FINLAND

FINLAND

FINLAND

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TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Suomenlinna
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Suomenlinna, is an inhabited sea fortress built on six islands and which now forms part of the city of Helsinki.

Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular with tourists and locals, who enjoy it as a picturesque picnic site. Originally named Sveaborg , or Viapori as called by Finnish-speaking Finns, it was renamed in Finnish to Suomenlinna (Castle of Finland) in 1918 for patriotic and nationalistic reasons, though it is still known by its original name in Sweden and by Swedish-speaking Finns.

The Swedish crown commenced the construction of the fortress in 1748 as protection against Russian expansionism. The general responsibility for the fortification work was given to Augustin Ehrensvärd. The original plan of the bastion fortress was strongly influenced by the ideas of Vauban, the foremost military engineer of the time, and the principles of star fort style of fortification, albeit adapted to a group of rocky islands. In the Finnish War the fortress surrendered to Russia on May 3, 1808, paving the way for the occupation of Finland by Russian forces in 1809.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suomenlinna
Name: Santa Claus Village
Location: Rovaniemi, Finland
Santa Claus Village is an amusement park in Rovaniemi in the Lapland region of Finland. It was opened in 1985. Santa Claus Village is located about 8 kilometres (5 mi) northeast of Rovaniemi and about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the Rovaniemi Airport. The first original home of Santa Claus was Korvatunturi, which remained mysterious. In 1985, Rovaniemi was declared as an official hometown of Santa Claus.

Arctic Circle: The Arctic Circle cuts right through Santa Claus Village. A white line denoting the Arctic Circle (at its position in 1865) is painted across the park. Santa's House of Snowmobiles: A museum about the history and evolution of snowmobiles in the Arctic areas.

Santa Claus's Office: A Santa Claus's Office is located inside the main building of the Village, for visitors to take photographs and chat with Santa Claus. Northern Lights: also known as Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are observed on around 150 nights in a year from mid-August till early April. The Arctic Garden and the top of Ounasvaara fell are the best destinations to witness Northern Lights.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus_Village
Name: Senate Square
Location: Helsinki, Finland
The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki, Finland.

Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki. Landmarks and famous buildings surrounding the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki, and Sederholm House, the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757. Today, the Senate Square is one of the main tourist attractions of Helsinki. Various art happenings, ranging from concerts to snow buildings to controversial snow board happenings, have been set up on the Senate Square.

A statue of Emperor Alexander II is located in the center of the square. The statue, erected in 1894, was built to commemorate his re-establishment of the Diet of Finland in 1863 as well as his initiation of several reforms that increased Finland's autonomy from Russia. The statue comprises Alexander on a pedestal surrounded by figures representing law, culture, and peasants.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsinki_Senate_Square
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO FINLAND.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Finnish / Swedish
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time zone: EET (UTC+2) / EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +358
Local / up-to-date weather in Helsinki (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Finland travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Finland, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO FINLAND.

Finland uses the euro, like several other European countries. One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

All banknotes and coins of this common currency are legal tender within all the countries, except that low-denomination coins (one and two cent) are phased out in some of them. The banknotes look the same across countries, while coins have a standard common design on one side and a national country-specific design on the other. The latter side is also used for different designs of commemorative coins. The design on the national side does not affect the use of the coin.

In cash transactions in Finland all sums are rounded to the nearest five cents. Thus one and two cent coins are seldom used (although legal tender) and the rare Finnish ones are collectors’ items. When paying with a card, the payment is honoured to the cent.

Prices are usually given without explicitly stating the currency. Cents are told after a comma, which is the decimal separator. Thus 5,50 means five euros and fifty cents, while 5,– means five euros. Notes of 100, 200 and 500 euro are not dispensed by ATMs and are rarely actually used. Prepare for a hassle if trying to pay with them. Buses and many types of smaller kiosks often do not accept them, local buses sometimes not even notes of 50 euro.

Currencies other than the euro are generally not accepted, although the Swedish krona may be accepted in Åland and northern border towns like Tornio (and Norwegian crowns likewise in the extreme north). As an exception, Stockmann accepts U.S. dollars, pound sterling, Swedish krona and Russian rubles. Also on the ferries from Sweden and Estonia many currencies may be accepted.

Most Finns use a chipped debit card (sirullinen pankkikortti or sirukortti) for their daily purchases. EMV contactless payment readers are becoming commonplace for purchases under €25. Credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, sometimes other cards) are widely accepted, but you will be asked for identification if you purchase more than €50 (and may be asked to show it even for smaller purchases). Visa Electron and Visa Debit card readers are found in all major and most minor shops, so carrying large amounts of cash is not usually necessary. For open air markets, small accommodation businesses, for buying handicraft at the workshop and similar, have cash (käteinen) or check in advance. A sign reading “Vain käteinen” means “Cash only”. Many Finns use a card nowadays, even for small purchases, and the use of cash is rapidly decreasing. Using a foreign card might become an issue if you are not using chip-based card. Many vendors require PIN. Don’t get annoyed if Finns pay small €1–5 amounts using cards, even when there is a long queue behind. Cheques are never used.

BY PLANE:

Flights are the fastest but traditionally also the most expensive way of getting around. The new low-cost airliners however provide prices even half of the train prices in the routes between north and south. In some cases it may even be cheaper to fly via Riga than take a train. Finnair and some smaller airlines still operate regional flights from Helsinki to places all over the country, including Kuopio, Rovaniemi, Ivalo and Vaasa. It’s worth booking in advance if possible: on the Helsinki–Oulu sector, the country’s busiest, a fully flexible return economy ticket costs a whopping €251 but an advance-purchase non-changeable one-way ticket can go as low as €39, less than a train ticket. Finnair has cheaper fares usually when you book at least three week before your planned trip. You may also be able to get discounted domestic tickets if you fly into Finland on Finnair and book combination ticket directly to your final destination. Finnair also has a youth ticket (16–25) and senior ticket (+65 or pension decision) that is substantially cheaper and fixed price regardless of when you book.

There are two major airlines selling domestic flights:

  • Finnair, the biggest by far. Serves nearly all of the country, with some flights operated by their subsidiary Nordic Regional Airlines.
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle flies from Helsinki to Oulu and Rovaniemi, with an expanding network.

