Finnish banks are open from Monday to Friday Finns use less physical cash in their transactions than any other nation, but ATMs for cash withdrawal are fairly widespread and marked by the sign OTTO. Most major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard and EuroCard can be used for payment in most shops and restaurants. Thanks to EU rules, withdrawing euro from a cash machine costs you the same anywhere in the EU as it does in your own country from a cash machine that does not belong to your bank.
The transaction fee for making a debit or credit card payment in the EU in euro is the same as in your own country. Charges may of course differ between banks. On the basis of the Schengen agreement the border crossing to and from Norway and Sweden is possible anywhere along the border when exporting or importing only duty-free goods.
The Finnish-Russian border can only be crossed by road at the official points. See the links on the right side. Travellers entering from another EU country may import purchases exempt from tax without restrictions on quantity or value. Through the new EU legislation even the earlier restrictions regarding alcoholic beverages and tobacco products have ceased to apply. Furthermore, each Schengen State has decided which travel documents citizens of different third countries have to present upon entering the country.
Travellers planning a trip across the border to Russia must have a visa. Warm, waterproof boots are an advantage in the slushy southern autumns, while fur or other thick linings are a good idea whenever the temperatures fall below minus ten Celsius. Thick, padded jackets are likewise fairly indispensable wherever you happen to be in the winter, and truly essential in Lapland winters.
If you are planning to try some winter sports, you will be able to purchase the right specialist clothing and footwear when you arrive in Finland.
Staying dry is a priority in the sometimes stormy autumns, when Goretex and other waterproof materials come into their own. Visa Electron is also accepted in many shops and department stores. The Finnish currency unit is the euro EUR , divided into cents. See the link on the right side: Restaurants have no general requirements as to dress, although some up-market establishments may prefer men to wear jacket and tie. Restaurant closing hours vary from Night clubs are open until three or four in the morning.
A few dance restaurants and discotheques may charge an admission fee of between 1. Value added tax is added to invoices and normally included in the displayed total price for goods and products in Finnish shops and restaurants. The standard rate for VAT, the initials for which are ALV in Finnish, is 22 per cent, with a rate of 17 per cent for food and animal feed and 8 per cent for transport.
In Finland a person aged 20 can buy alcoholic drinks of any kind from an Alko store. People over 18 years of age and over can buy mild alcoholic drinks containing at most 22 per cent alcohol by volume, such as wines and beers.
The sale of wine and spirits to the unders is prohibited by law. Customers may be asked to show a passport, identification card or driving licence as proof of age. The retail sale of alcoholic beverages in Finland is a monopoly run along the same lines as in the other Nordic countries with the exception of Denmark. Retail sales of alcohol take place through the Alko stores. Medium beer is also sold in supermarkets and other stores.
Alko stores are open from Monday to Friday In Finland any person who has reached the age of 18 may buy alcoholic beverages in a restaurant. Restaurants serve beer from Service of alcohol ends half an hour before restaurant closing. Finland caters well for disabled people, and legislation ensures that this is the case. Public amenities and transport take relatively good account of people with mobility problems. Eighty per cent of the water in Finland is classed as being exceptionally clean.
Improved water protection has resulted in an improvement in the quality of the water emitted by both industry and municipalities.
The clearest indications of eutrophication can be found in the Gulf of Finland and in the archipelago. Bottled mineral water is available in shops and restaurants, but Finnish tap water is of the highest quality and can be consumed freely throughout the country. To contact the emergency services in any EU country from any phone, fixed or mobile, dial , free of charge.
Information about health care available in Helsinki round the clock: All hospitals have doctors on duty round the clock. In emergencies patients should be directed to a health centre or hospital emergency unit. For details of dental services from Hospital serious accidents Topeliuksenkatu 5, Helsinki tel.
Medicines are sold at pharmacies Apteekki. Some pharmacies have late opening hours. In Helsinki, the pharmacy at Mannerheimintie 96, tel. This gives you permission to roam freely, pick berries and mushrooms, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the forests, lakes and rivers. Just a few things to keep in mind. In smaller towns, banks may be the only exchange points.
