Helsinki, Finland’s capital, is the best city for showcasing Finnish culture; from traditional handicrafts to classic Finnish recipes. In Helsinki, there are a number of markets which sell food, artwork, and vintage furniture, and help to support local merchants and artists. Here is our guide to some of the best markets in the Finnish capital for trying Finnish delicacies or uncovering hidden gems.
The central Market Square is also known as Kauppatori in Finnish. It is Helsinki’s international, and its most famous market, located near the city centre, a very accessible location for tourists where many cruise ships dock. The shops sell traditional Finnish treats as well as souvenirs, and you can enjoy music talents performing in the Market Square using instruments like the hydrophone and classical guitar. There are a number of cafés offering lihapiirakka, or Finnish meat pastries, as well as regional favourites such as Karelian pastries from Eastern Finland or lingonberry jam from Lapland. The Market Square also has a long tradition which involves displaying old American cars on the first Friday of every month.
Situated in Eteläranta and next to the Market Square, the Old Market Hall houses a variety of local and international delicacies that will stimulate your taste buds. Established in 1889, Helsinki’s oldest food hall gives a nostalgic vibe with its Scandinavian architectural style. There are 25 merchants in the food hall, with many of them running family businesses, and reflecting modern Finnish society with both Finnish and international merchants. The oldest stall in the hall, the Hongiston leipämyymälä bakery, has been operating there since 1903. Each merchant is dedicated to preparing food for you using top notch local ingredients like cheese, fish, shellfish and reindeer meat prepared using the most traditional Finnish culinary techniques.
If you want to experience the unique feel of Helsinki, visiting Hietalahti Flea Market gives a perfect sense of the area, as it is one of Helsinki’s most popular marketplaces in the summertime. Located near the stylish Design District and the trendy area of Kamppi, you can appreciate local artworks including handicrafts, jewellery, and ceramics.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm; Sat & Sun 10am-4pm
This Sunday flea market is situated in Hakaniemi Square and is home to over 200 vendors. Founded by two young entrepreneurs, Päivyt Toivonen and Orvokki Hyytinen, their vision was to make the market a place for artists, locals, and tourists to meet. After so much walking around, you may choose to take a break in the cafés which offer traditional Finnish outdoor market snacks like salmon soup and salted liquorice flavoured sweets.
Abattoir, which is also locally known as Teurastamo, is a market which exhibits Helsinki’s food culture. The attractive and mouthwatering smell of grills is almost irresistible. Locals like to bring their own ingredients and grill together, and if you’re lucky you might get a taste of the delicacies that they are preparing. There are large food events every month, such as the Farmers’ Market that invites local farmers to sell their own organic crops and the Christmas Market in December.