Helsinki Travel Guide
#1
If you have never travelled to Finland or Helsinki, we've published a travel guide just for you: http://www.crystalfair.fi/blog/helsinki-travel-guide

We've also added information about our press mailing list and press passes: http://www.crystalfair.fi/contact/press
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#2
STRIKE. Many thanks, that's more than helpful, that's a complete survival kit!

And I friggin' love your "suck-my-plot"-laws about alcohol. If we had that here, the old towne area of my city would be actually safe to pass during nighttime.

I was surprised that most grocery stores close at 18:00 on weekends, but I take it it's normal to have them open on sundays? Doesn't matter actually, the store you mentioned not far from the venue is open till 23:00, that's more than enough.

Here's a question for dummies (includes me).
How is bread culture? German bread culture is extreme, with the classic being a bakery (and there's plenty of them), including the new self-service stores, even whole pseudo-bakeries in larger super markets/grocery stores. So in germany, running through a city you cannot miss bakeries. How about Finnlad and then Helsinki? If we can buy cheese etc. at the grocery store, all we need is some bread from the next best bakery and breakfast's saved (8€ extra for breakfast at the hotel is just too much compared to preparing some yourself, not mentioning some snacks for during the day).
On matters like this, I rather ask a locel and not google.
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#3
(24.01.2014, 23:39)Stargaze Wrote: STRIKE. Many thanks, that's more than helpful, that's a complete survival kit!

And I friggin' love your "suck-my-plot"-laws about alcohol. If we had that here, the old towne area of my city would be actually safe to pass during nighttime.

It's really nice to know the guide is helpful ^^.

Helsinki is a quite safe city, I personally don't have any problems with walking there alone at night time. Still, we get our share of drunk idiots though, but I bet that's the case in every city.

(24.01.2014, 23:39)Stargaze Wrote: I was surprised that most grocery stores close at 18:00 on weekends, but I take it it's normal to have them open on sundays? Doesn't matter actually, the store you mentioned not far from the venue is open till 23:00, that's more than enough.

Only really small grocery stores used to be able to be open on Sundays, but after the law reform in December 2009, all grocery stores can be open on Sundays. The normal closing time on Saturdays and Sundays is at 18:00, but some stores are open for longer, especially smaller ones.

If you want more to choose from, I recommend going to Kamppi shopping centre. The grocery store there is open 'till 22:00 every day.

(24.01.2014, 23:39)Stargaze Wrote: Here's a question for dummies (includes me).
How is bread culture? German bread culture is extreme, with the classic being a bakery (and there's plenty of them), including the new self-service stores, even whole pseudo-bakeries in larger super markets/grocery stores. So in germany, running through a city you cannot miss bakeries. How about Finnlad and then Helsinki? If we can buy cheese etc. at the grocery store, all we need is some bread from the next best bakery and breakfast's saved (8€ extra for breakfast at the hotel is just too much compared to preparing some yourself, not mentioning some snacks for during the day).
On matters like this, I rather ask a locel and not google.

Finland isn't that extreme with bread culture, so bakeries aren't that common, but there are some bakery cafés in Helsinki. The cafés are usually closed on Sundays. I've listed a few below:

Kanniston leipomo, Lasipalatsi, Mannerheimintie 22-24 (on the map)
Kakku & Leipä Keisari (open on Sundays), Kamppi shopping centre (on the map)
Café & Confectionery Briossi, Kalevankatu 9 (on the map)
Karl Fazer Café (website not available in English, open on Sundays), Kluuvikatu 3 (on the map)

Most grocery stores have a pseudo-bakery where they bake pre-baked bread etc. The closest store to Finlandia Hall has one as well.
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#4
Maybe you can add some rough estimates on prices in Finland, from my visits to Sweden and Norway some years ago, I remember prices being quite high compared to Germany for food and restaurants, and alcohol even far beyond that. On the other hand, that was years ago before VAT (Mehrwertsteuer) was rocket-jumping in Germany, and Finland may be totally different.
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#5
(25.01.2014, 01:48)404compliant Wrote: Maybe you can add some rough estimates on prices in Finland, from my visits to Sweden and Norway some years ago, I remember prices being quite high compared to Germany for food and restaurants, and alcohol even far beyond that. On the other hand, that was years ago before VAT (Mehrwertsteuer) was rocket-jumping in Germany, and Finland may be totally different.

A good point, especially since Finland isn't a cheap country.
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#6
I simply must jump in here. SharkMachine forgot to mention a small obscure pure bakery very close to the city center.

