Finland is located in the Northern part of Europe tucked in nicely between Sweden on its West and Russia on the East. Famous internationally for its efficient health care and widely praised for its educational system, Finland has caught the worlds attention making it one of the top destinations in Europe one must visit. Booming with stunning flora and fauna, there are tons of places to visit in Finland that is indeed impressive to see.
However, if you’re a budget traveler who wants to visit one of the most expensive countries in the world, don’t fret! Don’t let the cost of living in Finland turn you off; there’s always a way to budget your trip without breaking the bank. Just make sure that you check out our grand post on how you can smartly plan your trip to Finland (more on Helsinki but prices are pretty much the same all over the country), and you should be fine!
Nevertheless, Finland is certainly a must visit if you want to learn more about the Nordic countries and see its beauty first hand.
Top 18 Places to Visit in Finland – From South to North, West to East!
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Helsinki is the capital of Finland and its largest city, surrounded by a stunning archipelago of 330 islands and the best way to explore the city is on foot or by using the city’s efficient public transportation.
The best time to visit Finland is during summer since the city is at its fullest during this season as there are a lot of places to visit in Helsinki better done when the weather is amiable. Also, you can’t miss some of the cultural and fun things to do in Helsinki that mostly happens in the summer time when the cool kids are out and about attending festivals and block parties!
Apart from that, you can also check out its numerous parks, architectural structures, lakes and other exciting activities that can be found around Helsinki neighborhood which makes a big contribution to the tourism in Finland.
As most Capitals are, Helsinki is no different, and it offers a lot of different activities to travelers who visit the country. For instance, you’ll find more interesting restaurants, and cafes pop around the city which you can try for some unique treats. However, if you plan to try out Finnish cuisine in Helsinki, then there are also tons of restaurants that offer Granny style cooking that is coming back to the local culinary trend.
Located in the southern part of Finland between two lakes Näsijärvi Lake and Pyhäjärvi Lake, Tampere is the second biggest city in the country. Locally known for an active cultural life, and the ambiance in the city, it is admired by many tourists and locals alike which make it a favorite city to travel and live for some.
Just like the capital of Finland, Tampere also has plenty of museums and tourists’ destinations which include some Finland landmarks, the city offers a broad range of activities that visitors would enjoy.
One of the main attractions in Tampere is the Särkänniemi amusement park which provides a lot of fun for family bonding and made for tourists who want to enjoy their stay in Finland. Tampere also offers a lot of lake activities where you can also experience public saunas with the locals that could make visitors appreciate the Finland scenery and enjoy the nature of the country, the best time to visit Tampere for lake activities is during summer.
Espoo is a large city in Finland and readily available from Helsinki. The city of Espoo is booming in culture and home for many famous museums in Finland including the EMMA or Espoo Museum Modern Art which is the largest museum in the country. Some travelers who are interested in outdoor activities but doesn’t have enough travel time for other places to visit in Finland other than the capital city, Espoo offers great choices for nature lovers and can visit Nuuksio National Park easily from Helsinki.
The city has 11 seafront beaches and ten lakefront beaches, and it has 165 islands where tourists can hop on hop off and explore every island that the city has. Sustainability is vital to Finland tourism especially to its cities since lakes and nature surround it, Espoo is Europe’s most sustainable city, people in this municipality are responsible and aware of their environment.
Considers itself as the “Sunniest city in Finland,” Vaasa may not be the most popular place to visit in Finland compared to other of its cities, but there are still numbers of tourists attractions located in the city.
A university town, this sunny city receives tons of students from all over the world as it offers courses in three languages: Finnish, Swedish, and English. You can only imagine what sort of diversity the city has until you visit Vaasa and see the major influences different culture’s in the area.
Apart from that, if you love outdoor sports activities such as bouldering, you’re in luck as there’s a rather active rock climbing community in Vaasa you can participate! Also, if you come during summer in Finland, you can have the opportunity to enjoy other water sports activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and even just a simple rowing by the lake.
Vaasa is a bit further up north and will take about four hours by train from the capital city, so it is best to stay for few nights if you plan to visit.
