Helsinki has become a haven for expats looking for a liveable city with rich culture and stunning natural surroundings. Technology, communications and manufacturing are a draw for professionals while the city’s high-quality educational institutions attract international students from around the world.
If you’re planning on joining the 120,000 expat families in Finland, or even just planning on a visit, be prepared for high prices. Make sure you have some cash in your pocket to really make the most of your time in this vibrant city.
Life in Finland is notoriously expensive. Use this guide to avoid the rip-offs and find the best places to exchange your money in Helsinki.
Finland is in the Eurozone, so if you're travelling from a non-Euro area, you'll probably need some cash.
- Compare the rate you’re offered with the real mid-market rate online. Because exchange rates go up and down all the time, it can help to keep an eye on the live rate by using an online currency converter. Remember to factor in commission charges and other fees when you're choosing the best place to make your conversion.
- Avoid exchanging cash around airports and hotels. The services, conveniently located though they are, are unlikely to be good value. If you're in a hurry to get your hands on some cash, try an ATM instead. ATMs often offer fairer rates than an exchange booth, but there are still a few common pitfalls to avoid.
- Don’t let a foreign ATM do any conversion for you. If the ATM asks if you’d like to be charged for your transaction in your home currency, say no. It usually means they’ll convert at a poorer rate, and charge an extra fee to do so. Get charged in the local currency instead, to ensure you’re getting a fairer rate.
- Ask your home bank if they have a partnership with any Finnish banks. Using ATMs from within your local bank’s partnership may possibly reduce the fees you pay if withdrawing from an ATM of the partner bank. At the same time, let your bank know you’re planning to use your card overseas, to avoid any issues paying with your card.
Time in Helsinki can be quite expensive. But plan ahead to avoid coming home with unwanted Euros in your pocket. Changing them back to your home currency just means racking up extra fees and charges. Instead, spend up before you leave to get the most of out your money.
It's not usually the best option (online reviews echo the problem), but there are several opportunities to change cash at Helsinki’s airport. If you're desperate to make a cash exchange, then switch what you need at the airport and wait until you reach the centre to change the rest.
|Mannerheimintie 14 B (Forum Shopping Centre)||+358 96980760|
|Helsingin Kamppi Center Oy, Urho Kekkosen 1 (Kamppi Shopping Mall)||+358 93232012|
|Pohjoisesplanadi 21||+358 927070071|
- Forum Shopping Center - M-F 10-20, Sat 9-18, Sun 10-18
- Kamppi Shopping Mall - M-F 8-21, Sat 9-18, Sun 10-18
- Pohjoisesplanadi - M-F 8-19, Sat 9-17, Sun 10-18
|Rautatieasema, Asemahalli, PL 118||+358 0207512510|
|Stockmann 8.krs, Aleksanterinkatu 52B||+358 0207512550|
|Kauppakeskus Itis, Pasaasi-käytävä||+358 0207512540|
|Stockmann Itis, Palvelupiste, kerros -1 Kauppakeskus Itis Itäkatu 1b||+358 0207512560|
- Rautatieasema - M-F 8-20, Sat 9-19, Sun 9:30-17
- Stockman Aleksanterinkatu - M-F 9-21, Sat 9-19, Sun 11-18
- Kauppakeskus - M-F 9:30-19, Sat 9:30-17
- Stockmann- Palvelupiste - M-F 9-21, Sat 9-19, Sun 11-18
Alternatively - for an even better deal - use Transferwise for transparent, low fees and minimum hassle. If you have a Finnish bank account, or know someone who does, you can transfer money between accounts using the real mid-market exchange rate.