Greetings from the land of the never-ending sun!
Just sharing some tips, info and photos of my current trip :)
Some basic info first:
Helsinki; Swedish: Helsingfors, is the capital and largest city of Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. Helsinki has a population of 605,523, an urban population of 1,159,211 and a metropolitan population of 1,361,506.
Some links to guides:
The country of Finland is sandwiched between two larger powers, Sweden to the West and Russian to the right, and both nations have strong influences on this country. In fact the official second language here is Swedish, with signs showing both Finnish and Swedish. English is an optional third language, but many younger people are picking up this for commercial reasons.
A basic summary of what’s good here:
If you are here in winter, it’s a fabulous place to see the Northern Lights.
The scenery is ok, but it’s best to combine it with other Scandinavian countries, as it is not the most exciting place to visit.
Food is nice and it is not as expensive as Norway or Sweden (be prepared to spend $50 for two at Macs).
If you like mountains, lakes and outdoors, it’s a nice place.
It’s also a stepping stone to visit St Petersburg, Estonia and other Scandinavian places.
Getting here involves a direct flight with Finnair, or you have to transit, eg from Frankfurt if you take SIA. Not the chpeatest place to visit, but it’s still cheaper than Norway by a large margin. Budget S$30-40 a meal if you do not want to eat Macs all the time. Or bring some cup noodles J
Some basic travel tips:
You can get a data only card for E7.9 or use roam planning from home.
Food tends to be expensive but not as bad as the Scandinavian countries.
The trams and buses are excellent and the people are very friendly. Most will speak some English .
The city is not too big and a cab ride from the airport takes about 20 minutes and 40 Euros. Their public transportation system is superb, with trams, trains, and the metro. Add cabs and free bicycles in your hotel, it’s fantastic. The terrain is flat and easy to move around. One thing you will notice is how clean their trains are, with no rubbish, or graffiti. In fact you hardly notice any litter, unlike Singapore where despite the proliferation of rubbish bins every ten metres, you still see litter all over.
Many hotels offer free bicycles for you to ride around:
For such a small city, you have many travel options, and there are these toilets in the metro, where you press the flush system and it will not only flush but spray water out to wash your hands. But it requires some coordination otherwise you might do the wrong thing and end up washing your hands in the water used to flush the toilets!
The trains also go out in to the region, and you buy a pass which covers the city or the regional pass, rather than a strictly by distance kind of system. Furthermore, you can get the Helsinki Card for unlimited travel and visits to the museums and other attractions. (https://www.helsinkicard.com/)
The days are long here, and the skies never really get dark; this is what it looks like at 11pm:
Of course when you visit a new place, you look out for the local food and it's not all fermented herring here..
This white perch is really awesome!
The restaurant is floating on a lake:
It also does nice desserts:
And more food:
For good oysters and seafood at the Kamppi Centre (which also has funky toilets):
This makes your regular fish and chip shop weep… and it wasn’t too expensive - < S$20
Plus great coffee too.