Helsinki Festivals

Photograph: Flow Festival

Festivals in Helsinki

Narrow the Helsinki Festivals selection below using the intiutive search box to the right. It works a treat. Bon voyage!

Art Goes Kapakka

Art Goes Kapakka

Part of the Helsinki Festival, Art Goes Kapakka takes performance art to the bars, restaurants and cafes of the capital. For ten days and nights each August, expect the unexpected from impromptu choir performances to burlesque shows and everything in between. Grab some mates a plot a route over a night or two after downloading a map of the participating venues from the Art Goes Kapakka website. Kippis!

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Europe Finland Helsinki Performing Arts Festivals Art Festivals August
Flow Festival

Flow Festival

For five days each and every August join the beautiful people at Helsinki's world-class, Flow Festival. Set at the site of a disused former power plant close to the Helsinki city centre, since 1997, Flow has been providing revellers with an eclectic mix of up-and-comers and big names in rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, soul, funk and world music sourced from Finland, Europe and beyond. Flow has achieved that rare mix of size — there's always someone on a stage — whilst retaining a wonderful sense of intimacy. There's a great range of food, some creative nooks and crannies where you can re-energise and the bars are plentiful. If you get a chance to hit Helsinki in August you'll rarely be disappointed, time that visit with Flow and you'll leave positively aglow.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Rock Festivals Indie Rock Festivals Popular Music Festivals August
Helsinki Book Fair

Helsinki Book Fair

Lovers of literature rejoice. Each October as autumn descends on the Finnish capital, the country's premier literary event — the Helsinki Book Fair — opens its doors for four event-packed days. Over 200 exhibitors from publishers to antiquarian book dealers pack Helsinki's Messukeskus in an event that caters for all age groups and book-loving genres. If that's not enough, more than 1,000 performers will take to the Fair's stages to discuss all manner of literary and current affairs topics. It's a great opportunity to stock up on a little winter reading as many of the exhibitors offer up their products at a discount to usual shelf prices. But here's the kicker. Each year the Book Fair is held simultaneously with the Antiquarian Book Fair, the Helsinki Music Fair and the Wine, Food and Good Living event.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Book Fairs October
Helsinki Christmas Markets

Helsinki Christmas Markets

By December, the north's dark canvas of winter has descended upon Helsinki. The distant sun pokes it head above the horizon at about 10am, hangs around for a spell, before dipping again by 4pm. When there's a sprinkling of snow on the ground and you're wrapped up in your warm winter gear, it's a great time to wander the stalls of Helsinki's Christmas Markets. Large outdoor candles burn and there's the smell of cinnamon and wood smoke in the air. Meander through the Christmas stalls in Heslinki's Senate Square and you'll come across a wide variety of beautiful handicrafts, delicious baked goods and other uniquely Finnish Christmas gifts and delicacies. Those more energetic souls can head to the Railway Square and pop on the ice skates for a few laps. Hungry? Chow down on some hot salmon soup served with crusty bread and finish it off with some freshly baked pulla. But to really warm the insides, try glögi, Finland's delicious take on warm winter wine, at its best when served with almonds and raisins. Ho ho ho indeed.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Christmas Markets Christmas December
Helsinki City Marathon

Helsinki City Marathon

Join the lycra-clad throng as they take to the roads of Helsinki for the annual Helsinki City Marathon. Almost half the course follows the city's picturesque shoreline and during August the weather is almost always on song. Feel like a champ if you've finished first or five thousandth as you cross the finish line in Helsinki's historic Olympic Stadium — home of the 1952 games. And if running's not your thing, pack a picnic, pick a vantage and cheer the runners along.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Marathons, Triathlons and Fun Runs August
Helsinki Coffee Festival

Helsinki Coffee Festival

Master baristas and thousands of connoisseurs of the sacred bean head for Europe's capital of cool for three days each April, for the annual Helsinki Coffee Festival. Setting up shop in Ruoholahti's iconic Cable Factory, the Helsinki Coffee Festival showcases the aromatic offerings of roasteries from around the world. Rub shoulders with coffee experts and learn how to make the perfect cuppa at home, as top DJs provide the backing beat and an excuse for energetically tapping your toes.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Coffee Festivals April
Helsinki Design Week

