Tag Archives: helsinki

Flea market razzle in Helsinki

It looks like the summer has finally arrived in Helsinki. June being rather rainy and cold most of the Finns escaped to abroad seeking warmer weathers, but luckily July came with a whole new climate. Past couple of days we have been able to enjoy warming temperatures and sunshine – which of course means that everyone is out on the move.

One of my favourite things about summer is visiting the street flea markets that pop up all around the city (and country) almost every weekend. During  the past couple of years these pop-up flea markets have become quite popular and more accepted by the local authorities, too.

This time the flea market we wanted to visit was held in Vaasankatu – a street well known of its shady bars and pubs offering cheap beer and being very popular among the strangest residents of the city, day and night. Vaasankatu is located in bohemian and lively Kallio district not too far from the Helsinki centre. It’s also easy to access by metro, as it starts right outside the entrance of Sörnäinen metro station.

I really like flea markets and believe in the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle. One’s thrash is another’s treasure, don’t they say? I think people are getting more and more conscious about issues bothering our planet and especially when it comes to travelling, we should think what is sustainable and what is not. I think it’s always better to support the locals by buying products directly from them and/or buying second hand stuff than putting your money on big chain companies. Visiting flea markets on your travel destination is one way to support the locals – and you probably get to find very unique and personal souvenirs.

For design fans I also recommend visiting different flea markets – some popular Finnish designer china such as Iittala and Arabia and older Marimekko designs can be found from flea markets and usually in a very reasonable prices. Especially Japanese seem to really love Finnish design and when visiting Finland they are totally after it – so act quickly or there might not be much left!

You might want to check the social media about street flea markets before arriving, but there are plenty of permanent flea markets in Helsinki area, here’s to name few:

 

Hietalahti flea market

Hietalahdentori, 00180 Helsinki

Located in Hietalahti market square. A classic, summertime outdoor flea market open 7 days a week, opening hours vary.

 

Jäähalli flea market

Nordenskiöldinkatu 11-13, 00250 Helsinki

Open saturdays and sundays from 9:30am to 1:30 pm, closed during summertime and if there’s other event at the ice rink

 

Lanttila

Porttikaari 2, 01200 Vantaa

Big indoor self-service flea market with clothes, old records, furniture, pretty much everything.. Located next to IKEA Vantaa – accessible from Helsinki centrum by bus number 734.

 

KABOOM! Self-service flea market

Aleksis Kiven katu 50, 00510 Helsinki

Runned by two flea market enthusiastics who wanted to bring something new to the “scene”. Closed on mondays.

There are of course plenty of other flea markets – and second hand shops around the city as well, most notorious of them called UFF (a second hand chain) – but I have to admit it’s not exactly my favourite, mostly because of the high prices.. The Finnish word for flea market is “Kirpputori“, so look around for it when exploring the city if you are looking for second hand stuff!

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Trying out urban exploration

Urban exploration has become rather popular, or at least, that’s what I hear all the time. I, too, got interested in it so during the past couple of days we have done some urban exploration sightseeing in our home city Vantaa as in Helsinki, too. I remember some abandoned places that I’ve visited when I was a kid but not many of the sites we have here in the capital area are familiar to me. Actually there was one quite near by where I live that I had not heard before – the Nissas estate. It dates back to early 20th century and it was burned down in 1930’s.

I have to say that I was a little disappointed when I saw the ruins – because the place had obviously been renovated! New roof, columns where painted and handrails had been installed. I don’t know what kind of plans the city has for the ruins but it seems like they wanted to make it more pretty – and maybe more safe as well.

I heard of another interesting place that is in Kartanonkoski, Vantaa. The area is very beautiful with rapids and nature around. Sadly, the abandoned mill wasn’t as abandoned anymore as we had thought it would be and we couldn’t get any closer look – some kind of renovations were taking place in there, too. It seems that someone has finally taking care of the property. This old mill in Kartanonkoski is located next to a busy road, so it’s not very hidden – maybe that’s the reason, why it didn’t stay abandoned.

There is one very strange yet beautiful place in Helsinki called Kruunuvuori. It’s not that hidden anymore as many people know already about it and I think the whole place is getting demolished sooner or later as new neighbourhood is being built right next to it – so now is the time to visit, before you miss it!

Villas in Kruunuvuori date back somewhere in the 19th/20th century I guess. Most of them served as summer houses for germans living in Helsinki. In the 1950’s a local businessman bought the villas, planning to build a new neighbourhood but the plans never worked out so the villas became deserted. Since then they’ve just stood there, alone, in the middle of the forest.

I have to say that Kruunuvuori is a very mysterious place yet somehow a little scary at the same time. Some of the buildings have gotten their part from vandalism and graffittis, and they serve as a secret party place for youngsters. I wouldn’t want to enter to any of the buildings though, as they were in a pretty bad shape.

Urban exploration sites are interesting and great for taking photos. There is just few things we should remember when visiting these kind of places – don’t break or take anything away. Leave the places as they were. Most of the old buildings aren’t very safe anymore, so it’s good to be careful and watch your step.

Some people like to keep the best hidden gems to themselves – which is good in a way, as the more untouched the places stay, the more mysterious and interesting they are. I think I’ll continue exploring, it’s a great way to have small adventures in your own hometown!

What do you think of urban exploration? Do you find visiting abandoned places or ruins interesting?

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Moving around in Helsinki

The northernmost metro station in the world – Mellunmäki station

Orange metro of Helsinki

Central Railway Station’s metro entrance

VR – Suomen Valtion Rautatiet (Finnish State Railways)

Glass ceiling at Helsinki railway station

Public transportation in Helsinki capital area is good. We have metro, buses, trams and commuter rail. During wintertime the public transportation might face some problems (usually if there is heavy snowfall), but other than that, I think it’s quite reliable. For visitors I recommend a day ticket costing 8 euros. A single ticket costs 2,50 euros (one zone), so if you are planning to use the public transportation many times during the day it will be cheaper to get the day ticket. Single tickets are also valid only for about an hour after purchase. Same ticket is valid in all five modes of transportation (bus, tram, metro, train and Suomenlinna ferry).

Explore other parts of the capital area too – for example you can take a bus to Tapiola, where Espoo Museum of Modern Art is located. Only in 15 minutes by metro from the center you can reach Itäkeskus, where is the largest shopping mall in Nordic countries. If you decide to stay in the center, try Spårakoff – it’s a tram converted into a bar! The pub tram in Helsinki has been claimed to be the only one of its kind in the world.

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