In addition there’s a handful of smaller airlines, often just flying from Helsinki to one airport each. The destinations served are often easy to reach by train, bus and car making flights unprofitable wherefore companies and services tend to come and go.

BY TRAIN:

VR (Valtion Rautatiet, “State’s Railways”) operates the railway network. Trains are usually the most comfortable and fastest method of inter-city travel. From Helsinki to Tampere, Turku and Lahti, there are departures more or less every hour in daytime.

The following classes of service are available, with example last-minute prices and durations for the popular Helsinki–Tampere service in parenthesis.

  • Pendolino tilting trains (code S) often fastest (€9.90–18.00, 1hr29min–1hr46min)
  • InterCity (IC) and InterCity2 (IC2) express trains (€9.90–18.00, 1hr29min–1hr46min)
  • Ordinary express (pikajuna, P), only slow night trains for this connection (€21.00, 2hrs44min–2hrs58min)
  • Local and regional trains (lähiliikennejuna, lähijuna or taajamajuna), no surcharge, quite slow (€9.90–21.00, 2hrs10min)

The trains are generally very comfortable, especially the intercity and long distance services, which (depending on connection and type of train) may have restaurant and family cars (with a playing space for children), power sockets, and free Wi-Fi connection. Check the services of individual trains if you need them, e.g. facilities for families and wheelchair users vary considerably. Additional surcharges apply for travel in first class, branded “Extra” on some trains, which gets you more spacious seating, newspapers and possibly a snack.

Overnight sleepers are available for long-haul routes and very good value at €11/21/43 for a bed in a three/two/one-bed compartment (with one-bed compartments only available in first class).

One child under 17 can travel for free with each fare-paying adult (check: might have changed), and seniors over 65 years old and students with Finnish student ID (ISIC cards etc. not accepted) get 50 % off. Groups of 3 or more get 15 % off. If booking a few days in advance on the net you may get bargain prices.

Pets can be taken on trains (€5), but seats must be booked in the right compartments. If your pet is big, book a seat with extended legroom. The pets travel on the floor (a blanket can be useful), other than for dogs a cage is mandatory. Vaccination etc. should be in order. For regional transport the rules are different.

Finland participates in the Inter Rail and Eurail systems. Residents of Europe can buy InterRail Finland passes offering 3–8 days of unlimited travel in one month for €109–229 (adult 2nd class), while the Eurail Finland pass for non-residents is €178–320 for 3–10 days. You would have to travel a lot to make any of these pay off though; by comparison, a full-fare InterCity return ticket across the entire country from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and back is €162.

Train tickets can be purchased online, from ticketing machines on mid-sized and large stations, from manned booths on some of the largest stations and e.g. from R kiosks (not all tickets). A fee of €1–3 applies when buying over the counter or by phone. There are usually cheaper offers if you buy several days in advance. A seat is included in the fare of these tickets. The HSL-operated trains in the Helsinki region no longer sell tickets on board. Long-distance trains conductors cease handling cash 1 Sep 2019. Buying on board (with an additional fee of €3–6) allows using booked-out trains, possibly with seat part of the journey.

This means that for walk-up travel at many mid-sized stations, you’ll need to buy a ticket from the machine. This is easier if no-one tries to assist you! Otherwise, thinking to be helpful, they’ll press Aloita and you’ll be faced by a screen asking you to choose between Aikuinen, Eläkeläisen and Lapsi. So spurn their help, wind back to the beginning and press “Start” to get the process in English, including the bank card reader instructions. (Larger machines take cash, but most provincial stations have only small ones for which you need a bank card with chip.) Or if you’re feeling adventurous you can press Börja since you can figure out whether you’re vuxen, pensionär or barn, but you’ll have to choose “Åbo” to get a ticket to Turku.

Generally, the trains are most crowded at the beginning and end of the weekend, i.e. Friday and Sunday evening. Shortly before and at the end of major holidays like Christmas/New Year and Easter, trains are usually very busy, with car-and-sleeper tickets for the most popular services sold out immediately booking opens. If you try booking for these days at a late time, you may find the seat you reserve to be among the least desirable, that is, facing backwards, without recline, and facing towards and sharing the legroom with other passengers.

While VR’s trains may be slick, harsh winter conditions and underinvestment in maintenance mean that delayed trains are not uncommon, with the fancy Pendolinos particularly prone to breaking down. Also much of the network is single-track, so delays become compounded as oncoming trains have to wait in the passing loop. As in the rest of the EU, you’ll get a 25% refund if the train is 1–2 hours late and 50% if more. Real-time train traffic data for every train station in Finland in webapp or iOS app is enabled by the Trafi licensing this data under the CC-BY free licence.

Finnish Railways is being opened up to competition by smaller operators, and some routes and stops have closed. Nevertheless VR remains the near-monopoly provider of passenger services; the fares are not cheap but services are good. Any new operator will face the same challenges of running trains in harsh winters across a vast, sparsely populated country: how could they hope to make a profit?

BY BUS:

There are coach connections along the main roads to practically all parts of Finland. This is also the only way to travel in Lapland, since the rail network doesn’t extend to the extreme north. Connections may be scarce between the thoroughfares.

Long haul coaches are generally quite comfortable, with toilet, reclining seats, sometimes a coffee machine and perhaps a few newspapers to read (often only in Finnish, though). Wi-Fi is getting common. Some services stop at an intermediate destination long enough for you to buy a sandwich or eat an ice cream. Coaches seldom restrict the amount of luggage. They have fees for luggage transport, but these are generally not invoked for any amounts you would carry. Bulky luggage is usually placed in a separate luggage compartment, at least if the coach is more than half-full.

There is no dominating operator, but many smaller ones. Matkahuolto maintains some services across companies, such as timetables, ticket sale and freight (but the company Onnibus is not covered). There are Matkahuolto service points at more or less every bus station, in small towns and villages often by cooperation with a local business. Although the staff generally is helpful, they and their tools may not know very much about local conditions in other parts of the country; checking with locals (such as the local host or local bus company) for any quirks is sometimes advantageous.

Most coaches between bigger towns are express buses (pikavuoro/snabbtur), having fewer stops than the “standard” (vakiovuoro/reguljär tur) coaches, near extinction on some routes. Between some big cities there are also special express (erikoispikavuoro/express) coaches with hardly any stops between the cities. Using coaches to reach the countryside you should check not only that there are services along the right road, but also that any express service you are going to use stops not too far away from where you intend to get off or on, and that any service runs on the right day of the week.

