The best of Helsinki
Written by: Anita Liková & Todd Shaw
Photo by: Allphoto
The "Daughter of the Baltic" lies on a peninsula, surrounded
by an archipelago of 315 islands, perfectly placed between Stockholm
and Moscow. Historically both a strategic military and trading port,
this capital is now one of the most technologically progressive
product manager, Nokia ÈR
Favorite hotel: Scandic Hotel Simonkentta,
Simonkatu 9, tel: +358 9 68380 - I can recommend Scandic hotels
Favorite restaurant: Restaurant Zetor, Mannerheimintie
- Mannerheimvägen 3-5, tel: +358 9 666 966
Favorite night club: Alcatraz, Eerikinkatu
3, tel: +358 9 5622 266
Best-kept secret: Molly Malone's, irská restaurace
s ivou hudbou Irish pub with live music
Advice: Helsinki is a very pleasant city where
you can travel with no cash. It is possible to use a credit
card even to pay for taxi rides.
SAS Radisson, Mannerheiminitie 50, tel:+358 9 43 101
Favorite restaurant: Lappi Restaurant, Annankatu
22, tel: +358 9 64 55 50 - interesting restaurant with traditional
Favorite night club: Molly Malone's, Kaisaniemenkatu
1C, tel: +358 9 901 71272 - Irish pub
Favorite shops: The best shopping streets
are Alexanterinkatu, Mannerheimintie and Esplanadi; for fashion
there is Fredrikinkatu
Favorite attractions: For people who want
to discover typical customs, food and dances, try the Bear
Hunter's Feast. Everything is taking place about 30 minutes
by car from Helsinki in Sipoo or Söderkulla. Of course you
can't miss traditional Finnish saunas, which are typically
kept at 130° C.
Best-kept secret: Restaurant Zetor, Mannerheimintie
- Mannerheimvägen 3-5, tel: +358 9 666 966. A very pleasant
pub where the old Czech tractors used as tables will remind
you of home.
Advice: If you want to bring home a Finnish
souvenir, buy Koskenkorva - recognized as the Finn's national
drink. Traditional glass and little candle holders from Murlaa
are also convenient.
sales manager, Finnair
hotel: Sokos Hotel Torni, Yrjonkatu 26, tel: +358
Favorite restaurants: Strindberg, Pohjoisesplanadi
33, tel: +358 9 6812030 , Limon, Rikhardinkatu 4, tel: +358
Favorite night club: Club König, Mikonkatu
4, tel: +358 9 68440713
Favorite shops: Stockmann department store
Aleksanterinkatu 52, tel: + 358 9 1211, -the best in Scandinavia
Favorite attraction: For "landlubbers"
like us - the fish market in the harbor in front of the presidential
Best-kept secret: Soda, Uudenmaankatu 16-20,
tel: + 358 9 6121012
Advice: Rent a bicycle for touring Helsinki.
commercial councellor, embassy of Finland
hotel: Scandic Hotel Gran Marina the Helsinki Market
Square, Katajanokanlaituri 7, tel: +358 9 916 661
Favorite restaurant: Lehtovaara, Mechelin
in katu 39, tel: 358 9 440 833
Favorite night club: Mestaritalli restaurant,
Toivo Kuulan Puisto, tel: +358 9 477 0 4444, - in summer,
visit terraces on the Baltic Sea
Favorite shop: Stockmann department store
- Aleksanterinkatu 52, tel: + 358 9 1211, - the best in Scandinavia
Favorite attractions: Finnish archipelago
- the castle islands in front of Helsinki
Best-kept secret: Fly-fishing for sea trout
on small islands outside Helsinki in November.
Advice: Go to Helsinki the first time at
the end of June or beginning of July, then try other seasons
Location: Uusimaa, south coast of
Population: 551,123 (city); 1,200,000
Ethnic mix: 88.7% Finnish, 6.6% Swedish,
Religion: 86% Lutheran, 1% Orthodox
Time zone: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from
last Saturday in March to last Sunday in October)
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50 Hz;
two-pin plugs are standard.
Average January temp: - 6° C (21°
Average July temp: 19° C (66° F)
Annual rainfall: 600 mm (23.6 inches)
Where on the web?
For further information, we suggest the following websites dedicated
- the people from the Fodor's guides offer their famed insight online
- a summary of information to help you plan a trip and business
- a portal page of links that could be useful in planning your trip
to and stay in Helsinki
.......ethelsinki.xml - another domain aimed at helping travellers
plan an itinerary post-departure
- an essential online travel guide for the less corporate-minded
- informative overview in several sections with essential city info
· one-liter bottle of mineral water: EUR
· 33-cl bottle of beer: EUR 2.50 - 4
· Financial Times newspaper: EUR 2.50
· 36-exposure color film: EUR 5
· city-center bus ticket: EUR 1.50
· adult football ticket: EUR 10 - 25
· three-course meal with wine/beer: od / from EUR
25 - 33.50
EUR 1 = GBP 0.64; USD 0.98; CAD 1.54; CZK 30.52 (currency
conversion rates as of press time)
Helsinki's geopolitical position and political neutrality make
it the Baltic region's commercial gateway to Sweden and Russia.
It also rates as one of the world's top 20 conference centers.
Finland has recently been rated as Europe's most competitive country
by the Swiss research institute IMD, who praised it for its business
practices and its ability to be highly adaptable in adverse circumstances.
A necessary government cutback in the late 1990s enabled Helsinki
to become one of the world's leading telecom equipment producers.
The telecom industry now vies with the country's traditional exports
of pulp and paper. Nokia is perhaps the country's biggest success
story, now the second-largest manufacturer of mobile phones.
Finns are punctual to the minute, and lateness is seen as a discourtesy.
They are also naturally reserved and view garrulousness with suspicion.
When meeting for the first time, a handshake is customary, and business
cards are vital.
Meetings and business deals are often conducted by telephone or
at a sauna. If invited to someone's house for dinner, shoes are
usually removed before entering. A gift for the host (like wine)
is a good idea.