Aihearkisto: Blog in English

Blog in English

Shopping Finnish Design In Helsinki

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Marimekko Fashion Show in the Esplanadi Park.
Marimekko Fashion Show in the Esplanadi Park.

If you’d like to find the most famous Finnish design brands, such as MarimekkoIittala or Aarikkatheir stores are located in the city center on Pohjoisesplanadi street. On the same street it’s easy to spot many other Finnish brands, as well as the luxurious international ones, such as Louis Vuitton.

Marimekko has also a store in Forum Shopping Center, as well as an outlet store in Herttoniemi, which is outside of the city center, however there’s an easy access to the store by metro (address: Kirvesmiehenkatu 7, Helsinki, Metrostop: Herttoniemi). The outlet store is open every day, except on Sundays. This outlet store is very popular especially amongst Asian tourists.

Iittala Shop Helsinki. (Photographer Elina Sirparanta)
Iittala Shop Helsinki. (Photographer Elina Sirparanta)

Alvar Aalto design can be found in the store called Artek, next to the Stockmann department store, on Keskuskatu.  You can also visit an interesting and unique store called Artek 2nd Cycleon Pieni Roobertinkatu. In addition to Alvar Aalto design, the products in this boutique include items by such classic designers as Ilmari Tapiovaara and Yrjö Kukkapuro.

Aalto vase designed by Alvar Aalto, found in almost every Finnish home. (Photographer Elina Sirparanta)
Aalto vase, designed by Alvar Aalto, can be found in almost every Finnish home in different colours. (Photographer Elina Sirparanta)

Aleksanterinkatu street is full of nice shops, too. In the big department store, Stockmann, you can find a great selection of Finnish brands as well as the international ones. When you walk the street towards the Market square, you’ll find a funky shoe store, Minna Parikka Shoes. Many famous stars, including Lady Gaga, have fallen in love with Minna’s playful shoes.

Minna Prikka Shoes on Aleksanterinkatu.
Minna Prikka Shoes on Aleksanterinkatu.

The Moomin Shop can be found in the Forum Shopping Center, in the heart of Helsinki, as well. There’s a Moomin Shop also at the Helsinki Airport. Check all the shops at the Moomin store locator.

The Moomin Shop. (Photographer Ari-Pekka Darth)
The Moomin Shop. (Photographer Ari-Pekka Darth)

Within walking distance from the city center, you can find a so called ”Helsinki Design District” in Punavuori area where you can shop in various smaller Finnish boutiques. One of them is called Ivana Helsinki, also seen in New York Fashion Week. Check all the stores and happenings on the Design District website.

Ivana Helsinki Shop. (Photographer Elina Sirparanta)
Ivana Helsinki Shop. (Photographer Elina Sirparanta)

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Helsinki Fun Guide – tips from the locals

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Summer in Helsinki. (Photographer Lauri Rotko)
Summer in Helsinki. (Photographer Lauri Rotko)

Helsinki is a unique Nordic Capital, between East and West. There are lots of interesting shops, restaurants and sights that you can find, with the help of this little guide, including some inside tips from real people living in Helsinki. As a Helsinki native myself, many of these places on the list are my favourite places, as well. In this list I have included the favourites of trendy city people living in the heart of Helsinki.

The writer of this article is Kata, a Finnish flight attendant living in Helsinki.

Shopping

Finnish design:

  • Marimekko
  • Marimekko Outlet
  • Iittala
  • Artek
  • Minna Parikka
  • Moomin shop
  • Aarikka
  • Pentik
  • Ivana Helsinki
  • Stockmann

Finnish souvenirs:

  • Market Square
  • Torikortteli
  • Kauppahalli
  • Stockmann

Famous International Brands:

  • Stockmann
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Luxbag
  • Della Marga
  • Furla, Boss, Michael Kors etc. Galleria Esplanad
  • L’Occitane
  • Mulberry

Flea Markets:

  • Hietalahti Square
  • Konepajan Bruno
  • Vallilan Stoori
  • Kaivarin Kanuuna

Restaurants

Finnish Cuisine:

  • Saaga
  • Lappi
  • Juuri
  • Nokka
  • Olo
  • Havis
  • Saari

Asian Cuisine:

