The Moomins, a captivating series of characters brewed up in the brilliant mind of Finnish author Tove Jansson, have become a heartwarming childhood memory for people all over the world.
These adorable hippo-like troll creatures and their friends, originally introduced in the late 1940s through Jansson’s children’s books, have since evolved into a global phenomenon, finding a special place not just in children’s hearts, but in adults’ too.
That’s because Jansson’s stories often weave themes of love, friendship, and exploration, but they also delve into profound questions of existence and identity.
The Swedish-speaking Finnish author and illustrator was brought up by artistic parents and went on to study art in Stockholm, Helsinki, and Paris. The family spent many summers on an island near Porvoo, which is believed to have inspired much of Jansson’s work.
With slightly dark undertones and a slow pace of storytelling, the stories aren’t for everyone. But for those who do hold a cherished memory of the Moomins, there’s no better place to dig into the details than in Finland.
The forested, lake-filled landscapes and unique elements of Finnish culture form the backdrop of these tales. From a theme park to an art-focused museum, Finland is the ultimate travel destination for all Moomin fans.
The Moomins in Helsinki
While the biggest Moomin attractions are elsewhere in the country, Helsinki is the arrival point for almost all international visitors. As such, Finland’s vibrant capital serves as a gateway to the Moomin universe, and a great opportunity to pick up a Moomin souvenir or two.
Begin your adventure by tracing the footsteps of Tove Jansson herself. The Tove Jansson Trail takes you on a tour of places that held significance in her life, while also giving you a panoramic view of Helsinki.
With an enlightening exhibit dedicated to Tove Jansson, Helsinki Art Museum is a must-visit. Housed in the city’s historic tennis palace, the museum offers glimpses of Jansson’s original frescoes and murals, with delightful hidden Moomin figures beckoning from the corners.
Finally, just around the corner from the iconic cathedral, the original Moomin Cafe is the perfect place for a breather. With artistic Moomin designs frothed onto your coffee and Moomin literature available in multiple languages, it’s a haven for fans. Just be warned, children are a priority here, so silence cannot be expected!
A Moomin boat trip
For those who want to delve deeper into the heart of Moomin landscapes, a boat trip to Söderskär lighthouse from Helsinki is the answer.
Some Moomin aficionados believe this lighthouse inspired the one in Moominpappa at Sea. Whether or not that’s true, the environment captures the essence of the Moomin world. Daily boat trips are available from Helsinki throughout the summer.
Moomin World, Naantali
A short trip from Turku transports you to the magical island of Naantali. Moomin World is the place in Finland where fans can interact with life-sized Moomin characters, partake in theatrical plays, and even sail aboard Moominpappa’s boat.
The sheer simplicity and charm of Moomin World makes it an unforgettable experience. While in Naantali, explore its scenic old town, traditional wooden houses, and delightful marina.
Be sure to plan your trip carefully, as the park is a summer-only attraction and accommodation in the nearby area is limited. It’s cheaper to book online, and cheaper still to book a 2-day ticket. Parking can also be booked in advance, and includes a bus trip to Naantali old town.
The Moomin Museum, Tampere
Venturing further into the Finnish mainland, Tampere hosts the unparalleled Moomin Museum. Home to over 2,000 original artworks by Tove Jansson, this place is a deep dive into the enchanting world of the Moomins and their creator.
Regular exhibitions, like the one showcasing the evolution of Moomin animation, make it a must-visit. Located within the Tampere Hall exhibition center, the museum is open daily except for Mondays.
While in Tampere, immerse yourself in its vibrant cultural scene, and explore its modern art installations and historic factory buildings.
The Moomin brand is big business in Finland. Stylish mugs from Finnish ceramics company Arabia make ideal momentos or gifts, but you can find plenty of other good quality merchandise too.
If you forget to buy something at the park or museum, or have a change of heart, Helsinki Airport hosts a Moomin store to give you one last chance. Perhaps you’ll even be lucky enough to fly on one of Finnair’s two long-haul aircraft that feature Moomin livery.