The Best Helsinki Souvenirs To Make You Think, Smile and Love

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Looking for the best Helsinki souvenirs and wondering what to buy in Finland? Here’s our inside guide to the most characterful things to buy.

Discover the curious and colourful souvenirs you can find in Helsinki Best Helsinki souvenirs and shopping guide for Finland's capital.

What is Helsinki Famous For?

Helsinki is famous for its keen sense of design, toasty warm woollen clothes, sauna and salmiakki. And, of course, the white and lovable Moomins.

In short, it’s a real joy to explore the design shops, department stores and, heck, yes, even the souvenir gift shops too.

Why? Because it’s a place where people take pride in their work. It’s also a city where you may find yourself wanting to shelter from the snow in winter, so I’m helping you out in two ways, OK?!

As a frequent traveller to the Finnish capital, let me introduce you to the best souvenirs to bring home from Helsinki.

The Best of Helsinki Souvenirs

Cloudberry jam spread on fresh bread - the best helsinki souvenirs

Cloudberry Jam or Liqueur

Finland knows how to make the most of small, dark red berries. 

Lingonberries, sea buckthorns and bilberries also make into the world of lakkahillo (preserves) but in all honesty, the name just isn’t as poetic. Cloudberries simply have the best name. 

Hotels across Helsinki serve cloudberry jam with breakfast in the morning and bars across Helsinki sell the liqueur by night. 

To the uninitiated, the flavour is slightly similar to the cranberry, just a little sweeter and less caustic.

Rye Bread 

When Finland celebrated 100 years of independence in 2017, it voted rye bread as the national food of choice for the celebrations. 

Present on Nordic soil for over 2000 years, the rye grain can survive the short summers of Helsinki. Many families have their own leivän juuri or leaven passed down through generations to make their own bread.

As you’d expect, there are regional varieties but the types you’ll find in Finland are typically less dense those found in their German or Baltic counterparts.  

Still not convinced rye bread makes a great Helsinki souvenir? Many Finns travel with their own rye bread. Like tea for some English, it’s a creature comfort that doesn’t always translate. 

Salmiakki Liquorice - the best helsinki souvenirs

Salmiakki Liquorice

Somewhat cruelly labelled as a sweet for unsuspecting tourists, salmiakki derives a key component of its flavour from the addition of ammonium chloride. Yes, that’s right. It tastes about as harsh as it sounds. 

Salmiakki may still look like ordinary liquorice, itself an acquired taste, but this is saltier, stronger and sassier than normal. 

And it’s a flavour that’s unforgettably linked with travel around Finland, a childhood memory that never really leaves many Finns. Or so I’m told.

Taste it first. Or at least have a plan on how to handle things before you buy a big bag to take back to the office…  

Finland - Helsinki - Airport - Moomin Coffee
Moomins. You can even have a coffee with them while looking for souvenirs…


You’ll likely first meet a Moomin at Helsinki airport, all blobby, white, friendly and approachable. The brainchild of Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson, the Moomins filled books, comics and eventually children’s TV shows.

Now, you’ll find Moomin merchandise everywhere. 

There’s a Moominland but it’s in Naantali rather than Helsinki. But stock up on these lovable pseudo-hippopotamus like creatures in various other forms: place mats, lunch boxes, T shirts and plastic figurines. It’s a joy to explore a Moomin shop.


Lightening up the grey skies with bright pops of colour and poppies, Marimekko made a name for itself in the 1960s and doesn’t see the point in stopping to look back.

Founded in 1951 by Vilno and Armi Ratia, this Helsinki based company produces high quality linen, home furnishings and fashion. 

This also makes it a fantastic Helsinki souvenir, since every budget is covered. Glasses cases at one end, a brand new wardrobe at the other. 

Fun Fact About Marimekko

Co-founder Armi originally wanted to name the company Armi, after herself, but the name was already taken. Her middle name was Maria and Mekko means “dress” in Finnish. From there, Marimekko was born. 

Ittala Glassware

Buying Iittala glassware as a souvenir in Helsinki offers a blend of Finnish craftsmanship and timeless design. Founded in 1881, Iittala is renowned for its innovative and high-quality glassware, embodying Scandinavian aesthetics and functionality.

When in Helsinki, the best place to explore Iittala glass products is the Iittala & Arabia Design Centre, which showcases a wide range of their glassware, ceramics, and design items.

