Thousands of people around the world place Finland on their bucket list as this northern country in Europe is famous for its beautiful untouched nature, historical sights, welcoming people, and tasty Nordic cuisine. There’s much to see even if you have as little as one week, regardless of the month of your journey, and the main advice for putting together an incisive trip to Finland is to try to plan out as much as you can in advance. In this piece, we’re happy to share handy tips of places and activities to add to your Finland itinerary for a trip to surely remember!
Discover the Must-Sees of Helsinki
Most people coming to Finland arrive in the capital city, Helsinki, as this is where the country’s largest international airport is located. Helsinki is a wonderful starting point for discovering Finland, and although the city itself might not be as rich in landmarks and sights when compared to, say, Moscow or Rome, there’s still much to be seen.
It makes sense to save at least one full day for traversing the main highlights of the Finnish capital, and if you’re lucky to arrive not very late in the evening, you can even begin your exploration of the city on your first day. Such landmarks as the Rock Church and the Market Square in the old town for sure deserve a spot on your Helsinki itinerary. A good beginning of your Finland experience would also be stopping by one of the many central cafes and tasting traditional Scandinavian dishes, for instance, Karjalanpaisti stew.
Enjoy Finnish History & Nature
Nature and history are among the significant treasures of Finland. The country is incredibly green and rich in lakes, forests, and wildlife. One of the easiest ways to immerse in this is taking a day trip from Helsinki to the Nuuksio National Park, located in the city outskirts.
To see the Finnish nature in all its glory, it is reasonable to pick in favor of the warmer months of the year. As such, you may spend from one to three days in the Finnish Lakeland region, located close to the borders with Russia. A good match, if you decide to go there, is the city of Savonlinna, boasting numerous historical attractions, including the renown castle.
Another good option for the same number of suggested days is diving into “real Finland” by heading to Turku, among the oldest towns in the entire country. Moreover, if you’re into nature, consider visiting the nearby Archipelago National Park.
Travel Up to the Arctic Circle
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go”! Making your way above the Arctic Circle is an adventure in itself. The intact nature of the chilly Finnish north is extraordinary any time of the year. Those who want to go in the summer may be lucky to observe the natural phenomenon of the Midnight sun. This is when the sun doesn’t set for almost 24 hours straight! A plethora of summer activities to select from, including hiking, will surely keep you entertained. Depending on your preferences, you can spend 2-5 days in the north.
For winter journeys, of course, taking your chances to catch the colorful Northern Lights is among the major reasons for going on a trip to Finland. Those who aren’t on a budget and crave for a one-of-a-kind experience to last a lifetime even book an overnight in specially-designed hotels and properties with glass ceilings, such as the Glass Igloo resort, to witness the aurora lights right from the room. Northern Finland in winter is chilly yet fun to travel to, so the number of days you wish to reserve for your winter fairytale is entirely up to you!
Visit Santa’s Official Residence
Speaking of travel to Finland in the coldest time of the year, the iconic home of Santa Claus in Rovaniemi cannot be left unmentioned. People from all over the planet make their way to this destination to visit Santa and his elves, meet his helpers and reindeer on the reindeer farms, see sculptures from ice, and more. Of course, the demand is very high and, thus, availability is limited, so to avoid disappointment and skyrocket prices, plan your visit from start to finish ahead of time, even 6 months prior to the trip is an excellent time to start. Note, though, that most likely it will take you a full day (or more) for travel time to the north and back to Helsinki, shortening your overall vacation.
What is more, if you plan your Finland travel during the winter season, take advantage of the opportunity to go husky dog sledding or snowmobiling. A day spent getting acquainted with the local Saami people who preserve their indigenous centuries-old herding lifestyle is an outstanding pastime as well.
Plus, a definitely memorable experience is a stay at one of the many unique properties such as the Snow Hotel which you might have guessed by the name is made entirely out of snow and ice. Sounds fun, huh? Again, the itinerary you put together will in much depend on the number of activities you’d like to have and your budget.
Explore the Neighboring Northern Capital of Russia
Being so close to the largest country in the world, many travelers even like to extend their experience by seeing St. Petersburg. The gorgeous “Russian Venice” is the former home of Russian Tsars and boasts simply remarkable architecture and jaw-dropping royal palaces. If you want to go, keep in mind that you’ll need a Russian visa to enter the country and you’ll have to obtain it in the official embassy in your home country beforehand, in most cases, it’s impossible to get a visa on the spot when you arrive. Anyhow, the easiest of the travel options is the high-speed Allegro train, you can find out more information about the Helsinki – St. Petersburg rail route, trip duration, and all the details here: https://www.russiantraintickets.com/en/route/helsinki-st-petersburg-railway
Summing up, depending on the month of your travel it makes sense to know your options in order to make the most of your time in Finland. And here’s another tip: no trip to Finland would be complete without a visit to a traditional Finnish sauna. Actually, the country has more saunas than cars, can you believe it? So make sure to go to at least one for a real insider experience. Finally, plan your time in Finland wisely and, without a doubt, you’ll remember your trip for a long time!