Railroad station in Helsinki
For Finnish and international fashion in Helsinki, try Marimekko, with locations at Pohjoisesplanadi 2 and 31, the Forum Shopping Center and Eteläesplanadi 14. For exclusive silkwear look for Marja Kurki's scarfs in Stockmann department store. For traditional jewelry and Finnish national clothing, you cannot beat Kalevala Koru, Unioninkatu 25.
Driving with dimmed headlights in the daytime is compulsory in Finland. When driving in rural Finland, look out for elk and reindeer on roads.
You will find that consumer goods are generally more expensive in Finland than in the rest of Europe, although prices are coming down. Accommodations and eating out are also more expensive.
Many hotels have saunas, but most are electrically heated. The traditional Finnish “smoke” sauna is heated by a wood-burning stove and is said to be the real experience. For information on traditional saunas, contact the Finnish Sauna Society, Vaskiniemi, Lauttasaari, FIN-00200 Helsinki Phone:09 686 0560, fax 09 679 180.
In Helsinki you will find numerous “grill kiosks,” little huts selling fast food in the form of hamburgers, french fries, meat-filled pies and grilled sausages (grillimakkara). The kiosks are good for daytime snacks, but late at night they often attract loud, drunken revelers.
On the weekend between June 20 and 26 there are midsummer celebrations throughout the country. After the long, dark nights of winter, Finns celebrate Midsummer's Day with gusto.
For lunchtime snacks there are the ubiquitous baguettes, often with tasty fillings. Also try such Finnish favorites as salted salmon or herring slices with new potatoes, or typical minced meat dishes such as metsästäjänpihvi (minced meat in mushroom sauce).
There is a state monopoly on the sale of alcohol, apart from medium-strength beers, which can be bought in some grocery stores. Wine and spirits can be bought only in state-controlled outlets known as Alko (stores not open on Sunday). Restaurants usually serve alcohol.
Public restrooms in Finland are generally clean and modern. Signs are Naiset for ladies and Michet for men.