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The best of Helsinki

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 in Europe.



Daniel Novák
product manager, Nokia ČR

Favorite hotel: Scandic Hotel Simonkentta, Simonkatu 9, tel: +358 9 68380 - I can recommend Scandic hotels chain
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 živou 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.
Zdeněk Šmíd
owner, Scandic

Favorite hotel: 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 Lappish specialities
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.

Milan Feherváry
sales manager, Finnair

Favorite hotel: Sokos Hotel Torni, Yrjonkatu 26, tel: +358 9 131131
Favorite restaurants: Strindberg, Pohjoisesplanadi 33, tel: +358 9 6812030 , Limon, Rikhardinkatu 4, tel: +358 9 6225992
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 palace.
Best-kept secret: Soda, Uudenmaankatu 16-20, tel: + 358 9 6121012
Advice: Rent a bicycle for touring Helsinki.

Jari Makkonen
commercial councellor, embassy of Finland

Favorite 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 later.



Basic facts

Location: Uusimaa, south coast of Finland
Population: 551,123 (city); 1,200,000 (metropolitan area)
Ethnic mix: 88.7% Finnish, 6.6% Swedish, 4.7% other
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° F)
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 to Helsinki:
http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/mgresults.cfm?destination=helsinki@72 - the people from the Fodor's guides offer their famed insight online
http://meetings.sixcontinentshotels.com/......../tips.html - a summary of information to help you plan a trip and business meetings
http://www.lce.hut.fi/research/polymer/softsimu2002/travel.shtml - a portal page of links that could be useful in planning your trip to and stay in Helsinki
http://www.telegraph.co.uk .......ethelsinki.xml - another domain aimed at helping travellers plan an itinerary post-departure
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/helsinki/ - an essential online travel guide for the less corporate-minded
http://www.explore-helsinki.com/ - informative overview in several sections with essential city info and links.

Prices

ˇ one-liter bottle of mineral water: EUR 1.50
ˇ 33-cl bottle of beer: EUR 2.50 - 4
ˇ Financial Times newspaper: EUR 2.50
ˇ 36-exposure color film: EUR 5
ˇ city-center bus ticket: EUR 1.50
ˇ adult football ticket: EUR 10 - 25
ˇ 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)

Source:
http://www.cityguide.travel-guides.com

 

Business PROFILE

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.

Source: www.cityguide.travel-guides.com

Š The Prague Tribune, 2002
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