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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Finland Travel Requirements




Travellers Essentials

Currency and banking
The basic unit of currency is the markka (4.59 markkaa equal U.S.$1; 1996). In the late 1980s, Finland had 10 commercial banks, with 940 branch offices, and some 230 savings banks with more than 1300 branch offices. Since 1976 stringent control of the money market has been maintained by the government.

In May 1998, Finland and ten other members of the European Union (EU) officially adopted a new, single currency, the euro, for all transactions.
The new currency was first used on January 1, 1999, for electronic transfers and for accounting purposes. Euro coins and bills will be issued in 2002, at which time the Finnish currency will cease to be legal tender.

When to go
Whatever time of year you visit Finland, there's something happening. Most museums and galleries are open year-round, annd there is as much to do in the depths of winter as there is at the height of summer.
Nevertheless, you'll probably have a better time if you come in the warmer months, either in summer or anytime from May to September. As well as the advantages of warm weather, summer is the time of the midnight sun. Despite snow falls from November, it stays pretty sludgy until late winter: skiing isn't great until February, the coldest month, and you can ski in Lapland right through to June.

Getting there
There are excellent flight connections to Finland from all over the world. Finnair and SAS have scheduled flights to Helsinki from most major cities in Europe, as well as from New York, San Francisco, Cairo, Bangkok, Singapore, Beijing, Sydney and Tokyo.
Twenty-two other international airlines offer regular flights to Helsinki. There are no departure taxes when leaving Finland. Land crossings into Finland from Sweden and Norway are hassle-free, serviced by frequent buses and trains.
Land crossings from Russia are a little more problematic, but border crossings are becoming more relaxed all the time.

If you stick to the main tourist corridors (eg. Helsinki-St Petersburg) you won't have any troubles, but make sure you have a Russian visa before you roll up at the frontier. The Trans-Siberian Railway connects Europe to Asia, although its popularity has declined in recent years due to the general state of chaos in Russia.
You can buy a ticket in Helsinki for the Chinese border via Moscow. Beware of sharks offering discounted tickets on this service; it's almost certain you'll be ripped off.

Baltic ferries run from Sweden, Estonia and Germany to Helsinki, Turku, Vaasa and Pietarsaari. The ferries are impressive seagoing craft.

Getting around
Finland has a superb network of domestic train, bus and air connections. Over 20 cities are linked by daily air services, as far north as Ivalo on the 67th parallel.
Buses are the principal carriers of domestic and visitor traffic to more remote parts, although trains carry passengers efficiently along intercity routes right up to the Arctic Circle.

The highway and freeway network is good between city centers, although you can encounter unsurfaced dirt and beaten tracks in the forests. No international licence is needed to drive in Finland, but you should carry your own licence when driving.
Traffic keeps to the right and you should always drive with your headlights on. In most towns bicycles can be hired and are a recommended mode of transport during the summer. Lake and river ferries operate over the summer period, and come in handy if you're walking or cycling around the country.


 

Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM








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