Shopping at Helsinki can be a tiny bit cheaper than the earlier ports of Copenhagen, Stockholm, and the fashion a little bit better. After days of cutting back on shopping at these expensive places and days of sea days trapped on board the Caribbean Princess, it’s time to hit the streets of Helsinki for some retail therapy!
Helsinki’s main shopping streets are Mannerheimintie, Pohjoisesplanadi, Aleksanterinkatu and Fredrikinkatu. We found it incredibly difficult to pronounce the names of these streets, but fortunately, they are all downtown, and all within walking distance of each other.
Photos of the shopping streets of Helsinki. That’s how walkable and shopper-friendly it is!
Kamppi Shopping Center was our first stop. With shops and services spanning 6 floors and which houses the Helsinki Bus Station in the basement, it is a hive of activity.
With a design like that, it easily looks like another mall in Singapore!
Kamppi Shopping Centre was also where things were relatively cheaper. I managed to snag a pair of jeans at a good discount here. I am sure I would have more shopping bags in my hands if only we had more time to spare.
Decided to try some the Finland version of coffee here at Kamppi Shopping Centre, when we chanced upon a cafe called Beanie. Actually we only wanted to come in for some free wifi after days of internet inactivity on board the Caribbean Princess.
Our first taste of Scandinavian coffee at Stockholm was not overly pleasant – I found the Swedish coffee much too dilute to hold any punch at all. Therefore, we didn’t had much hope for this one until it was served – very robust and aromatic! I give this full marks!
The cafe also serves a large selection of confectionaries, sandwiches and salads. Looks very yummy, but too bad, we were not feeling too hungry after days of being so well-fed on the Caribbean Princess.
Stockmann is Helsinki’s version of Harrods, where things are more upmarket, and certainly way out of our league.
Another shopping mall worth visiting is the Forum Shopping Centre, with some decent shops and less brand names.
Souvenir shopping is a must at Helsinki, because the city offers a vast array of uncommon souvenirs, from folksy handicraft to functional Finnish design.
Who could resist these cute little things?
And of course, we could never miss seeing Finland’s most famous cartoon character – the Moomin jump off the comic strips into these cute little figurines. But they are very expensive actually, at 15 euros each!
The fashion here at Helsinki is actually quite impressive, most of which are from the local designer boutiques which you cannot find anywhere else.
One of those things that makes the shopping street in Helsinki so unique is the straight tram line that cuts through the two sides of the shopping street. While it offers a quick hop-on hop-off from one end of the street to the other, I still prefer to soak in the atmosphere by walking.
Not forgetting to stop and smell the flowers even as we hurry along to do our shopping. Daisies are my favourite!
One of the absolute must-buy are these Baltic ambers. We didn’t know it before this trip, but the Baltic is actually famous for its amber. Here at this shop and many other jewellery shops in Helsinki, the amber are of superior quality, hence explaining its hefty price tag which could range from hundreds to thousands of euros, depending on its size, colour, consistency and clarity (sounds like buying a diamond?). Perfect gift for the mother.
At the other less developed ports of call at the Baltic Sea, such as Tallin and Estonia, we could actually find amber jewellery ranging from 20-40 euros sold in the streets. But those were of much more inferior quality and nothing compared to these beauties.
Join us next as we bring you to the Market Square for more shopping and fun.