Bohemian Helsinki – Kallio

Last Updated on 27/12/2023 by kami

I remember very clearly my first night in Finland. I was about to spend 5 months in this totally strange country, it was cold and dark and I was slightly frightened. But I thought the best way to start my Finnish adventure would be to spend the first night there with someone local. And so me, two of my uni mates and way too many pieces of our luggage ended up in a tiny flat in Kallio. Our host, Mikko, was a really laid-back and easy-going guy and we stayed friends ever since.


To my great surprise when I was looking for bohemian parts of Helsinki (before my recent daytrip there) Kallio came up. This area has been always the home to the working class and, as it usually is, due to the cheaper rent prices soon students and artists started to move in. Kallio is separated from the downtown Helsinki by the Pitkasilta bridge that is the symbol border of these two worlds, so close yet so far away from each other.


After meeting my dear Finnish friend Johannes in Helsinki’s train station we quickly caught the subway and shortly after we found ourselves in the heart of Kallio. We started our journey through this bohemian district in Hakaniemi – a century-old market hall that offers literally everything! From souvenirs shops to homemade food, from Marimekko designs to “all you need at home” stand, from second hand books to trendy clothes. Even a Polish shop full of goodies from my homecountry is there! And all of that in the laid-back atmosphere. Hakaniemi must be the best place to grab a lunch or sit down for a coffee and observe the busy market around.


But Hakaniemi isn’t the only place to enjoy the delicious coffee in Kallio. With Finns being the nation that consume the biggest amounts of coffee (did you know that?) the neighborhood is full of the cosy little cafes. These are usually surrounded by trendy boutiques, hip bars, quirky shops or sex shops / striptease places. After walking around Kallio me and Johannes ended up in a small yet wonderful cafe that happened to be just down the road from where I stayed on my first night in Finland! What a small world!



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If you are interested in street fashion you surely know the blog Hel-looks with pictures of wonderfully dressed people, each of them being a strong individuality. When walking around in Kallio I sort of felt like I stepped into the world of that blog as I was constantly surrounded by such trendy bunch! The artsy, bohemian vibe of the place was literally in the air and I enjoyed it so very much! I just wish I could have spent more time in Kallio and explore it better as I’m sure there were quirky little shops and bohemian cafes / hip bars waiting for me on every corner! If I had happened to live in Helsinki that would have been the place you’d find me in!


Do you like bohemian neighborhoods too?


kallio pin (1)       kallio pin (2)

If you think of visiting Finland or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!

love, kami 2

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