Country: Finland
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Peak Season: June - August
Shoulder Season: April – May, September - October
Median Temperature: 25.00 C / 77 F
Main Languages: English, Finnish, Swedish
Primary Modes of Transportation: Train, car, bus, boat
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $150.00/day
Tourist Passes: n/a
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If you happen to be around Scandanavia, then Helsinki is the place to be. Founded in the 15th Century at the crossroads of mighty nations, it has been the capital of an independent Finland since the eighteen-hundreds. It was closely modeled with St. Petersburg in Russia and Stockholm in Sweden, thus you can expect the same awe inspiring scenery during your stay here. In recent years, Helsinki has earned a spot as the world’s second safest city to live in, making travel arrangements go smoothly. Residents and tourists alike can enjoy the outdoors due to very low crime rates and untoward incidents pointing mainly at vehicular accidents while driving in heavy snow. The best time to book a trip here would be in summertime as the climate is not in the extremes.

Geographically, the city is located in the region of Uusimaa in Southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. It is located 400 kilometers east of Stockholm, 300 kilometers west of St. Petersburg and 80 kilometers north of Tallinn, Estonia. The nearby city of Vantaa is the location of the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport which caters to various destinations in Europe and Asia making the Metropolitan ever more accessible to the globe.

Helsinki is Finland’s major political center being the capital and the largest city. The standards of education, finance and culture are at par with international standards. Considering that a beautiful countryside awaits and a safe abode in the urban center, one would have thoughts of moving here and enjoy a piece of paradise on earth.

Packing List

  • Dress for the weather with down coats, hats, gloves, and long johns. For safety purposes, wear waterproof and non-slip boots when going out. It tends to snow constantly so this is definitely a must
  • Travel light if you intend to go sightseeing around the metropolis. A light hand carry or shoulder bag should suffice for your camera and purse and other necessities
  • If you wish to travel a lot around, it is highly recommended that you bring some mosquito repellant as well
  • Essential medication and toiletries, particularly Immodium or Pepto Bismol to handle an upset stomach; the low humidity can leave your skin dried and lips chafed, so bring moisturizers
  • A decent camera, film/memory and batteries; if you prefer panoramic photography, bring some good zoom lenses and ask for permission from proprietors and authorities before shooting

Things to Do

  • Visit the Nuuksio National Park, 25 kilometers from the city proper. It is accessible by bus and the immersion is great for nature lovers and scenery enthusiasts alike. Mornings are also well spent at this venue
  • If you opt to go to Helsinki in summertime, you should go visit Hietaniemi Beach. It is just a 20 minute walk from the city center and is readily accessible by tram.
  • A visit to Helsinki is not complete without a photo op in front of the Alexander II Monument and the Lutheran Cathedral
  • Take advantage of the free pamphlets and brochures at the Helsinki Information office. You can also purchase a map there if you really want to get around and explore to your heart’s content
  • The club scene is very lively in this neighborhood as evidenced by an abundance of pubs, and sports bars around town. Be sure to drop by the Arctic Icebar for a whole new experience. Also, be sure to bring some ID’s in your wallet just in case the need arises

DON'T

  • As with many EU member nations, the importation of prohibited drugs carries a penalty of imprisonment
  • Although Helsinki may be second on the list of the world’s safest cities, do not discount the fact that there are still those that may take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. Always keep your valuables safe and within sight or reach
  • Stay out in the cold for too long. Also, bring an umbrella with you just in case the weather would be less sunny
  • Leave for the Rural areas without some water and a flashlight. You may have to wait a little longer for assistance to come if any untoward incident comes your way
  • Use brine or rock salt to try and melt the ice outdoors. The use of brine to melt away the ice has raised environmental concern in recent times