Finland, often referred to as the Land of a Thousand Lakes, is a Nordic wonder waiting to be explored. From the mesmerising Northern Lights in Lapland to the vibrant urban life in Helsinki, Finland offers a diverse range of experiences. In this travel guide, we’ll take you through the enchanting landscapes, cultural richness, and unique adventures that make Finland a must-visit destination.
Embarking on a journey through Finland promises a tapestry of experiences, combining nature, culture, and innovation. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a food lover, or an avid adventurer, Finland has something special for everyone.
Discovering the Land of a Thousand Lakes
Finland’s pristine landscapes boast lakes, forests, and national parks. Dive into the tranquility of Nuuksio National Park or hike through the stunning Koli National Park for a close encounter with Finland’s natural wonders. Don’t miss the lesser-known gems like Repovesi National Park, where crystal-clear lakes reflect the lush greenery, creating a photographer’s paradise.
Experiences from Diverse Cultures
Participate in customary gatherings like the Juhannus Midsummer Festival or visit historic locations of Finland that detail it’s long history to fully immerse yourself in the community. To experience a singular fusion of history and natural beauty, go to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chasing the Northern Lights
Lapland, located in the Arctic Circle, offers a front-row seat to the spectacular Northern Lights. Experience the magic as the night sky dances with vibrant hues of green and pink. For an even more immersive experience, consider staying in a glass igloo in Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, which allows you to marvel at the celestial display from the comfort of your cozy abode.
Husky Safari Adventures
For an adrenaline rush, embark on a husky safari through Lapland’s snow-covered landscapes. Let the loyal huskies guide you through a winter wonderland. Take it a step further by participating in the annual Finnmarksløpet, one of the world’s longest sled dog races, where you can witness the strength and agility of these amazing animals.
Helsinki, the capital, seamlessly blends modern architecture with historic landmarks. Visit the iconic Helsinki Cathedral a landmark of Finland, as well as visit the contemporary Kamppi Chapel of Silence. Dive into the city’s architectural brilliance by exploring the Design Museum, showcasing the evolution of Finnish design over the years.
Savory Finnish Cuisine
Satisfy your taste buds with Finnish delicacies like Karjalanpiirakka (Karelian pasty) and Lohikeitto (salmon soup). Helsinki’s food scene is a delightful blend of traditional and innovative flavors. Visit the Old Market Hall (Vanha Kauppahalli) to sample local produce and delicacies from various regions of Finland.
Explore Finland’s Archipelago Sea by ferry, discovering charming islands with picturesque landscapes. The Archipelago Trail offers a scenic drive, allowing you to hop from one island to another. Consider renting a cottage on an island for a peaceful retreat surrounded by nature.
Indulge in the ultimate relaxation on one of the archipelago’s secluded islands. Unplug from the world and enjoy the simple pleasures of nature. Consider booking a traditional sauna cottage on an island for an authentic and serene experience.
Winter in Finland transforms the landscape into a snowy paradise. Engage in winter sports, from skiing to ice fishing, and witness the ethereal beauty of frozen lakes. For a unique experience, try ice swimming, a Finnish tradition believed to have health benefits.
Experience the lively Finnish summer with extended daylight hours. Attend music festivals, explore outdoor markets, and enjoy the warmth of the Midnight Sun. Join the locals in picking berries and mushrooms in the forests, an activity deeply rooted in Finnish culture.
Finland uses the Euro (EUR), and English is widely spoken. Learning a few Finnish phrases can enhance your interactions with locals. Additionally, be aware that card payments are widely accepted and ATMs are readily available.
Efficient public transportation, including trains and buses, makes it easy to explore cities and rural areas. Consider renting a car for more remote destinations. If you’re a fan of eco-friendly travel, Finland’s well-connected train system provides a scenic and sustainable way to explore the country.
Discover the therapeutic benefits of the traditional Finnish sauna, from relaxation to improved circulation. Sauna sessions are a cultural ritual not to be missed. Finland, with over 2 million saunas, offers a plethora of options, from urban saunas to lakeside retreats.