Coaches are generally slightly higher priced than trains, although on routes with direct train competition they can be slightly cheaper. Speeds are usually slower than trains, sometimes very much so (from Helsinki to Oulu), sometimes even faster (from Helsinki to Kotka and Pori). On many routes, though, coaches are more frequent, so you may still get to your destination faster than if you wait for the next train. Tickets can be bought in advance, with the seldom used option to reserve seats, although paying to the driver is common (there are few if any conductors left). Credit and debit cards should be accepted on the main express and long-haul services (and when buying tickets in advance), on “regular” services on short distances you are more likely to need cash.

Senior discounts are for those over 65 years old or with Finnish pension decision.

As with trains, student discounts are available only for Finnish students or foreign students at Finnish institutions. You need either a Matkahuolto/VR student discount card (€5) or a student card with the Matkahuolto logo.

For coaches, children aged 4–11 pay about half the price (infants free), juniors (12–16) get a reduction of up to 30 % or 50 % on long non-return trips. In city buses age limits vary from one city or region to another, often children fees apply for 7–14 years old. An infant in a baby carriage gives one adult a free ride in e.g. Helsinki and Turku (but entering may be difficult in rush hours).

You can get the BusPass travel pass from Matkahuolto, which offers unlimited travel in specified time, priced at €149 for 7 days and €249 for 14 days. The pass is not accepted by Onnibus.

Pets are usually accepted on coaches as well as buses. In buses, bigger dogs often travel in the area for prams and wheelchairs. There is a fee for some pets on some services (Koiviston auto: €5 in cash unless they fit on your lap).

Onnibus offers a cheaper alternative (often €5–10 even for long rides if bought early enough) with double-deckers on routes between major cities in Finland. Tickets must be bought online as they do not accept cash. General standard lower than on other coaches and less legroom than in any other buses in Finland. Also the overhead racks are tight, so put everything you do not need in the luggage compartment. Be at the stop 15 minutes before departure, more if you want good seats. Note that the routes do not necessarily serve the city centres, but can provide direct access to some nearby locations. Onnibus also has cooperation with some other bus companies, for legs they do not serve themselves. Onnibuses include free unencrypted Wi-Fi and 220 V power sockets.

Local transport networks are well-developed in Greater Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Kuopio, Jyväskylä and Lahti. In other big towns public transport networks are often usable on workdays, but sparse on weekends and during the summer, while many small towns only have rudimentary services. There are easy-to-use high-tech English route planners with maps to find out how to use local bus services, provided or linked by Matkahuolto.

Both coaches and city buses are stopped for boarding by raising a hand at a bus stop (blue sign for coaches, yellow for city buses; a reflector is useful in the dusk and night). In some rural areas, such as northern Lapland, you may have luck also where there is no official stop (and not even official stops are necessarily marked there). On coaches, the driver will often step out to let you put most of your luggage in the luggage compartment – have what you want to have with you in a more handy bag.

Ring the bell by pushing a button when you want to get off, and the bus will stop at the next stop. Often the driver knows the route well and can be asked to let you off at the right stop, and even if not (more common now, with increased competition), drivers usually try their best. This works less well though on busy city buses.

BY FERRY:

In summertime, lake cruises are a great way to see the scenery of Finland, although many of them only do circular sightseeing loops and aren’t thus particularly useful for getting somewhere. Most cruise ships carry 100–200 passengers (book ahead on weekends!), and many are historical steam boats. Popular routes include Turku–Naantali, Helsinki–Porvoo and various routes on Saimaa and the other big lakes.

The archipelago of Åland and the Archipelago Sea have many inhabited islands dependant on ferry connections. As these are maintained as a public service they are mostly free, even the half-a-day lines. Some are useful as cruises, although there is little entertainment except the scenery. These are meant for getting somewhere, so make sure you have somewhere to sleep after having got off.

BY CAR:

Traffic drives on the right, and there are no road tolls in Finnish cities or highways. From February 2018, driving licences of all countries for ordinary cars are officially accepted in Finland. The only requirement is that the licence is in a European language or you have an official translation of it to Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German, English or French. This applies only to driving licences similar to Finnish classes A and B, for heavy duty vehicles like buses or trucks only some licences are accepted.

Car rental is possible in Finland but expensive, with rates generally upwards of €80/day, although rates go down for longer rentals. Foreign-registered cars can be used in Finland for a limited time – registering it locally involves paying a substantial tax to equalize the price to Finnish levels. If you opt to buy a car in Finland instead, make sure it has all annual taxes paid and check when its next annual inspection is due: the deadline is the same day as the car’s first date of use unless the registration form says 00.00.xx in first date of use. In that case, which is common only for very old cars, the inspection date is determined by the last number of the license plate. All cars must pass emissions testing and precise tests of brakes etc. Police may remove the plates of vehicles that have not passed their annual inspections in time and give you a fine.

Main roads are usually fairly well maintained and extensive, although expressways are limited to the south of the country and near the bigger cities. Lower classed roads may to some extent suffer from cracks and potholes, and warnings about irregularities in the pavement of these roads are seldom posted. Drivers must stay very alert for wild animals, particularly at dawn and dusk. Collisions with moose (frequently lethal) are common countrywide, deer (mostly survivable) cause numerous collisions in the southern and southwestern parts of the country, and semi-domesticated reindeer are a common cause of accidents in Lapland. Bear collisions happen sometimes in eastern parts of the country. Try to pass the rear end of the animal to let it escape forward. Call the emergency service (112) to report accidents even if you are OK, as the animal may be injured.

VR’s overnight car carrier trains are popular for skipping the long slog from Helsinki up to Lapland and getting a good night’s sleep instead: a Helsinki-Rovaniemi trip (one way) with car and cabin for 1–3 people starts from €215.

Finnish driving culture is not too hazardous and driving is generally quite safe. Winter driving can be somewhat risky, especially for drivers unused to cold weather conditions. Winter tyres are mandatory from 1 December through the end of February and studded tyres allowed from November 1st to after Easter, and “when circumstances require”, with a liberal interpretation. While traction tires or mud+snow (M+S) tires fulfill the legal requirement, most cars are actually equipped with proper steel-studded tyres, which allow more dynamic driving and shorter braking distances on frozen surfaces. The most dangerous weather is in fact around the zero degree mark (°C), when slippery but near-invisible black ice forms on the roads, and on the first day of the cold season, which can catch drivers by surprise. Finnish cars often come equipped with an engine block heater (lohkolämmitin) used to preheat the engine and possibly the interior of the car beforehand, and many parking places have electric outlets to feed them. Liikenneturva, the Finnish road safety agency, maintains a “Tips for difficult road conditions” page in English.

