Helsinki Vantaa International Airport (HEL) services the capital of Finland, and operates as the largest aviation hub in the country. Passengers will discover a whole host of amenities at their disposal, with a wide range of restaurants and eateries, and plenty of shops selling souvenirs and duty-free products. There are standard features here too, such as ATMs, bureau de change counters, children’s playrooms, charging stations and WiFi access.
Located 19km north of central Helsinki, passengers can reach the downtown area by taxing buses or taxis. The taxis can be found just outside the terminals, and usually cost 50EUR ($74) for the journey into town.
Fly to Helsinki with Finnair, Qantas, British Airways, China Eastern, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, SAS, JAL, Sichuan Airlines, ANA, Korean Air, Asiana, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Philippine Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Air China.
Why visit Helsinki?
Helsinki is immediately striking; its colourful buildings sitting on a granite headland that peters out into tiny islets across the Baltic Sea. A Swedish king founded it, and you cannot help but feel that Viking ancestry had a say in its positioning, but Helsinki stands apart from many of its other Scandinavian sister-cities. Trading Scandinavian crisp architecture for an unmistakable eastern-European flair, this city manages to blend old and new architecture with an unrelenting zeal for design.
Things to do in Helsinki
Start with the city’s fantastic museums and galleries, such as the Finnish National Museum, and the Finnish Museum of Art, with the former home to excellent exhibitions on the history of the city and the country, and the latter housing a remarkable art collection filled with pieces by Finnish masters, and famed international artists, such as Rembrandt. History buffs might also want to book a trip out to Suomenlinna, a sea fortress built over six islands, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can tour the castle, the museum and the park.
Then get to know the city by strolling to Market Square. You’ll find that from spring right through to autumn the square fills with stores selling everything from fresh seafood to arts and crafts, and makes for a great day out. And if you’re keen to stay out-of-doors, then spend some time enjoying the greenery in the Keskuspuisto, the city’s beautiful central park and woodland.
However, if you are in the city to take acquaint yourself with its reputation for design, then there are a few must-sees you will have to add to your list. In particular, the white marbled Finlandia Hall and the incredible Rock Church, with its main atrium carved directly into the rock.
Best time to visit Helsinki
· For Scandinavian countries, the best time to travel is usually in the summer season, from May to September, when the days are long and warm. In the height of summer, the sun can stay out for a whopping 19 hours and highs hit about 19-21°C.
· Winters are best for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, or experience a perfectly snowy winter. You need to make sure you have a proper winter coat though, as lows can sink to -9°C.
Arriving in Helsinki
· A flight to this city will require at least one stop, often in Asian cities like Beijing (PEK), Singapore (SIN) or Guangzhou (CAN).
· Euro (EUR).
· Australian travellers can enter Finland without a visa, usually for up to three months. Checking that conditions remain the same before you travel is important, so make sure you go to the smart traveller page on Finlanda week or so before you fly.
Please note that information is correct as of September 2016
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