  • Restaurant China
  • Long Wall
  • Kabuki
  • Koto
  • Samrat
  • Namaskaar
  • Farang
  • Gaijin

International Cuisine:

  • Saslik (Russian food)
  • Boulevard Social
  • Bronda
  • Pjazza
  • Yume
  • Grotesk
  • Sandro’s

Cafés:

  • Kamome (A Japanese film ”Kamome” was partly filmed in this cafe), Address: Pursimiehenkatu 12
  • Café Engel
  • Café Esplanad
  • Café Strindberg
  • Kappeli
  • Aschan Cafe Jugend
  • Café Veranda (Finlandia-talo)
  • Fazer Café
  • Ekberg
  • Johan & Nyström (Katajanokka)
  • Marke Square and Kauppahalli

Bars:

  • Kafe Moskova
  • Putte’s Bar & Pizza
  • Grotesk
  • Teatteri
  • Kiila
  • Pjazza

Terraces and seaside cafés/bars:

  • Torni Ateljé Bar
  • Ursula
  • Café Carousel
  • Birgitta
  • Hernesaaren ranta
  • Mattolaituri
  • Piritta

Island restaurants:

  • Restaurant Saaristo
  • Saari
  • Restaurant Boathouse
  • Restaurant NJK
  • Restaurant Pihlajasaari

Great picnic spots:

  • Suomenlinna Fortress Island
  • Kaivopuisto
  • The stairs of the Helsinki Cathedral
  • Pihlajasaari
  • Seurasaari

Sauna and swimming:

  • Löyly design sauna (New in 2016!)
  • Allas Sea Pool (New in 2016!)
  • Yrjönkadun uimahalli
  • Stadionin uimala

For families & kids:

  • Finnair Sky Wheel
  • Linnanmäki
  • Sea Life
  • Korkeasaari Helsinki Zoo
  • Suomenlinna
  • Natural History Museum
  • Science Center Heureka

Daytrips outside of Helsinki:

  • Ferrytrip to Tallinn (Estonia)
  • Nuuksio
  • Porvoo
  • Fiskars
  • Tammisaari, Hanko
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Top 5 fun summer things to do in Helsinki

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1. Have a picnic in the Suomenlinna Fortress island

Suomenlinna

Buy your food supplies from the main Market Square or hall and take a 20 minute ferry ride from the Market Square to Suomenlinna island. Suomenlinna ferry is part of the city transport network and oneway ticket costs around 2 euros. Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Finland’s most popular sights. It attracts more than 700,000 visitors every year.

2. Take a ride on the Finnair Sky Wheel

Finnair Skywheel

See Helsinki from a bird’s eye view! The 40-metre-tall observation wheel called Finnair SkyWheel opened in summer 2014 at Katajanokka harbour in central Helsinki. It has climate-controlled gondolas, and the 15-minute ride costs 12 euros for adults and 9 euros for a child. The VIP cabin with a glass floor costs 199 euros for 4 persons, including a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

3. Take a selfie in front of the amazing big white church, Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral

Enjoy an ice-cream on the stairs of the Helsinki Cathedral  while watching tourists and locals bustling around. The church was originally built during 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. The Cathedral is surrounded by The University of Helsinki and Government buildings.

4. Shop at Stockmann’s, the largest department store in the Northern Europe

Stockmann

You can find almost anything at Stockmann’s located in the heart of Helsinki. Summer sale starts at the end of June and there are many world famous brands to choose from. Check the fabulous food section downstairs called Herkku. You can find many restaurant corners to have a bite in fish, meat or cheese sections as well as enjoy the freshly brewed coffee from all over the world.

5. Have a drink at Mattolaituri restaurant in Kaivopuisto park 

Mattolaituri

A 20-minute walk away from The Market Square you can find a nice summer restaurant Mattolaituri (”a carpet pier” in English), which has a great variety of drinks. You can watch yachts and boats passing by and locals washing their carpets on a warm summer day.

Book your accommodation in Helsinki here.

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Top 10 Helsinki hotels

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The capital of Finland has many pleasant hotels to choose from. All the hotels I have chosen to this article are in the very heart of Helsinki near the main shopping areas and attractions. You can get good deals on the luxury hotels, especially on the weekends.