Finnish fines for endangerment of traffic (such as speeding 20 km/h over the limit) are based on your income, so be careful: a Nokia VP who’d cashed in some stock options the previous year was once hit for $204,000! With tax records of foreigners unavailable, non-residents are usually fined at a flat €100–200 instead. Speed limits are 50 km/h in towns, 80–100 km/h outside towns and at most 120 km/h on freeways. From around mid-October to April, speed limits on freeways are lowered to 100 km/h and most 100 km/h limits are lowered to 80 km/h.

Software for GPS navigators that warns of fixed safety cameras is legal and installed by default in many mobile phones. Warning signs before fixed cameras (usually at the start of the supervised road) are required by law. Radar detectors, however, are illegal and are often confiscated by customs.

A blood alcohol level of over 0.05 % is considered drunk driving and 0.12 % as aggravated drunk driving, so think twice before drinking that second beer. Finnish police strictly enforce this by random roadblocks and sobriety tests. The sobriety test is done with a handheld breath alcohol tester and there is no practical way to refuse it.

If you are driving at night when the gas stations are closed (they usually close at 9 PM), always remember to bring some money for gas. Automated gas pumps in Finland in rare occasions do not accept foreign visa/credit cards, but you can pay with Euro notes. In the sparsely-populated areas of the country, distances of 50 km and more between gas stations are not unheard of, so don’t gamble unnecessarily with those last litres of fuel.

BY TAXI:

Finnish taxi regulation was largely abandoned from July 2018. Taxi businesses are now free to take any price they wish and to use more or less any vehicle. Still, most companies stick to standards similar to those before the reform, and calling centres usually enforce uniform pricing (negotiating a different price with a driver is allowed, but unusual). If the fare is to be more than €100 the customer has to be warned, and in any case the pricing must be stated in print (a web page suffices) or told to the customer before the journey begins. Taximeters are not compulsory any more. Drivers still have to take a test to get a taxi licence.

The former pricing had a base fee of €5.90 in weekdays, €9 in nights and Sundays, and a fee of €1.50–2.15/km depending on number of passengers (plus fees for waiting time, wheelchair handling etc.). A big change is that many taxis now add the fare per kilometre and the fare by minute (more or less doubling the nominal charge), instead of collecting the latter only for waiting time. If the taxi fare differs much from the old one, check carefully whether the price is a rip-off. Especially at nightclub closing times and at air- and seaports there may very well be some drivers trying their luck with less careful (drunk or foreign) customers. Prices differ also otherwise, e.g. €30–50 between the big companies for getting from Helsinki airport to Helsinki centre. In the capital region prices rose some 14% in the year after the liberalisation, elsewhere they have mostly stayed about the same.

Taxis can come in any colour or shape, and the yellow “TAXI” sign (usually spelled “TAKSI”) on the roof is not compulsory any more. The usual ways to get a taxi is either to find a taxi rank, order by phone (in towns mostly using a calling centre for the area) or, increasingly, use a smartphone app. In the countryside you might want to call a taxi company directly. Taxi companies can be found from local tourist services, and any pub or restaurant will help you get a taxi – expect to pay €2 for the call.

In bigger cities there are increasingly several calling centres to choose from, with different pricing. Many companies are enlarging their area of operation. Check that they have enough cars (or a free car nearby for you to use) in the relevant area – them claiming they serve the area does not necessarily mean they have a big market share there.

A normal taxi will carry 4 passengers and a moderate amount of luggage. For significant amounts of luggage, you may want to order a “farmari” taxi, an estate/wagon car with a roomier luggage compartment. There is also a third common type of taxi available, the tilataksi, a van which will comfortably carry about 8 people. The tilataksis are usually equipped for taking also a person in wheelchair. In addition to these types, more or less any vehicle is now allowed to be used as taxi. If you want child seats, mention that when ordering, you may be lucky. Child seats are not compulsory for “temporary” rides, such as with a taxi.

In city centres, long queues at the taxi stops can be expected on Friday and Saturday nights. The same is true at ferry harbours, railway stations and the like. It is not uncommon to share a taxi with strangers, if going towards the same general direction. At airports, railway stations and other locations from where many people are going to the same direction at the same time, there may also be “Kimppataksi” minivans publicly offering rides with strangers. They are as comfortable as other taxis and will leave without much delay.

BY RIDESHARING:

Peer-to-peer ridesharing services:

  • kyydit.net – Carpooling site with search engine
  • kimppakyyti.fi – Carpooling site
  • kimppa.net – Oldest and most retro looking carpooling site in Finland

BY BICYCLE:

Most Finnish cities have good bike paths especially outside the centres, and taking a bike can be a quick, healthy and environmentally friendly method of getting around locally. In the countryside you can often find suitable quiet routes, but sometimes this requires some effort. Not all major roads allow safe biking. There are bikers’ maps for many areas.

Biking off road is regarded part of the right to access, but biking may cause erosion or other harm, so choose your route with consideration and unmount your bike at sensitive sections. There are some routes explicitly meant (also) for off-road bikes, e.g. at some national parks.

Children under 12 years can use the pavement where there is no cycle path, as long as they do not unreasonably disturb pedestrians. Bikes on cycle paths have to yield for cars on crossing roads unless there is a yield sign, the car is turning or the cycle path is marked as continuing over the crossing street (be careful, not all drivers watch for bikers). Leading your bike you are a pedestrian.

The roads are generally paved well, although gravel roads are sometimes unavoidable. As long as you don’t go off-road, you will not need suspension or grooved tyres.

Beware that a good bike path can end abruptly and force you out among the cars; the bike network building efforts are not too well coordinated. Also at road works, directions for bikers are often neglected.

Due to the relatively gentle topographic relief, too hilly terrain is rarely a problem, but in the cold months, wind chill requires more protection against cold than in walking. In some municipalities bike paths are well maintained in winter, in others they are not. Biking among the cars in winter is usually too dangerous (some locals do, but they know the circumstances). In dark hours headlight and rear reflector are obligatory.

