9 Best Places to Visit in Finland

Finland is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe, and borders Sweden (west), Russia (east), and Norway (north). By the Baltic Sea, it is not far across from Estonia, Lithuania, or Latvia. Finland is not a Scandinavian country, but is one of the Nordics. The culture of Finland is influenced by Scandinavian culture, Russian culture, and indigenous Sami culture.

The northern part of Finland is called the Lapland, and touches the Arctic Circle. In many ways, Finland is culturally and geographically similar to Sweden. A lot of cities, towns, and villages in Finland have funny names, such as Venäjä (literally meaning Russia), Turku, Espoo, Kuopio, and Oulu.

When people go to visit Europe, they seldom consider Finland as worth visiting. After all, you have famous places like Paris, Venice, and London to see and explore. So, why should you spend your time in Europe trying to see what Finland has to offer? Well, as it turns out, Finland has quite a few places that are bound to astound you and further interest you in the rich history and culture that this country has.

After all, there is a good reason why we consider it one of the most beautiful places to see in the world. This Nordic country regularly tops the lists of safest countries in Europe. So it is one place that even the most timid of solo travelers should feel secure in.

The least visited of the Nordic nations, Finland has a very unique feel thanks to its close (and sometimes uneasy) proximity to Russia. Summer is the most beautiful time in Finland, and everything is green. The flowers are colorful. The sun shines in the sky until around 11 pm, and the sun makes people happier.

The flowers don’t bloom until around mid-late April or May. The winters are long, cold, dark, and a bit harsh. In Finland, you must always be prepared for when winter comes. During the 5 or 6 months of winter, people wear warm layers of clothing under their snowsuits and warm protective boots. The northern lights and snowy white forests are beautiful in winter.

The Finns love to relax and they often take vacations. There are many outdoor activities people enjoy in Finland, such as ice swimming, ice hockey, ice fishing, dog sledding, reindeer sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, mushroom picking, and berry picking.

All kinds of berries grow in Finnish forests; including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cloudberries, and lingonberries (all are edible). Finns use these berries to make jelly, sauce, or to make a pie, cake, or sweet bread. But watch out for poisonous berries.

During the whole month of July, families relax and spend time together in their summer cottages on holiday. Some cottages are near or by a lake where families go fishing, canoeing, and swimming.

Completing the list of the Nordic countries is Finland. In this case, in addition to the kindness of its neighbors - Sweden and Norway - it provides an argument of tremendous weight. Finland has the best educational system in the world. This is a guarantee of a modern, just and prepared society. Finland is a beautiful country with forests and lakes, and a small but beautiful coastline to the South.

Definitely an underrated place! Finnish people have one of the driest senses of humour in the world. The worlds most social awkward country has much to offer. It is Santa’s gaff and has 188,000 lakes, nestled between its gorgeous sprawling forests. About 74% of Finland is covered in boreal forests. Although the population is small and cities are few, the scenery is really what is best about the place. In winter it is mega snowy and gorgeous and in autumn the trees wear a burnt orange.

Finland is a unique country culturally. The folk there rightfully were proud of the fact that no where is quite like Finland. Often mistakenly called Scandinavian, Finns are their own ethnic group and speak a complicated language not related to anything, except a little bit of Estonian and Hungarian. The country has great food, fish and unlike some places, you never want more.

A Finn will feed you good! In a nutshell its an eccentric country right on the top of Europe, off all the major routes but not worth missing out! Only downside is the lack of light in winter. They get around it though by drinking MAD amounts of coffee. The Finns love coffee and consume the most coffee in the world. Coffee is called kahvi, and you can always enjoy it with a sweet pastry. In Finland, cinnamon rolls are called korvapuusti.

Before you set out to explore Finland, we strongly suggest that you learn a bit about its history. Most of the places to visit in Finland have some historical significance to them which you can only appreciate if you do a bit of research beforehand. Know that you won't find enormous skyscrapers here or some tremendous buildings that you cannot see anywhere else.

