Practical information for visitors about Helsinki and Finland. Source: myhelsinki.fi
Currency and Payments
The local currency in Finland is Euro (EUR). All major credit cards are widely accepted in Finland.
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.
Banks are usually open on weekdays 10am - 4:30pm.
In addition to banks, there are several foreign currency exchange points available around the city centre. See for example:
You can connect your laptop or mobile phone to a wireless network in many places throughout the city centre e.g. in several cafes, restaurants and libraries.
For free WiFi, connect to "Helsinki City Open Wlan". There are plenty of hotspots available in the city centre and at harbours. Also most hotels offer their guests a free internet connection. For the international research and education community, it is also possible to use Eduroam service while in Helsinki.
Citizens of non-European countries are eligible for tax-free returns upon leaving EU territory. Purchases must be made in shops displaying the Tax Free Shopping sign. The minimum total sum of purchased goods must be €40.
Tipping is not expected in Finland and a service charge is added in hotels and restaurants. Finnish people do tip (max 10%) only if they wish to appreciate good service or delicious food. It is not obligatory to give a tip to the taxi drivers.
Climate and Weather
Helsinki's 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 Helsinki 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.
The winter begins in either November or December depending on the year. The temperature fluctuates either side of 0°C. The first snowfall makes the city look picture perfect. The average temperature between December and February is around -4°C. The coldest time of the year is usually at the end of January, when the mercury can fall to below -15°C and the ground is covered by snow. The sea usually freezes over in the heart of winter. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Helsinki was -34.3°C in 1987.
Spring arrives in Helsinki usually sometime in April. The days grow rapidly longer and warmer, attracting people to the city while the nature blossoms all around.
Average temperatures in Helsinki:
- Entire year: +5.9°C
- Warmest month: July +17.8°C
- Coldest month: February -4.7°C
For the latest weather forecast, see website en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Street signs in Helsinki are in both languages. English is widely spoken and most Finns also master one or two other foreign languages.
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.
The time zone in Helsinki is Eastern European Time (EET), 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
Post offices are open 9am - 6pm (some offices even until 8pm) from Monday to Friday. Yellow mail boxes are available for collections on weekdays.
Stamps can be purchased at post offices, bookstores, newsagents, kiosks and hotels.
Helsinki General Post Office is located at the centre of Helsinki, at Elielinaukio 2 F.
General Emergency number for police, ambulance and fire department is 112.
Pharmacy and Medical Care
There are a number of pharmacies around the city. Look for the sign "Apteekki", which means pharmacy in Finnish. Yliopiston Apteekki at Mannerheimintie 96 is open 24/7.
- Haartman Hospital, Haartmaninkatu 4, +358 (0)9 3106 3231. Open 24h.
- Terveystalo Kamppi, Jaakonkatu 3, +358 (0)30 6000. Open 24h.
- Mehiläinen Töölö, Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu 17 C, +358 (0)10 414 00.