This isn't really a tourist trap but a trap for locals as well. Every club in Helsinki closes at 4 am. If you have to get a taxi afterwards you will have to queue for a long long time to get one.
Unique Suggestions: We found out that best chances to get a taxi in less than an hour is at the main station. The queues are the longest here but there number of taxis stopping is higher than e.g. at Mannerheimintie! Good luck!
Fun Alternatives: Get a hotel in the city centre and walk!
It is very difficult find a Public WC in Helsinki (perhaps you can need a map to find it) and they are expensive (1 Euro to use it). You need walk from Central Market to the end of Esplanade to find them.
I don't get this thing with Irish pubs. You see one - you've seen 'em all. It's like visiting the bar chain of McDonald's. So if you have an Irish bar where you live - do NOT spend your time in Helsinki at Molly Malone's Irish Pub, Kaisaniemenkatu. You'll see lots of foreigners residing in Helsinki and tourists. Sure, there are locals also, but this is not 'Helsinki', it's Ireland;) (Not that there's anything wrong with Ireland;) Sure, it's a very very good Irish bar...but still.
Unique Suggestions: Try ordering your beer in Finnish! (Yksi olut, kiitos.)
Fun Alternatives: Ok, there are other Irish pubs aswell: Kitty O'sheas and Dubliner being the newest and the oldie O'malley's. But Molly Malone's is the best. After all, I don't think a bar becomes Irish only if you play Irish music and serve Guinness on tap... So here's an alternative for you if you're up to it: Kallio. There you'll see Finish bars, as far as there are bars which can be called Finish. (See my "must see's") And there is an Irish bar too...
before everything I have to apologise in advance, for my trap is an national institution and some sort of a holy cow in finland, so please finns do forgive me!
for me the national theatre (kansallisteatteri) is not only a tourist trap but a trap for finns as well.
theatres like this one are well funded by government and the cities and are therefore almost obliged to show productions of classical literature, which always focus very much (too much) on the staging setting. the acting become insignificant and bad, because the pompeous and exhuberant stage setting suffocates everything else.
acting quality will be poor...
Unique Suggestions: hmmm,
at least the building is very impressing, go and have a look at it, don't forget the backside!
Fun Alternatives: in helsinki there are some small theatre ensembles (ryhmäteatteri, just to mention one) which really do good acting.
you even may find english and of course swedish spoken pieces
If you are bored with shopping and dining in Helsinki, how about a day trip to Heureka? Heureka is a big science centre located in Vantaa, but you can reach it very very easily by train. It can be a tourist trap, specially in the Spring time (full of school kids) but it's a very interesting place anyway. I like it very much.
There are lots of exhibitons and things to do, see and feel. There is a planetarium theater called Verne, where you can watch high quality multimedia films.
You'll find also a restaurant from Heureka and that's great, because there's so much to see that it will take hole day.
How to get to your money?
Banks - what an annoying and shamefull chapter in finnish public service system, indeed.
Don't even think about of stepping inside a regular bank. No, you'll regret it right away, believe me. Cashiers are unfriendly, if you ever get the chance to be served at a counter. For the queueing sucks really. Actually, if you really think about it, it seems good at first (take a queueing number), but the system wouldn't work, why? I don't know.
Fun Alternatives: Instead try the 2000 Otto-machines, alone in Helsinki 204. They accept most of the major credit cards.
Or try the Forex exchange bureaus, they take the lowest commission fee. Offices in Helsinki (4) and Espoo (1).
The church in the rock 'Temppeliaukio church'. It's No. 1 tourist attraction but I think it's the ugliest church in Helsinki, all the others are much better!
Unique Suggestions: Admire the church from the outside
Fun Alternatives: Uspenski cathedral is much nicer from the inside.
Airport Taxi drivers extra charge you
Unique Suggestions: Pay attention to the driver hands, special the right one. The taxi counter should start around 4 Euros. They make moves to the counter and to the radio on the first seconds when you are moving and in a couple ofd seconds you are in 7 Euros!
Fun Alternatives: Several hotels have private buses to their hotels. Take one of it. If you go down town you may take Finnair bus but the local bus number 615 T is less expensive . The only difference is that you carry your bags...inside of the bus.
The Helsinki card is a bit pricey, you have got to work fast to really make it pay off.
You do get free entry to most museums and discounted meals and public transport, so thats the pro side. However it is not valid on the airport bus to the city centre.
Unique Suggestions: Dont buy it unless you're sure you're going to visit most of the musuems featured in the brochure. You can skip paying for public transport if you're on a budget ;)
Fun Alternatives: If you're not a musuem buff, then the card is of no use to you. If you know you're going to use public transport a lot, and would prefer to pay, then see if you can get a commuter ticket - ask at the airport if they sell them
As in most cities, there are a few streets where the prices are significantly higher, and in Helsinki, these are parallel streets Pohjois-Esplanadi and Aleksanterinkatu as well as the small streets connecting the two. Nice for window shopping, but heavy if your credit cards aren't pressurized :)
Unique Suggestions: The cafes (Strindberg, Café Esplanadi) are excellent bird-watching spots in the summertime.
Fun Alternatives: Have a look at the shops and cafes of Uuudenmaankatu and Fredrinkinkatu instead!
Lapin Kulta !!!!!!!!!!!! -----------------------------
My favourite beer in Finland !!!!!!!!-----------------
Warning! If you are arriving from Sweden, don't forget that in Finland: beers are no more 3,5% !!! But 5,2% !!! Or you're become drunk without knowing why :)
Korkeasaari Zoo isn't a worth of visit if you have visited any other zoo. There are quite a lot animals in there but you probably won't see anything else than some monkeys, bears and zebras. Others are usually inside in their nests. If you anyway decide to go then you can do it either by ferry leaving from Market Square (costs 8 € including the entrance) or via Mustikkamaa where you can get by bus #11 or car but be prepared to walk a couple of kilometers before getting to the Zoo. That way it costs 5 € .
There are a lot of tourist shops in Helsinki, especially along the Esplanade area. Prices can vary and some of the shops are a bit high. If you are looking for quality souveniers at a decent price, go to Stockmans Department Store...they have a great selection. It is near the train station and a fixture in Helsinki!
The Sibelius Monument. Beautiful..and surrounded by tourists :) The Sibelius Monument by sculptress Eila Hiltunen, unveiled in 1967 in memory of Finland's national composer, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957).
DEFINITELY NOT A TOURIST TRAP.Did you know there was a town named NOKIA? Its the home of world famous NOKIA cellphones. It also has a spa...and a number of good things to visit.A recent 20/20 TV show said the Finland was 'the most wired country on earth' and that most people had cellphones. Only the Finns have taken it to a new level..using cellphones to access accounts to purchase food..soda from machines and opera tickets. No doubt it will be common in the future everywhere.
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