Because of the long distances, bicycle tourists are advised to plan well and be prepared to use public transport for the less interesting stretches. Coaches are well-equipped to take a few bicycles on board. Fares vary by company and distance, typically about half of an ordinary ticket, or a flat €5. Packing the bike is not needed, but getting on at the bus station and arriving in time may help finding room for the bike. On some lines you should check the day before.

Trains take bicycles for €5 if there is enough space (varies by train type, on some trains advance booking is necessary; on IC trains you also need a 50c coin; tandem bikes or bikes with trailer fit only on some trains, €10). Packed bikes are free if the package is small enough (requires taking the bike apart, exact dimensions vary by train type). On the trains to Russia packing the bikes is necessary (100 cm x 60 cm x 40 cm). Bikes are free also unpacked on trains in the Helsinki region, but are not allowed in rush hours (7:00–9:00 and 15:00–18:00; this may have changed).

Ferries usually take bikes for free or for a minimal charge.

Renting a bike at your destination should be possible. In several towns, including Helsinki and Turku, there are also municipal bike-sharing systems.

Bikes are often stolen, at least in cities, so have a lock and use it, and try to avoid leaving the bike at unsafe places.

BY BOAT:

As a country with many lakes, a long coast and large archipelagos, Finland is a good destination for boating. There are some 165,000 registered motorboats, some 14,000 yachts and some 600,000 rowboats and small motorboats owned by locals, i.e. a boat on every seventh Finn. If you stay at a cottage, chances are there is a rowing boat available.

Yachts and motorboats are available for charter in most bigger towns at suitable waterways. You may also want to rent a canoe or kayak, for exploring the archipelagos or going down a river.

EAT:

Finnish cuisine is heavily influenced by its neighbors (see Nordic cuisine and Russian cuisine), the main staples being potatoes and bread with various fish and meat dishes on the side. Milk or cream is traditionally considered an important part of the diet and is often an ingredient in foods and a drink, even for adults. Various milk products such as cheeses are also produced. While traditional Finnish food is famously bland, the culinary revolution that followed joining the EU has seen a boom in classy restaurants experimenting with local ingredients, often with excellent results.

Finnish taste is rather mild, and the spices are used sparingly. The traditional culinary experience included more fat and butter than what today is recommended, and was noticeably more down-to-earth, though certainly as delicious as today’s food. Contemporary Finnish cuisine includes tastes and influences from all over the world. As the ingredients make much of the food, in Finland, the agricultural products might suffer of the cold climate. Yet the fish, while small in size and rare in occurrence, are tasty. Salmon in shops and on markets in Finland is often imported from Norway. When traveling in the middle of the Finland, there is a rare occasion to purchase freshly caught and prepared fish from one of the thousand lakes. Perhaps one of the most famous and tasty dishes is the “Kalakukko”, a tasty and awesome combination of fish, meat and bread.

Seafood:

With tens of thousands of lakes and a long coastline, fish is a Finnish staple, and there’s a lot more on that menu than just salmon (lohi). Specialities include:

  • Baltic herring (silakka), a small, fatty and quite tasty fish available coal roasted (hiilisilakka), pickled, marinated, smoked, grilled and in countless other varieties
  • Gravlax (“graavilohi”), a pan-Scandinavian appetizer of raw salted salmon
  • Smoked salmon (savulohi), not just the cold, thinly sliced, semi-raw kind but also fully cooked “warm” smoked salmon
  • Vendace (muikku), a speciality in eastern Finland, a small fish served rolled in a mix of breadcrumb flour and salt and fried in butter till crunchy. They are traditionally served with mashed potatoes and you will find them sold at most music festivals.

Other local fish to look out for include zander (kuha), an expensive delicacy, pike (hauki), flounder (kampela) and perch (ahven).

Around October each year, in Helsinki, Turku and possibly some other cities on the coastline, you will find a traditional Herring Fair. That is something awesome to try out, the fish is tasty and many people gather around.

Meat dishes:

  • Karelian stew (karjalanpaisti), a heavy stew usually made from beef and pork (and optionally, lamb), carrots and onions, usually served with potatoes
  • Liver casserole (maksalaatikko), consisting of chopped liver, rice and raisins cooked in an oven; it tastes rather different from what you’d expect (and not liver-y at all)
  • Loop sausage (lenkkimakkara), a large, mildly flavored sausage; best when grilled and topped with a dab of sweet Finnish mustard (sinappi), and beer
  • Meat balls (lihapullat, lihapyörykät) are as popular and tasty as in neighboring Sweden
  • Reindeer (poro) dishes, especially sauteed reindeer shavings (poronkäristys, served with potato mash and lingonberries), not actually a part of the everyday Finnish diet but a tourist staple and common in the North. In addition to poronkäristys also reindeer jerky (ilmakuivattu poro) is a known delicacy and hard to come by and slightly smoked reindeer beef cutlets are available at all supermarkets though they too are expensive (delicious with rye bread)
  • Swedish hash (“pyttipannu”), (originally from Sweden, Swedish: “pytt i panna”) a hearty dish of potatoes, onions and any meaty leftovers on hand fried up in a pan and topped with an egg
  • Makkara traditional Finnish sausage. Affectionately called “the Finnish man’s vegetable” since the actual meat content may be rather low.

Milk products:

Cheese and other milk products are very popular in Finland. Large quantities of cheese (juusto) are consumed, much of it locally produced mild to medium matured. Imported cheeses are freely available and local farm cheeses can be sampled and purchased at open air markets (tori) and year round market halls. A flat fried bread-cheese (leipäjuusto) can be eaten cold with (cloud berry) jam, in a salad or reheated with meals, a baked egg cheese (munajuusto) block is a common food ingredient made with milk, buttermilk and egg. The most common varieties are mild hard cheeses like Edam and Emmental, but local specialities include:

  • Aura cheese (aurajuusto), a local variety of Roquefort blue cheese, also used in soups, sauces and as a pizza topping.
  • Breadcheese (leipäjuusto or juustoleipä), a type of very mild-flavored grilled curd that squeaks when you eat it, best enjoyed warm with a dab of cloudberry jam

Fermented dairy products help stabilize the digestion system, so if your system is upset, give them a try (those without jam or those labelled AB are probably best for this use).

