Language - Finnish (91%), Swedish (5%) and small Sami- and Russian-speaking minorities
Flight time - London Heathrow to Helsinki 3 hours; London Stansted to Tampere 2 hours 40 mins.
Midsummer is the main event in the Finnish festive calendar. Named Juhannus (for John the Baptist), the main parties - when people head for their summer cottages, make lakeside fires, swim, row, have a sauna, light a barbecue and raise a glass or several - take place on the Friday nearest the Summer Solstice, leaving the rest of the weekend to relax and recover. The midsummer parties have a wistful echo throughout August when Crayfish parties are convened under the moonlight to say farewell to the short summer. Other notable festivals include:
March - Tampere Film Festival. Including national and international screenings and competitions.
March - Lahti Ski Games. Annual three-day event featuring ski jumping, cross-country and Nordic combined competitions.
April - Funky Elephant Festival, Helsinki. Four-day festival of modern rhythm music from soul and funk to hip-hop, reggae and afrobeat.
April - April Jazz, Espoo. Five days of the best Finnish and international jazz artists.
September - Manifesti Factory Festival, Turku. Art exhibitions and performance in Manilla, a 20th-century factory building-turned cultural centre.
September - Love & Anarchy: Helsinki International Film Festival. Finland's biggest film festival, promoting inventive, controversial and visually stunning new films that would otherwise not be seen in Finnish cinemas.
The summer months welcome many smaller quirky festivals all over the country, with annual favourites including the Wife Carrying World Championships (Sonkajärvi, early July), the Sauna World Championships (Metsäkansa, mid-July) and the World Mobile Phone Throwing Championships (Savolinna, late August).
Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.
Passports must be valid for the full duration of your stay. No additional period of validity is required.
Euro notes and coins from all issuing countries are accepted, with the exception of 1- and 2-cent coins, which are judged to be of too low a value for circulation. Swedish krona is also accepted on Åland and in western Lapland, and Norwegian krona can be used near the border with Norway in northern Lapland.
ATMs are everywhere in towns and cities, and in rural areas you can usually withdraw money at kiosks or petrol stations.
Cash and EFTPOS
Always keep some cash on you for small purchases. If you wish to withdraw or exchange money over the counter, banks are normally open from 9.15 am to 4.15 pm Monday to Friday. Credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere, even for small amounts. Mobile phone usage is so ingrained, handsets are commonly used by locals to buy from vending machines, while text messages confirming payment serve as tickets for travel and entertainment.
Finland can be expensive, especially Helsinki, but most daily purchases cost no more than in many European countries. Look out for summer offers as venues and restaurants compete for trade.
Museums and attractions typically charge between €5 and €25, a small beer is €3 to €4, and express rail or bus travel between Helsinki and Turku (200 km) up to €32 at spring 2013. Expect to pay €12 to €15 for a gastro pub burger in Helsinki, €30 for a main course, €40 and up for a bottle of wine at a smart bay front restaurant, and a minimum of €400 for a week's car hire in high summer.