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Christmas cheer in Helsinki

8th October 2009 Print
Christmas cheer in Helsinki

As you would expect from the home of Santa Claus, Finland knows how to celebrate Christmas and the country’s capital Helsinki is particularly atmospheric over the Christmas period.

Full of stalls selling traditional handmade wooden gifts, warming food and drink and with a backdrop of carols and maybe even the occasional visit from Santa himself, Helsinki is a truly magical place to enjoy the lead up to Christmas.

From the end of November, Helsinki sparkles with Christmas lights in the streets and shop windows. Aleksanterinkatu, the main shopping street of the city centre, is an elaborately-decorated and illuminated Joulukatu ("Christmas Street"), opened by Santa Claus himself at the end of November. The first of the Christmas Markets starts with the Ladies Christmas Market that runs from 2nd – 6th December. This indoor market is held in the Vanha Satama and features handicrafts made by Finnish women.

This is followed by Helsinki’s main Christmas Market held in Esplanade Park. The atmosphere is enticing with Christmas carols being sung and over 120 stalls selling unusual gifts and handmade Christmas decorations. In addition the tempting aromas of traditional food and drink including warming glögi (mulled wine), special brewed dark beers, hot chocolate and coffee fortified with a dash of cognac or rum, spiced gingerbread and star shaped pastries filled with sweet plum jam are an effective way of keeping out the chill.

The Baltic Travel Company - - offers a four day/ three night trip to Helsinki to experience the Christmas markets. The package costs £465 per person including flights from London Heathrow to Helsinki, transfers, bed and breakfast accommodation and one Christmas lunch buffet. Departures are throughout December.

For further information on Helsinki and Finland see

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Christmas cheer in Helsinki