  • Piimä, a type of buttermilk beverage, thick and sour and contains naturally healthy lactic acid bacteria.
  • Viili, a type of curd, acts like super-stretchy liquid bubble gum but is similar to plain yoghurt in taste. It is traditionally eaten with cinnamon and sugar on top.

Yoghurt, often premixed with jam, is commonly eaten. Skyr, a cultured milk product originally from Iceland, has become a popular yogurt substitute. Flavoured Kefir was launched in Finland and may be found in larger supermarkets. Soya, almond, hazelnut, rice and coconut milk drinks are to be found in larger supermarkets, sometimes flavoured, usually in long life packaging next to the dairy fridges. Cream and (sweetened) condensed milk is also available.

Other dishes:

  • Pea soup (hernekeitto), usually but not always with ham, traditionally eaten with a dab of mustard and served on Thursdays; just watch out for the flatulence!
  • Karelian pies (karjalanpiirakka), an oval 7 by 10 cm baked pastry, traditionally baked with rye flour, containing rice porridge or mashed potato, ideally eaten topped with butter and chopped egg (munavoi)
  • Porridge (puuro), usually made from oats (kaura), barley (ohra), rice (riisi) or rye (ruis) and most often served for breakfast

Bread:

Bread (leipä) is served with every meal in Finland, and comes in a vast array of varieties. Rye bread (ruisleipä, rågbröd) is the most popular bread in Finland. It can be up to 100% rye and usually it is sourdough bread, which is much darker, heavier and chewier than American-style mixed wheat-rye bread. Unlike in Swedish tradition, many Finnish types of rye bread are unsweetened and thus sour and even bitter. The sweet varieties are usually sweetened with malt (sometimes also with treacle).

Typically Finnish breads include:

  • reikäleipä, round flat rye bread with a hole, western Finland, the hole was for drying it on sticks by the ceiling
  • ruispala, the most popular type of bread, a modern unholed, single-serving, pre-cut variant of reikäleipä in a rectangular or oblong shape
  • hapankorppu, dry, crispy and slightly sour flatbread, occasionally sold overseas as “Finncrisp”
  • näkkileipä, dried, crispy flatbread, traditionally from rye
  • ruislimppu, traditionally rye, water and salt only (limppu is a catch-all term for big loaves of fresh bread)
  • perunalimppu, rye bread with potato and malt, quite sweet
  • svartbröd (saaristolaisleipä or Maalahden limppu), sweet and heavy black bread from the south-western archipelago (especially Åland), made in a complicated process; originally less sweet, for long fishing and hunting expeditions and for seafarers, excellent as a base for eating roe with smetana
  • piimälimppu, wheat bread with buttermilk, usually sweetened
  • rieska, unleavened bread made from wheat or potatoes, like a softer and thicker variant of a tortilla, eaten fresh

Seasonal specialities:

Around Easter keep an eye out for mämmi, a type of brown sweet rye pudding. It looks famously unpleasant but actually tastes quite good (best eaten with creamy milk and sugar). At bigger supermarkets you can buy frozen pool mämmi nowadays around the year. One sweet speciality for the May day is tippaleipä, a palm sized funnel cake traditionally enjoyed with mead. At the Midsummer celebration in late June it is common to serve the first potatoes of that years’ harvest with herring. From the end of July until early September it’s worthwhile to ask for crayfish (rapu) menus and prices at better restaurants. It’s not cheap, you don’t get full from the crayfish alone and there are many rituals involved, most of which involve large quantities of ice-cold vodka, but it should be tried at least once. Or try to sneak onto a corporate crayfish party guestlist, places are extremely coveted at some. Around Christmas, baked ham is the traditional star of the dinner table, with a constellation of casseroles around it.

Regional specialities:

There are also regional specialities, including Savonia’s kalakukko which is small vendace or other fish wrapped in bacon and enclosed in rye bread dough and baked for long time so the fish bones soften to become actually quite pleasant in texture and Tampere’s fast food black sausage (mustamakkara) which is basically blood, fat and soaked barley kernels made into a sausage and is best with lingonberry jam if you can handle blood foods. When in Lappeenranta the local fast food to try is vetyatomi (hydrogen atom) a pie with meat and rice content and fillings (ham and fried egg) available at grillikioski, not only in Lappeenranta since it is very good if you want to eat local flavour fast food.

Desserts:

For dessert or just as a snack, Finnish pastries abound and are often taken with coffee (see Drink) after a meal. Look for cardamom coffee bread (pulla), a wide variety of tarts (torttu), and donuts. Traditional Finnish deep-fried doughnuts, which are commonly available at cafes, come in two varieties: munkki, which is a deep-fried bun, and munkkipossu, which is flat and roughly rectangular; both contain sweet jam. Whereas, ring-shaped donitsi is available for example at the American chain cafe Arnold’s. In summer, a wide range of fresh berries are available, including the delectable but expensive cloudberry (lakka), and berry products are available throughout the year as jam (hillo), soup (keitto) and a type of gooey clear pudding known as kiisseli.

Finnish chocolate is also rather good, with Fazer products including their iconic Sininen (“Blue”) bar exported around the world. A more Finnish speciality is licorice (lakritsi). Particularly the strong salty liquorice (salmiakki) gets its unique (and acquired) taste from ammonium chloride.

After a meal it’s common to chomp chewing gum (purukumi) including xylitol, which is good for dental health. Jenkki is a popular domestic chewing gum brand with xylitol (many flavours available).

DRINK:

Thanks to its thousands of lakes, Finland has plenty of water supplies and tap water is always potable (In fact, never buy bottled water if you can get tap water!). The usual soft drinks and juices are widely available, but there is also a wide array of berry juices (marjamehu), especially in summer, as well as Pommac, an unusual soda made from (according to the label) “mixed fruits”, which you’ll either love or hate. Juice from many berries is to be mixed with water, also when not bought as concentrate; sugar is often already added. Note the difference between mehu and mehujuoma, where the latter may have only traces of the nominal ingredient.

Coffee and tea:

Finns are the world’s heaviest coffee (kahvi) drinkers, averaging 3–4 cups per day. Most Finns drink it strong and black, but sugar and milk for coffee are always available and the more European variants such as espresso and cappuccino are becoming all the more common especially in the bigger cities. Starbucks has arrived in Helsinki, but all the biggest towns have had French-style fancy cafés for quite some time and modern competitors, like Wayne’s, Robert’s Coffee or Espresso House, are springing up in the mix. For a quick caffeine fix, you can just pop into any convenience store, which will pour you a cuppa for €2 or so. Tea hasn’t quite caught on in quite the same way, although finding hot water and a bag of Lipton Yellow Label won’t be a problem. For brewed tea, check out some of the finer cafés or tea rooms in the city centres.

