Travel guide to Finland

» Finland
Finland is called the 'Land of the Thousand Lakes', but it is also the land of the great woods and the land of the saunas. Finland is the land where you can hike, sail, and watch the midnight sun dance in the summer - and alternatively ski in the winter. Finland has many holiday activities to offer, and if you are not interested in the natural beauty, you can always relax in one of the many beautiful cities of this amazing landscape.

Facts

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Local name
Suomen Tasavalta
Capital
Helsinki (532,053)
Size
338,000 km2
Principal Languages
Finnish
Principal Religion
Lutheran and Orthodox
Inhabitants
5,000,000
Government
Republic
Geography
Finland is commonly known as the Land of the Thousand Lakes, and 187,888 lakes cover as much as 33,522 km2 of Finland, all in all. Mountains and woods make up the central part of the country, while the eastern part of Finland consists of rich plains. Even though the country is very big, only about 5 million people inhabit it.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

You get the best out of travelling in Finland if you visit during the warm months of summer, which lasts till September. If your travel plans include Lapland, it is recommended that you go in the month of September in order to avoid the mosquito swarms. If you are planning on spending your holiday on the ski runs of Finland the best time to go is between January and March, while Lapland offers the best ski conditions in the months after that due to the lack of sun light in the early winter season. In the summertime, the sun is in the sky practically 24 hours a day, while it is very dark in the winter. It is during the winter that it is possible to experience aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights.

Literature

Lonely Planet Finland

Local conditions

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Currency

Markka (Finnmark, FIM)

Net cafes

There are Internet cafés situated in all the larger cities of the country.

In case of emergency

In case of emergency call the following number: Police, ambulance, and fire department (112).

Tipping

Generally it is not expected of you to tip in Finland, but it is a good idea to add a little extra to the bill in order to show gratitude for a dinner well served at a restaurant.

Timezone

When the time is 12:00 p.m. in England, it is 13:00 p.m. in Finland.

Weight and Measures

In Finland the following measure and weight units are standard: Length: metres Weight: kilos

Photography

Show ordinary decency and always ask for permission before taking a picture.

Drinking water

It is safe to drink the tap water in Finland.

Electricity

In Finland, the following power sources are standard: 230V AC, 50 Hz.

Behaviour

Common politeness and respect for the locals will get you far in Finland.

Business Hours

The banks are open between 09:00 a.m. and 16:15 p.m. (Monday - Friday). The stores are open between 09:00 a.m. and 17:00 p.m. (Monday - Friday) and between 09:00 a.m. and 14:00 p.m. (Saturday). The supermarkets are mostly open until 20:00 p.m.

Food and drink

The flesh of unfortunate raindeer and moose are a part of the Finnish national cuisine. Apart from this fresh-water fish from the countless Finnish lakes are pulled out and displayed on the menus of Finnish restaurants. Beverages worth mentioning include Finnish beer together with a vide variety of domestic liquors and vodkas.

Holidays

New Years Day, 1st January Twelfth Night, 6th December Labor Day, 1st May Independence Day, 6th December Christmas, 25th and 26th December

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

There are almost 400 camping sites in Finland and they are generally of very high standards. The sites are mostly situated near populated areas and they are accessible by road or water. The camping sites are open from May to September (in the northern part of Finland the season is a little shorter). In order to contact the Finnish camping organization, send your e-mail to: camping@matka.pp.fi If one wishes to spend the night in privacy, Finland has the so called "rule of common property" which gives every person the right to camp wherever that person might choose as long as neither nature nor people are disturbed thereby.

Hotels

The hotels in Finland are divided into three different price categories and the most expensive ones are situated in Helsinki and Lapland. Several of the Finnish hotels can provide its guests with sauna facilities and in most cases also a swimming pool. In the summer season many college housing facilities are turned into hotels.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

Finland has a number of private Bed & Breakfast accommodations throughout the country. Children under the age of four can stay free of charge, while children between four and eleven years of age are charged half price. The rooms are either within the private residence of the owners or in small cottages on the premises.

Hostels

The Finnish hostels are rated by up to four stars and in most places it is possible to rent bicycles and canoes through the hostel agencies.

Other Accommodation

It has become a widespread phenomenon to spend the holidays on a farm in Finland. Information on this can be obtained by contacting the tourist information. There are also a number of youth hostels in Finland, but most of them are only open during the summer due to the fact that they function as housing for students outside of the season.

Local transport

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Planes

There are 23 airports in Finland and the airline company "Finnair" connects the different parts of the country through numerous domestic flights.

Bus

Important modes of conveyance covering most of Finland are the bus lines where a discount is allowed for students and senior citizens. Contact the tourist information for information on discounts and timetables.

Trains

Finland has an excellent railway system, which in addition is reasonably inexpensive. High-speed trains have been put in on several stretches. Children under six years of age travel for free and half-price tickets are available for children under 16.

Taxi

It is possible to hail a taxi in more or less every city or town in Finland. Tipping is not normal procedure, but the fare increases during nights and weekends.

Car rental

It is possible to rent a car in most of the cities in Finland. Usually, it is demanded that the person who drives the car have at least one year of driving experience.

Find your travel arrangement to Finland here

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