The information on this page hopefully answers some of your questions about the weather in Finland, what you need to bring with you, what languages are spoken in Finland and what the Finnish people are like.
The public transportation in Helsinki is excellent and cheap. There are a variety of buses, trains, metros and trams going to all areas in and close to Helsinki, including night buses on the weekends.
To find out different routes on how to navigate your way around:
Just input starting address and destination address and it will tell you which buses, trams, metros and trains to use to get there.
Just like Reittiopas Journey Planner, this is an application which works the same way.
With a valid student card, you can get discounts on travelling in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. This is done at a HSL office (found at the Central Railway Station or in Pasila). You will have a HSL travel card, where you can either update unlimited travel for a month (season ticket) or money (value ticket).
Taxis are relatively expensive but Uber is usually very cheap.
- Everyone speaks English well and will help you if asked.
- Most Finns may seem shy or introverted at first, but are happy to get to know you! Just give it a little time.
- Tipping is not a custom in Finland.
- The doors lock on their own when you close it! Do NOT forget your keys!
Buying stuff for your rooms
- Ikea is most likely your best bet. There's 2 Ikea's in Helsinki (Vantaa & Espoo)
- There is a free Ikea bus that goes to these two Ikea's. Schedule here: http://www.ikea.com/ms/fi_FI/palvelut/ikea-bussi/index.html
- Tori.fi (Basically the Finnish Ebay) http://www.tori.fi/uusimaa?ca=18
- There are also several Facebook groups for buying and selling, e.g. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Helsinki.Fi
- Shops sell alcohol only until 21:00.
- Alcohol is VERY expensive in Finland.
- Most of the Finnish beer brands are lager.
- Common brands: Lapin Kulta, Koff, Karhu, Kukko, Olvi, Sandells, Karjala
- Try a “Lonkero” – this is a gin and grapefruit based drink found on tap almost everywhere in Finland.
- Stronger alcohol (over 5.5%) can be only bought in government owned stores called Alko.
- If you’re planning on drinking a lot, it might make sense to book a day trip to Tallinn, Estonia and buy cheap alcohol there.
- Also very expensive.
- Finnish cuisine can be a bit limited, but we do have some good dishes. (Fish, Reindeer!)
You will have to register to open a bank account in Finland. Might not need one though. Your bank card from your own country will work anywhere in Finland!
Mobile phone subscription
You might have to pay a relatively large deposit to get a phone subscription. We will hand out prepaid DNA SIM-cards during the Orientation Week.
If you live in HOAS apartment, you will get internet. Most likely you need to call the service provider to activate it though.
Nightlife/culture/what to do
- Bar district in Kallio. Lots of dive bars, most close at 02:00-04.00 (Awesome for pub crawl)
- Helsinki centre has a lot of clubs which will start closing at 03:30
- There are a lot of things to do in Helsinki, but they may be difficult to find:
- Linnanmäki Amusement Park
- Korkeasaari Zoo
- Megazone Lazer Tag
- Karaoke (super popular here!)
- Teurastamo, culture centre
- Hernesaaren Ranta, a popular location for beer & chilling by the sea
- Hietaniemenranta, the best beach for swimming
- Suomenlinna - Sea fortress is UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the island is also popular recreation place for locals.
- Outdoor Swimming Stadium “Stadikka”
- Ice hockey in Hartwall Arena
More information about sightseeing, activities, restaurants and clubs can be found on My Helsinki, a website hosted by Helsinki Marketing (City of Helsinki).
Don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask your Tutor if you have any further questions. We're here for you!