The blogger, Kata, is a Finnish flight attendant.

1. Hotel Haven

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Hotel Haven is the first member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World chain in Finland. It has 77 individual, stylishly decorated rooms and it is located close to the Helsinki Market Square. To make a visitor feel special the rooms have posh features, such as aromatic spa products of Elemis, a bathrobe of fine Egyptian cotton, Bang & Olufsen entertainment system, bathroom tv, bed linen made of Egyptian cotton in it’s king size beds. Hotel Haven offers many services including spa, gym, conference rooms and three top-quality gourmet restaurants: Havis, Sundmans Krog and G.W. Sundmans of which the last has been mentioned in the Michelin Guide as a ’Rising Star’. The lounge bar in the hotel lobby has cool and gracious atmosphere to enjoy a glass of champagne.

Check Hotel Haven rates here.

2. Hotel Kämp

hotelkamp_blog

This historical hotel was originally built in 1887 by Carl Kämp. A major restoration project, started in 1996, culminated in the reopening of Hotel Kämp in 1999 as a Luxury Collection property of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Hotel Kämp is located in the centre of Helsinki, close to the most prestigious shopping street, Pohjoisesplanadi. Hotel Kämp has 179 rooms and it has accommodated many international pop artists as well as heads of state and even royals. The standard room (Deluxe room) is quite spacious and has a plush marble bathroom. All the suites are individually decorated and have been named by historical Finnish characters. The breakfast is rarely included in the room rate, however I think it’s well worth of the costly price. Hotel offers all the services one could ever need, the Kämp Spa is one of the best in town and the Kämp restaurants Brasserie Kämp and Yume are highly rated.

Check Hotel Kämp rates here.

3.  Hotel Fabian

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Hotel Fabian is located in a quiet area next to Hotel Haven and it is a short walk away from the Market Square. This hidden gem is is a 58-room boutique hotel with elegant contemporary rooms and a lovely courtyard. If you choose a Lux room, you’ll be provided a ”home away from home” experience with a kitchenette and peaceful surroundings or even an own entrance on the ground floor. You can enjoy the fresh and stylish breakfast in a cozy atmosphere with individual service. The hotel doesn’t have it’s own restaurants but there are plenty to choose from very close by.

Check Hotel Fabian rates here.

4. Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

hotelradissonplaza_blog

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel is conveniently located close to the main railway station, next to the National Theatre. The hotel provides 302 fashionably decorated rooms in historic surroundings. The building itself dates back to 1917, but was newly renovated in 2012. Each room is furnished with a very comfortable bed and there is a modern high-tech feel in the room with a connectivity panel and 42 inch flat screen tv. As a fun ”wow factor” there is a tv on a bathroom mirror! Radisson Blu Plaza has a tempting cocktail bar called Bar 7 Blings, which hosts popular and underground acts on Fridays and Saturdays. The Kitzens Restaurant offers the opportunity to create your own dish. The hotel lobby is very cosy with it’s colorful sofas and The Super Breakfast Buffet is considered one of the best hotel breakfast buffets in town.

Check Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel rates here.

5. Klaus K Hotel

hotelklausk_blog

Klaus K Hotel is considered as ”Finland’s first design hotel” and it has a nice location close to the biggest department store in Helsinki, Stockmann. The hotel has 137 rooms, which aren’t very large at size, though they have four emotional themes; mystical, passion, desire and envy, along with unique designer rooms. The design has been inspired by Finland’s national epic, Kalevala. Klaus K hotel has a unique movie room,  designed by Harri Koskinen. It’s like a private movie theatre with a 55″ cinema tv, Playstation 3 and you can choose from 100 movies on a motorized bed. Klaus K has a cool bar, Ahjo Bar & Club, with DJ’s and performers on Fridays and Saturdays. There’s a prime Italian restaurant downstairs as well, Toscanini. The Klaus K breakfast is well-known for its organically produced quality ingredients.

Check Klaus K Hotel rates here.

