Finnish Souvenir Shopping Tour, Helsinki

Finnish Souvenir Shopping Tour (Self Guided), Helsinki

When in Helsinki, souvenir shopping can be an exciting adventure allowing you to bring home a memorable piece of Finland worth having in your household. Depending on your inclinations, these could include sauna bucket and ladle, traditional Finnish music instruments, hand-woven long-tufted rugs (ryija), Finnish vodka made from Arctic-grown berries, or something else.

Those in the know can give you a list of gifts unique to Finland that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. As for the places where to find these mementos, we can give you some ideas.

If it's elegant glassware and home décor that you're after, look no further than Iittala Glassware. There, you can find beautifully designed glass products that reflect Finnish simplicity and aesthetics.

For those interested in Finnish jewelry, Kalevala Koru offers a wide selection of handcrafted pieces inspired by Finnish folklore and nature. Their designs are truly meaningful.

Sauna is an integral part of Finnish culture. At Sauna Market Finland, you can purchase sauna-related items such as towels, bathrobes, and other traditional sauna accessories.

OKRA Arts, Crafts & Design Gallery: This gallery is a haven for art enthusiasts. It showcases the work of Finnish artists, featuring everything from paintings and sculptures to musical instruments, textiles, and ceramics.

Kluuvi Shopping Centre is a one-stop destination for fashion, accessories, and specialty stores. It's perfect for finding Finnish fashion brands.

Helsinki Forum: This shopping complex offers a mix of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, making it an ideal place to explore and shop for a wide range of souvenirs and gifts.

When it comes to drinks, Alko is second to none. This national alcoholic beverage retailer carries a stock of Finnish spirits and beers that you may wish to take home as gifts.

Finally, Kamppi Shopping Centre brings under one roof a plethora of stores specialized in fashion, electronics, and Finnish design products.

It would be a pity to leave Helsinki without having explored its specialty shops. Our self-guided tour is an invitation to dive into Helsinki's vibrant souvenir scene and bring back something original and authentic to cherish the memories of your Finnish trip for years to come. Happy shopping!
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Finnish Souvenir Shopping Tour Map

Guide Name: Finnish Souvenir Shopping Tour
Guide Location: Finland » Helsinki (See other walking tours in Helsinki)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Iittala Glassware
  • Kalevala Koru
  • Sauna Market Finland
  • OKRA Arts, Crafts & Design Gallery
  • Kluuvi Shopping Centre
  • Helsinki Forum
  • Alko
  • Kamppi Shopping Centre
Iittala Glassware

1) Iittala Glassware

Iittala glassware is famous throughout the world for their distinctive, carefully crafted and eye-catching shapes which add grace and elegance to one's home. A wide range of Iittala glass products are made for their functionality and decorative purposes. They’re also quite sturdy and long-lasting.

Dinnerware, cutlery and serving utensils are available as well as various mugs, casserole dishes, pitchers, bowls, pans, pots, etc. Fun and playful objects, like whimsical glass birds, are a particularly popular. Vases and jewelry boxes are among other uses.

A good place to buy Iittala glass products is at Ittala Glassware located at in Pohjoisesplanadi 25.

What to buy here: Iittala Glass.
Kalevala Koru

2) Kalevala Koru

Designs of Kalevala jewelry, renowned for their vivid and bold shapes, are often derived from the Kalevala, the colorful national folk epic. Some models are also replicas of ancient Iron Age jewelry discovered by archeologists.

The jewelry items are all quite striking and likely to attract attention due to their distinctive design. They make excellent gift items, especially for occasions like anniversaries and birthdays.

Among the many items are necklaces, pendants, earrings, brooches, bracelets, charms, etc. Tie pins and cufflinks are also available for men. Bronze, silver and gold are the basic materials used. Hooks in bronze earrings are made of gold-plated silver. The jewelry is free of nickel and other allergenic material. Price are $40-50 and up.

What to buy here: Kalevala Jewelry.
Sauna Market Finland

3) Sauna Market Finland

Consider that roughly five million Finns own over two million saunas and you get an idea of how popular these units are in Finland. But their popularity is now worldwide. Ancient in use, saunas are virtually sterile environments where one can cleanse their body of impurities but also use the steamy rooms to prepare food and even give birth.

Many visitors to Helsinki try either a wood stove or smoke sauna, experiencing the dry heat, a refreshing shower, and then a repast of sausages with beer.

