Finland, a member of the European Union since 1995, has about 5.5 million inhabitants and is one of the largest countries in Europe. Finland is a northern country of great beauty and has a distinctive cultural life. The capital is Helsinki. Two thirds of the surface area is covered by forest and there are nearly 200,000 lakes in Finland. The coastal archipelago with its labyrinthic waterways is unique. Finland has 35 wild and beautiful national parks covering 8170 square kilometres.
Climate combines characteristics of both a maritime and a continental climate. The proximity of the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic creates cold weather, while the Gulf Stream brings in warmer air. Summer in southern Finland is bright. Days are at their longest in the second half of June, when the sun stays above the horizon for 19 hours. The evenings grow cool towards the end of September, and the days grow noticeably shorter as winter approaches. The crisp air is spiced with the colours of the splendid autumn foliage.
For the latest weather forecast, see website http://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
The time zone in Finland is Eastern European Time (EET), 2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). During summer time UTC +3 (Eastern European Summer Time, EEST).
The currency in Finland is the Euro (EUR/€), divided in 100 cents. Please check the current exchange rates.
Foreign currency and travellers’ cheques can be exchanged in exchange offices located for example at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport, Helsinki Railway Station as well as in the centre of Helsinki. Banks are usually open on weekdays 10am–4:30pm.
For an ATM machine, look for the sign “OTTO”. These 24-hour cashpoint machines are widely available and accept the following international ATM and credit cards: Visa, Visa Electron, EuroCard, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and EC.
In addition to banks, there are several foreign currency exchange points available around the city centre. See for example:
- Forex: Stockmann Department Store or Central Railway Station, Helsinki
- Tavex: Fabianinkatu 12, Helsinki
Voltage: 220–240 Volts.
Electrical sockets (outlets) in Finland are one of the two European standard electrical socket types: ”Type C” Europlug and ”Type E/F” Schuko.
Arriving in Helsinki
Helsinki can be easily reached from almost anywhere in the world.
- By plane
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is situated 19 kilometres from the centre of Helsinki and can be reached by car in approximately 25 minutes. You can also take taxi, train, the Finnair city bus or a local bus to the Central Railway Station.
- By train
There are very functional train connections to Helsinki from all major towns in Finland as well as from Lapland. There is also a daily train service from St. Petersburg and Moscow. The Helsinki central railway station is a landmark itself.
HSL also provides a train connection between the airport and the Helsinki Central Railway Station. Tickets can be purchased from ticket machines.
- By bus
Buses from all around Finland arrive to the central bus station, from the largest cities approximately every hour.
- By ferry
There are daily ferry services to Helsinki from Estonia and Sweden, see e.g. Tallink Silja Line, Viking Line, Eckerö Line as well as from Germany by Finnlines. The ferry companies also offer a possibility to take a car with you. Helsinki can be reached by ferry also from Russia as well as from Poland.
From Helsinki Airport to City Centre
- Airport train: The train connection between Helsinki city center and Helsinki Airport takes about 30 minutes. There are two services: train I and train P. Schedules, ticket prices and routes are available at HSL website. At the airport you can buy a train ticket from the following spots: HSL ticket automates, Alepa Grocery Store, WH Smith, R-kioski, Tourist information or by using Hsl mobile ticket app.
* Please note that it is not possible to buy a ticket in the train.
- Buses to & from the airport: The timetables of other trains and buses in the Helsinki metropolitan area are available in the HSL Journey Planner.
HSL buses will drop off and pick up passengers only in front of T2 at Helsinki Airport.
- Taxi: Taxis representing the below agencies are located closest to terminals 1 and 2. Agency-specific price information is available in front of the terminals, on the information screens next to the taxi stands.
Other taxi agencies may also offer their services to Helsinki Airport’s passengers. Where the agency is not one of those specified above, the customer agrees on the price separately.
Useful Timetable Sites
Sites of Interest in Helsinki
Excavated directly into solid rock, the Temppeliaukio church is situated in the heart of Helsinki, at the end of Fredrikinkatu. The building is often used as a concert hall thanks to the extraordinary acoustics created by the rugged rock surface of the walls. As an altarpiece they use a crack in the rock wall. A spectacular atmosphere, unique architecture and excellent acoustics make the Rock Church one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki.
During the summer season (June-August) a guided tour on weekdays at 16:00 with no extra charge.
The normal entrance fee is 3 €. The tickets can be bought inside the church with most credit cards and cash. The tickets can also be bought from our cafe during June, July and August. With an advance ticket from our cafe or somewhere else you don’t have to queue in the ordinary ticket line and thus will have a quicker access to the church.
Linnanmäki is Finland’s oldest and most popular amusement park, located in the Alppila quarter of Helsinki. There are over 40 rides, many different games, as well as restaurants and cafés. The Main Gate is at Tivolikuja 1. It’s recommended that you use public transportation in order to avoid traffic jams.
The entrance to the park is free of charge.
Allas Sea Pool is a gardenlike oasis in the heart of Helsinki, next to the Market Square. There is a large pool area and magnificent saunas. There are three different saunas at Allas; women’s sauna, men’s sauna and a sauna for private events. The sauna for private events is also used as a mixed-gender sauna when there are no reservations.
