Finland, like Germany and Estonia, is in the euro zone. All the other Baltic Rim countries have their own currencies. A few market stalls and shops will accept dollars, but not usually at a very encouraging rate.

Fortunately credit cards are very widely accepted, even by taxis. For public transport, though, you will need euro cash.

The easiest way to get cash is from an ATM, using a credit card. There are ATMs throughout the central area.Highslide JS

Prices seem high to visitors from southern and eastern Europe but fairly normal to those from the west. Comparing Helsinki with the rest of the Baltic area, everyday items and services are more expensive than in St Petersburg and Tallinn but cheaper than in Copenhagen and Oslo.

Bad shopping days 2012
New Year's Day Sat 1 Jan
Epiphany Thu 6 Jan
Good Friday Fri 6 Apr
Easter Sunday Sun 8 Apr
May Day ("Vappu") Sun 1 May
Mothers' Day Sun 13 May
Ascension Day Thu 17 May
Pentecost Sun 27 May
Midsummer Day Sat 23 Jun
All Saints’ Day Sat 3 Nov
Fathers' Day Sun 11 Nov
Independence Day Tue 6 Dec
Christmas Day Sun 25 Dec

The opening hours of most central shops are from 9 in the morning to 5 or 6 p.m. Some stay open to 8 or 9 in the evening. There is no early-closing weekday.

Museums often follow the examples of shops on special holidays. Restaurants are more competitive and don’t.

Shop hours are controlled by law. Because shopping is a subject on which even the dimmest members of parliament have experience, the law is immensely complicated. The main restriction that affects cruise visitors is that city shops cannot open before midday on Sunday.

Kiosk hours are not controlled.

There are also assorted holidays and holy days when shops and a lot of other places are closed. The table shows when a visit to Helsinki is a bleak experience. Unfortunately several of the days are during the cruise season.

You can nearly always find a few shops open in the Railway Station tunnel, but these are mostly for food, not fashions or souvenirs.

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