Instead, you will find a land rich with culture and history that you can only appreciate if you know how they came about. So, don't let your Finland tour boil down to visiting Helsinki and going shopping. Use the time you have here as best you can. And to help you start exploring, we are going to list our pick of the best places to visit in Finland.

Best places to visit in Finland

Here is our pick of the best places to visit in Finland.

1. Helsinki

Let's assume that the first city you'll come to is Helsinki. After all, it is both its capital and its largest city.

Churches in Helsinki can be truly awe-inspiring

All that we suggest is that if you happen to fall in love with this city, and want to spend a substantial amount of time here, remember to hire well-equipped, experienced long-distance movers. You can settle down anywhere in the world stress-free, as long as you have them at your side.

Best places to visit in Finland

2. Turku

While we could make this article all about places to see in Helsinki, we will leave it for now. Instead, let us focus on places outside of Helsinki where you can learn more about Finland and its culture and history. One of those places is Turku, the oldest town in the country. Turku is the oldest city in Finland and former capital.

The Vikings landed on the Gulf of Bothnia, at the mouth of Aurajoki River in the 12th century and founded Turku. So, you can imagine the rich history you can learn by visiting museums in Turku and all of its numerous historical sights. You can even come during the midsummer Medieval Festival, and see a glimpse of the medieval times with authentic foods and historical events.

It feels like a central European city thanks to the aura river that flows through the city and the bridges that are beautifully lit up at night. In summer you can hear different kinds of music coming from the open air bars around the river and the river boat bars. The city has it’s heart on the marketsquare and around it you can find different kinds of stores, cafés, restaurants from large chainstores to small ma & pa shops.

Turku is filled with history, being an old hansa town you can see times passed when walking around the aura river. Turku has had its fair share of fires and also modernization has plagued its beautiful historical buildings. But museums like Aboa Vetus ars nova has preserved some of old Turku. Also the Turku castle is another historically meaningful building as well as the iconic cathedral has its fair share of history.

The city is buzzing with culture, art, history and students since its an old uni town. Turku has a beautiful coastline, nature and culture.

Stroll along the Aura River and discover two of the most important monuments of the place, the cathedral and the castle. Here is also the archipelago of Turku, with its more than 20,000 islands waiting to be explored. To travel to Finland you need a visa and a valid passport. If you are interested in Finnish history, Turku is one of the best places to visit in Finland.

Late September is usually rather chilly, with possibly huge variation from South to North. In late September, there may be winter in Northern Lapland and some relatively warm days on the Southern coast. In late September the migratory birds have gone, the fall colors dominate the landscape (strongly weather dependent), the mosquitoes have died and it’s great time for hiking, if you can cope with cold nights rental cabin is a good option for that.

There are always some events but the late September isn’t a high season of festivals. In late September, rent a cabin, forage mushrooms and spend long hours in a lakeside sauna watching over the cold lake and colourful forests.

Best places to visit in Finland

3. Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland and the home of Santa Claus. For those who think of traveling with children to Finland, it is an essential visit. It is also an ideal place to explore and observe wildlife in the wild such as bears, wolves or lynxes. You can't miss a trip to Santa Claus Village this Christmas.

It is in Finland, just 2 km away the famous Rovaniemi Airport, capital of Lapland in the north of Finland. Do you know why it is called a Santa clause village? Because it is famous that the village is especially visited by Santa Clause every year. We have listened about the stories of Santa clause distributing the gifts in kids, it was a wish to see Santa with our eyes or at least feel him.

With this opportunity, you will have the best cuisines in Finland in the topnotch restaurants in the town. Shops are there to buy gifts for your own people, take the pictures with the clowns and Santa itself. It will add an account of joys in your life.

Best places to visit in Finland

4. Tampere

Being the third-largest town in Finland, you might think that Tampere doesn't have much to offer. But it is easily one of the best places to visit in Finland. The city has numerous cultural events year-round, so you are bound to experience some of them. If you are a jazz fan, we suggest that you visit it during November, as that is when Tampere Jazz Happening, well, happens.

