Visa

You will not need a visa if you are a citizen of a Nordic country or EU Member State. Similarly, no visa is required if you are a citizen of a visa-free country and you have a valid passport or equivalent travel document. You can check the visa requirements and travel documents accepted by Finland here.

Time zone

Eastern European Time, UTC/GMT +2 hours

Check the current time here.

Weather and Climate

Helsinki has four distinct seasons. The warm humid summer contrasts sharply with the gloomy cold winter. The winter is usually frosty, but there are often temperate days. In spring (with an average temperature of +5), because of the proximity of the sea, chilly wind can bring nasty colds. In summer, even though the temperature is normally from +15 to +25 degrees, be ready for whatever comes – a torrential rain or a heat wave.

Business hours

Department stores and large supermarkets are usually open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Smaller stores and boutiques are generally open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Many stores close at 6 p.m. days before public holidays. On Finnish public holidays almost all stores are closed. Open air markets begin trading at 7 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and close at 2 p.m.

Language

Finland is officially a bilingual country with 6% of its population speaking Swedish. A number of Finns also speak German and French. English is commonly spoken in the country. The Finnish language is reputed to be a real challenge to a new learner, but don’t give up on mastering a couple of Finnish words – it’s an ego-booster for a Finn to hear a foreigner speak his language.

Currency

The euro is the official currency of Finland.

Emergency

Arranging travel insurance for your trip will save you a lot of nerves, time and money in case of an accident. For general emergencies, call 112. For medical problems, dial 09 310 10023.

Tips

Price tags include all taxes. Even the prices on restaurant menus cover service charge. So tips are not expected or required. There is no need to tip taxi drivers, either. But sure, you can tip as a way to show your appreciation for excellent service.