Porvoo is located on the southern coast of Finland and to the east of Helsinki, it is a city and a municipality. The city of Porvoo provides a classic historical old town vibe since it is the second oldest town in Finland and exploring the old part of the city by foot gives tranquillity to tourists. Walking and biking tours are the best way to appreciate the city of Porvoo for visitors who are longing for a nice relaxing ambiance.
One of the symbols of Porvoo is the lovely red houses located at the shore; tourists can ride a steamboat to have a beautiful view of theses popular red houses. The city itself offers a lot of cafes and restaurants which offer delicious dishes and delicacies.
You can easily take a day trip from Helsinki to Porvoo by bus, and it will only take you about one and a half hours, and for 7USD, you can see an entirely different vibe compared to the capital city.
Turku is originally the first capital of Finland, and it is located at the mouth of Aura River on the southwest coast of Finland, it is the third largest city in the country along with Helsinki and Tampere.
Getting around Turku is easy since it has an outstanding public transportation system and buses can reach almost every part of the city. This old capital is home to many tourists attractions including Turku Castle which is one of Finland’s most popular tourist’s site.
Travelers can head to Turku’s river bank where a lot of restaurants offer delicious dishes and can dine in with a beautiful view of the city. Turku is at its best during summer season since there are numbers of festivals and celebration in the city between June and September.
Also, not to mention, if you plan to go to Stockholm, Turku is also a popular place to board luxury cruises to Sweden.
Pori is located on the west coast of Finland, and it is a major center of education in the country, and it contributes a lot to Finland’s points of interest, as it offers a variety of tourists destination with exciting activities.
Famous amongst the locals in summer because of the annual Pori Jazz Festival, the city becomes a vibrant hub for those looking for cultural events for both the locals and its visitors.
One of Pori’s famous destinations is the Yyteri Beach which is one of the most beautiful beaches in Finland, and it has facilities that every guest would enjoy. There are also thousands of bird watchers who visit Pori to have a beautiful view of local and migrant species of birds in the delta.
Mariehamn is the capital of Åland Islands which is an autonomous territory under the Finnish sovereignty and also known as the heart of Baltic Sea. Compared to other cities in Finland, Mariehamn offers tranquillity to tourists who visit, and it was once the home of the world’s largest oceanic sailing ships fleet and also called as “port of the last windjammers.”
The town itself offers activities like kayaking and hiking just like other Finland destinations, and there are also several architectural buildings located in Mariehamn. You can find wooden houses and that tourists can walk through and it’s a perfect place for family holidays.
An interesting fact about Mariehamn is that despite it being part of Finland, 88% of the island’s population speaks Swedish!
Surrounded by lakes and beautiful nature, Savonlinna is a province located in the south-eastern part of Finland and infamous for its culture and environment making it as one of the country’s most visited town. It is also known as a holiday destination for many locals and tourists visiting and a perfect place for enjoying cruises around castles in the city including Olavinlinna castle which is surrounded by the Saimaa Lake and beautiful Finnish nature. Savonlinna offers a lot to tourists, and it provides wide ranges of activities including hiking, swimming, canoeing, diving, cycling, and kayaking.
There are many things to do in the area, and the attractions are famous in every part of the country, that said, there are two national parks located in the region namely Kolovesi and Linnansaari, and it offers activities like trekking and cycling expeditions for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors.
Rovaniemi is a city in Finland and the capital of Lapland which is the northernmost province of Finland. For tourists who still wonder where to go in Finland, they may like to visit Rovaniemi since many travelers visit the city especially during the cold season for some winter activities. Finland winter is famous to almost every tourist since it is the best time to visit the northern part of Finland, many resorts in Rovaniemi offers different sorts of winter activities.
Apart from that, northern Finland is famous for the Aurora Borealis since it is every traveler’s dream and seeing this phenomenon is an unforgettable experience. Nevertheless, Rovaniemi is also a lovely place to visit in summer to witness the midsummer, the time when the sun doesn’t set.
Salla is a municipality located in Lapland, and it is a place for holidays in Finland since it offers a lot of tourists’ attractions and a wide range of activities in every season.
