The Best Independent Bookstores in Helsinki

Shelves at an independent bookstore |© Pixabay
Shelves at an independent bookstore |© Pixabay
Photo of Jessica Wood
5 June 2017

The cultural and intellectual hub of Finland holds many chain bookstores and libraries where readers can easily spend hours with a good book, but the independent bookstores hold the real charm for book lovers. There are many such stores in the city where you can find literature in Finnish, English, and other languages, plus rare and antique books, academic texts, or just a comfortable atmosphere to spend time in.

Senaatintorin Antikvariaatti

Just off of the senate square in the historic central district of Helsinki is Senaatintorin Antikvariaatti, a small and cozy secondhand bookstore with a golden façade, containing books in multiple languages, as well as antiques and records. It is an ideal shop to not only to pick up new, inexpensive books, but to sell old ones, or just spend time relaxing and browsing the shelves. Musicians also perform regularly at the shop and there are regular events, talks, and poetry readings.

Website and Phone Number:

Courtesy of Senaatintorin Antikvariaatti


Arkadia is a modern, yet classy bookstore which looks more like a living room and has a relaxed, fun atmosphere and friendly booksellers who engage with their customers. Arkadia also sells secondhand books in a variety of languages and subjects, including children’s books, and is the type of store which book lovers will want to spend a lot of time in. The site even includes a chapel, pool table, chess boards, and store pet boa. There is a long schedule of events and concerts, which make use of the store piano. Putting all this together, Arkadia is a heaven for bookworms and an ideal place for them to get their reading fix and feel at home.

Website and Phone Number:

Courtesy of Arkadia

Antikvariaatti Sofia

Antikvariaatti Sofia is a central, family owned, secondhand bookstore buying and selling books in many languages, all in a beautiful old building which is typical of central Helsinki architecture. It is a particularly good shop to find rare or obscure books that have been handed in by sellers. Keep an eye on the store’s webpage and social media to see the new arrivals and grab them first. The shelves full of old books are a must for any book lover, even if you don’t understand Finnish and just like old books and illustrations. In addition, there are regular events, handmade notebooks, free wi-fi, free tea and coffee, and art exhibitions for local artists.

Website and Phone Number:

Courtesy of Antikvariaatti Sofia

Mustan Kanin Kolo

This store’s name translates to “The Brown Bunny’s Burrow.” Despite its rather cutesy name, this antique bookstore is also a volunteer-run anarchist information shop. While the store’s range of literature is vast, their specialty is anarchist and political writing as well as working class literature, comics, and speculative fiction. However, it still retains a warm and friendly atmosphere for casual browsing or finding general literature. It is definitely a stop for those who like unusual bookstores or are looking for some different reading material.

Website and Phone Number:

Courtesy of Musta Kalin Kolo

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