Where to Experience Authentic Saunas
Visit public saunas in Finland or venture into the wilderness for a rustic sauna experience. Unwind in the warmth while surrounded by nature. Consider trying the “avanto,” a traditional winter dip in icy waters after a sauna session, for an exhilarating experience.
The Kalevala Spirit
Delve into Finland’s rich mythology through the epic tales of Kalevala. Learn about mythical heroes and creatures that shaped the nation’s identity. Visit the Kalevala Jewelry Workshop in Ilomantsi to witness skilled artisans creating unique pieces inspired by Finnish folklore.
Explore sites connected to Kalevala, such as the National Epic Kalevala Park, and gain a deeper understanding of Finland’s cultural roots. Participate in guided tours that narrate the captivating stories embedded in the landscapes.
Support eco-friendly practices by participating in conservation efforts. Contribute to the sustainability of Finland’s natural beauty for future generations. Consider joining volunteer programs focused on preserving the unique flora and fauna.
Choose accommodations committed to sustainability, such as eco-friendly hotels or charming cottages with minimal environmental impact. The Green Key certification ensures that your stay aligns with environmentally friendly practices.
Design and Innovation
Discover Finland’s renowned design scene with iconic brands like Marimekko. Explore design districts in cities for a glimpse into the country’s innovative creations. Visit Marimekko’s flagship store in Helsinki for a curated selection of vibrant prints and designs.
Stroll through Helsinki’s Design District, where boutiques, galleries, and cafes showcase the best of Finnish design and creativity. Don’t miss the annual Helsinki Design Week, an event celebrating the intersection of design, art, and urban culture.
Local Festivals and Events
Participate in the vibrant Juhannus Midsummer Festival, marked by bonfires, traditional dances, and the joyous spirit of summer. Join locals in the tradition of lighting your own bonfire by the water to celebrate the longest day of the year.
Enjoy the harmonies of the Sibelius Music Festival, celebrating Finland’s renowned composer. Immerse yourself in the world of classical music against scenic backdrops. The festival often features performances in iconic venues like the Temppeliaukio Church.
Finland is a refuge for birdwatchers, according to Wildlife Encounters Birdwatching Paradise. Discover a wide variety of bird species in their natural habitat by visiting nature areas like Liminka Bay. For a thorough birdwatching experience and to find uncommon species like the Siberian Jay, think about hiring a local guide.
Take a reindeer safari in Lapland to get up close and personal with these friendly animals. Embark on a winter landscape adventure while being led by traditional Sami reindeer herders. Even the magnificent sight of reindeer carrying sleds through wintry forests can be seen on some safaris.
Best Photography Spots
Capture the essence of Finland with breathtaking shots from iconic locations like the Santa Claus Village or the medieval Turku Castle. Explore the Pyhä-Luosto National Park for opportunities to photograph the diverse Arctic landscapes.
Ideal Times for Capturing Finland’s Beauty
Plan your photography adventures during the golden hours, taking advantage of the soft, magical light that enhances Finland’s natural beauty. Sunrise and sunset offer enchanting moments, especially during the winter when the landscape is draped in snow.
With one-of-a-kind mementos like Moomin memorabilia, traditional handicrafts, or Finnish design objects, you can save a memory of your Finnish journey. Visit regional markets in Finland to find handcrafted textiles and pottery that showcase the skill of nearby artists.
Next Finnish Adventure
As your trip in Finland comes to an end, begin organising your next trip. Finland invites you to repeatedly discover its wonders because each season offers a unique appeal. On your next trip, think about visiting lesser-known areas, like the Lakeland region, which is renowned for its tranquil lakes and quaint villages.
Finally from Finland
Finland is a place that leaves a lasting impression thanks to its alluring landscapes, lively culture, and welcoming citizens. Finland offers all of the above, whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or cultural enrichment. So prepare your travel plans, appreciate the Finnish way of life, and make lifelong memories.
What is the best time to witness the Northern Lights in Lapland?
During the winter months, from September to March. For the best experience, get away from city lights to truly enjoy the the celestial display.