Helsinki Design Week

Even prior to receiving its World Design Capital status in 2012, Helsinki has long enjoyed a reputation as an international centre for design. And for 11 days each September, design once again takes centre stage in the capital during the annual Helsinki Design Week. Design-themed events take place at numerous venues across the city and include workshops, exhibitions, fashion shows, seminars and visits to studios.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Design Festivals September
Helsinki Documentary Film Festival (DocPoint)

Helsinki Documentary Film Festival (DocPoint)

The Helsinki Documentary Film Festival — Docpoint to its friends — is one of the largest documentary film festivals in Scandinavia, offering both a national and an international selection of the finest new documentary releases, celebrated documentary classics, and a range of documentary films for children. In addition to screenings, DocPoint also features a collection of seminars, lectures, workshops and masterclasses.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Documentary Film Festivals Film Festivals January
Helsinki International Film Festival

Helsinki International Film Festival

The aim of Finland's biggest film festival is to promote the artistry of filmmaking alongside inventive, controversial and visually stunning new films. The festival also seeks to screen films that would otherwise not be seen in Finnish theatres. Since it's humble beginnings in 1988, the Helsinki International Film Festival — locally known as Love and Anarchy — has expanded from two theatres to 12 screens and established itself as an 11-day homage to cinema. Today's programme consists of in the region of 180 feature films and 80 short films and attracts more than 50,000 visitors.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Film Festivals Short Film Festivals September
Lux Helsinki

Lux Helsinki

It's all about the light. And if you've ever visited Helsinki in the midst of a northern winter, you'll understand. For five days come January many of the architectural icons of Helsinki become a canvas as a series of breathtaking installations light up a route around the city centre. Rug up and do the rounds, there's a surreal beauty in experiencing Helsinki when it's snow-covered and lit up so spectacularly.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Light Festivals Family Festivals January
Saint Lucia's Day

Saint Lucia's Day

Annually on the 13th December, residents of Helsinki rug up and and take to the streets around the capital's Senate Square for a procession that venerates Saint Lucia. The tradition of Saint Lucia's Day is based on the legend of the virgin-martyr who was killed in Syracuse, Sicily during the persecutions of the Christians in 304 AD. Saint Lucia's Day is celebrated predominantly in Italy and amongst the Scandinavian nations, where it is tied in with raising money for charity. The Helsinki procession begins when a white-clad figure with a crown of candles, representing Lucia emerges from the Helsinki Cathedral. She then leads a procession including singers and Santa Claus through the streets of the capital.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Religious Events Street Parades December
Vappu (Helsinki)

Vappu (Helsinki)

The end of April marks a very special time on the Finnish calendar; the beginning of Spring. Ask just about any Finn you care to meet what that means to them and they'll give you a one-word answer, Vappu! Vappu is the closest thing you'll find to Carnival in this part of the world, an unrivalled, two-day Finnish celebration held the length and breadth of the country. It brings out the Finns in droves. To many in the know, it's Europe's best kept party secret. Helsinki's Vappu celebrations congregate around Esplanadi and the Havis Amanda statue on 30th April (although the whole city is in party mode). On May 1st, celebrations move up the road to a city park, Kaivopuisto where things take on an ever-so-slightly more sedate tone.

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Europe Finland Helsinki National Festivals Street Parties May
World Village Festival

World Village Festival

Over a weekend each May the World Village Festival sets up camp in Helsinki's Kaisaniemi Park and Railway Square. There's a number of stages featuring an eclectic mix of world, pop, reggae, soul, jazz and folk music. It's a great weekend for all of the family (especially if the late Spring weather's on song) and best of all, it's free.

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Europe Finland Helsinki World Music Festivals Multicultural Festivals African Music and Dance Festivals May

Helsinki Festivals on the Map