Top things to do in Helsinki in December and January
HELSINKI IN WINTER
Winter Helsinki is magical and silent. Do not be afraid to visit the city during cold months. There are a lot of interesting and fun things to do and see. Some of them are listed below with inspiration videos.
Europe Video Productions video / Winter Helsinki & Christmas Helsinki in Finland
Place to visit while walking around the city. Looks magical at winter evening twilight. Nice place to relax on the legendary Cathedral steps and taking a break enjoying the view.
All Helsinki excursions buses pick up and drop off here, including the Hop-On Hop-Off buses.
HELSINKI CHRISTMAS MARKET
Helsinki Christmas Market is a must see place to charge you with Christmas spirit, gift ideas and home decoration items.
It is annual Christmas event at the Senate Square, heart of Helsinki.
Finnish craft, design, food and sweets, can be found there. Also entertainments for kids.
FREE OUTDOOR CHRISTMAS SAUNA HELSINKI
Free Christmas Sauna is located just 100 m from Senate Square, historical centre of Helsinki.
It is an annual city tradition and special sauna experience.
Address: Bock's courtyard, Katariinankatu 4, Helsinki. Idyllic inner yard.
Open December 9th to 22nd (days may vary depending on year).
The Sauna is free of charge, no reservations.
Towels and warm tents for changing clothes are available for sauna lovers.
AP Archive video
LUX HELSINKI LIGHT FESTIVAL
Lux Helsinki transforms Helsinki into a winter wonderland. Amazing light artworks and a festival atmosphere at the darkest time of the year makes Helsinki special during those 5 days of January.
Lux Helsinki is suitable for the whole family. Entry is free of charge.
Installations can be viewed from 5pm to 10pm.
More info: www.luxhelsinki.fi
Visit Helsinki video / Lux Helsinki 2017
HELSINKI OLD MARKET HALL / Vanha Kauppahalli
Old Market Hall in central Helsinki is a meeting place for gourmets since 1889. Here at the Old Market Hall you can enjoy traditional gastronomic products, as well as Lappish delicacies, buy seasonal berries, mushrooms and local vegetables.
In the Helsinki Old Market Hall can be found cafes and small restaurants for a light snack, as well as for a real dinner. Visit the place during your Helsinki sightseeing to get warm and try soup lunch here.
Monocle Magazine video / Market Value, Helsinki
KARL FAZER CAFE HELSINKI
Finland is Home of Fazer. Do not miss the chance to discover the secret of Fazer and try all Fazer tastes at one place!
Central Helsinki Fazer cafe address: Kluuvikatu 3, 00100 Helsinki
ALLAS SEA POOL HELSINKI
Allas sea pool Helsinki - outdoor sea SPA at Katajanokka, in the heart of Helsinki by the Market Square, next to the Skywheel.
The unique complex with swimming, saunas, great views (even from saunas) and atmosphere in the best possible place in Helsinki.
3 pools: Fresh water pool; Sea water pool are in use also in winter time (The water temperature 27 °C (80.5 °F)). Kids pool.
Address: Katajanokanlaituri 2a, Helsinki.
Allas Sea Pool video
KAPPELI RESTAURANT HELSINKI
The Kappeli restaurant serves classical Finnish dishes since 1867.
Kappeli is located in Helsinki's historic centre and Esplandi, an early 19th century park. For the best view of the Esplandi statues, grab yourself a window seat and immerse yourself in the twists and turns of Finnish history.
Address: Eteläesplanadi 1, 00130 Helsinki
Vain ravintolaa video
DAY CRUISE TO TALLIN FROM HELSINKI
Tallinn (Estonia capital and beautiful old town) is located just opposite shore from Helsinki, about 2 hours ferry journey.
It is possible to take morning ferry from Helsinki - spend a day in Tallinn - and then travel back the same evening, having about 5-10 hours in Tallinn depending on departures.
Tallin is beautiful and romantic medieval town. Cruise journey will add some new experience to Helsinki visit.
Kari Gröhn video
IGLUHUT – SLEEP WITH REINDEER
Unique accommodation at Nuuksio Reindeer Park, 50 km to Helsinki. Handcrafted Iglu cabins are made from natural materials. You can watch and feed the reindeer from the huts window. The guide will take you in the reindeer park.
Accommodation for 2 persons. Ecotoilet, limited washing facilities, a mini fridge, electric kettle, coffee/tea/water and a bucketful of lichen for feeding reindeer.
COTTAGE LIFE EXPERIENCE
To feel the real slow Finland stay overnight in a countryside holiday cottage. Holiday cottages are an essential part of Finnish life. They have fireplace and sauna, which are more than perfect in a cold winter evening. Cottages are located lakeside and you can try ice-fishing there or dip into the ice water or snow after sauna.
Check available hotels and prices to stay in Helsinki in winter
The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market is one of the oldest ongoing event traditions in Finland, it has been held since 1743. Throughout the years, the Market has changed from a marketplace to a wider public event bringing together archipelago traditions and modern food culture.
The aim of the City of Helsinki is to hold on to the tradition, and to support the livelihood of fishers. A new focus will be placed on widening the scope of the event into a celebration for all citizens.
Traditional Sailing Days gather the large Finnish sailing ships at South Harbour.
Then the audience is welcome to visit the ships and meet the crews.
Market Square / South Harbour 13.10. 10.00-16.00
Allas Sea Pool is organizing moonlight swim outdoors in a heated pool during autumn season under the glooming light of the full moon.
Allas Sea Pool
Tickets 14€ at the entrance
Created with respect and consideration for Suomenlinna’s past, Viaporin Kekri is an opportunity to explore Finnish history, a modern interpretation of an old Kekri tradition, and an experiment in creating new meanings out of centuries-old believes and customs.
It gives its visitors a unique chance to explore and experience Suomenlinna islands from a new perspective and see its darkest corners that are usually closed for the general public.
Suomenlinna 2.11. 14.00-23.00
Each year a young maiden is chosen to represent St. Lucia on Lucia Day 13 December. Lucia is crowned in the Cathedral at 17:00 after that she will descend the Cathedral stairs to the Senate Square.
The Lucia parade starts from the Senate Square at approx. 18:00, route: Aleksanterinkatu-Mannerheimintie-Eteläesplanadi-Market Square
Helsinki Christmas Market is the oldest and largest event of its kind in Helsinki. Taking place in the centre of Helsinki in the Senate Square the Christmas Market attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
The centre of the market is home to a cluster of licensed food courts focusing on regional specialities. In the gift alleys surrounding the food courts, there are over a hundred vendors selling traditional handicraft, the latest design and utility products, as well as produce from primary producers and farms.
The heart of the market beats to a hugely popular, old-fashioned merry-go-round offering free rides to children and others who are young at heart.
Senate Square 6.-22.12.
Helsinki’s official New Year’s Eve celebrations will kick off once again with a special programme.
Senate Square Helsinki 31.12.
Only if you are very very lucky and well prepared for this, you might see the Northern Lights in Helsinki. There are too much light pollution in the city, sky view is blocked with clouds most of the time and Helsinki is too much south from the Aurora zone. But once or twice a year there is so strong solar activity that the Northern Lights might be visible even in Helsinki.
The sunrise in helsinki in winter is around 9 in the morning. The sunset is around 3-4 in the evening. So daylight in December- January lasts about 5-6 hours.
The chance of white Christmas in Helsinki is around 30-40% (once in 4-5 years recently). Stable snow in December is rare nowadays. It might be quite dark and most likely wet.