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Summer in Finland: 10 Awesome Ways to Experience Finnish Summer!

If you’re wondering what to do when you visit summer in Finland then you’ve come to the right place! Some of the notable experience right off the bat includes sauna – surprise?

I’ve lived in Finland for over a decade (14 years actually!) and I can attest to you that summer is my ultimate favorite season and even when I was living abroad, I came to visit around June to enjoy the sun in this marvelous country.

A few of my favorite ways to spend the summer include swimming in a lake, going for saunas, picnics in the park, hiking, and enjoying summer drinks by the pier (I live in Vaasa).

Finland is most known for its splendid winter festivities and activities. However, its endless summer days are equally worth the experience too. Here are a few of the many ways to make the most out of summer in Finland – the season of music festivals, canoeing, and midnight sun.


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Summer in Finland: 10 Ways to Experience Epic Finnish Summer!

1. Bask in the sunshine for more than 100 days, round-the-clock

After the long, winding winter comes the never-ending days of summer. Finland is not known as the Land of the Midnight Sun for nothing – it’s a natural phenomenon where Finns experience sunlight for 24 hours. It brings out the best colors of Finland – with the sun reflecting a reddish-yellow hue even as the world sleeps.

June is the start of the 100-day round-the-clock sunlight, giving locals and tourists more time to enjoy summer activities that are only available when there’s no snow on the ground. For about three months, people can enjoy canoeing on the lake, horseback riding, fishing, or just sitting quietly in the public park.

Enjoying the lovely subtle heat this summer in Finland!

Enjoying the lovely subtle heat this summer in Finland!

2. Stay in a cottage by the lake

Finns love to go out when summer finally arrives. Most of the time, Finnish families recuperate in cottages by the lake, taking some quiet time far away from the crowd. Most people already have their own cabin to escape to during this season, but there are available cottages for travelers who will be doing it for the first time.

Cabin-living is an essential part of the Finnish lifestyle, with the need to get away from the usual hustle and bustle of the city. Travelers who love to isolate themselves after a week of roaming around Finland may take a break in a cottage, sitting by the fireplace with warm cocoa between their hands.

Lake near Tampere.

Lake near Tampere to beat the summer heat.

3. Sauna, sauna, and sauna!

Are we even in Finland if there’s no sauna? Highly doubt it! Regardless of what time of the year it is, there’s always time for a sauna. Yes, even during the hottest summer in Finland!

It is actually counter-intuitive, if you feel hot, Finns believe you must go in the sauna to “heat up” so that when you go out you’ll feel cooled down and refreshed (I can vouch for this, it’s true!). Mega plus if you jump straight to a lake afterward.

Sauna in Finland.

4. Find a good terrace restaurant spot

One of the best ways to really enjoy true Finnish summer in a city like Helsinki is to find a good terrace restaurant where you can order good food and delicious refreshments. Finns who live in the cities often go to their favorite terrace spots and hang out with their friends there.

Personally, some of my best memories of Helsinki and Vaasa during summer include good laughs with my friends while drinking good drinks and enjoying the summer in Finland.

Enjoying a cold beer in one of Vaasa's famous terrace bar and restaurant.

Enjoying a cold beer in one of Vaasa’s famous terrace bars and restaurants.

5. Go camping!

If you’re into nature, Finland has a plethora of places you can explore from days on end or until you tire your feet from hiking, and with that comes loads of places you can camp for the night, as well!

Most camping grounds in Finland are either for free or includes a small fee to stay at and are usually well-kept so if you’re into the wilderness, camping is one of the best ways to truly enjoy summer in Finland.

One summer in Finland I went climbing and camping with a friend!

One summer in Finland I went climbing and camping with a friend!

6. Escape to the wilderness on foot

If it’s summer in Finland, there’s no reason why travelers shouldn’t hike the country’s most beautiful natural landscapes. The sparsely populated country allows travelers to trek Finland in hiking boots and breathe in the world’s cleanest air.

In northern Finland, particularly Levi, hikers flock to its scenic fells and old pine forests. Most people head over to Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, Finland’s third-largest national park, to spend an active summer and enjoy the serene environment. Kids and inexperienced hikers can also go to the national park to camp out on child-friendly routes.

Hiking in one of the nature trails in Vaasa.

Hiking in one of the nature trails in Vaasa.

7. Find the best spot to pick berries

When it’s summer in Finland, there’s an abundance of berries everywhere you look–and it’s free for anyone’s taking.

Some of the tastiest berries in Finland start to ripen around July; most travelers who hike the Finnish forests find themselves surrounded by sweet berries, including but not limited to cranberries, lingonberries, blueberries, and buckthorn berries.

In Lapland, cloudberries (orange berries) have become a popular superfood in the region that’s added to a variety of desserts. It’s not as abundant as the other berries mentioned above, but Ranua locals spend their time in swamps to fill their buckets with cloudberries.

