Frequently Asked Questions / FAQs

We're a talkative bunch here at Kontiki Finland and are happy to answer all your questions as best we can.  But to save you time, we've compiled a list of the most asked questions directly from our customers.  If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact us with your very own question.      

Day Excursions & Holiday Questions:

"I've heard a lot about Finland, but I'm not sure where to visit, I want a mix of all Authentic Finnish sights and activities - where do I start?"

Firstly I'd consider which season you might like to travel - during the bright white bitter cold snowy season?  Or would you prefer warm breezes, sea air, lakeside or cottage life?  Northern Lights or the midnight sun?  Once you've got your general impression of the seasons, you can break down the country into general areas HERE.  Do you mind traveling around by car, train or flying?  Would you like to enjoy daily activities but still stay in a city?  Or would you prefer free days with no program?  Tell us a little bit about you and we can find you the right style of holiday to suit you!

We've made some cool SlideShows to give you an idea of the FINNISH ADVENTURE & RURAL LIFE & RELAXATION - Which one do you prefer?

"With a snowmobile excursion, our kids are so little I don't think they would ride in a side car or sled on their own. Can adults ride in side car or sled?"

An adult can ride in the back with the children, however the cost for the adult will sometimes remain the same.  Snowmobile drivers must be over 18 years with a driving licence, sorry kids :)

"I am just travelling in Helsinki region for business and have a few days spare, I am looking for something active and unique to Finland, what can you do?"

We have plenty of different day excursions and overnight trips to offer business and solo travelers.  Best to contact us, but you can check out our Day trips too for inspiration.

"Do you offer collection from the hotel in Helsinki, and if so, which ones..?"

In short, YES!  We offer collection from any city centre hotel for most of our day excursions, unless clearly stated otherwise.  We have an approximate time of departure and will make personal arrangements to collect our small groups for the excursions.  Luckily Helsinki is a compact city, so this process doesn't usually take more than 20 minutes or so.

"Do you do any day-long tours"

Yes, during most of the year, you can book a day long private tour with us, tailored to your requirements and style.  During our peak seasons (Jan-March & July-August), we run a daily schedule.  However, they are designed so that customers can join for the whole day or for a half day tour, thus 2 tours in 1 day.  We can also include meals in this arrangement.  Our daily schedule for peak season looks like THIS.

"What happens after I make a booking with you?"

After you make your booking for a day excursion, your guide for the day will contact you, normally about 48 hours beforehand.  He / she will ask you for further details of dietary requirements, inform of collection time and advise you on the weather situation expected.  You can ask your guide direct questions at this time too...

"what information do I need for a booking?"

For a day excursion booking, we need to know your city centre accommodation (or other location) to meet you, a telephone number or email address and your names of the group members.  It is also helpful to know dietary requirements and the ages of  the group well in advance so that we can factor in special requirements.

"Where can I try a sauna?"

Many hotels in Helsinki have a communal sauna, however you can also book to join small groups or rent a private sauna by the lake, seashore or in the forest areas with a hot tub.  Read more about Sauna etiquette and styles HERE.

"Can I do something different / interesting in transit or during a layover between my flights?"

As always, the longer you have to spend somewhere the more you get to see - but for super short breaks, there are ways to get a real sense of the country and Capital with condensed experiences.  Depending on your interests and styles, it is possible tailor a day to suit you with a private guide, or to jump on board one of our small group tours and experience either the city, nature, cultural or historical areas....All this can be done in 6 hours or if you have a full day, or try an overnight stopover.

"I'd like to see Finland the way the locals do, how can I do this?"

Couple of ways is the short answer.  You can always ask us about spending a day with a local.  However, you can also read what our guides and staff like to do in their own free time HERE.  Winter to follow.

Transportation:

"How long does it take to reach the hotel from the airport?"

Helsinki Vantaa airport is located 19km from the city centre, with reasonable bus connections.  There are plenty of Taxis around too.  If you book with us for a short break, holiday or specially designed day excursion, we'll pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel, no problem.  The journey usually is around 30 minutes.

