The winter is pretty cold in Helsinki. It doesn't need to be that cold, but colder than in many other countries. The temperature is though warmer in Helsinki than if you go to eastern and northern Finland. The same thing summertime, the coasts are a bit colder. This is because the warmness and coldness is coming from the Asian continent. Finland is often the warmest country in Europe during summer and the coldest wintertime.
Winter time I recommend you to take warm clothes. Winter jacket, scarf and winter shoes are recommended.
Summer time it is warm. The temperature is (during the hottest months) about 20-30 degrees. It's not a desert, but the temperature is perfect and the wind is fresch and pleasent. The Finnish nature is clean and Helsinki, as the capital of Finland, is also very clean. So clothes that you need summertime are t-shirts and shorts, but also a thin jacket and pants, because some days are rainy and a bit colder, and the evenings are not always so hot.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you forgot your toiletries or your medical supplies at home, don't worry. Shops and pharmacies are not unusual in Helsinki.
Photo Equipment: Take your camera with you, there is a lot to shoot in Helsinki
Miscellaneous: This is a good website to use if you want to know the weather in Helsinki, Finland, Europe or the rest of the world: http://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/
Luggage and bags:
Depending on the length of your stay, bring a comfortable bag with you!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In winter: lots and maybe even more of warm clothes, the temperature in Helsinki might get as low as -30...
In summer : the temperature isn't necesarrily that high in summer either.. so a couple of long trousers and gardigans could be good. Umbrella is a must in Helsinki as you never know when it happens to rain in Helsinki!
The climate is transitional between maritime and continental. Summers are mainly hot/warm, with temperatures ranging from cool to hot (15-30°C). The warmest month is July, but in general summer days are long, mild and sunny, with up to 19 hours of daylight. It is often windy because of the sea, but if it is sunny and there is no wind, it's lovely. Take a long sleeved shirt or a light jacket and an umbrella. The past 3 summers have been scorching hot.
Winters, by contrast, are bitterly cold and the city is blanketed by snow. Temperatures cool down drastically towards the end of September. By November the weather is at freezing point and later they plummet well below freezing when also the sea freezes over! The average temperature in December-February is –3.5C, although it can be much colder (-28C). Bring plenty of warm clothing, hat, scarf, cloves & non-slippery shoes. The past 2 winters have been extremely cold & snowy.
Spring arrives late, around early April, when the long, dark days begin to lighten.
Miscellaneous: If you are a Brit bring your own adaptor which is compatible with your electrical gear. You won't find adapters that would fit British plugs absolutely anywhere.
Luggage and bags:
any case will do lol, but make it waterproof!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Heavy soled very grippy boots are best as the pavements in Helsinki come winter time are lethal!
I recommend (on a cold day) to wear 2 pairs socks (one normal, one thick), some kind of thermal underwear (v.sad but who will see it?), thick jeans, t-shirt, jumper, super thick coat, beanie hat, scarf and gloves. Yes that much is needed on a cold winters day lol. Mr Ariana tried to avoid it and ended up freezing and buying more layers there. You won't look stupid, everyone is dressed warmly there!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: you can buy most things there.
Finland has dramatically cut the amount of Duty it charges on Alcohol. The state run monopoly still does not open on Sundays or holidays. Hence many Finns get their supplies from Estomia where sprits can cost just a quarter of what they do in Finland.
Looking at a comparison table recently, it stated that a 70cl bottle of sprits should cost around 20 euros in Finland. Only Norway (39 Euro) and Sweden (22 Euro) will be more expensive. Wine and beer prices are not however very much different from the European average.
Remember that limits apply if you are entering from a non-EU country, but none apply if you are !
Miscellaneous: If you are interested in using the free citybikes (see my Transportation Tip) then you should make sure to always have a 2 Euro coin available. The coin is necessary as a deposit for borrowing a citybike.
Helsinki's Tourist Information Offices provide many free brochures, leaflets and maps. The free maps of the Tourist information inlcude a street index and the location of 53 main sights.
The main Tourist Information Office is situated in the city centre at Pohjoisesplanadi 19, just next to the Market Square.