Located in the Arabianranta district, this center provides a comprehensive experience, including a museum and factory tours.

For more convenience, visit the Iittala flagship store in the heart of the city on Esplanadi Boulevard, which offers an extensive selection of their iconic pieces.

Bottles of Absolut and Finlandia vodka - the best Helsinki souvenirs

Finlandia: Vodka of Finland

Just north of Helsinki, glacial spring water and Finnish grown six-row barley combine to produce the vodka of finland.

The Finlandia brand formed in the 1970s as part of a state run alcohol beverage company but ownership has now passed to Brown-Forman. 

You won’t struggle to find it outside Helsinki (it’s distributed in 135 countries) but there’s something about buying a bottle in the land where it all began. 

If neat vodka is too hardcore for you, then you’ll also find mango, lime, grapefruit and tangerine versions available. 

Puukko – Traditional Hunting Knife 

If you’re willing to run the gauntlet at customs, then consider a puukko hunting knife as your perfect Helsinki souvenir. 

Less dramatic than it sounds, blades have a single curved cutting edge and are designed to be attached to belts or buttons through (often decorative) leather pouches. They’re handy for slicing fruit and salmon as well as, well, more bloodthirsty hunting activities. 

Depending on where you’re travelling to, this might be one to admire from afar and leave well alone. 

Kuksa cup full of coffee on the grass - best Helsinki souvenirs

A Kuksa Cup

A kuksa is a wooden cup that no outdoorsman (or woman) would be without. Carved from birch burl, it’s probably safer to say it has Nordic origins, but it still makes it to the hot list of Helsinki souvenirs. 

Why? Because it’s practical, not some plastic tat that will gather dust in your house until it eventually makes its way to a charity shop, together with all those cookbooks you never actually use. 

A kuksa hails from the guksi of the Sami people who live further north in the Arctic Circle. A well made cup would last a lifetime, being only rinsed with water and dried with a cloth, no soap involved. 

Kalevala Jewellery

“If you copy something old, you must also create something new.”

So said Elsa Heporauta, cofounder of the Kalevala jewellery range in 1935. The project initially began to raise funds for a statue to commemorate the Women’s Association but eventually morphed, by committee, into an ambitious new goal. 

The Kalevala Jewlery takes inspiration from historical pieces found in the National Museum of Finland and twists them into new pieces. The company remains owned by the Kalevala Women’s Association.

Fazer Sweets

Fazer began life as a Franco-Russian confectionary in Helsinki in 1891 but now dominates the Finnish food industry and exports to more than 40 countries. 

Its signature product, however, is its milk chocolate (Fazerin sininen) and salmiakki-flavoured Fazer blue.

So if the strong salmiakki is not for you, pick up a more widely accepted taste in the form of some Fazer chocs. 

Finland - Helsinki - Souvenir collection ryija rug in shop window
Shop for textiles as well as for smaller souvenirs

Decorate Ryija Rug or Tapestry

The distinctive ryija rugs or tapestries brighten up windows around Helsinki. 

Originally made from natural colours, the arrival of various vegetable dyes in the Middle Ages transformed them into scarlet, green and royal blue tones as the centuries wore on. 

Today, of course, new fibres like paper cord join the traditional favourite, wool. Prices can reach 3000 – 5000 Euros for a classically large size. You may be able to pick up a second hand ryija but it’s often harder to know where it came from. 

Textile artists like Laila Karttunen and Kirsti Ilvessalo lead the market in ryija creation in Helsinki today.

Once home, they make for great wall hangings as well as rugs.

Finnish Knitwear

Finland, in case you didn’t already know, gets cold. And woollen products keep you warm. Yes, you probably knew that too but I thought it was worth repeating in order to get it to really sink in. 

Firstly, it’s highly recommended to wear natural fibres, such as wool, anywhere where the temperature drops to below freezing (and the Arctic circle, where people live and have done for centuries, regularly drops below minus 40.)

Second, this fact has generated centuries of woollen handicrafts and knitwear from across the regions of Finland. 

Pick up a small pair of gloves or full Nordic sweater as a functional and cosy Helsinki souvenir. 

Sima (Mead)

If the words fermented, low alcohol mead don’t fill you with delight, you’re forgiven. Sima may come from fermenting honey and water but its method of production results in a light, sparkling, almost soft drink, one that often comes spiced with the skin and zest of a lemon. 