Finnish coffee, however, is prepared usually using filters (“sumppi”), producing rather mild substance. Finding a strong high pressure espresso might be an issue somewhere, but tasting the smooth flavor of mocca blend is something to try about. Discussing the preparation mechanics of coffee with Finns is not such a bad idea, generally they are open for new ideas and tastes. The more traditional option for the filtered coffee in Finland is the Eastern style “mud coffee”. In that preparation the grounded coffee beans are boiled in a large pot. Before serving, the grounded coffee is let to calm down, before serving the smooth flavored coffee on the top. Today, one might not be able to find this kind of “pannukahvi” in finer cafés (in big cities), but they are largely available pretty much anywhere else. You can even purchase special grounded coffee in most of the supermarkets for that purpose (it is not that fine-grounded like normal filter coffee let alone like espresso). It is specially tasty with cream, rather than milk.

Dairy:

In Finland it is quite common for people of all ages to drink milk (maito) as an accompaniment to food. Another popular option is piimä, or buttermilk.

Alcohol:

Alcohol is very expensive in Finland compared to most countries (though not to its Nordic neighbours Sweden and Norway), although low-cost Estonia’s entry to the EU has forced the government to cut alcohol taxes a little. Still, a single beer will cost you closer to €4–5 in any bar or pub, or €1 and up in a supermarket. While beer and cider are available in any supermarket or convenience store (9 AM to 9 PM), the state monopoly Alko is your sole choice for wine or anything stronger. The legal drinking age is 18 for milder drinks, while to buy hard liquor from Alko you need to be 20. ID is usually requested from all young-looking clients (nowadays all looking to be under 30). Some restaurants have higher age requirements, up to 30 years, but these are their own policies and are not always followed, especially at more quiet times.

Despite the unusually high cost of booze, Finnish people are well known of their tolerance and culture around celebration. Do not hesitate to join the Finnish parties, which usually are not very dry. While Finnish people tend to stick to individual bills in the bar, when you get with them into the summer cottage, things usually turn other way around and everyone enjoys together what there is on the table.

Surprisingly enough, the national drink is not Finlandia Vodka, but its local brand Koskenkorva or Kossu in common speech. However, the two drinks are closely related: Kossu is 38% while Finlandia is 40%, and Kossu also has a small amount of added sugar, which makes the two drinks taste somewhat different. There are also many other vodkas (viina) on the market, most of which taste pretty much the same.

A local speciality is Salmiakki-Kossu or Salmari, prepared by mixing in salty black salmiakki licorice, whose taste masks the alcohol behind it fearfully well. Add in some Fisherman’s Friend menthol cough drops to get Fisu (“Fish”) shots, which are even more lethal. In-the-know hipsters opt for Pantteri (“Panther”), which is half and half Salmari and Fisu. Other classic shots are Jaloviina (Jallu) cut brandy and Tervasnapsi “tar schnapps” with a distinctive smoke aroma.

Beer (olut or kalja) is also very popular, but Finnish beers are mostly nearly identical, mild lagers: common brands are Lapin Kulta, Karjala, Olvi, Koff and Karhu. Pay attention to the label when buying: beers branded “I” are inexpensive with low alcohol content, while “III” and “IV” are stronger and more expensive. In normal shops you will not find any drinks with more than 5.5% alcohol. You may also encounter kotikalja (“home beer”), a dark brown beer-like but very low-alcohol beverage. Imported beers are available in bigger grocery stores, most pubs and bars, and Czech beers in particular are popular and only slightly more expensive. Some microbreweries (Laitila, Stadin panimo, Nokian panimo etc.) have been gaining foothold with their domestic dark lagers, wheat beers and ales.

The latest trend is ciders (siideri). Most of these are artificially flavoured sweet concoctions which are quite different from the English or French kinds, although the more authentic varieties are gaining market share. The ever-popular gin long drink or lonkero (“tentacle”), a pre-bottled mix of gin and grapefruit soda, tastes better than it sounds and has the additional useful property of glowing under ultraviolet light. At up to 610 kcal/litre it also allows to skip dinner, leaving more time for drinking.

During the winter, do not miss glögi, a type of spiced mulled wine served with almonds and raisins, which can easily be made at home. The bottled stuff in stores is usually alcohol free, although it was originally made of old wine and Finns will very often mix in some wine or spirits. In restaurants, glögi is served either alcohol-free, or with 2cl vodka added. Fresh, hot glögi can, for example, be found at the Helsinki Christmas market.

Quite a few unusual liquors (likööri) made from berries are available, although they’re uniformly very sweet and usually served with dessert. Cloudberry liquor (lakkalikööri) is worth a shot even if you don’t like the berries fresh.

Home-made spirits (pontikka): you have been warned! More common in rural areas, illegal and frequently distilled on modified water purification plants – which are subject to import control laws nowadays – anecdotical evidence suggests that those are occasionally played as a prank on unsuspecting foreigners. Politely decline the offer, especially if still sober.

Finally, two traditional beverages worth looking for are mead (sima), an age-old wine-like brew made from brown sugar, lemon and yeast and consumed particularly around May’s Vappu festival, and sahti, a type of unfiltered, usually very strong beer often flavoured with juniper berries (an acquired taste).

Accommodation in Finland is expensive, with typical hotel rooms about €100/night or more. Many large hotels are cheaper during the weekends and in summer. In addition to the usual international suspects, check out local chains Cumulus, Scandic, Finlandia and Sokos. The small but fast-growing Omena chain offers often cheap self-service hotels, where you book online and get a keycode for your room, with no check-in of any kind needed. What is remarkable is the absence of foreign hotel chains outside of the capital, you only rarely find global hotel brands, but most of the hotels are run either by locals or by some local brand. So do not expect to accumulate your points when staying in the rural areas. Also, if you insist on a five-star hotel, the rating is up to the individual hotelier. An official star rating system has never been set up, because the major hotel chains in Finland oppose them as outdated.