This 38-year-old tradition is well known in the European Jazz community, and the world's top musicians come to Tampere and perform in small venues throughout the city. One of the more interesting sights to check out is the Tampere Cathedral. There, you can witness paintings and frescoes of skeletons in black hoods that Hugo Simberg created in the 1900s.

Best places to visit in Finland

5. Lake Inari

The sauna is worshipped in Finland, and it is where people bathe, sweat, and relax in a warm, wet steaming house after being in the cold for a long time. Nudity is also accepted, and there is no need to be ashamed of showing your body. People even go swimming fully or partially nude in the lakes, summer or winter. More than half of the Finnish population owns a sauna.

Feel yourself like a true Finn by immersing yourself in a frozen lake in winter and then relax in a warm sauna in the Lake District, while there are degrees below freezing. This is the home of the sauna, with an estimated 3 million saunas for the use of its 5 million inhabitants. Sauna is a Finish word! That means you know they are great!

While we may make the connection between Finland and vodka, they love their beers in this part of the world. Locals especially enjoy drinking a cool beer or cider while enjoying a sauna. Overcome your shyness and hookup in this most natural of Finnish customs with Saami people, so different from ours, wild fauna inhabiting forests in freedom.

Get into Saami culture and do typical activities such as sledding pulled by huskies or reindeer, or fish in frozen lakes with traditional techniques. With the midnight sun in summer and the aurora borealis show in winter, a trip to Finland is undoubtedly a trip to an unimaginable and non-existent nature for us so far.

Best places to visit in Finland

6. Ivalo

From the region of Lapland with its many sports activities, nature landscapes and shelter of flora and wild fauna, and even beautiful cities and towns, these are many places to visit in Finland.

Best places to visit in Finland

7. Lemmenjoki National Park

You cannot seriously talk about experiencing Finland without exploring its nature. After all, there are so many beatific natural sights to see in Finland, that we can easily make a list solely about them. Especially if you want to see the Northern Lights. But, for now, let us just mention one of our favorites. Seeing Aurora Borealis in Finland is something you will remember for the rest of your life.

Aurora Borealis over Finnish forest

It is the most reliable place in Europe to catch Northern Lights. The easiest way to experience the arctic wilderness is by visiting the Lemmenjoki National Park – perhaps one of the best places to visit in Finland for nature lovers. You can go down the Lemmenjoki River by renting a boat. Or you can go backpacking on the hundreds of kilometers of marked trails.

During your hikes, you can spend the nights in one of the free huts that are placed all around the area. We just suggest that you inform yourself well on where to and when to visit. The best time to travel to Finland is between May and September and the best time to visit Finland to see northern lights is in winter.

8. Vaasa

Part of the Kvarken Archipelago between Finland and Sweden, the Bjorko islands were first settled by the Vikings. You can walk around the island and discover remains of the old Bjorkoby harbour that keeps being moved as the coast keeps rising. The sea in this part of Baltic is only 25 m deep, and regularly freezes.

While visiting Finland the travellers will quickly discover that our restaurant scene is heavily westernised and globalised. You will find pizzerias, burger joints, vegan-friendly cafes and take away sushi in nearly any small town and village. Putting that aside, the Finnish cuisine still contains many quirky traditional products that any travelling foodie should definitely try out.

Best places to visit in Finland

9. Luosto

Christmas and New Year's Eve are magical for most of us. People decorate with twinkling lights, fireworks, and hope for snow. But, we will never be able to match the wonders of nature. Christmas is usually reserved for family, but New Year's Eve is a time for the gathering of friends. Fine meals are prepared. Christmas in Scandinavia is usually spent with family. Lavish meals are set out with rich and hot food.

The Christmas holiday would not be complete without the experience of the Northern Lights from the fjords or in places like Tankavaara and Lampivaara in Finland. No light ever created by man can touch this natural display. Some visitors enjoy the view from a ship where they partake in a holiday cruise and experience the view that few people ever get to see.

Kalyan Panja