It’s a dream come true to go Christmas shopping at an authentic Christmas Market in Finland, the home of Santa Claus and one of the most beautiful countries in the world during the winter. Practically every town and city in Finland holds a Christmas market, and each is a lovely place for taking in the yuletide ambiance. These are some of the top markets throughout Finland for finding the best Christmas gifts.
St. Thomas Christmas Market
One of Finland’s oldest and largest holiday markets, St. Thomas Christmas Market is held in Helsinki’s Senate Square and features 120 merchants in traditional wooden huts, selling mostly handmade Finnish gifts and crafts. In addition, there are performers, a children’s fair ground, and visits from Santa. Its popularity can cause large crowds, so it’s best to visit this market on a weekday, if you can, and warm up with a hot drink in one of the local cafés.
Tampere Christmas Market
This is another of Finland’s oldest markets with a German theme that collaborates with Tampere’s twin city of Essien in Germany. As well as traditional crafts and foods, there are live performances, glass blowing, and demonstrations by the blacksmith. Tampere is only two hours away from Helsinki by train, so it’s worth the journey for immersion in this traditional Christmas fair.
Technically not a market, the city of Rovaniemi in Lapland contains the Santa Claus Village, which essentially serves as a year-long Christmas market. The winter may be harsh in Lapland, but it creates the classic Christmas image we all know is a truly magical atmosphere for Christmas shopping. In addition, the village offers visits to Santa and rides in an authentic reindeer sleigh.
Turku Christmas Market
Turku is often considered the “Christmas town” of Finland, as the Declaration of Christmas Peace has been held in the city annually since the 13th century. The market in the old town district is one of the most visually appealing in the country and sells crafts and food alongside street performances and Santa Claus’ hut.
Suomenlinna Christmas Event
The island fortress just off the coast of Helsinki holds this annual Christmas event, which includes a market. The event begins with a cannon salute and then visitors can walk around the market stalls alongside the fortress sites and museums. It is also a good event for children, with the Fortress Gnome trail and quiz, concerts by local school children, and craft workshops.
Porvoo Old Town Christmas Market
Porvoo is considered one of Finland’s most beautiful historic towns, so it is a fitting location for a traditional Christmas market in its Old Town area. There are a lot of artists living in Porvoo who sell their works at the market, so it is also a chance to support some local artists. You can also enjoy the winter landscape on kick sleds or skiing on the iced-over river.
Olavinlinna Christmas Market
This beautiful medieval castle holds a Christmas market on its grounds every year. Fitting with its location, this market has a medieval theme but still has Santa visiting on a reindeer-driven sleigh. Gifts are sold within the castle and warm drinks and snacks are served in the courtyard.
Dog-Friendly Christmas Bazaar
For those who like to spoil their dog at Christmas time, this market in the Pasila district in Helsinki is perfect. Dogs are welcome to visit the market, which sells many dog supplies, treats, and gifts. Profits also go towards helping homeless dogs in Spain.
Lohja Christmas market
This town near Helsinki holds a medieval Christmas market for one weekend in December near its gothic style church. There are a whopping 230 stalls selling crafts, farm produce, Christmas food, and drinks, as well as craft demonstrations.
Artisan’s Christmas Market
Jyväskylä’s Craft Museum hosts the Artisan’s Christmas Market every December to allow dozens of local arts and crafts professionals to sell their wares. This includes handmade jewelry, wooden crafts, textiles, and metal products. In addition, there is a Christmas café, free entry to the museum, and performances by local singers.
Taitokortteli Christmas village
Joensuu’s Artisan Quarter transforms into a miniature Christmas village every December during the Advent weekends, selling traditional local Karelian crafts and food. A particularly strong draw is the Karelian pastries, which are served with Christmas dinner in the region. There is also a small exhibition space displaying micro-exhibits by local museums and artists.