store artist. The store also does jewelry repair and fittings and also sells greetings cards, postcards, handicrafts, engravings, and glassware, among others.
Sininen Silta, Minna Canthin katu 27, 70110, Kuopio, Finland, +044 2885 190
Finland is well known for its colorful and durable glassware, and one of the best places to buy some in Kuopio is Heavenly Gifts, a small gift shop selling handmade and personally packaged glass, toiletries, candles, and a lot more. The colored transparent glasses are pretty enough to be used for a dinner party, but versatile enough for everyday use.
Heavenly Gifts, Myhkyrinkatu 5, Kuopio, Finland, +044 2310249
A puukot is a knife generally used for food preparation or preparing meat while hunting. They can also be collected for their aesthetics, particularly those with stylized carved wooden handles or even handles made from elk or reindeer antlers. They are frequently sold at market stalls in the main square or during specialist fairs, often in decorated leather or fur casings (remember to check customs regulations if taking a puukot abroad).
Torikuja is a small row of shops built from converted wooden stables, which is especially quaint during Christmas time and the perfect place to buy handmade Christmas gifts or decorations. The hand-crafted wreaths, made from local branches, leaves, and other natural items from the forests, are especially beautiful and unique, and buying from Torikuja helps to support local artisans.
One of the centers for Kuopio’s small but thriving Nepalese community sells beautifully ornate Nepalese and Indian fabrics and soft furnishings, most of which are imported and handmade. These will make any home look stunning, and are highly different than the fabrics typically found in Finnish shops.
Babadum Nepal Shop, Puijonkatu 15, 70100, Kuopio, Finland, +358 40 5803431
Kuopio-based metalwork artist Matti Mattsson has a studio in the heart of Kuopio which is open for visitors to watch him at work and buy or commission a special gift from his shop. The particularly unique angle of Mattsson’s pieces is that he uses donated recycled materials to craft his works.
Taidetalo, Minna Canthin katu 4, 70100, Kuopio, Finland, +358 50 5228 565
The Market Hall is always the best place in any Finnish city to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs, and Kuopio’s hall on the main square is no exception. Amid the crowded stalls, you will find many fishmongers selling locally caught fish, including canned, pickled fish, which is ideal for taking away as a souvenir to share with others. Vendace, perch, and salmon from Kuopio’s lakes are particularly good.
Lappituote sells handmade gifts from artisans in Lapland all over Finland, including reindeer antlers, jewelry, puukot knives, textiles, and items inspired by Lappish folklore and culture. The reindeer theme of many of these items makes them ideal Christmas decorations or gifts, and they can be found all year round at either of the two Kuopio stores.