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Where To Go Next for Wednesday, April 16


Today's Travel News
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dollar Stretching In Helsinki

With the Euro up and the Dollar down travelers will find a bounty of free and inexpensive things to see and do in Finland’s exciting capital this summer. The fun includes free concerts, city cards good for discounts and free rides on trams and trolleys, roving tourist helpers and free bike rentals. These perks and more await the five million tourists expected to visit Helsinki between May and September when the average midday temperature is 72 degrees, the city’s parks are lush green and the midsummer sun just about doubles one’s vacation time with almost 24 hours of daylight.

1. Helsinki Helpers – Over 20 specially schooled, mostly tow-headed Helsinki Helpers are ready to assist – for free – in up to 20 languages, including English, Japanese and Croatian. They’re found daily in key tourist areas of the city center and have been known to go to extremes to help visitors. One wayward gentleman from Connecticut, separated from his voucher-bearing wife, explained that he did not know where he was booked for the night. The Helpers called around until they found his hotel and escorted him there.

Helsinki is a great town to visit: friendly people, not expensive, handsome architecture, lots of daylight for touring.

2. The “3T” Tour – Prefer sightseeing on your own? For about two Euros (US$3) you can hop Tram No. 3 (in either direction) and do a figure 8 through Helsinki. Journey past South Harbor’s Market Square (one of many fabulous Helsinki markets) where vendors of fresh produce and quality crafts hawk their wares and a fresh salmon and salad lunch will ring up at about 10 Euros (US$15). Also see the Opera House, the art deco Railway Station, the Natural History Museum, the Rock Church and Senate Square crowned by its imposing Lutheran Cathedral and University Library. Holders of a Helsinki Card may hop off and on the tram as they please at no additional charge.

3. Spårakoff Beer Tour Tram – The1950s red Spårakoff Beer Tram is a traveling bar serving fresh Finnish beer and more while you tour Helsinki. The attraction-chocked 40-minute ride starts from the Mikonkatu tram stop, near Helsinki’s Railway Square; there are five stops including the Helsinki Opera House. The tram operates Tuesday-Saturday May 1-August 31, 2008; departures every hour from 2 PM to 8 PM. The price is 8 Euros (US$12). For more information about on board offerings visit


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