From ridiculous temperatures in saunas to Northern Lights hunt on freezingly cold nights, I do believe that Finland has something for you!
With this short instruction, I hope to give you all needed insights for planning a trip to Suomi. In 5 easy steps, I will explain what Finland has to offer.

1. Don’t get lost in numerous activities

If you google: “things to do in Finland” – you would get a huge list of activities and sights. Instead of spending hours reading through,
I recommend looking at the overview of the country first.

With relatively low population, a large part of Finland is forests and lakes. All biggest cities are located on the South. In the North, inside the Arctic circle, you would find Lapland – the winter tourist activity center.

So, to generalize, there are four main directions in tourism: cities, nature, winter in Lapland and things that are special for Finland.

2. Find your way in Lapland in winter

In winter, especially around Christmas, Finnish Lapland is at the peak of activity! The land turns into the endless white wilderness. Tiny northern trees don’t block the view and allow you to see every feature of the landscape. The major activities are winter sports, northern lights hunt, reindeer and husky safaris. On photo: a skier going down the hill in Kiilopaa, Finnish Lapland.

Tips:

  • In Rovaniemi, You can meet Santa at his main office, you can send a postcard to be delivered to next Christmas (even if it needs to wait for a year).
  • You can easily see the northern lights independently, but if you take a guide, check the forecast beforehand and go on an active day.
  • Don’t limit yourself to Rovaniemi. Yes, it has the biggest selection of activities, the far North is more authentic.
  • Around Christmas time, the prices in Lapland go up and most of the places are booked. If you take a trip in early spring – you would see all the same things, but cheaper.

3. Find your outdoor activity

Finland is known as a land of thousands of lakes, there are also thousands of archipelago islands. Sunsets and moonlight create colorful reflections in calm Finnish waters. At that time, Finns escape the busy cities to have calm holidays at a shoreside cottage. On photo: Hauho, Southern Finland.

Tips:

  • On of the best things to do is taking kayaking trip on sunset or at least take one of the scheduled archipelago ferries
  • Turku-Aland archipelago is the largest and considered the most beautiful, but sunsets in Lapland are more colorful and lakes are calmer than the sea
  • There are no mountains in Finland, so hiking trails are not as scenic as in Norway, but they are definitely much more friendly for a beginner
  • You can camp anywhere if it is not someone’s far and if it is at a reasonable distance from someone’s house.

4. Understand the cities in Finland

Finnish cities combine two things: modernity and closeness to nature. To gather the sunlight, the houses are made with large panoramic windows and almost everywhere you see trees outside. In winter, most of Finns comfortably spend time at homes, but in summer they try to catch every warm day outside. They fill up shore side cafeterias and gather up in parks for picnics.

Tips:

  • Most of the activities are in the biggest cities: Helsinki, Tampere and Turku, rest are relatively calm.
  • Many cities have authentic-looking districts with old wooden architecture, there you would find some small design shops and small, cozy cafeterias.
  • Most of the cities have good connections to national parks and parks are very well managed.
  • Cities in Finland have very good bicycle infrastructure (it is good in winter as well). Instead of renting, check if your hotel or host can provide you a bicycle.
  • The temperature in winter in Helsinki only sometimes goes down to around -20, but most of the time it is around zero. Plan your skiing holiday higher to the North.

5. Get to know what is special in Finland

 

Finns love their saunas, there are so many, that they can fit all the population of Finland. In the place you stay, you can ask: “where is your sauna?” (it is normally close).

Finland is the home of Moomin, if you love them – visit the Moominland or some of Moomin shops.

Sometimes life here gets quite boring, so people come up with all possible means of entertainment. You may take part in contests, such as mobile throwing, wife carrying, mosquito killing, snow swimming, swamp football and so on.

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