It is called "Helsingin Leipä Oy".

Adress: Runeberginkatu 6, 00100 Helsinki
Description: A very small establishment. Each morning its shelves are stuffed with bread and towards the afternoon/evening the shelves tend to be empty. Exactly what you would expect from a bakery. Been there a couple of times for a croissant and coffee on my way to the Helsinki business schools. This will most likely be your bakery of choice if you stay anywhere near the city center.

Distance: It takes 3-4 minutes to walk there from the Kamppi shopping center.

Map: ______

Helsinki is quite safe. The more heavily trafficed areas, like the viscinity of Kamppi and the Railway station, for sure get the most traffic, like any central area in any city, but there are security guards and police posted in these areas during the late evenings to keep stuff in order, so things basically stay calm. If the weather permits, party people tend to congreagate in parks. But since this is summer, the native city population has mostly likely relocated themselves to the countryside. Those who don't have a place in the countryside to go to, stay in the city or the adjacent Helsinki suburbs.

If you've ever been to a larger city like Berlin or London, Helsinki will feel like a small town. Immediately when you move outside the very central areas during the evenings, the streets basically become practically deserted, and with that I actually mean deserted in a good way (homes and sleeping quarters). The party folks hang around the Kamppi-Forum-Stockman-Railway Station axis, and in truth, they are just moving on between the bars & clubs and mind their own business.

During the late evenings one might stumble across a slightly intoxicated person or two due to a more liberal stance towards alcohol that finns have (and the fact that there are quite many bars and pubs in the central city), but it's nothing to worry about. Finns are solitary creatures who (mostly) mind their own business. To Finns it's socially acceptable to just ignore everyone you meet on the street and move on with your business, like nothing happened. Have crossed these central areas hundreds of times during late nights and nothing bad has ever happened.

If you want to creep people out daytime, try walking up to someone and say hi and see if you manage to startle them. Most likely you'll succeed. (Can be extremely amusing.)
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#7
I've made a few updates to the travel guide. The public transport page contains more information on purchasing tickets and shopping section has a chapter on prices in Finland and the grocery store of Kamppi is mentioned there as well.
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#8
I have a related question: how LGBT friendly is the City? Sounds like it should be fairly so if the attitude you described carries over, but thought I'd ask anyway.
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#9
(25.01.2014, 19:22)Bookworm Wrote: I have a related question: how LGBT friendly is the City? Sounds like it should be fairly so if the attitude you described carries over, but thought I'd ask anyway.

I would say it is quite LGBT friendly. I personally know a few living in Helsinki and they haven't had any problems. And as Insomnia already stated, people usually mind their own business and leave others alone.
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#10
(25.01.2014, 20:20)SharkMachine Wrote:
(25.01.2014, 19:22)Bookworm Wrote: I have a related question: how LGBT friendly is the City? Sounds like it should be fairly so if the attitude you described carries over, but thought I'd ask anyway.

I would say it is quite LGBT friendly. I personally know a few living in Helsinki and they haven't had any problems. And as Insomnia already stated, people usually mind their own business and leave others alone.

I might as well give my own opinion here:

By default, Finns and in this case Helsinki resident in reality do not mind who you are or what you do, as everybody is basically too busy focusing on their own stuff. The more one interrupts a Finn's personal privacy, the more reactions one gets. I'd say "Good for you." is the default state of being for the absolute majority. Free country with personal liberties and all that jazz.

If it's any indication, the two biggest LGBT establishments "Hercules" and "DTM Club" are located practically beside each other at the southern tip of Mannerheimintie, which is the main road in Helsinki. It's more or less at the very heart of the city at a very publicly visible spot.
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#11
Many thanks for all the detailled answers.

After the visit I might have to fight the urge to completely move over.

On the one hand it's interesting to hear that Finns switch places during summer, also that it's a social convention just to not deal with people and all are okay with it. Then again it's a bit of a shame. It looks like generall indeifference and ignorance. I think however this is more rooted in the ability to self-responsibility and the trust of others to friggin' use your head that society doesn't need to papmer each other.

I'm even more intrigued than before and can hardly wait for July.
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#12
(29.01.2014, 09:33)Stargaze Wrote: Many thanks for all the detailled answers.

After the visit I might have to fight the urge to completely move over.

