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13

As Ilmari commented, the recent NY Times travel blog post by "frugaltraveler" is very good. It even mentions my favorite bar, Pub Magneetti. I like his other recommendations too: free concerts & somewhat hippie atmosphere at Alppipuisto; public sauna in Kallio; berry-picking). Some more ideas below. Many of these may not be "only in Helsinki" things, ...


12

I have just been to two Exchange offices in Sofia, Bulgaria. I had banknotes from Serbia, Macedonia and Albania with me. They both offered to buy all three of them. This doesn't mean you find someone who does this in Finland but it proves that both Macedonian denar and Albanian lek are indeed convertible currencies. This is a sign from one of the ...


11

Daytime, there are two very good options: HSL bus 615 is easy and affordable. The trip to central railway station costs 4.50€ and takes some 40 mins. The bus runs every 10-20 minutes between 06:30 and 00:30 on weekdays (Sat 07:00-1:00, Sun 06:05-00:30). (From city to airport, first departure is 05:15 and last 01:20.) At the airport it leaves from T1 ...


9

As a Chinese national, you can stay within Helsinki airport up to 24 hours whilst in transit without a visa - however you will need to remain in the international "air-side" area. There are two hotels in the airport (GLO and Hilton), however both are outside of security so you will not be able to access them without a visa. There are also a number of other ...


9

Ok, Peter cleared up the more general doubt about exchangeability of the lek anywhere outside Albania. As to my original / more specific question: Is there any place in Helsinki where I can change those back into euros? Seems like no, not in Helsinki. A "Money Change" booth I stumbled upon in Kamppi Centre: no (raising a suspicious eyebrow at the ...


8

A couple of pointers: Tennispalatsi (Helsinki Art Museum) There will be two ongoing exhibitions in December: Akseli Gallen-Kallela - European Master The Power of Colour - Works from the Collections of the State Tretyakov Gallery Akseli Gallen-Kallela: Ad astra, 1907 Tip: free entrace to Tennispalatsi on Fridays :) [Or at least used to be - I'm trying ...


8

From the airport to the city center you can go by: taxi (quite expensive) bus (takes 35 minutes) In both cases, having to wait 5 hours you'll have plenty of time for a quick visit of the city center. From the train station (nice building) the senate square (with the Luteran cathedral and the university), the Esplanade and the market square are all within ...


7

The booking of tickets is rather strange. If you book from Helsinki you will need to do this via Finnish Railways, if you're doing this from Russia you will need to do this via RZD. And depending on date, time and class tickets fluctuate between 65 Euro to 165 Euro. Allegro Train (SPb Finlyandskiy) would be the fastest option. Lev Tolstoi (SPb ...


7

Helsinki (and Finland itself) has been characterized by a number wild, free-spirited innovators. Two main sites illustrate this point: One is the so-called rock church. It was built at the location of a huge rock that no one thought could be moved. The architects were laughed at for "trying." But they didn't MOVE the rock, they carved the church out of the ...


7

I can at least answer the question for Suomenlinna. Take the ferry over there which takes approximately 15 minutes and leaves quite regularly from Helsinki's city center (Market Square). Then it really depends on your taste. You can easily spend a whole day on Suomenlinna. There are bars where you can get a drink, very tasty restaurants, some museums and ...


6

Seurasaari is quite similar to Suomenlinna, only smaller. A straight circuit of the island on foot takes about an hour, but there are plenty of interesting old buildings to poke your nose into (most free, a few not), a couple of nice rustic cafes and even two nudist beaches (one for men, one for women), so it's easy to spend half a day here as well. Most ...


5

I wrote a blog post about my trip to Suomelinna - it's doable as a half day trip, if you want, but you could also take a picnic and enjoy the grassy areas if it's nice and sunny (beware, it was freezing with an off-shore breeze in summer when I was there). The boat takes 15-20 minutes including boarding. Wikitravel has several guides for Helsinki - ...


5

I know you want to travel by train, but if price is a concern, you really should know that minibuses are much cheaper: €15-25 vs €65+ for the train. Details for schedules, boarding points etc on Wikivoyage. And if you're willing to compromise, you could try taking a bus to Vyborg (Viipuri) just across the border, and then a cheap domestic Russian ...


5

Helsinki City Museum has the 'Out to Sea' exhibit until January, which celebrates 150 years of Sailing in Helsinki: http://www.hel.fi/hki/Museo/en/museum+news/news+and+events/out+to+sea Out to Sea 150 Years of Sailing in Helsinki Hakasalmi Villa, Mannerheimintie 13d, tel. (09) 3107 8519. Open 27 May 2011–8 January 2012 Wed–Sun 11 am – 5 pm, ...


5

My understanding is that St. Peter is the only currently operating scheduled operator, although there are irregular visits by the usual suspects (P&O, Princess etc). Russian immigration rules are notoriously opaque, but my understanding is as follows: The 72-hour visa-free entry is only available if booked as part of a package, stays over 24 hours ...


5

So I've got bad news and good more bad news. The bad news is that, as Doc explains, you need to get a visa or you'll be stuck in the international section of the airport, which is quite small: (~8 gates, duty-free shop, cafe and that's pretty much it -- but at least the wifi is free. Also, since Finland is a member of the Schengen area, there's no concept ...


4

You can buy reindeer meat (poronliha) in any supermarket. The "Herkku" gourmet supermarket in the basement of the Stockmann department store (corner of Mannerheimintie and Aleksanterinkatu) is pretty epic and a good place to buy this or anything else Finnish; not the cheapest, mind you, but not hugely expensive either. The canonical way to prepare it is ...


4

First of all, want to note that @jpatokal is right and St. Peter line is really the only operator who serves the ships directly to St.Petersburg - please, review my old answer here: Are there currently any international ferries that travel to Saint Petersburg, Russia? Main principle for this kind of journey is that local authorities must know where are you ...


4

First of all let me say I am not from Helsinki, or even a Fin myself. But I have visited several times. You mention local people places, here's a Google map I made with some marked spots. The fortress island to the south is not a place where locals venture much. But I thought I'd still point it out. If you're interested in that sort of thing it might suit ...


3

As @Karlson answered the question using information for current times, I want to add the information for futher trains. Technically this is not a direct trains from Helsinki to Saint-Petersburg, but there are plans of RZD to develop some general non-highspeed trains on regular basis. The Federal Passenger Company and the Government of Karelia plan to ...


2

When I visit a new city I like to go to a large shopping center and just sit on a bench there - and watch the people passing by. First, I'm more interested in people than places. Secondly, this way I'm not tireing out my feet. In Helsinki I would go to one of those big department stores or similar. Picking three in the city center, and near to each others, ...


1

Take a look at Airbnb, I did the search for a day of the week for the next month and found options from $50-$200 . There is a variety of listings there, most of them would be about renting a private room in some one's apartment and others you can rent the whole house if you like. My 2 cents, Airbnb is not for everyone, it depends on what kind of ...



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