Picking Finnish rapsberries.

Picking Finnish rapsberries.

8. Sing in music festivals

Music festivals bring to life the Finns as well as travelers who find themselves in Finland. Most people from all over Europe head to Finland to experience its music festivals ranging from jazz, opera, rock, and folk under the never-setting sun.

In Helsinki, the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival is one of the most attended music events in Finland during this season. It opens its doors on a weekend in late June or early July, attracting thousands of heavy metal enthusiasts since 1999. It takes place in Suvilahti, just three kilometers north of central Helsinki.

Suvilahti also hosts the annual Flow Festival, which is popular for its Balloon 360° stage, which accommodates up to 1,500 people. Flow Festival is one of the world’s first carbon-free festivals that use eco-friendly materials for stage decorations. Every mid-August, people gather in the Flow Festival to listen to live alternative music as well as film screenings in amphitheaters and indoor stages.

Tuska Open Air Metal Festival

I, JTS, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

9. Have dinner with strangers outdoors

Summer is the best time for friends and families to gather for a little picnic as they take advantage of the bright sunny days and soaring temperatures. In Helsinki, the Rhododendron Park in Haaga attracts a lot of visitors to its green surroundings and unusual diversity of plants and flowers.

More than that, tourists celebrate with locals in the annual Dinner Under the Helsinki Sky–a huge public picnic celebration where people eat together at communal tables along the street. All roads are closed from traffic where a long table with a thousand sitting capacity is set. The event is free for everyone, as long as they bring their own dinner to share and tableware to use.

Finland Holidays

Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

10. Traverse any of the 40 national parks

Most people who travel to Finland in summer are inspired by its breathtaking national parks. In fact, all its 40 national parks have their unique personalities – different in their own way but equally worth traversing.

Those who want to see pristine forests and lakes on top of a cliff should head to Koli National Park in North Karelia. This national park is popular with travelers for boating and fishing experiences during summer and skiing in winter.

Tourists can also visit Repovesi, one of the most stunning national parks in Finland that features forests, lakes, and cliffs. Travelers who want to isolate themselves in Repovesi can stay in one of its cabins and head to Mustalamminvuori Hill Observation Tower to see why it’s worth the buzz. There’s a hanging bridge within the picturesque forest too.

Enjoying Finland summer in the middle of the wilderness.

Enjoying Finland summer in the middle of the wilderness.

11. Binge-watch in the Midnight Sun Film Festival

Ever since 1986, the Midnight Sun Film Festival or Sodankylan Elokuvajuhlat has opened its doors to the public for viewing local and international films. The best part is, guests can check out these movies non-stop for five consecutive days!

The festival takes place in mid-June, featuring timeless creations of veteran filmmakers and contemporary films. About 100 feature films are presented in over 120 screenings. It’s a great experience for movie enthusiasts as the Film Festival has always been known for its pure love and appreciation for quality cinema.

12. Visit a local market

Finns put a strong emphasis on the importance of recycling and upcycling. This is why, travelers can score great deals on crafts, furniture, and any other product as they visit the marketplace near them.

The oldest and most famous Finnish market is the Old Market Hall in Helsinki, which has been in operation since 1889. It’s a popular spot for finding unique souvenirs and luxury goods, at more affordable costs.

Another one is Helsinki’s most popular flea market in the Design District. More than 150 stalls sell clothes, handicrafts, antiques, and even rare gems too.

Finnish market stall selling fresh mushrooms and Finnish new potatoes.

Finnish market stall selling fresh mushrooms and Finnish new potatoes.

13. Don’t forget to canoe

Finland in summer offers a variety of fun activities that run 24/7, and no tourist should ever leave this country without canoeing. The country’s national parks present opportunities for travelers to canoe, swim, or sail in its lakes.

If getting wet is not an option, island-hopping and steamship cruising are recommended fun ways to experience the best Finland summer.

Places to visit in Finland, Kvarken Archipelago!

CC Image by Let Ideas Compete via Flickr

14. Grill some makkara (Finnish sausage)

If you want to experience summer in Finland like a true Finn, then you MUST grill some sausages by the open fire which you’ll find in most camping and hiking grounds rest stops.

Or, you can buy a portable one-time-use grill from the supermarket and find a grill-safe spot by the park and enjoy a lovely grilled Finnish sausage with ice-cold Finnish beer!

Grilling sausages during Juhannus.

Grilling sausages during Juhannus.

15. Cycle around town

Cities such as Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, and Vaasa are easily enjoyed on a bicycle which you can easily rent out. It is also one of the best ways to find hidden gems you normally won’t find if you’re using public transport or by foot.

If you can get your hands on a bicycle, I highly suggest you take the opportunity to explore by wheels around the cities I mentioned above especially if it is summer in Finland and the weather is at its optimum.

Cycling around Vaasa.

Cycling around Vaasa.

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