If you are travelling from the United Kingdom to Finland, Helsinki Vantaa Airport is a great airport to fly into. Depending on your departure airport, SAS can get you there in about four hours. It's one of Europe's leading airports in terms of the number of destinations it serves.
On arrival, it's easy to find the baggage claim by simply checking the nearest monitor. Transfers are easy since all arrivals and departures take place in the same terminal. There are numerous airport personnel, easily identifiable by their blue jackets, available for those who need help.
For those with time to kill in the airport, there is a lounge open to all passengers with great views of airplanes taking off and landing. There are lots of cafés, restaurants, bars, stores and spas in which to pass an hour or two. There are even art collections to see and an aviation museum to visit. Wireless Internet is also available free of charge throughout the airport.
For travellers staying at a nearby hotel, free shuttle buses are available and can be found right in front of the terminal. To reach downtown Helsinki, taxis can be found at the taxi station in front of the terminal. It takes about half an hour to reach downtown Helsinki from the airport and costs around €40.
There are five rental car companies operating at Helsinki Airport and their service desks can be easily found in the corridor between terminals. Rental car parking lots are located right outside the terminal.
There is no shortage of interesting things to do in Helsinki. From castles and cathedrals to parks and shopping, it's a terrific city for the British tourist. In the centre of the city is Senate Square, which is home to Finland's Parliament House and the University of Helsinki and features a large statue of Emperor Alexander II.
Perhaps the most interesting architectural sight of Helsinki is the Church of the Rock. This church was built into a huge block of granite and has a glazed dome that lets in lots of natural light. Tuomiokirkko, the Helsinki Cathedral, is another church that is an architectural masterpiece in the Neoclassical style. Built in the early 19th century, it features huge zinc statues of the apostles at the roof line.
A popular activity for visitors is to take a short boat ride to Suomenlinna, a fortress built on an island, where one can visit museums, restaurants, parks and gardens. For the younger set, make time for a visit to Korkeasaari, the Helsinki Zoo, or Linnanmäki, Finland's oldest amusement park.
Espoo borders Helsinki to the west. There are several great museums in Espoo, including the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finnish Museum of Horology and Finnish Toy Museum. To the north of Helsinki is Vantaa, which is home to Helsinki Airport and Heureka, the science centre.
Helsinki is the northernmost European capital, but it is not far from some other important European cities, such as Stockholm, Sweden and St. Petersburg, Russia.
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