Finnish and Swedish are the two official languages of Finland, although Finnish is predominant, as Swedish speaking Finns are mostly based in coastal areas and in Aland (autonomous region). People in northern Lapland speak the Sami Language. Elsewhere in the country, other tongues like Finnish Romani, Karelian and Nordic languages are also spoken. English is the most widely known foreign language, followed by German and French.
Following its admission into the EU, Finland uses euro as its official currency. It is a highly-developed country, so monetary access is not an issue for travelers. ATMs can be found everywhere, including small towns and villages. Credit cards are also widely accepted, even in smaller shops. Travelers’ checks may be exchanged at banks and currency exchange offices, which can be found almost everywhere. Be advised that banks may charge higher fees.
Finland uses 220-240 Volts as standard, and socket types are the same as in any other European country. Bring a plug adapter and a step-down transformer for gadgets that do not use these specifications.
The country code for Finland is +385, followed by the area code for the city or region you are calling. Cellular phones are ubiquitous throughout the country as Finland is home to one of the largest mobile companies in the world, Nokia. There is poor service in some wilderness areas like the Lapland region and the outer archipelago. Prepaid packages are readily available for travelers and it’s a good idea to get one, as public phones are close to extinction. Mail service is fast and reliable, but pricey. It is far cheaper to send digital postcards via e-mail as there are plenty of internet cafés and Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. Prepaid internet access is available from the service provider Elisa.
There are several duty-free shops in the Helsinki Airport, all of which feature excellent selections of typical travel products including cosmetics, fragrances, tobacco, alcohol, sweets, and souvenirs. Restrictions on imports are stricter for travelers coming from non-EU countries. Outsiders are allowed up to 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 250 g of tobacco, and up to four liters of wine, one liter of spirits, two liters of low-alcoholic beverages, or 16 liters of beer. No more than € 300-worth of perfume, electronics coffee and tea may be brought in.
Finnish Tourist Board: +358-10-605-8000 or http://www.visitfinland.com/
Consulates in Finland
US Consulate, Helsinki, Finland: +358-9-616-250
Canadian Consulate, Helsinki, Finland: +358-9-228-530
British Consulate, Helsinki, Finland: +358-9-228-65100
Russian Consulate, Helsinki, Finland: +358-9-661-876 to 877
Swedish Consulate, Helsinki, Finland: +358-9-687-7660
French Consulate, Helsinki, Finland: +358-9-618-780
German Consulate, Helsinki, Finland: +358-9-458-580
Emergency services: 112