It’s often served with a munkki donut and tippaleipä, a Finnish funnel cake associated with the Vappu festival on May day. 

Basket of Karelian Pastries, Helsinki Finland

Karelian Pastries

Shaped like a ruffled snowshoe, karelian pastries pop up everywhere in Helsinki, from breakfast buffets to afternoon snacks. They’re a savoury treat with a thin rye crust and a hearty, comfort food filling of barley or rice smothered with cheese. 

Butter and boiled eggs also sometimes put in an appearance, depending on the chef’s preference, and they’re the perfect warming dish for Helsinki’s many cold days. 

So how do they work as a souvenir?  Scoff the lot yourself and buy a cookbook to remember the time when your stomach was toasty and happy…

Arabia Ceramics 

Today’s Arabia ceramics may be produced in Romania and Thailand, but Helsinki was home to the original and the brand has left its mark. 

Specialising in kitchen and tableware, Arabia ceramics often feature bright bursts of sunshine yellow with winter blue. And they make for a gorgeous, long lasting Helsinki souvenir. 

Top Tip About Coffee

Many Finns seem proud of the fact that they drink more coffee than anywhere else on earth. It seems fitting, then, to take home a coffee cup as a souvenir of your time in Helsinki.

Kantele Harp

For the musically inclined, a kantele makes for a great Helsinki souvenir as you can bring the sound of Finland home. For the rest of us, it also looks good on a shelf or a wall. 

It’s a cross between a zither and a harp, with prehistoric origins and traditions infused with poetry. Traditional Finnish sage  Väinämöinen is credited with building the first one from the jawbone of a giant fish and with strings from a maiden’s hair.

Luckily, today’s versions tend not to require such wild exploits in the sea.

Originally made with only five strings, fashion saw the addition of more and today you’ll find a  range of sizes and string numbers to suit your taste. 

Sauna bucket and ladle - Helsinki, Finland

Sauna Bucket and Ladle

Don’t dismiss this as a tourist gimmick; saunas really are a staple of life in Finland, even in Helsinki. While you can head to a public sauna as a visitor, most families and apartment blocks have their own and that’s why you’ll find wooden sauna buckets and ladles available for sale. 

Of course, if you don’t have your own sauna at home, you probably wont’ get to use it much. But since they’re made form birch wood, at least it will still look pretty. And you can use it store all your loose travel change so you can find it easily again next time ;-)

  • Plan on spending around $15.
  • Try the Sauna Market Finland at 28 Aleksanterinkatu.
Finland - Helsinki - Design Museum Interior
A great place to shop for souvenirs in Helsinki is in the Design Museum gift shop

What Can you Bring Back From Helsinki?

Anything you can fit in your luggage! However, the best Helsinki souvenirs include a design piece, perhaps some Marimekko or Kavela jewellery and a ryija rug. For food, look for cloudberry jam and the acquired taste of salmiakki. 

What Can You Buy in a Helsinki Supermarket?

Pick up some of the best Helsinki souvenirs in any local supermarket. Look for cloudberry or lingonberry jam, Fazer chocolates, Finlandia vodka, rye bread and salmiakki. 

Where to Shop in Helsinki

As a capital city, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to good places to shop at competitive prices.

But here are the most highly recommended spots:

The Biggest Department Store

It would be remiss to write about Helsinki souvenirs without mentioning Kankurin Tupa, a huge souvenir shop and the largest in the city.

Punavuori district in Helsinki as seen from above

The Design District

Then there is the Design District within this UNESCO designated City of Design.

Spanning several neighbourhoods, including Punavuori, Kaartinkaupunki, and Kamppi, this district is home to over 200 design-oriented establishments, ranging from boutiques and galleries to studios and cafes.

You can explore a plethora of shops featuring renowned Finnish brands like Marimekko and Artek, alongside emerging designers’ unique creations. The district also hosts various events, such as the Helsinki Design Week, offering workshops, exhibitions, and design talks that immerse visitors in the local design scene.

The Oldest Souvenir Shop in Helsinki

Another favourite is Anne’s shop, the self-proclaimed oldest souvenir shop in Helsinki. . Located in the heart of the city, the shop offers a variety of high quality Finnish souvenirs, from traditional handicrafts and Moomin merchandise to elegant Iittala glassware and Marimekko textiles.

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