| Helsinki's main shopping
streets are Pohjoisesplanadi, Aleksanterinkatu
A walk around the Esplanadi reveals most of Finland’s
best-known design stores, including Artek (Alvar
Aalto’s store), Aarikka (jewellery), Design
Forum Finland (for cutting-edge furniture and accessory
design) and Marimekko (fashion). Stockmann
is the oldest, largest department store in Helsinki, and is the
place where most Helsinkiläiset buy their staples and doubles
as a good hunting ground for souvenirs.
Forum, Mannerheimintie, is the city centre’s largest
shopping centre, while Itäkeskus, the largest
shopping centre in Finland, can be found a short metro ride from
the city centre.
For smaller, one-off boutiques, Fredrikinkatu is
the street for nick-nacks and fashion and Annankatu
for antique furniture.
The biggest and best markets are the Market Square
(see Key Attractions), situated by the South Harbour, and the nearby
Old Market Hall, where shoppers can purchase wonderful
fresh food and handicrafts.
The market is open Monday-Thursday 0800-1700hrs, Friday 0800-1800hrs
and Saturday 0800-1500hrs.
Hakaniemi Market Hall
has everything from Sami dolls to reindeer skins and is probably
the best place for visitors to find some unusual souvenirs.
At the end of one of Helsinki’s most upmarket streets, the
Bulevardi, is the Hietalahti Flea Market, where
rich Helsinkiläiset discard their designer gear. The range
is huge, with covetable purchases including Russian accordions,
second-hand jewellery and some general junk.
The market is open weekdays 0800-1400hrs and Saturday 0800-1500hrs.
Hietalahti Market Hall is an organic produce market
located in a newly restored building in art nouveau style and is
open Monday-Friday 0800-1800 hrs and Saturday 0800-1500hrs.
Shops are generally open weekdays 0900-1700hrs and
Department stores and shopping centres open weekdays 0900-2100hrs
and Saturday 0900-1800hrs
VAT, charged at 22.5 per cent, is included in the marked price.
Foreign visitors from outside the EU can claim 12-16 per cent tax
back upon departure, for items over €42 purchased from stores
with the ‘Tax Free for Visitors’ sign
and presentation of receipts and a passport will be required.