Weather

"So I am a bit clueless in regards to suitable clothing for Finland in December, can you advise me?"
Because it is a dry cold, layering is always the best option.  Roughly the following:
-5 - thermals, winter trousers/ ski pants, 1 fleece or sweater and a jacket, hats & gloves
-10 - thermals, winter trousers /ski pants, 1 long sleeve t shirt, 1 fleece / sweater and a jacket, hats and gloves, inner gloves, 2 x socks
-15 - thermals, winter trousers / ski pants, 1 long sleeve t shirt, 1 additional shirt, fleece / sweater and a jacket, hats and gloves, inner gloves, 2 x socks
  
RISKS:
"Is it safe for my wife and I to walk around at night in the city or in the forest areas?"

Very good question.  Finland is generally a really safe country.  First we ask Lonely Planet for some good answers:  

LONELY PLANET: Finland is a very safe, nonthreatening country to travel in but there are some potential risks to consider.

Weather extremes, especially in Lapland, can cause unexpected danger at any time of the year. Extreme cold kills lone trekkers almost every winter in the wilderness, and cold rain can also be a problem in summer.

June and July are the worst months for mosquitoes, which are a major nuisance in the country, particularly in Lapland. Insect repellent or those beautiful hat-nets are essential.

In more remote places you may run across eccentric people, who you will have to accept as they are: sometimes suspicious of outsiders. The gloomy winter may lead to unpredictable behaviour and alcohol abuse.

In urban areas, violence mostly occurs in association with intoxicated local males, who are normally rowdy and intimidating rather than outright aggressive.

We'd like to add to that:  In the forest areas outside of Helsinki, it is generally a better idea to travel with a guide.  There are rare (and very special) chances to run into some wildlife, that can include the giant ELK (that can charge if threatened), LYNX (highly elusive but, in theory, can be a threat to very young children and animals) and one species of poisonous snake, the Adder (dangerous bite, that noramlly results in sickness and treatment, can be more dangerous to young kids and the vulnerable groups).  They are very rare to encounter and good equipment normally prevents any problems. However overnighting in the forest areas and walking during the day, one must simply be aware of the risk.  We'd recommend guided walks for National Parks without paths etc...


Diet & Food:


"What do they eat in Finland?"

Everyday Finnish food has similarities to the rest of Europe.  It usually includes a choice of breakfasts - but often a sweet pastry and coffee.  At lunch time, people often opt for a hot buffet meal and SO many restaurants participate in a good €10 buffet lunch, including at Helsinki Harbour market, that it often becomes the main meal of the day.  School children eat a hot meal at school everyday...for free.  You can always find sandwiches etc too....

Meat is usually available at every meal, and cold cuts (ham, salami, cured turkey are readily available).  Fish is a good and popular option too, being a staple food in Finland since...well...forever.  Cured, smoked, cold smoked, pickled - whatever your flavour choice, there is salmon, trout, European White Fish available in most places.  Potatoes are served almost everywhere, everyday!  

Salads and vegetables are popular.  

Finnish people drink - Read a bit more about this.

"We are vegetarian, is this a problem in Finland?"

We know that having a 'vegetarian option' just isn't good enough for a decent meal out! Finland is, admittedly,  not leading the way with Vegetarian restaurants - but there enough around to satisfy with excellent food, it just takes a little planning.  Lunchtime buffets, as mentioned above are a great idea, often there are good vegetarian choices, especially in the soup selection and salads.  Try out these recommendations from VISIT HELSINKI  & the VEGAN SOCIETY IN FINLAND

"I don't eat meat, only fish....will I have plenty of choice?"

Yes, loads..everywhere.

"Are there lots of restaurants in Helsinki city centre?"

The Helsinki restaurant scene is at its best, from Michelin Starred excellent, to foods of many nationalities throughout the city.  You can try our Lappish Cuisine, relaxed bistros, tasting menus inspired by the seasons and more.  Contact us if you need a push in the right direction.  There are a few nice places recommended HERE.

             Questions about payment:

"How/when should we pay for the tour?"

We prefer bank transfer payment (online banking or in your bank) and can also access credit card payments in advance.  If the booking is last minute and for a Day Excursion, we can also accept cash on the day of the excursion.

Generally for pre-booked holidays, short breaks and day excursions, we ask for pre-payment between 30-14 days in advance.  You can always contact us for more information or to ask about your specific payment restrictions at info@kontikifinland.com

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Tel. +358 (0)44 06 34 100 /  + 358 (0)44 06 34 003                       

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