6. GLO Hotel Kluuvi

hotelglokluuvi_blog

GLO Hotel Kluuvi was opened for the first time in 2007. It had an extension with 70 new rooms in summer 2013 with the total amount of 184 contemporary rooms in six categories. It has a convenient location in Kluuvikatu street, next to the historical Hotel Kämp and a few steps away from the main shopping street, Alekstanterinkatu. The standard rooms are smallish in size, however they are equipped with quality Finnish made motorized beds. After all, isn’t the bed the most important thing needed in a hotel room! Glo Hotel guests have an access to the Hotel Kämp gym and there are several nice restaurants and bars to choose from inside and outside the hotel.

Check GLO Hotel Kluuvi rates here.

7. Hilton Helsinki Strand

hotelhiltonstrand_blog

The Hilton Helsinki Strand hotel is located on the waterfront and approx. 1 km away from the city centre. Hilton Strand is a genuine business hotel with 190 rooms, nine meeting rooms for up to 280 guests, a business center and an executive lounge. Rooms are very spacious and decorated with solid ”Hilton quality and style” equipped with large opening windows. There is a sauna, pool and gym complex at the top floor with amazing views. You can also borrow a hotel’s bicycle and ride along the bay or take a boat to the Helsinki Zoo.

Check Hilton Helsinki Hotel rates here.

8. Solo Sokos Hotel Torni

hoteltorni_blog

After its opening in 1931 Hotel Torni has gone through many different periods during the war time (WW2).  It has been a stage for international diplomacy and has accomodated foreign government elite. Torni means ”a tower” in English and it is a classic hotel in the heart of Helsinki with 152 rooms. Every room has its own character with small details, such as tile stoves, works of art and bathrooms with glass walls and cute bathtubs. If you choose a room from the tower part of the building you can enjoy great views over the city. The Ateljee Bar on the top floor is a well-known sightseeing spot. American Bar and Irish-style O’Malley’s downstairs are very popular among locals as well. The Restaurant Torni is known for its high-class kitchen.

Check Solo Sokos Hotel Torni rates here.

9. GLO Hotel Art

hotelgloart_blog

GLO Hotel Art was totally renovated in 2012 and it is built inside a century-old Art Nouveau chateau building located a few steps away from the city centre, approx. 700 meters. There are 171 rooms to choose from. Even the small standard rooms are equipped with the high-quality Finnish beds (as in the big sister GLO Hotel Kluuvi). Rooms are combined with modern Scandinavian style and old chateau feeling. The hotel has several fireplaces to give a cozy and intimate atmosphere and The Glo Art Kitchen restaurant is located in a hundred-year-old chateau cellar.

Check GLO Hotel Art rates here.

10. Hotel Scandic Simonkenttä

hotelscandic_blog

Hotel Scandic Simonkenttä is a large hotel with 360 rooms. It is located in a busy spot in the centre of Helsinki, next to a big shopping centre, Kamppi. The rooms are decorated with quite typical Scandinavian style; simple and clean, with wooden floors and all the basic needs without any extravagant elements. Some of the rooms have a French balcony as a fun detail. The Restaurant & Café Simonkatu downstairs has great big windows and a view to the lively walking street. You can watch the chefs creating the fresh dishes in this Californian-style cuisine. There’s also a popular Mexican restaurant Colorado Bar & Grill within the hotel building.

Check Hotel Scandic Simonkenttä rates here.

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Hotel Manta of Helsinki

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Havis Amanda
Havis Amanda

Helsinki landmark mermaid statue Havis Amanda offers quality hotel accommodation of her own between 15 August and 12 October. Japanese artist  Tatzu Nishi (b.1960) together with Helsinki Art Museum offers a unique opportunity to stay the night in a king size double bed with this lovely lady. The statue and the fountains around it have been transformed into a modern hotel room with a full bathroom and all amenities found in a typical hotel room.

Hotel Manta of Helsinki
Hotel Manta of Helsinki

Hotel Manta of Helsinki, located in the central Market Square, is an open exhibition space during the day time between 11.30 am and 5.30 pm (entrance fee 3€).

All nights in the hotel were sold out immediately, but you can book other quality hotels in Helsinki here.

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Tatzu Nishi and Havis Amanda (”Manta”) in the middle of the guest bed.

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