Before leaving on a journey, travellers should find out about sickness insurance authorities in their own country and whether that country has concluded a social security agreement with Finland that covers health care during a temporary stay and, if so, what the procedure is for obtaining compensation. No vaccinations or inoculations are required before arrival.
Finnish pharmacies are well stocked with all the basic medicines, but note that some medicines that are available in stores and supermarkets in other countries — such as Aspirin and various ointments — are only available in pharmacies in Finland.
Finland is officially bilingual: About 1, people in Lapland speak Sami Lapp languages. Swedish-speaking Finns, of which there are about ,, are concentrated mainly along the coastlines of the south and the south-west archipelago and along the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia to the west. Since Finnish is the mother tongue of only about five million people in the world, the ability to speak foreign languages is essential for Finns.
This is an advantage to foreign visitors, because many Finns speak English, German or some other European language. Together with its close relative Estonian and distantly related Hungarian, it is a member of the Finno-Ugrian group of languages, spoken by only about 20 million people in total.
Finnish has a reputation for being a difficult language, with many declensions and long words. Open from Monday to Friday Elsewhere in the country, contact the local police station if your belongings go missing. Basic road and city maps are available in bookstores all over Finland. Good tourist maps of Helsinki are available from the dispenser in the concourse of the main Railway Station in the capital, and are also included in the Helsinki This Week listings guide, available for free in all hotels.
Town maps, excursion maps, road maps and routes, nautical charts etc. During the summer, mosquitoes are a nuisance in the countryside, especially in the north of Finland. In cities there are almost no mosquitoes. Finnish mosquitoes are a nuisance rather than a hazard, but you can protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and trousers, especially at dusk, and using mosquito repellent, which is available in shops and at kiosks.
The pharmacies also sell cream for easing the effects of the bites. Stamps are available at post offices, book and paper shops, R-kiosks, stations, hotels. There are a dozen official holidays in Finland, 10 church holidays and only two other national holidays, May Day on May 1st, also known as Vappu, and Independence Day on December 6th. Finnish National Public Holidays. Numerous Finnish products such as food, hides, skins, leather, undressed and dressed fur, yarns, fabrics, footwear, furniture, toys, sports goods and drinks, are exported and are recognised for their consistently high quality.
Finland is well supplied with shops all the way from the industrial south to the most northern parts of Lapland. Alko Stores the only outlets for wines and spirits: Anyone permanently resident outside the EU and Norway can shop tax free in Finland, thus saving about 12 max.
The cheque, together with the goods purchased, should be presented at the point of departure. The refund will be paid in cash. Tax-free purchases must be taken out of Finland or the EU in unused condition. If the goods are carried out of the EU from any country other than Finland, Sweden, Norway or Denmark, the cheque must be stamped by the customs upon departure from the last EU country.
The cheque can also be cashed at Global Refund offices at all main airports. The sales tax of 23 per cent is then deducted. The standard rate for VAT, the initials for which are ALV in Finnish, is 23 per cent, with a rate of 13 per cent for food and animal feed and 9 per cent for transport. Taxis can be obtained by telephone see telephone directory under Taksi or from taxi ranks. The central taxi reservation number in Helsinki is Easy way to the airport, book and pay your ride in advance — Order Your Taxi.
Your hotel reservation staff will be able to provide you with local booking numbers. Yellow Taxis is an independent taxi service operating from and to Helsinki airport, telephone This service operates on a share basis. When the sign is lit the taxi is vacant, but taxis will often head for the nearest taxi rank before actually picking up passengers. Payment can be made using Finnish bank cards and major international credit cards as well as cash.
The fare rises gradually on a kilometre basis, as indicated by the meter, and depending on the number of passengers. Yellow Taxis from and to Helsinki airport operates on a share basis, and fares depend on the number of people in the car. At night fromMore...