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Helpful Tips

Start planning your next trip to Finland with the helpful information below!

Airports

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There are 27 airports in Finland, five of which have regular international flight services. The main gateway is the Helsinki-Vantaa international airport. The northernmost airport is in Ivalo in Lapland, approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles) above the Arctic Circle.

Best Time to Travel

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It depends on what you’d like to experience: for plenty of snow and winter activities, December to March is the best time. For springtime sun and the revival of nature after the winter, April to May is the period. For long and warm summer days and plenty of events, opt for June, July and August. For autumn leaf color, visit in September-October.

Clothing

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In the summer, casual wear is perfect – light trousers, skirts, dressed, shorts, tee-shirts – but evenings can be cool, so it’s a good idea to have a light sweater and/or jacket.

If you are planning a winter visit, get a warm, padded winter jacket. Thermal underwear, a warm hat, thick socks and gloves help out a lot when temperatures drop below freezing.

If you have trouble finding winter gear where you come from, don’t worry – everything can be purchased in Finland. Warm clothing is included in guided safaris and other winter excursions.

In the autumn and spring, waterproof footwear comes in handy if you intend exploring the outdoors.

Currency

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The Finnish currency unit is the euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents In Helsinki foreign currency and travelers’ cheques can be exchanged in several currency exchange offices in the city center, including Forex in the Railway Station in Helsinki In smaller towns, banks may be the only exchange points. Hotels usually exchange small amounts, but it’s advisable to exchange money in your home country or at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Language

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Official languages are Finnish (spoken by 88.9%) and Swedish (5.3%). Sámi is the mother tongue of about 1,900 people, members of the indigenous Sámi people of northern Lapland.

Medical

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To contact the emergency services in any EU country from any phone, fixed or mobile, dial 112, free of charge. Information about health care available in Helsinki round the clock: tel. +358 (0)9 10 023.All hospitals have doctors on duty round the clock. In emergencies patients should be directed to a health center or hospital emergency unit. For details of dental services from 09.00 to 21.00, call tel. +358 (0)9 736 166. 24-hour emergency hospital treatment for foreigners with doctors on duty around the clock:

Helsinki University Central Hospital: Töölö

Hospital (serious accidents) Topeliuksenkatu 5, Helsinki tel. +358 (0)9 4711

Meilahti Hospital (medicine and surgery) Haartmaninkatu 4, Helsinki tel. +358 (0)9 4711

The telephone numbers in other towns are available at hotels.

Medicines are sold at pharmacies (Apteekki). Some pharmacies have late opening hours. In Helsinki, the pharmacy at Mannerheimintie 96, tel. +358 (0)300 – 20 200, has 24-hour service.

Tipping

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Tipping culture is almost non-existent in Finland, although it has become more common recently. Service charges are included in hotel room rates, restaurant and taxi prices, so tips are not expected, but can be given if you think the service has been especially good. A cloakroom fee of about 2 euros for restaurant doormen should be clearly indicated in the cloakroom area.

If you know that you have caused extra inconvenience for the room cleaner, it would be regarded as an appropriate to leave a tip. Receptionists should be tipped only by long-term guests at the hotel. Taxi drivers do not expect to get a tip, but customers often pay the nearest rounded up figure to the actual fare. Major credit cards are usually accepted in taxis, and in this case tipping in cash is practical.

Transportation

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Transport networks by air, rail, road and water are comprehensive and reliable. Finnish trains are spacious, comfortable and clean and the rail network stretches all over the country from Helsinki to Kolari in Lapland.

Trains are well-maintained and the scenery along the rails is beautiful, especially in Eastern Finland with its many lakes. For longer distances, traveling overnight in a sleeping car is recommended. Car carriers are also available. Kids will be happy to travel in the train’s play area. There are a plethora of charter and sightseeing cruises along local coastlines and inland waterways.

Several ferry lines operate cruises to the autonomous Finnish islands of Åland and countries by the Baltic Sea.

Finland’s coach route network is one of the most comprehensive in Europe covering more than 90 per cent of public roads. Finland has right-handed traffic with a polite and stress-free driving culture. There’s a good network of gas stations close to each other. Driving in Finland in the summer is a breeze, but can be tricky in the winter if you don’t have any experience. Roads get slippery and snow tires are legally required from December to February. Headlights must be used at all times. Motorists in Finland should remain alert for elk and reindeer which frequently wander onto roads and are most active at dusk.

Some of the car rentals operating in Finland: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Scandia Rent, Sixt

Almost all of Finland’s coastal and lakeside towns run boat services, as well as organized sightseeing and charter cruises. Lakeland and Archipelago cruises range from short expeditions to leisurely tours with cabin accommodation. Vessels vary from old-fashioned lake steamers to open-top motor cruisers ideal for sightseeing. While in Finland, popping to Russia is easy by train these days. The new Allegro takes passengers from Helsinki to St. Petersburg in only three hours. Don’t forget to have a valid Russian visa on your person.

Visa Info

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You need a valid national passport or other equivalent official document that satisfactorily establishes your identity and nationality. Citizens of US or Canada are not required a VISA.

Weather

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Climate: Great contrasts – cold winters and fairly warm summers (2014 extremes: coldest day in Utsjoki -40.7 C/-40.7 F, warmest day in Pori 32.8 C/91 F)

During the winter months, temperatures can drop as low as –35 degrees Celsius. Luckily, this is not the norm: regular winter temperatures fall somewhere between –5 and –15.

In the summer, it gets as hot as 30 degrees Celsius, sometimes even more. Normal summer temperature is a bit over 20 degrees. In Finland, it is common to have up to a 70 degree difference in temperature between January and July.

During January and February, there is almost always snow in northern and eastern Finland. Even if there’s little snow in Helsinki, there’s often up to a meter or more on the skiing slopes of Lapland. The snow season in northern Finland begins in November and lasts at least until April-May. In the inland regions of southern and central Finland, the first snow falls at the beginning of December and melts during March.