Home to bustling market places, luxury boutiques, enormous
department stores and the largest shopping mall in the Nordic
countries, shopping in Helsinki has its fair share of
opportunities. They may not always be cheap, but the quality of the
goods makes them worth their sometimes hefty price tags.
Best buys in Helsinki include reindeer furs, Nordic wool, traditional wooden kitchen utensils and jewellery made out of Finland's national gemstone, spectrolite, which captures the magnificent blues and greens of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). You can also find liquors made from locally-grown cloudberries, cranberries, and Arctic brambleberries that make unique and special Helsinki souvenirs.
Head to Itäkeskus in East Helsinki, the biggest shopping centre in Scandinavia, where nearly 240 shops selling everything from clothing and shoes to sports equipment and cameras will keep you on your toes. The Sello shopping centre in Espoo in the west of the city provides a slightly less exhausting day of spending and the Stockmann department store on the Aleksanterinkatum, which has become somewhat of an institution in Helsinki, sells everything from electrical goods and clothing to make up and teddy bears. Shopping streets in Helsinki include Aleksanterinkatu, Eerikinkatu, Fredrikinkatu and Uudenmaankatu where boutiques and specialist stores can be found.
Market Square at the eastern end of Esplanadi is undoubtedly one of Helsinki's most popular tourist attractions and a great place to scoop up some souvenirs, especially during the spring and autumn months when vendors selling fresh Finnish produce, souvenirs and trinkets abound and the mix of Finns and international visitors make this vibrant market electric. Petrolheads should visit the market on the first Friday of the month when a display of old American cars lines the seaside square, while October brings much excitement as the annual Helsinki herring market takes place.
Shops in Helsinki are generally open from 9am to 5.30pm from Monday to Friday while on Saturdays stores only stay open until 2pm and remain closed on Sundays.
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