Finland is located in the Northern part of Europe tucked in nicely between Sweden on it’s 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. Needless to say, where to visit in Finland? 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.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Quick facts and Finland travel tips
- 2 Here’s the list of the top places to visit in Finland
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 3.1 Is Finland an expensive country?
- 3.2 What is there to do in Finland in February?
- 3.3 When can you see the Northern Lights in Finland?
- 3.4 What do they eat in Finland?
- 3.5 What clothes to wear in Finland in February?
- 3.6 What do they drink in Finland?
- 3.7 What is the best time of year to go to Finland?
- 4 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Quick facts and Finland travel tips
Quick facts about Finland?
- Capital City? Helsinki
- Currency? Euro
- Languages? Finnish, Swedish, and English
- Where is this place? Located in Northern Europe
- What is Norway famous for? Northern Lights, lakes, sauna, Santa Claus, ice hotels, free education, free health care, and as the happiest country in the world.
- Best time to visit Norway? All year round. But if you want to see the Northern Lights, you should come between September and January. If you want to witness the midnight sun, you have to visit in June.
- How to get there? Most international flights are received in Helsinki and you can do a cross-country road trip between from Norway, Sweden, and Russia. You can also come by boat from Sweden and Estonia.
- Neighboring countries? Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, and Russia.
Do you need a visa for Finland?
In order to enter Finland, you need to have a valid Schengen visa. If you’re a citizen of the EU group of countries, you can enter Finland without a visa. However, if you’re a citizen of Canada, the USA, New Zealand, and Australia – you can stay in Schengen areas for 90 days.
Check out our detailed guide on how to apply for a Schengen visa – read it here.
Where to book your flights to Finland?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need travel insurance for Finland?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Here’s the list of the top places to visit in Finland
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 summertime 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 in Helsinki neighborhood which makes a big contribution to 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.
Learn and read more about Helsinki:
- Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Helsinki (Finland)
- Top Day Trips from Helsinki That Are Not More Than 2 Hours Away! (Finland)
- Which is the Best Public Sauna in Helsinki to Relax? (Finland)
- A Neighborhood Guide to Helsinki (Finland)
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 of 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.
Learn and read more about Tampere:
Espoo is a large city and where to visit in Finland is readily available from Helsinki via public transport. 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 one of the most popular places 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! But for a Finland vacation especially in summer, 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 a 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, one of the best places in Finland 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 these popular red houses. The city itself offers a lot of cafes and restaurants which offer delicious dishes and delicacies.
For a Finland vacation in the capital, 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 the summer season since there are numbers of festivals and celebration in the city between June and September.
A quaint small town, 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 Yyteri Beach which is one of the most beautiful beaches to visit during your Finland vacation, 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 the 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 destinations 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.
A perfect destination for your Finland vacation, Rovaniemi the capital of Lapland which is the northernmost province of the country. For tourists who still wonder where to visit in Finland, they may like to visit Rovaniemi since many travelers visit the city during the cold season for some 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 one of the best places in Finland to visit during the 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 a Finland vacation 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 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 go 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 southeastern 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 on being one of the best places in Finland 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 in the southeastern 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 – a perfect destination for a Finland vacation; there are tons of places to see in Joensuu that visitors must take a look at any 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 southeastern 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 to experience the city’s beaches, something the locals enjoy the most during summer!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Finland an expensive country?
What is there to do in Finland in February?
You can go skiing, catch the Northern Lights, and do various winter activities!
When can you see the Northern Lights in Finland?
Yes, you can! You have to visit the Northern part of Finland and you can clearly see this natural phenomenon between September and March.
What do they eat in Finland?
You can check our post about foods to try in Finland – you can read it here!
What clothes to wear in Finland in February?
February is the peak of Winter in Finland. You must come prepared for the cold! Read our post about what to wear for winter – check it out here. You can also check our guide on what jacket to buy and as well what travel shoes to wear!
What do they drink in Finland?
Finnish people are huge beer drinkers. On top of that, they also consume a lot of milk.
What is the best time of year to go to Finland?
All year round is a good time to visit but depending on what activities you want to do, that can absolutely depend. November to March is winter, April to May is spring, June to August is summer, and September and October is autumn.
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