• Ice-skating in the middle of Helsinki (c) Jussi Hellsten/Visit Helsinki

Top 5 tips for winter in Helsinki

What to do in Helsinki in the wintertime? See our tips for the coming months and get the most out of your holiday!

1. Enjoy Christmas city Helsinki

The Christmas season begins in Helsinki when the lights are turned on along the traditional Christmas street Aleksanterinkatu. During the run-up to the holidays, shoppers flock to the Christmas markets throughout the city. The Christmas spirit can also be enjoyed by attending one of the many carol singing and other concerts. The traditional New Year's celebrations will move this year from Senate Square to the Kansalaistori Square and to the entire Töölönlahti surroundings. The centenary of Finnish independency will start with spectacular programme that will culminate in fireworks at midnight.

Helsinki Christmas Market on Senate's square (c) Jussi Hellsten/Torikorttelit

2. Start the new year with magnificent light art

The Lux Helsinki light festival will offer inspiring light artworks and a festival atmosphere at the darkest time of the year 5–9 January 2017. The most exciting artists from Finland and all around the world will create artworks in Helsinki city centre. During the event, all light artworks will be on display each day from dusk onwards at 5–10 pm. Now being organised for the ninth time, Lux Helsinki is suitable for the whole family and entry is free of charge.

Lux Helsinki art work Cloud is composed of six thousand light bulbs. (c) Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garret

3. Finland 100 centenary year celebrations in Helsinki

The centenary year of Finnish independence will be celebrated throughout 2017 with a comprehensive and diverse programme of events. The theme of the centenary year is “Together”, and the programme is open to all Finns and friends of Finland. The centenary year of Finnish independence kicks off on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2016, in the heart of Helsinki. Events marking the centenary of Finnish independence, such as concerts, exhibitions and city festivals, will be held throughout the year. 

The New Year’s Eve programme offers fun surprises for visitors of all ages. The events begin already in the afternoon and culminate at midnight with a celebration in which all Finns and friends of Finland are invited to sing and dance their way into a new century.

Join in and enjoy an unforgettable centenary year in 2017!

Centenary year of Finnish independence will be celebrated in 2017. (c) Suomi100

4. Enjoy the wintry outdoors of Helsinki

You would think that Helsinki in wintertime would be lulled to sleep by the cold winters and dark nights. In fact, far from hibernating, Helsinki becomes arguably more active and alive, even when covered in a thick blanket of snow.

Helsinki is perhaps the only capital city in the world where you can bump into cross-country skiers practically in the city centre. Right in the centre of town next to the Central Railway Station you will find the Icepark, where you can rent skates and practice your figures to the beat of the music. When planning a nice long winter’s hike, you don’t have to head inland. The shoreline and islands are wonderful places to breath in the fresh air and marvel at the views.

After an active day outdoors nothing is better than relaxing your mind and body in an authentic Finnish sauna.

Enjoy the wintry outdoors of Helsinki (c) Jussi Hellsten/Visit Helsinki

5. Something hot to drink and local to eat

While at a local Christmas market try mulled wine (known as glögi in Finnish) or step into a warm café for a hot mug of cocoa. Enjoy the local tastes for example at the Food Courts of the Helsinki Christmas Market that are open daily 11am-8pm and on Saturdays and Sundays10am-7pm (3-22 December). Discover participating HelsinkiMenu restaurants that offer special, seasonal dishes made of Finnish ingredients or visit the charming market halls for other seasonal specialties.

Taste mulled wine or glögi at a local Christmas market (c) Jussi Hellsten/Visit Helsinki

The season for blinis begins in January. Blini weeks have been a part of winter in Helsinki for over a decade. Originating from Russia, blinis are fried up into thick, fluffy and crispy pancakes that local restaurants in Helsinki serve up fresh and fast for their eager customers.

The season for blinis begins in January. (c) Jussi Hellsten/Visit Helsinki

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