Miscellaneous: The brochure "Helsinki This Week" includes all sorts of information for tourists and locals. It inlcudes various city maps and an event calender. The brochure is published 8 times per year and it is available free of charge at the Tourist Information Offices and many other places all around the town.
Luggage and bags:
Carry something light, just a shoulder bag will be sufficient. As long as it has room for your purse/wallet, camera and a bottle of water.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It's always best when traveling to dress in layers, as one minute the sun can be shining and the next minute there's a downpour of rain that lasts an hour. A small umbrella would also come in handy.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Mosquito repellent will be needed, especially if you plan on going for walks in nearby National Parks. Sunscreen is also a must, I actually got a bit sunburnt in Helsinki when I was there.
Luggage and bags:
Helsinki can be warm, cold, wet or dry. So, I would suggest (except in June-September) to take a scarf and gloves. In the real wintertime (November - March) take some extra warm clothes! If you want to travel around more in Finland, take some anti mosquito repellent with you.
Miscellaneous: As for Packing on your way back: Some good souvenirs are the Karjalan Piirakka (Karelian pies), Fazer Chocolate,some Aarikka design things...Small and handy to take with you.
It can be very cold in Finland, especially during winter time. Helsinki is so south, that the temperatures are still decent, but the norther you go, the colder it gets. Here are the mean temperatures in Helsinki and Sodankylä (very north!) year 2003:
Month Helsinki Sodankylä
January -8,6c -20,9c
February -5,1c -7,6c
March -1,2c -3,6c
April 2,4c -1,8c
May 9,1c 6,8c
June 13,2c 10,7c
July 20,7c 18,4c
August 16,8c 11,9c
Septemb 12,1c 6,6c
October 4,4c -0,2c
Novemb 3,7c -4,1c
Decemb -12,4c -11,6c
It is also so that the weather can change fast. In the morning it can be clear and cold, but in the afternoon it may already rain and be slightly warmer. So follow weather forecasts and try to prepare for sudden changes in the weather.
See statistics of Finland from the link below!
Miscellaneous: 1.Spirits, 0.5 litre costs 10€ here and you cant buy it from a supermarket. 2.Umbrella
Luggage and bags:
Now you can bring your trolley bags...Doesn't matter, you can drag it almost everywhere.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Once bitten, twice shy. Don't be like me..bring warm clothes even if it is summer! Summer in Finland is like winter in Dubai..+17 degrees centigrade and it rains in summer here.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Pharmacy is widely available though out Helsinki, there's also 24 hours Phaymacy (Apoteekki in Finnish)
Anyhow, I seem to be the wrong person to tell you what to bring as my suitcase is always full...
But: Finland is not always cold. There are nice days and you'll be able to wear t-shirts (even in May when I got sunburned).
Nevertheless, don't forget that the temperature can drop quite a few degrees over night (even in August) -so bring warm clothes as well!
To put it in blank words: Bring t-shirts and sweaters to wear over the t-shirts and a jacket to wear over the sweater, maybe even a scarf.
Absolutely take your camera along.
Miscellaneous: Helsinki has more to offer than just architecture and culture - nature.
On rare occasion you may witness an extraordinary fenomenon if all the conditions are given, like a sun's magnetic storm that is hitting the earth... --- even in Helsinki.
This picture was taken on a November evening in our garden - on an Agfa 800 with f/5,6 - 1/2s and 28mm.
There is no special rainy season
Avg. Temp. in Spring: max.: 1 ? 15?C ( 34 - 59?F ); min: -4 - 6?C ( 25 - 43?F )
Avg. Temp. in Summer: max.: 18 ? 22?C ( 64 - 71?F ); min: 9 - 12?C ( 49 - 53?F )
Avg. Temp. in Autumn: max.: 2 ? 14?C ( 36 - 55?F); min: -2 - 7?C ( 28 - 45?F )
Avg. Temp. in Winter: max.: -3 - -1?C ( 27 - 30?F); min: -8 - -5°C ( 18 - 23°F )