Home for many winter activities since it is located in Lapland, aside from the typical winter activities like skiing and snowboarding, there are also out of the ordinary things to do that are offered in Salla such as reindeer or a husky sledding.
If you visit Salla in winter, make sure to try one of its many saunas by the lake and join the locals jump in its icy water after a good sauna session (if you dare).
Jyväskylä is a university city in Finland that is located in central Finland and also known as “Athens of Finland,” or at least according to the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala which dubbed the city its infamous nickname.
Another notable fact about Jyväskylä apart from it being situation perfectly by the Finnish Lakeland, it is the only place in the world where you’ll see a lot of architectures design by the famous Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto.
Kemi is a town in Finland that lies by the Bothnian Bay and at the mouth of Kemijoki, and it is a part of Lapland. One of the most visited tourist attractions in Finland is located in Kemi which is the stunning Snow Castle, and it is the largest snow building in the world, and the town itself also offers the world’s only Arctic Icebreaker which is only available for tourists cruises and it is called as the Sampo ice-breaker.
Kemi offers a broad range of activities and tours like hunting the Northern Lights, skiing, sledding, and other fantastic winter activities can be found in this lovely town. There may be a lot of places to visit in Finland but visiting the town of Kemi is a great experience and gives a lot of ideas for tourists on things to do in Finland since the town itself offers a lot of different summer to winter activities.
Kuhmo is a town in Finland, and it is located the south-eastern part of the Kainuu Region. Kuhmo is a lovely place especially for culture and nature lovers and an ideal location for an exploration of the wilderness of Finland.
The town is known for Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival which is a two-week event and held every year. Kuhmo has 600 lakes which provide a lot of water activities to tourists who visit and gives them beautiful ambiance while exploring the town by sailing the lakes.
Kajaani is the center capital of the Kainuu Region, and it is located in the south eastern part of Oulujärvi or Lake Oulu and lies at the heart of central Finland.
It is famous for fishing, and it has a lot of familiar landmarks, one of these is the Kajaani Castle which is located at the Kajaani River. Apart from all that, for those who are seeking something a little bit more on the unusual side, they can also try some tours such as bear watching safari which is perhaps the one thing to do in Finland not easily forgotten once you try it.
Located in northern Finland, Oulu prides itself for being the best place for culture and to do some epic Arctic exploration bonanzas. Easily accessible by public transport from all parts of the country, this city has long been the perfect place to indulge when it comes to outdoors and natural explorations such as hiking and Aurora Borealis spotting.
In winter, Oulu gets covered in thick sheet of snow making it a good place for winter activities while in summer, they offer different sorts of activities from hiking in the wilderness to cultural events as Oulu is the oldest city in the whole of Finland and visiting such place only gives great value to its visitors, especially if you’re keen on learning about Finland’s past!
Founded by a Russian Czar and the now capital of the Karelia region, Joensuu is located at the south eastern part of Finland and also known as a river city.
Summer in the city is recognized for its Karelian vibe, thanks to its young citizens who occupy the city; there are tons places to visit in Joensuu that visitors must take a look at and one of these is the Botania Botanical gardens which offer exotic plants and butterflies that will indeed leave you in awe.
Not to mention, if you visit Joensuu, the area is the popular origin of some of Finland’s well-loved delicacies such as the Karelian pie and the Karelian stew – both you must not miss. So, foodies, prepare yourselves!
Located on the shore of the Lake Saimaa in south eastern Finland, getting around the city of Lappeenranta is easy since everything is almost walking distance but for further distances, nevertheless, there are buses available if you’re keen on exploring the suburbs of the city.
Furthermore, cruises are also accessible in the city for tourists who want to explore it via the famous Lake Saimaa which became the city’s trademark and a sought after destination to beat the heat when the weather in Finland gets warmer. Since Lappeenranta has a long shoreline, it has a lot of beaches and swimming centers which are made for tourists who want experience the city’s beaches, something the locals enjoy the most during summer!
Do you want to plan your trip to Finland? Let me help you!
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