On the one hand it's interesting to hear that Finns switch places during summer, also that it's a social convention just to not deal with people and all are okay with it. Then again it's a bit of a shame. It looks like generall indeifference and ignorance. I think however this is more rooted in the ability to self-responsibility and the trust of others to friggin' use your head that society doesn't need to papmer each other.

I'm even more intrigued than before and can hardly wait for July.

I'd consider it more of a reflection of the Finnish culture and mannerism, which is much more introverted by nature. Additionally, the Finnish welfare system is so all-encompassing (funded by progressive heavy taxation) that the residents are used to the fact that those who need help can get it from the authorities, and thus don't need to personally care about others to the same extent as elsewhere. The best example of the encompassivness is the fact that Finns don't pay anything for university level education.

If the above is good or bad, or if any of the previously mention works the way it should, largely depends on who you ask. It's an interesting topic of discussion that divides opinion very strongly, as it tends to do anywhere where social questions are discussed. Currently these things are being discussed quite heavily in public due to the economic downturn and the challenges it has caused in Europe since 2007. It's a debate between individualistically and collectivistically minded people.
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#13
Oh boy, as a former sociology student this intrigues me. Gotta google a bit around it.

In any case, the modern finnish attitude can't be that introverted any more, with you guys building a convention. xD
Oh yeah, since I don't want to spam a new thread for this, how large is the convention in terms of intended tickets and volunteers etc.? BronyDays was small but cozy and fun nonetheless, so I'm not saying it comes down to size, but I'm curious what to be prepared for. Thanks in advance!
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#14
(30.01.2014, 10:26)Stargaze Wrote: Oh boy, as a former sociology student this intrigues me. Gotta google a bit around it.

In any case, the modern finnish attitude can't be that introverted any more, with you guys building a convention. xD
Oh yeah, since I don't want to spam a new thread for this, how large is the convention in terms of intended tickets and volunteers etc.? BronyDays was small but cozy and fun nonetheless, so I'm not saying it comes down to size, but I'm curious what to be prepared for. Thanks in advance!

We are basically aiming at attracting 1000 (a bit over preferably) visitors over the course of the entire weekend. It's a pretty solid rule of thumb, further reinforced by my statement in this newspaper article: http://www.crystalfair.fi/blog/we-made-the-news

The venue itself can fit thousands of visitors, if everything is in use, which on our part is not the case, even if it would be awesome in a way, but in our case not feasible. In such a situation handling 3000 visitors is no problem at all. The largest hall can even seat 1700 individuals.

But as a business-minded person, I naturally secretly wish that we fill the place up as much as possible, because more is more. But that's just me and my overly idealistic world where everything is possible and the outcome is determined by pure will alone, no matter how unrealistic the dream or idea. The current indicators are however very promising. Realistically, making a high quality package of a solid character is more than enough for us, a weekend that's worth experiencing. Something we all can think back on with joy and warm fuzziness on the inside.
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#15
When I came from work by train on Thursday, I noticed that one of the shops (link) at central railway station is open 24/7. Last time I checked, it wasn't a shop that is open 24h.
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#16
(24.01.2014, 23:39)Stargaze Wrote: Here's a question for dummies (includes me).

Oh, you're asking dumb questions? Gotta jump in there (luckily Stargaze already took a good portion of mine, so I look only half-stupid).

Aside from all the sightseeing, LGBT places and obscure bakeries: Does Helsinki have any less crowded, more uhm... "natury", introverted, if you will, spots nearby?
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#17
Do you mean something like jogging tracks and parks?
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#18
Dammed, should've checked that link in the travel guide. Thanks^^

I didn't have anything specific in mind, but yeah, that's pretty much what I was looking for. Sounds like one beautiful town you got there. Also, Suomenlinna definitely sounds worth a visit. Maybe I'll have to make my stay in Finland a full week...
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#19
Suomenlinna is definitely worth the visit. I also recommend checking Seurasaari out http://www.nba.fi/en/museums/seurasaari_openairmuseum
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#20
Alright, I've managed to make my stay a little longer (my bank account will eventually kick me in the stones for it, but I think it'll be worth it). Should give me enough time to also check out Seurasaari. Twilight smile

So I've taken a closer look on public transport and it seems pretty simple, yet I still have one little question about day tickets:

When I select regional tickets, they're more expensive than just Helsinki tickets, which makes me believe they're gonna take me further. ;) Say I buy a Region 3-Zone ticket, is it gonna take me to places like Luoma, Mäntsälä or Vantaa? And in general: Is there something like a map where you can easily see how far each region goes?
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