Thanks to Helsinki’s colorful Christmas market scene and magical winter wonderland appearance, Finnish capital has finally made it to the lists of the best European Christmas destinations. Choose between Helsinki’s oldest and largest Christmas market and quirky alternative Christmas markets all around the city to get Yule spirits high – and get ready to meet Santa Claus in his home country!

The Best Christmas Market in Helsinki: Helsinki Christmas Market a.k.a. ”Tuomaan Markkinat”

Conde Nast Traveler, The Guardian, and Evening Standard have all ranked Helsinki Christmas Market among the best Christmas markets in Europe. It’s hands down our favorite holiday market in Helsinki, and the oldest and biggest in the Finnish capital.

What makes Helsinki Christmas Market So Unique?

Conde Nast Traveler praises the perfect mix of old and new: from traditional Christmas delicacies and carols to trendy street eats and quirky happenings. Count in holiday outfit contest for dogs, free wood-heated sauna (naturally, you’re in Finland!), circus, karaoke, and many free events during December.

The Guardian calls Helsinki Christmas Market “the fairytale festivities”. The setting in the historic Senate Square, by Helsinki’s official Christmas street, is fabulous indeed. Wooden huts are framed by the traditional Christmas lights of Aleksanterinkatu and four stunning neoclassical buildings designed by Carl Ludwig Engel: the cathedral of Helsinki, the Government Palace, the National Library of Finland, and the main building of the University of Helsinki.

Picture light snowfall upon the wooden huts during the long blue hour of Finnish winter, steaming sauna cottage, and fairytale-lit traditional carousel in the middle of the market. This Christmas market waves its magic wand over the center of Helsinki – and behold, everything is softer and Christmassy!

White cathedral overlooking Helsinki Christmas Market
White cathedral overlooking Helsinki Christmas Market. Photo courtesy of Helsinki Christmas Market/Photographer: Jussi Hellsten

The Food, Drinks, Gifts, and Crafts of Helsinki Christmas Market

You can find almost everything for the festive season in Helsinki Christmas Market: traditional, high-quality handicrafts and Christmas ornaments, Finnish design gifts, hand-made candles, and Christmas delicacies. If you still don’t have traditional woolen mittens or socks, you’ll find them here. If you haven’t yet tasted Finnish take on mulled wine called glögi, sample through different variations while you’re browsing through more than a hundred wooden huts (last year glögi came in 10 different infusions from spruce sprout to apple).

Shop organic Christmas delicacies, wild honey and wild game products, Karelian pies, mustard, sausages, dry meat, smoked fish and gravlax, cinnamon buns, Christmas cakes, artisan chocolate, or fudge. At least, take advantage of the free samples throughout the market. Tasting tip: the fudge stands are our favorites, but I wouldn’t resist the chocolate stands either.

Many legendary Finnish restaurants and street food chains have their own stands at Helsinki Christmas Market. Food options vary from traditional Christmas food to contemporary street eats, from sausages to creative vegan dishes.

Sauna hut has its own Sauna Bar, and there’s also an atmospheric heated café bar serving Finnish Christmas beers, wine, snacks, cakes, and traditional ginger cookies. It has become our new Christmas tradition to sit down behind the glass windows to observe the Christmas Market and its old-fashioned merry-go-round. We love the fact that nowadays you can sip high-quality craft beers and wines while watching the winter wonderland of urban Helsinki.

The Traditional Carousel of Helsinki Christmas Market

Beautiful, traditional carousel in the heart of Helsinki Christmas Market steals the show. Kids love the free rides on wooden horses, and also adults are welcome to take a ride. Carousel is the perfect spot for those Christmassy Instagram images from Finland, whether you’d fancy a photogenic ride or just a stunning picture of the carousel, Christmas market huts, and the white Helsinki Cathedral in the background.

After a couple of years of rehearsal, I’m proud to say that Helsinki Christmas Market is finally the most beautiful Christmas Market in Finland. The unique setting in Senate Square, in the shadow of the white cathedral and around the statue of Emperor Alexander II, is part of its spell. People from Turku probably disagree, as Turku’s traditional Old Great Square Christmas Market is probably the most famous Christmas market in Finland – Finnish Declaration of Christmas Peace has been done at Turku since 13th century.

Helsinki Christmas Market is called Tuomaan Markkinat in Finnish (St. Thomas Market), and it’s held in Senate Square, in the center and historic area of Helsinki. Helsinki Christmas Market is open from Tuesday to Sunday 6.-22.12.2019 from 11 AM to 8 PM. Santa Claus visits Helsinki Christmas Market every day.

Address: Senate Square, Aleksanterinkatu (in the center of Helsinki)
Official website: tuomaanmarkkinat.fi

OTHER EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Tallinn is just a short ferry trip away from Helsinki and Tallinn’s Christmas Market is among our eternal favorites. Check out our complete article about Tallinn Christmas Market! Here’s a full guide about Christmas time in Copenhagen with a list of the best Christmas markets.
Helsinki Christmas Market is the biggest outdoors Christmas Market in Helsinki, Finland. Photo courtesy of Helsinki Christmas Market/Photographer: Jussi Hellsten
Helsinki Christmas Market is the biggest outdoors Christmas Market in Helsinki. Photographer: Jussi Hellsten

Vanhan Joulutori Christmas Market

Vanhan Joulutori is a cozy Christmas market held at Old Student House (Vanha Ylioppilastalo). It’s the best market in town for buying Christmas ornaments and artisan gifts. Café serves Finnish mulled wine (glögi), snacks, and even lunch.

In 2019, Vanhan Joulutori Chistmas Market is open 15.-22.12. from Monday to Friday 11 AM-8 PM and on weekends 11 AM-6PM.

Address: Mannerheimintie 3 (in the center of Helsinki) 

Ornamo Design Joulu: Design Christmas Market at Helsinki Cable Factory

Three-day design Christmas Market at Helsinki Cable Factory showcases Finnish design, fashion, and ceramic art in 6.–8.12.2019.

Address: Kaapelitehdas, Tallberginkatu 1 

Korjaamon Joulumarkkinat (Korjaamo Xmas Market)

The official Christmas Market season kick-off, Korjaamo’s Xmas market, is held in the old tram hall of Korjaamo Culture Factory 30.11.-1.12.2019 from 11 AM to 5 PM.

Address: Töölönkatu 51

Suomenlinna Christmas Market

Our favorite from the smaller-scale Christmas events, Suomenlinna Christmas Market is held on the fortress island Suomenlinna just a short ferry ride away from Helsinki’s South Harbor. We’ll update dates for 2019 as soon as they are decided.

International Christmas Market

Helsinki’s traditional take on Central European Christmas Markets is called International Christmas Market. Unfortunately, we just heard from the organizer that there won’t be International Christmas Market this year, although the happening is still marketed on the internet.

We’ll add more Christmas markets and Christmassy things to do for 2019 as soon as the events are announced. Please let us know if you’re favorite Christmas market or event is missing in the comments below: we’ll update the listings throughout the year.