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Jussi Hellsten

Helsinki Christmas Market. © Jussi Hellsten

Christmas in Helsinki: so much more than jingles and bells!

Having been named the world’s number one Christmas city, Helsinki is more than ready for another festive holiday season. The unique appeal of the Finnish capital is obvious also during the Christmas season: Helsinki is a place where you can energise yourself in many ways. The warm atmosphere, fun activities, stunning nature and other Christmas elements are described in detail on the MyHelsinki.fi website.

Helsinki has been highlighted as a top destination this Christmas by numerous international media outlets. For example, The Guardian has listed Helsinki has one of Europe’s best Christmas getaway destinations. Christmas in Helsinki is a mix of new and old traditions. A warm Christmas atmosphere is guaranteed all the way from late November through to Epiphany at the start of the New Year. The holiday season is rounded off by the popular Lux Helsinki light festival, which presents brilliant light art throughout the city centre from 5 to 9 January 2019.

The most anticipated architectural grand opening of the year takes place around Finnish Independence Day at the start of December, when the internationally acclaimed Helsinki Central Library Oodi opens to the public. The grand opening programme includes dance, music and theatre performances over two days on 5 and 6 December.

Urban Christmas retreat combines saunas, traditions and nature

Christmas in Helsinki is made up of saunas, the proximity of the sea and nature, small-scale appeal, delicious food, design, relaxing, fun and new traditions.

The sauna is an essential part of the Finnish Christmas, and Helsinki offers numerous Christmas saunas to choose from. The city’s public saunas, from the immensely popular design sauna Löyly to the literally brand-new Uusi Sauna, remain hot throughout the Christmas holidays for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. In the city centre you can also visit a pop-up sauna that lets you enjoy a beautiful view to Helsinki Cathedral or Allas Sea Pool, where you take in the city’s skyline while swimming in the heated open-air pool right in the main harbour.

Around the end of November and beginning of December, Helsinki is taken over by Christmas markets selling lots of seasonal treats alongside Finnish design and handicrafts. The legendary Helsinki Christmas Market opens in the historic Senate Square on Saturday 1 December and is open daily all the way until Saturday 22 December. In addition to great gift ideas, the Helsinki Christmas Market also offers ten varieties of glögi (mulled wine), plus Christmas karaoke and seasonal delicacies. Helsinki also has dozens of smaller Christmas markets and fairs that are listed here.

Helsinki is surrounded by beautiful nature, and getting from the city centre to the islands in the archipelago the forests to enjoy the fresh air and magical atmosphere could not be simpler. Helsinki’s nature attractions are especially popular during the Christmas season, when families can enjoy the many Christmas paths throughout the city. Hundreds of candles light up the Christmas path along the Uutela Nature Trail in Vuosaari, East Helsinki, while the Christmas path on the recreational island of Seurasaari is full of fun surprises, elves and forest animals.

In addition to all the traditional classical music concerts, church concerts and choir performances, Helsinki also offers seasonal entertainment for electronic music fans and clubbers. Some of the best clubs in Europe can be found in Helsinki, providing alternative entertainment throughout the Christmas season that you can find on the Clubbers’ Christmas Calendar.

Helsinki greets in 2019 with its official New Year’s Eve celebrations in Senate Square on 31 December. The programme includes lots of entertaining music, dance and fire performances, as well as a spectacular firework display.

Your online guide to Christmas in Helsinki

The award-winning MyHelsinki service features the most interesting events and phenomena of the Christmas season in Helsinki. The website offers insight into the city’s Christmas traditions, as well as local recommendations for enjoying the romantic Christmas spirit, seasonal delicacies, saunas and the Christmas holidays in Helsinki.

The website is updated regularly with the latest tips from locals about such things as Christmas coffees, concerts and parties, as well as how to relax amidst all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It also lists reminders about opening hours during Independence Day, Christmas and New Year’s.

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