Helsinki and Espoo’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 & Espoo is bright. Days are at their longest in the second half of June when the sun stays above the horizon for 19 hours. For the latest weather forecast:
Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Street signs in Helsinki & Espoo are in both languages. English is widely spoken and most Finns also master one or two other foreign languages.
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, EC and plus.
Banks are usually open on weekdays from 10:00 to16:30 and at the airport every day from 06:00 to 19:30 (until 23.00 in the transit area).
All major credit cards are widely accepted in Finland.
The local currency in Finland is Euro (EUR). In addition to banks, there are several foreign currency exchange points available around the city center, e.g. Forex: Stockmann Department Store or Central Railway Station, www.forex.fi
Tavex: Fabianinkatu 12 or
Helsinki and Espoo have thousands of restaurants where you will find everything from gourmet delights to bistro treats. In recent years the “New Nordic Cuisine” has taken over the scene. Dinner is normally eaten around 19–20:00 and restaurants close at 23–24:00.
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 General Emergency number for police, ambulance, and the fire department is 112.
Helsinki Police, Lost Property,
Suomen Löytötavarapiste, Kamppi Centre,
Emergency duty: Haartman Hospital, Haartmaninkatu 4,
+358 (0)9 3106 3231. Open 24h.
Medical care: Terveystalo Kamppi, Jaakonkatu 3, +358 (0)30 6000.
Medical care: Mehiläinen Töölö,
Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu 17 C,
+358 (0)10 414 00.
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.
Post offices are open from 9:00 to18:00 (some offices are open until 20:00) from Monday to Friday. Yellow mailboxes are available for collections on weekdays. Stamps can be purchased at post offices, bookstores, newsagents, kiosks, and hotels. Helsinki General Post Office, Elielinaukio 2 F.
The Finnish law, in accordance with regulations in force in the majority of European countries, does not allow smoking in public areas like hotels, restaurants, bars, discos, shops, offices and in public transportation unless there is a designated smoking area.
According to UNESCO’s World Water Development Report, the water in Finland is the cleanest in the world. So, it is safe to drink tap water in Finland.
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.
The time zone in Helsinki is Eastern European Time (EET), 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
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.
For free WiFi, you can connect to “Helsinki City Open Wlan”. There are plenty of hotspots available in the city center and at harbors. You can also connect your laptop or mobile phone to a wireless network in many places throughout the city center e.g. in several cafes, restaurants, and libraries. In addition, most hotels offer their guests a free internet connection. For the international research and education community, it is possible to use the Eduroam service while in Helsinki. At the airport connect to HEL Free Wifi.
Free tourism information about the city, sights, events, and services including a wide range of brochures and maps all year round:
Helsinki Tourist Information
Central Railway Station, Kaivokatu 1
On top of this, you can check the inspirational MyHelsinki and VisitEspoo sites for more information: