Fly To Helsinki, Finland

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Whether you’re looking for cheap flights to Helsinki for a holiday or business trip, one thing is for sure – the capital of Finland is sure to make a lasting impression from the moment you land at its modern international airport. 
To give you a hint of what wonders lie ahead, Helsinki was chosen as the World Design Capital for 2012 (Cape Town will take these honours in 2014). In terms of style, this city has it all… cutting-edge design, a booming music scene, huge party scene, fashion, traditional heritage, history, scenery and plenty more besides. 
Start planning for your trip to Helsinki with the Travelstart online flight booking tool. 

Visa Requirements and SA Embassy Details

  • South Africans need a Schengen Visa to enter Finland. These are valid for stays of up to 90 days. Documents needed along with your application form include passport, 1 photograph, copy of ID, proof of travel insurance; funds; residence; flight tickets and various other paperwork that may be requested. Contact the Finnish Embassy in Pretoria on +27 (0)12 343 0275 to find out more.
  • The South African Embassy to Finland is situated at the following address: Rahapajankatu 1 A 5, 00160 Helsinki. Telephone: +358 9 6860 3100. 

See and do

While you’re in the city, be sure to visit highlights such as the National Museum of Finland, Helsinki Ice Hall, Finnish National Theatre, the Helsinki City Theatre, Ateneum Art Museum, the old Ateneum, Helsinki Music Centre, Helsinki Festival (every August), Hietaniemi Beach, Nuuksio National Park, Esplanadi Park, South Harbour and underground Temppeliaukio Church to name but a few. If you’re visiting in December, you may also want to venture further into Finland to see St Nicholas (Father Christmas). 
Shopping options are excellent in this city, especially when it comes to cutting-edge fashion and design. Some of the best places to get started include the Stockmann department store, Itakeskus Shopping Complex, Forum Shopping Centre, Valtterin Flea Market, Old Market Hall, Kauppatori Market and Design District. Things to look out for include fabric, Kalevala Koru jewellery, Lapponia jewellery, Moomintroll souvenirs, Arabia porcelain, Mental Wear slogan t-shirts, sauna equipment (head to the Sauna Market for those goodies) and Fennofolk style clothing. 
The Helsinki public transport system consists of trams, rail, the subway, bus lines and two ferry lines. The Helsinki Metro rapid rail is one of the easiest ways to get somewhere quickly, while you will mostly only need ferries if you are heading out of the city or want to explore the coast. If you are hiring a car, it’s good to note that Helsinki has about 390 cars per 1000 people, making these roads a lot less chaotic than most cities.

Helsinki Airport – HEL 

This airport has won a number of awards over the past few years – in 2006 it was included amongst the best airports worldwide by global airport customer satisfaction survey AETRA, while even before that in 1999 it was ranked as the very best in the world by IATA. More importantly for travellers, it also racked up a 2005 award from the Association of European Airlines for being the most punctual airport in Europe. 
Food and beverage: Grab a coffee at Café Picnic (Arrivals 2A), Seasons Restaurant & Coffee Shop (Gate 14) or if you’re keen for some unique Finnish cuisine such as reindeer burger, you can try the Fly Inn Deli at Gate 27. 
Currency Exchange:  The Change Group offers foreign exchange services and other banking options at Helsinki Airport. Their kiosks are found in every terminal of the airport. 
Lost Luggage: There is a counter for lost luggage within the baggage claims area – if you need any further help, look for the tourist information desk at Arrivals 2A. 
Airport Hotels: There are two hotels at the airport – Hotel GLO Helsinki Airport and Hilton Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
Car Hire: Rental companies available include Hertz, Sixt, Budget and Avis.  
Airport Hub: Helsinki Airport (code HEL) is a hub for Blue1, as well as low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle and Flybe Nordic.

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