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With its idyllic landscapes, charming cities, and unparalleled natural beauty, exploring Finland ranks high on many travelers’ bucket lists. Finland has many unique places to visit, from bustling market squares to serene national parks. In this Finland travel guide, we’ve compiled some of the best things to do when visiting Finland. Dive in and discover the captivating charm of this Nordic nation.
- Best Things to Do in Finland
- 1. Suomenlinna
- 2. Helsinki Cathedral
- 3. Santa Claus Village
- 4. Archipelago National Park
- 5. Koli National Park
- Where to Stay in Finland
- How to Get Around in Finland
- Travel Tips for Visiting Finland
- Embrace the Finnish Sauna Experience
- Explore the Nightless Nights
- Discover the Silent Wonders of Finnish Lapland
- Appreciate Finnish Design and Architecture
- Savor the Flavors of Finnish Cuisine
Best Things to Do in Finland
Suomenlinna is one of the most historical places to visit when traveling to Finland, an iconic sea fortress just a short ferry ride from Helsinki. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the fortress was built in the 18th century and has served numerous military purposes.
Nowadays, visitors can explore the sprawling complex, which houses museums, quaint cafes, and scenic picnic spots. Wander through the picturesque tunnels, learn about Finland’s maritime history, and even take a guided tour to make the most of your visit.
2. Helsinki Cathedral
A top attraction in the Finnish capital, Helsinki Cathedral is an extraordinary place to visit. This Lutheran church dominates the city’s skyline with its stunning neoclassical architecture and gleaming white facade. The building was completed in the 19th century and remained an crucial gathering point for locals and visitors. Climb the cathedral’s steps to enjoy incredible views of Helsinki and take in the serene atmosphere of its elegant, minimalist interior.
3. Santa Claus Village
An absolutely essential experience destination in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Santa Claus Village is a magical tourist attraction sure to delight visitors of all ages. Meet the jolly man himself and immerse yourself in the festive spirit as you explore the enchanting elf workshops, cozy cafes, and charming souvenir shops. Don’t forget to cross the Arctic Circle line, a unique experience only possible in this special place.
4. Archipelago National Park
South of Turku, the Archipelago National Park offers fantastic views and arresting panoramas. Made up of thousands of islands and skerries, the park showcases the unique beauty of the Finnish coastline.
Navigate the pristine waters by kayak, hike along scenic trails, or soak up the serene atmosphere. The park is also home to various flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts.
5. Koli National Park
Hailed as one of the most beautiful places on earth, Koli National Park is a absolutely essential to experience destination for those seeking Finland’s natural beauty.
Located in the eastern part of the beautiful country, the park dazzles visitors with its dramatic landscapes, lush forests, and crystal-clear lakes. Hike to the summit of Ukko-Koli, the park’s highest peak, for amazing panoramas, or venture deep into the park’s wilderness to experience true tranquility.
Where to Stay in Finland
During my travels through the enchanting Nordic nation of Finland, I’ve found some genuinely exceptional places to rest my weary bones. If you’re planning to visit Finland and seeking a memorable lodging experience, allow me to share my recommendations:
- Hotel Kämp: A classic luxury hotel at the core of Helsinki, offering timeless elegance and impeccable service.
- Arctic TreeHouse Hotel: Unique and cozy accommodations perched atop the trees in the magical landscape of Rovaniemi.
- Hotel F6: A chic and modern boutique hotel in Helsinki’s city center, with a laid-back atmosphere and stylish rooms.
- Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort: Famous for its glass igloos, this resort offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience deep at the core of Finnish Lapland.
- Hotel St. George: This refined and sophisticated 5-star hotel in Helsinki combines historical charm with modern luxuries.
- LeviSuite Apartments: Fully equipped apartments in the popular ski resort town of Levi, offering a homey touch along with traditional Finnish saunas.
- Alvar Aalto Museum Inn: Stay in this chic museum annex in Jyväskylä that pays tribute to the legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
- Puumerkki Villa: A secluded villa on the serene archipelago of Turku, offering tranquility and exquisite waterfront views.
- Primehotels: These design hotels in Tampere boast stylish rooms and excellent service, perfect for business or leisure travelers.
- Kivalo Submarine Base of Porkkala: A genuinely unique experience to stay in a genuine, renovated WWII-era submarine base near the seaside town of Kirkkonummi.
How to Get Around in Finland
Captivated by Finland’s mesmerizing landscapes, I’ve found that the most rewarding way to explore this diverse nation is by rental car. With the freedom of the open road, it’s never been easier to journey to Finland’s hidden gems or experience the amazing natural beauty of the country’s vast lakes, forests, and archipelagos.
If you’re interested in renting a car for your Finland adventure, I recommend RentalCars.com for their wide selection of services and competitive rates.
Travel Tips for Visiting Finland
If you’re eager to understand what genuinely makes Finland’s allure so powerful, it pays to know its unique characteristics and customs. As you traverse this magical land, consider these crucial travel advice and tips to help make your memories even more unforgettable.
Don’t also forget to secure adequate travel insurance for your trip, as it can offer peace of mind and help protect your money against unforeseen events. I’ve used VisitorsCoverage.com and can vouch for their excellent service and coverage options.
Embrace the Finnish Sauna Experience
A quintessential part of Finnish culture, the sauna is more than just a place to unwind and relax. In Finland, saunas are a way of life – a sacred tradition deeply ingrained in the national identity.
Intrigued by this peculiar custom, I dove headfirst into the world of saunas and discovered their healing and therapeutic properties for both body and soul. As you wander through Finland, don’t hesitate to indulge in this age-old ritual, either at your hotel, a public sauna, or even a private lakeside retreat.
Explore the Nightless Nights
Venturing towards the northern frontier of Finland, I found myself captivated by the mysterious phenomenon known as the midnight sun. For a few weeks during the summer, the sun never dips below the horizon, creating a unique canvas of light that seems to stretch forever. To fully appreciate this enchanting spectacle, I suggest planning a trip to the northern regions of Lapland or driving the Arctic Circle between June and August.
Discover the Silent Wonders of Finnish Lapland
Embarking on an arctic adventure to the Finnish Lapland, I soon realized that the sublime beauty of this untamed wilderness is beyond compare. Here, the elements converge to create a haven for arctic fauna, making it the perfect destination for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and explorers.
Don’t miss the chance to visit iconic landmarks such as the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park or to witness the awe-inspiring celestial phenomenon of the Northern Lights.
Appreciate Finnish Design and Architecture
As a connoisseur of art and design, I couldn’t help but marvel at Finland’s rich architecture and iconic figures, such as Alvar Aalto and Eero Saarinen.
Walking through the streets of Helsinki, I was struck by how seamlessly modern structures coexist with classic examples of neo-classical and modernist design. Immerse yourself in the richness of Finnish artistry by exploring its museums, galleries, and design boutiques.
Savor the Flavors of Finnish Cuisine
Embarking on a culinary quest through Finland, I discovered the country’s diverse landscape and rich history reflected in its unique gastronomic offerings.
From the succulent flavors of reindeer in Lapland to the fresh catch of the day in the coastal archipelago, the Finnish food scene beckons travelers to take a gastronomic journey through its dynamic and ever-evolving flavors.
Don’t miss the chance to sample traditional dishes such as karjalanpiirakka, mustikkapiirakka, and salmiakki and taste some delectable local produce at Helsinki’s famous Market Square.
- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.