Daily budget Basic €40, occasional treat €65 Drink Salmiakki €4–6 a shot Food Reindeer stew with potatoes €10 Hostel/budget hotel €25/€60 Travel Train: Helsinki–Rovaniemi Tampere €80; bus: Helsinki–Tampere €27
Communications are dependable and quick. Free internet access is readily available, often at the local library. Major towns and cities usually have free, comprehensive wi-fi, with even remoter areas getting 3G coverage. Post offices are generally open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, with later hours in Helsinki. Public phones have been swiftly phased out in favour of mobile service; if you plan to make a lot of calls in Finland, invest in a Finnish SIM card; €20 will get you a Finnish number with about 60 minutes of domestic calling time or several hundred domestic text messages. Directory enquiries are t 118 (domestic) and t 020208 (international).
You hopefully won’t have cause to come into contact with the Finnish police, though if you do they are likely to speak English. As for health problems, if you’re insured you’ll save time by seeing a doctor at a private health centre (lääkäriasema) rather than waiting at a national health centre (terveyskeskus), though you’re going to pay for the privilege. Medicines must be paid for at a pharmacy (apteekki), generally open daily 9am to 6pm; outside these times, a phone number for emergency help is displayed on every pharmacy’s front door.
t 112 for all emergency services.
Most towns have a tourist office, some of which will book accommodation for you, though in winter, their hours are much reduced and some don’t open at all. You can pick up the decent map of Finland free from tourist offices.
www.visitfinland.com The Finnish tourist board site.
www.finland.fi A well-run, informative government information site on Finnish culture and society.
www.sauna.fi Everything you ever wanted to know about saunas but were afraid to ask, from the Finnish Sauna Society.
www.festivals.fi A comprehensive listing of festivals throughout Finland.
www.nationalparks.fi A handy starter for planning your visit to the Finnish outdoors.
Money and banks
Finland’s currency is the euro (€). Banks are generally open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm. Some banks have exchange desks at transport terminals, and ATMs are widely available. You can also change money at hotels, but the rates are generally poor. Credit cards are widely accepted right across the country.
Opening hours and holidays
Most shops generally open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm. Along with banks, they close on public holidays, when most public transport and museums run to a Sunday schedule. These are: January 1, January 6 (Epiphany), Good Friday and Easter Monday, May 1, Ascension (mid-May), Whitsun (late May), Midsummer (late June), All Saints’ Day (early Nov), December 6 and 24 to 26.
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