In July, we had a chance to visit Finnland – the home of Artek, Marimekko and Iittala.
When a good friend of mine from Korea told me she was visiting Helsinki, I decided to fly over to Helsinki to see her and spend a week there. Scandinavian countries have always been a huge inspiration for me, which was why I was so excited to discover Helsinki – the food, architecture, design – everything the city has to offer.
We stayed at Hotel Helka and enjoyed our stay there throughout. Helka is a lovely design hotel filled with signature pieces from Finnish designers. The famous ceiling art, which differs from room to room, was also a treat to look at.
The breakfast buffet, which was included, was simply amazing. On top of fresh fruits and vegetables, with Finnish Karelian pasty and fresh salmon, it felt like a feast every morning.
Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 23,
As you can see from the pictures, we had the typical north European weather with a lot of clouds and a little rain here and there. But I thought the weather somehow blended in well with the architecture in Helsinki.
It was a treat to roam around the city and discover what this beautiful city had to offer. As in many Scandinavian cities, design was really a vital part of life here.
As you can imagine, seafood was AMAZING. There’s so much variety of fresh seafood, both inside the Old Market Hall and on the outside stands. There were some local restaurants that served hearty Finnish food like Ravintola Salve, which served out some great seafood and meat dishes.
Old Market Hall
Hietalahdenranta 5 C,
A must-visit is the Karl Fazer Café. Fazer is a huge confectionary company in Finnland and their products are everywhere in the supermarket. They had an array of amazing pastry, fish-topped sandwiches, smoothies and coffee.
Karl Fazer Café
Visiting Designmuseo was an interesting experience. To start, the ticket was a quarter-circle sticker with different quotes, of which people could stick on a wall afterwards. It was overall a good place to look at famous Finnish design pieces.
The museum itself wasn’t that big but it was architecturally stunning, and it was fascinating to look at some of the key pieces in Finnish design. Fans of Iittala would rejoice to see the unique collections and molds you won’t see anywhere else.
One of the most fascinating things we did was visiting Suomenlinna, an 18th-century sea fortress spread across 6 islands. The nature here was simply amazing to look at.
It was just a ferry ride from the city, but felt like we were in another world. It was nice to get away from the city and enjoy the nature for a little bit.
And of course, the shopping. In the end, it was hard to resist the amazing pieces from the classic Finish brands, and it was also a good chance to discover some contemporary designers as well. Of course, classic brands like Marimekko and Iitala were everywhere and were visited frequently over the course of the week. The Academic Bookstore, with Café Aalto on the second floor, is also worth a visit.
Marimekko Flagship Store
Iittala Flagship Store
The Artek flagship store was so stunning, and I think we spent at least an hour there. In addition to collections from Artek, they carry products from other brands like Vitra. On the second floor, they had a big collection of products from Salakauppa, which I absolutely loved and adored.
Artek Flagship Store
Keskuskatu 1 B,
Overall, it was an amazing experience to be able to experience this design-centric city and it made me a fan of the Finnish design, as if i weren’t already.