The wooden buckets and ladles used to throw water over one’s body in the cleansing process are made of birch wood, often with invisible seams, and topped with strips of decorative wood. They are smooth to touch. Some will have form-fitting and removable plastic inserts to hold water.

To find good quality wooden buckts and ladles, try the Sauna Market Finland on Aleksanterinkatu.

What to buy here: Sauna Bucket & Ladle.
OKRA Arts, Crafts & Design Gallery

4) OKRA Arts, Crafts & Design Gallery

Kanteles are a traditional string instrument native to Finland. Their roots go back to antiquity. They’ve been compared to a zither or lap harp.

Made of wood kantele has a triangular shape with the strings running across the top of the instrument. The older types might have five or six horsehair strings, with the instrument carved from one piece of wood. More modern versions have metal strings and often a body made from several blocks of wood.

The kanteles for personal use usually have 15 or fewer strings, perhaps five to 10. The ones used in concerts tend to have more strings. Listen for a bell-like sound. It is not that difficult to learn to play kantele if you’re so inclined, and instrument is also quite useful as a decoration and a sure-fire conversation starter.

A good selection of kanteles can be found at the OKRA Arts, Crafts & Design Gallery at Unioninkatu 26.

What to buy here: Kantele.
Kluuvi Shopping Centre

5) Kluuvi Shopping Centre

Arabia ceramics is a brand name recognized throughout the world. One can choose from among a wide range of well-made and innovative products that feature both functionality and decorative style. They withstand wear well and are likely to last a long time.

Coffee cups and mugs with Moomin (troll) designs are especially popular.

The selection includes tea pots, dishes, cups, ovenware, costume dishes, jugs, tableware/trays, salad bowl, candle holders, hors d’oeuvre dishes etc. Anything you find in most kitchens probably has an Arabia prototype or version. Exquisite pottery and vases, as well as lanterns, are among many other products, all showing the same high degree of artistry.

One can find a great variety of products at Kluuvi Shopping Centre located on Aleksaninkatu.

What to buy here: Arabia Ceramics.
Helsinki Forum

6) Helsinki Forum

A ryija rug is an art form unique to Finland. While there is some similarity to Persian carpets, the ryija knots are farther apart and much larger and longer. Slices and splashes of vibrant colors are used in dyes which add great color intensity and variation. Yellow, green, red and blue are popular colors employed in different patterns but there are many other colors available, too. Geometric shapes are often used along with figures of humans, animals, and birds.

Ryija rugs can be hung as handsome wall hangings or used as couch or bed spreads. Basically they are a decorative feature so they aren’t used on floors. Wool is the basic material used to make ryija rug, but new fibers have come into play. This is a question one should ask when buying ryija rugs.

Ryija rugs can be found in the Helsinki Forum, located on Mannerheimintie 20, and in other shops. You can shop both by price, size, and color variation, often depending on what the planned use is for. These rugs make excellent gift items. Price starts from $20 and up.

What to buy here: Ryija rugs/wall hangings.

7) Alko

Some Finnish vodka is made from Arctic-grown berries. Their taste is distinctive, heavy and often sweet. They are most likely appreciated by those with a sweet tooth or are served with desserts and as an after-dinner drink in small liqueur glasses.

The Finnish vodka made from Arctic-grown berries are rarely found outside of Finland and they are not sold in all the store in Helsinki either, so you need to know where to go to find them.

One store where you can find such Finnish Vodka is Alko at Salmisaarennaukio 1. Please check the label on the bottle to make sure that it is made from Arctic-grown berries.

What to buy here: Finnish Vodka.
Kamppi Shopping Centre

8) Kamppi Shopping Centre

Moomins are the charming characters in a series of books and comic strips that have taken off in Finland. Their images now appear on a wide range of popular products including glasses, coffee cups, handbags, placemats, t-shirts, towels, bed liners, pillow cases, puzzles, bookstands, etc. There’s even a Moomin theme park in Finland, but it’s in Naantali and not in Helsinki.

The trolls, unmistakable in appearance, convey an aura of fun and serenity despite their eccentric and odd shapes. They tend to be white and roundish with distinctively large snouts that give them a hippopotamus-like look. Many pithy sayings emanate from them, and you can buy books for children in English about the assorted adventures of the Moomins.

The placemats, which make a fine gift, are among the most popular items. They’re sold in virtually all the stores, but it’s worth looking around for what catches your eye. Try the Kamppi Shopping Centre on Urho Kekkosenkatu. There you can find a wide selection of Moonins trolls and placemats.

What to buy here: Moomin Trolls and Placemats.

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