A while ago, I got to visit Finland for the very first time on a press trip with Iittala. The main focus of our trip was our visit to the glass blowing factory to see where the wonderful items were being made, but more about that fascinating process later. Despite the fact that it was a pretty short visit, I got to see enough of Helsinki to share a few favorite spots!
See & Shop
I loved that almost everything in Helsinki was kind of #accidentallywesanderson, so the first thing i’d advise you is to walk around. A lot. Look up at the candy coloured houses, spot the curly details, walk the charming streets. Apart from that these were the spots I really liked:
*EMMA – this museum is located in Espoo, a little outside the Helsinki city centre. I found it a beautiful trip as you drive past the water. EMMA is located in the Weegee house, a former printing house, and is the home to a beautiful permanent collection. We mostly visited the Tapio Wirkkala & Rut Bryk exposition, a husband and wife duo I admittedly knew little about before my visit. Rut Bryk was a ceramist who used a lot of colour, Tapio Wirkkala a designer and sculptor who you might know because he designed Iittala’s Ultima Thule collection. I was super impressed by his wooden sculptures.
*Iittala & Arabia design centre – The centre is located in the former Arabia factory, the brand that became a household name for ceramics in Finish homes since its start in the 19th century. Here you can find a big store that sells both brands (there are more shops on the ground floor of the building), and a small museum that has been opened on the top floor displaying the most Iconic pieces from Iittala and Arabia.
*Design Museum – During our stay we had the pleasure of visiting the Timo Sarpaneva exhibition after hours. I was unfamiliar with the work of this graphic designer and artist, but he is the one who designed Iittala’s logo (designed to resemble a glassblower). Sarpaneva designed everyday objects and sculptures, often in glass but also in wood, porcelain and metal.
*Beam – Designer store with a lovely selection from brands like Cult Gaia, A.P.C., Acne Studios, etc… Perfect if you want to do some shopping!
*Lilla Roberts – I didn’t stay at this beautiful art deco hotel but stuck my head in to see what it was like, and it looked lovely. Would definitely consider it for my next stay due to its beautiful interior and excellent location.
Eat & Drink
*Savoy – Interior wise, this was one of the highlights of the trip for me! The Savoy dates all the way back to 1937 and has since lost nothing of its old world glory. The interior was designed by design icons Alvar and Aino Aalto, and they were very thorough about it, designing everything from the light fixtures to the birch veneer walls and ceilings. This was the space the famous Aalto Vase was designed for!
*Bier Bier – not just for beer, great for moody pub vibes. We enjoyed a laid back drink here before dinner, and needless to say I really liked their moody walls.
*Yes Yes Yes – A vegetarian restaurant located in a former McDonalds, ha! We didn’t have the time to visit this place but my jaw kinda dropped when we drove past it. Definitely on my to visit list for the next time I’m in Helsinki.
*Krog Roba – Same goes for Krog Roba, a rather goodlooking restaurant in the previously mentioned Lilla Roberts hotel.
Looking for more foodie tips? This article has you covered.
Are you ready to visit Helsinki yet? Because I sure can’t wait to go back!