"Well-planned is half done." is a common saying among Finns and the same is true of holiday plans. Many people preparing for a long weekend getaway for the Midsummer break know they would do well to stock up on food and drink and to ensure that they can catch the right bus or train when they need it.
The Midsummer long weekend means that some stores and supermarkets will close their doors. But with the liberalisation of business hours in Finland, many will remain open for business in an effort to sell to the stragglers who haven’t headed off to summer cottages for the weekend. On Thursday 22 June, most businesses will observe normal working hours, however many public and private firms may close up shop early ahead of the holiday weekend.
The S-Group chain of supermarkets will keep some 800 stores open on Midsummer Eve, Friday 23 June. Some will observe Sunday opening hours, however store-specific hours can be found at the chain's corporate website (in Finnish).
Stores and supermarkets that form part of the other duopolist, the K Group chain that are located in shopping centres will close their doors over the weekend and will re-open on Monday. Consumers should check their local stores for more information about holiday hours of business.
Meanwhile the challenger chain Lidl will keep some store open on Midsummer Day, Saturday 24 June, while mall outlets will remain closed until Monday. More information about local hours of business can be found by visiting the company website (in Finnish).
As a rule, post offices will not open for business on Friday and Saturday. However the main post office in Helsinki will remain open on Friday morning until noon, while the industrious little elves up at Santa’s post office in the north will work throughout the holiday weekend from 9.00am to 6.00pm. Postal service outlets located in other businesses such as supermarkets will observe the same business hours as the premises in which they are located.
The state monopoly alcohol retailer Alko will be open as usual on Thursday from 9.00am to 8.00pm. On Midsummer Eve, Friday, outlets will open as usual at 9.00am but will close early at 1.00pm. After that, the next opportunity to purchase strong alcohol will be the following Monday.
Essential information for people on the move
Most service stations will continue to serve customers until midnight Friday; some 24-hour stations will remain open for business through the night. Holidaymakers who are worried that their favourite pit stops may be closed should check in advance by going online or calling.
Members of the public looking to travel with state rail provider VR should note that trains will observe a holiday schedule. On Thursday 22 June, trains will run according to a Friday timetable, while on Friday they will follow Saturday schedules. Meanwhile, Saturday services will run according to Sunday schedules. There may also be other special exceptions to services, so commuters are advised to check train timetables in advance.
Services provided by inter-city bus and freight company Matkahuolto will undergo many changes for the holiday weekend. The company will operate limited services on Midsummer Eve (Friday) in particular, along with Midsummer Day (Saturday). In some cases, services may be cancelled altogether. Commuters should check for changes to ticketing and bus schedules, along with special Midsummer services at the company's website (in Finnish).
Smaller pharmacies may be closed throughout the long weekend. However outlets of the large pharmacy chain Yliopiston Apteeki serve customers during the weekend.
Midsummer is an official flag day in Finland and the Interior Ministry has stipulated that the Finnish flag should be hoisted from 6.00pm on Midsummer Eve, Friday, until 9.00pm the following day.
As most of the country winds down for the summer vacation after Midsummer, Yle News coverage will also reflect the nation's slower pulse. Our online coverage of major news, including the weekday paper review, will continue, as will our daily afternoon radio broadcasts on Radio Mondo at 3.30pm and Yle Radio 1 at 3.55pm.