Looking to tick a Finland trip off your bucket list? Use my Finland Travel Guide to help you plan and prepare for a visit you won’t soon forget.
Finland – the “Land of a Thousand Lakes” promises breathtaking scenes, midnight sun, the Northern Lights, and some of the cleanest air on the planet. In a country seemingly designed to help you relax and rejuvenate, it’d be rude not to do just that.
Unwind in a sauna, hike through one of the 40 national parks, and learn all about the country’s cultural significance. Ready for your Finnish adventure? Let’s go!
Finland’s cultural hub, Helsinki, has plenty of museums and theatres to keep you busy, and it’s home to many of the nation’s iconic landmarks. Book a stay at The Folks Hotel Konepaja.
Oulu is the centre of Finland’s innovation and technology. It’s a coastal city, providing space for sailing and riverside picnics. But it’s also home to the Oulu Museum of Art and the Tietomaa Science Centre. Book a stay at Hotel Lasaretti.
Lapland is the northernmost region in Finland and home to cities like Rovaniemi, where you can visit Santa’s village, and Saariselkä, a stunning place to see the aurora borealis. Book a stay at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel.
In the southwest corner of Finland, Turku is home to Turku Castle, Turku Cathedral, and the Aura River. It’s a historical gem of a city with a delectable food scene. Book a stay at Hotel Kakola.
Even travelling to a place as remarkable as Finland, I wouldn’t suggest leaving before ensuring you have travel insurance sorted. My personal choice is AXA Travel Insurance, and they haven’t let me down yet.
Finland Visitor Guide: What to Do During Your Finland Trip
Top Things to Do
View the Northern Lights in the Finnish Arctic Circle
For so many of us who don’t live near Northern Lights viewing spots, this is an absolute highlight of travelling to Finland. The further north you go, the higher your chances of finding these stunning lights. If you join a group tour, you might have even better luck.
If you’re looking for where Santa lives during the year, you’ve found it. This village offers the chance to meet Santa Claus and his elves regardless of when you visit. Book a tour of the village, visit Santa’s special post office, and cross over the Arctic Circle line. This is fun for every age.
No visit to Finland would be complete without at least a day or two spent discovering Helsinki. The city offers markets, museums, and other landmarks, but a must-see is the Design District. This consists of 25 streets packed with boutiques focusing on Finnish design.
Delve into Nature in Finnish Lakeland
This region is where Finns escape to when they need to recharge in nature. It’s also Europe’s largest Lakeland district. You’ll find lakeside cottages to stay in, museums to visit, and nature parks to explore.
Sail Through the Turku Archipelago
Off the coast of Turku is an archipelago of tiny islands, four of which contain fascinating landmarks. During summer, a sailing trip through the islands is one of the best Finland activities.
Spend Time at a Public Sauna
There is no shortage of saunas in Finland — it’s a regular pastime for locals. There is a cultural significance around the saunas, so it’s best to familiarise yourself with this to stay respectful. Then, find a sauna close to you and embrace the health benefits (just remember to stay hydrated).
Take a Dog Sledding Tour
The best time to go dog sledding is winter, but you can still try the activity during the rest of the year. Go to Lapland, meet the fluffy, friendly huskies, and embark on a fun tour, dashing through the snow on a sleigh.
Feast on Finnish Cuisine
From food markets to local favourite restaurants, Finland is a foodie’s haven. There’s so much traditional food to try here; every meal will be an experience. You can take a walking food tour, and there are a number of Michelin-starred restaurants (specifically in Helsinki) for you to splurge on.
Untouched wilderness awaits at Kevo Strict Nature Reserve, where nature has been carefully preserved since 1956. This reserve is in Utsjoki, northern Lapland and is a site for scientific research due to its unique ecosystem.
Book an Ice Fishing Trip
I recommend booking a trip with someone knowledgeable if you plan to go ice fishing in Finland. This involves drilling a hole into the ice, placing your fishing pole into the hole, and then cooking any fish you catch.
Find One of Finland’s Wooden Towns
Several towns in Finland have preserved the old wooden structures that were once used throughout the country. Visit towns like Porvoo, Kaskinen, and Kristinestad and stroll through the streets admiring the buildings.
Take a Ferry to the Åland Islands
The Åland Islands are between Finland and Sweden, but a ±6-hour-long ferry from Turku will get you to the main island of Fasta Åland. Here, you’ll find cafes, handmade craft stores, wooden houses, and plenty of beaches. The island has hotels, so I’d suggest you stay over.
How to See the Best of Finland for Free
Finland is expensive, but there are ways to visit on a budget. The outdoors are almost entirely free to hike and explore. Take to the city streets on foot and find landmarks, cathedrals, and churches, all free to view.
Many museums, like the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, are free or offer free entrance every first Friday of the month. In Helsinki, you can watch free concerts by music students at the Helsinki Music Centre.
Dishes to Try in Finland
Karjalanpiirakka – pastry filled with mashed potatoes or rice pudding and topped with butter.
Poronkäristys – a stew made from reindeer meat and served with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
Sienisalaatti – mushroom salad with marinated forest mushrooms, often mixed with onions, pickles, and sour cream.