Introduction to Helsinki
Helsinki (Finnish) or Helsingfors (Swedish) is Finland’s capital and something of an international metropolis. Founded in 1550, it has been the Finnish capital since 1812. Helsinki’s current population is about 580,000, but the Helsinki region with the neighboring suburban cities of Espoo and Vantaa has a population of over one million.
Helsinki is by far Finland’s most cosmopolitan city and, while no London or New York, there is a fairly good selection of people from all around the world. Helsinki is the only Nordic capital using the € Euro at present.
Around 90% of the residents in Helsinki are native Finnish speakers. There is also a significant Swedish speaking minority, and at many venues downtown you can also get service in Swedish. Staff at some stores like Stockmann carry name signs with flags on the sign representing what languages they speak. As usual in Finland, nearly everybody speaks English, and it is not unusual to meet people in Helsinki (especially among students) who speak four languages or more.
Flights to Helsinki
Your best bet is to start at Opodo where you can see all the flights to Helsinki from the flag carrier Finnair plus BA, SAS and Blue1 as well as indirect flights from the likes of Air France and KLM. You might also be able to save something if you book a flight+hotel at the same time with Opodo. For low cost flights to Helsinki there was some good news in November 2008 when easyJet started a Gatwick – Helsinki route.