In addition to swimming, bathing in the saunas and good food, Allas Sea Pool offers many options for wellness.
Löyly, an urban oasis occupying a stretch of beautiful Helsinki waterfront, offers a warm welcome and many delights for locals and visitors alike.
At Löyly, there are two different choices to enjoy sauna, public or private. Public saunas, a traditional smoke sauna and a wood-burning sauna, are open every day. After a good steam, when you feel like cooling off, both saunas offer direct access to outdoor seating area and the sea, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim, all year round.
Address: Harjutorinkatu 1
The only remaining traditional wood-fired public sauna in Helsinki! There is no need to reserve time for the sauna, towels can be rented and you can buy refreshments and snacks. At Kotiharju, there is room for 20–30 bathers on the uppermost benches where the heat and steam (löyly) are the best (and hottest).
Löyly means pouring some water on the hot stones – there is a water tap on the stove (kiuas). The old rule is that whoever sits in the hottest place gets to decide whether or not to make more löyly.
The sea and the archipelago are significant characteristics of Helsinki. There are about 300 islands in the Helsinki archipelago, so there are plenty of places to visit. The islands are close by and to reach most of them takes 5 to 15 minutes.
Several carriers offer the opportunity to reach the islands and to experience the archipelago. Ferry routes and timetables, as well as travel tickets, vary by operator.
Once in Finland, many delegates wish to explore the country, or the neighbouring countries more extensively. There are a variety of choices, for example visiting the Finnish Lapland, taking a cruise to the neighbouring cities of Stockholm, Tallinn or St. Petersburg or enjoying one of the summer festivals in Finland.
Travel App: Tripsteri
The travel app, Tripsteri, will enable visitors to find top attractions regardless of time and place. Tripsteri App provides the user with an overall view of important places to visit, introducing themed tours and allowing the user to customize tours to suit their individual needs. Free to the user, the app allows the visitor to tour for example tourist attractions and urban development sites, and to virtually visit the cities from any part of the world.
Guide available for both Espoo and Helsinki.
Neighboring Cities and Other Trips Options
The Estonian capital Tallinn is only 80 kilometres from Helsinki and is easy to reach by fast ferries in a couple of hours. There are excellent connections several times a day. The Old Town with its majestic Toompea Hill and the picturesque buildings are the greatest attraction of this old Hanse town.
A cruise on board in one of the luxury liners operating between Helsinki and Stockholm is an excellent way to combine a visit to the Swedish capital with a pleasant voyage at reasonable cost. The archipelago between Finland and Sweden is one of the most beautiful in the world. Ships sail several times daily between Finland and Sweden.
- Visiting Lapland
Lapland – land of the midnight sun and the northernmost part of Finland, is a different, exotic destination. A visit to Lapland’s forests and the vast mountain region, perhaps the last wilderness in Europe, is an unforgettable experience for every nature lover.
During the summer, nature speeds up. The buds burst forth, blossom and then explode into a million vibrant colors. And thanks to the Midnight Sun, the experience continues 24/7. This phenomenon is called the Nightless Night.
If you have just a couple of days, the fastest way to Lapland is by air with daily flight connections from Helsinki Airport. You can also use the convenient Finnish railway network www.vr.fi or rent a car.
- Finnish Lakes and Forests
Nuuksio in Espoo is one of the top nature attractions in Finland where you can experience the Finnish nature and the peaceful wilderness. In the National Park live dozens of endangered or near-threatened animals, plants and fungi species.
In Nuuksio, you can also visit Finnish Nature Centre Haltia. The exhibitions in Haltia let you explore all of Finland’s unique nature under one roof. In Haltia you will also find a restaurant and café.
- Old Wooden Town of Porvoo
The city’s town plan is from the Middle Ages, the low small houses, picturesque yards and narrow streets form a historically unique wooden town milieu. The symbols of Porvoo – the red warehouses on the riverbanks – tell the story of seafaring and trading.
- Fiskars Village
Fiskars is a beautiful old ironworks village where you will find exquisite design, great food and idyllic cafés. Fiskars is a quaint and historical ironworks village that has become a lively community of artists, designers and craftsmen. In recent years the village has also become home to several microbreweries and fine restaurants. Founded in the 17th century, the Fiskars ironworks is a popular destination for daytrips where visitors can enjoy exhibitions, boutiques and cafés. Fiskars stands out from more touristy attractions by its high-quality and ambitious products and design.
See www.fiskarsvillage.fi for more information.
- World Heritage site Suomenlinna Fortress
Suomenlinna is a cultural treasure. Its construction began in the mid-18th century, when Finland was still part of Sweden. Today, the fortress and its museums, restaurants and events are a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.
Suomenlinna is accessible only by water. The ferry departs from the east side of the Market Square, opposite the Presidential Palace. The trip to Suomenlinna takes 15–20 minutes and offers magnificent views of Helsinki and the surroundings from the sea.
The ferry is part of the city transport network and all HSL tickets are accepted.
For more information https://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/.