When searching for budget options – and outside cities – check whether breakfast and linen are included, they are in regular hotels, but not in many budget options. Extras, such as sauna and Internet use, are sometimes included also in cheap prices.

One of the few ways to not spend too much is to stay in youth hostels (retkeilymaja), as the Finnish Youth Hostel Association has a fairly comprehensive network throughout the country and a dorm bed usually costs less than €20 per night. Many hostels also have private rooms for as little as €30, which are a great deal if you want a little extra privacy.

There are also campsites all around the country. Typical prices are €10–20 per tent or caravan + €4–6/€2 per person, although there are more expensive locations. A discount card may be worthwhile. Night temperatures are seldom an issue in season (typically 5–15°C, although freezing temperatures are possible also in midsummer, at least in Lapland). Most campsites are closed off season, unless they have cottages adequate for winter use.

An even cheaper option is to take advantage of Finland’s right to access, or Every Man’s Right (jokamiehenoikeus), which allows wild camping, hiking, and berry and mushroom picking as well as simple (rod and hook) fishing on uncultivated land outside built-up areas or yards. Since this is occasionally misinterpreted by visiting foreigners, it may be a good idea to discuss travel plans with a local – or simply ask at the nearest house – to avoid embarrassing situations. Note that making a fire requires landowner’s permission.

Virtually every lodging in Finland includes a sauna (see below) for guests — don’t miss it! Check operating hours though, as they’re often only heated in the evenings and there may be separate shifts of men and women. Saunas at cottages are often heated with wood, you should probably ask for instructions.

Cabins:

For a taste of the Finnish countryside, an excellent option is to stay at a cottage (mökki), thousands of which dot the lake shores. These are generally best in summer (and many are closed in winter), but there are also many cottages around Lapland’s ski resorts. Prices vary widely based on facilities, location and season: simple cottages can go for as little as €20/night, although €40–80 is more typical, there are expensive big or luxurious ones, and the price at a winter resort may more than double when schools have vacations. Not all cottages are available for a single night. Beware that, while all but the most basic ones will have electricity, it is very common for cottages to lack running water: instead, the cottage will have an outhouse (pit toilet) and you are expected to bathe in a shared shower/sauna (which you might have to book in advance) or even in the sauna and lake. Renting a car or bike is often necessary since there might be no facilities (shops, restaurants, etc.) within walking distance, and few buses. Decide whether you want to get a cottage far from people, close to an ordinary village, at a “cottage village” or some compromise. The largest cottage rental services are Lomarengas and Nettimökki, both of which have English interfaces.

As you might expect given the general price level, souvenir shopping in Finland isn’t exactly cheap. Traditional buys include Finnish puukko knives and handwoven ryijy rugs. For any Lappish handicrafts, look for the “Sámi Duodji” label that certifies it as authentic. Popular foods to try or to bring home to astonish your friends include every conceivable part of a reindeer, lye-soaked lutefisk (lipeäkala), and pine tar (terva) syrup. If you can’t bring yourself to try terva on your pancakes, then you can also get soap scented with it in nearly any grocery or drug store. There are also candies with tar flavour, the most common being the Leijona Lakritsi candies.

Popular brands for modern (or timeless) Finnish design include Marimekko clothing, Iittala glass, Arabia ceramics (especially their Moomin mugs are a must), Kalevala Koru jewelry, Pentik interior design and, if you don’t mind the shipping costs, Artek furniture by renowned architect and designer Alvar Aalto. Kids and not a few adults love Moomin characters, which fill up souvenir store shelves, and Angry Birds products now plague the entire country.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Finland
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Suomenlinna
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Suomenlinna, is an inhabited sea fortress built on six islands and which now forms part of the city of Helsinki.

Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular with tourists and locals, who enjoy it as a picturesque picnic site. Originally named Sveaborg , or Viapori as called by Finnish-speaking Finns, it was renamed in Finnish to Suomenlinna (Castle of Finland) in 1918 for patriotic and nationalistic reasons, though it is still known by its original name in Sweden and by Swedish-speaking Finns.

The Swedish crown commenced the construction of the fortress in 1748 as protection against Russian expansionism. The general responsibility for the fortification work was given to Augustin Ehrensvärd. The original plan of the bastion fortress was strongly influenced by the ideas of Vauban, the foremost military engineer of the time, and the principles of star fort style of fortification, albeit adapted to a group of rocky islands. In the Finnish War the fortress surrendered to Russia on May 3, 1808, paving the way for the occupation of Finland by Russian forces in 1809.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suomenlinna
Name: Santa Claus Village
Location: Rovaniemi, Finland
Santa Claus Village is an amusement park in Rovaniemi in the Lapland region of Finland. It was opened in 1985. Santa Claus Village is located about 8 kilometres (5 mi) northeast of Rovaniemi and about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the Rovaniemi Airport. The first original home of Santa Claus was Korvatunturi, which remained mysterious. In 1985, Rovaniemi was declared as an official hometown of Santa Claus.

Arctic Circle: The Arctic Circle cuts right through Santa Claus Village. A white line denoting the Arctic Circle (at its position in 1865) is painted across the park. Santa's House of Snowmobiles: A museum about the history and evolution of snowmobiles in the Arctic areas.

Santa Claus's Office: A Santa Claus's Office is located inside the main building of the Village, for visitors to take photographs and chat with Santa Claus. Northern Lights: also known as Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are observed on around 150 nights in a year from mid-August till early April. The Arctic Garden and the top of Ounasvaara fell are the best destinations to witness Northern Lights.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus_Village
Name: Senate Square
Location: Helsinki, Finland
The Senate Square presents Carl Ludvig Engel's architecture as a unique allegory of political, religious, scientific and commercial powers in the centre of Helsinki, Finland.

Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki. Landmarks and famous buildings surrounding the square are the Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, main building of the University of Helsinki, and Sederholm House, the oldest building of central Helsinki dating from 1757. Today, the Senate Square is one of the main tourist attractions of Helsinki. Various art happenings, ranging from concerts to snow buildings to controversial snow board happenings, have been set up on the Senate Square.

A statue of Emperor Alexander II is located in the center of the square. The statue, erected in 1894, was built to commemorate his re-establishment of the Diet of Finland in 1863 as well as his initiation of several reforms that increased Finland's autonomy from Russia. The statue comprises Alexander on a pedestal surrounded by figures representing law, culture, and peasants.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsinki_Senate_Square
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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
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My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

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