Finland Destination Guide
Finland Destination Guide
Finland is a hidden gem tucked into the far up North. It is a treasure waiting to be discovered. You will find thousands of reasons to fall in love with Finland; the people, arctic adventures and secrets. And four distinct seasons that continue to call you back. When you think you have seen and experiences it all, then it is time to explore Finland.
Popular Destination in Finland
There is a strong Russian influence in this gracious city of pastel-colored, neoclassical buildings, with lovely parks by the sea and spacious boulevards. The hub of daily activity is the colorful outdoor Market Square, located on the harbor. The Ateneum Art Museum is the country's most impressive, containing the works of renowned Finnish artists as well as Chagall, Degas and Van Gogh. Be sure to take in Helsinki's "Tourist Islands", featuring more museums, a zoo and a recreational park.
The Cathedral, designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, rising on the northern side of the Senate Square is one of the most popular tourist sights in Helsinki. It is not only a landmark for those arriving by sea, it has become a symbol for the whole of Helsinki.
The fortress of Suomenlinna is only a very short ferry crossing away from the centre of Helsinki. At the same time it is a suburb of Helsinki, with 850 people living in the renovated ramparts and barracks. The different parts of the six islands offer a variety of atmospheres; whether you are looking for a cheerful weekend with friends, a tranquil evening stroll or perhaps a jog – it is all made possible by the diverse routes and locations across the islands.
Porvoo is most famous for its charming Old Town that dates back to the Middle Ages and is filled with adorable cafés, restaurants and handicraft boutiques. Beautiful manors, museums, churches and chapels characterise Porvoo.
Finland’s coast boasts the world’s largest archipelago. Old wooden towns, lighthouses, historical manors and The laid-back islander lifestyle – this all sums up coastal Finland in a nutshell.
Bengtskär lighthouse is the southernmost destination in Finland, standing on a small, treeless island. It is the highest lighthouse in the Nordic countries and is rich in history, making a guided tour just about obligatory. The tourism services are family-operated; the restaurant offers traditional local courses and the six lighthouse keepers’ rooms now serve as accommodation.
How do you recognise a medieval European town? Some say it is the riverfront, the market square, the castle and the cathedral. That sounds familiar – in fact, that sounds like Turku. Turku is not only the one city in Finland to meet all of the above criteria, but also a vibrant modern city of many events.
Åland is an autonomous and monolingual Swedish region of Finland and consists of more than 6 500 islands. The capital, Mariehamn, a cute village-like town with a strong maritime and shipping heritage, is the only city in the unspoiled, ruggedly beautiful archipelago.
Moomins are like Finland’s Winnie the Pooh. These philosophical characters were created by artist and writer Tove Jansson in 1945. The Moomins have found world fame through books, comic strips, television shows and movies. It is no surprise then that people travel from all over just to meet the Moomins at Moomin World.
A large city by Finnish standards, with more than 200,000 inhabitants, Tampere has managed to keep its small town feel. The city centre is compact in size and maintains a friendly and casual atmosphere. Read more
Savonlinna, nestled by Lake Saimaa, is great for both short city breaks and lakeside cottage holidays. The main cultural event is the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival, held in the medieval Olavinlinna Castle.
Finnish Lapland is as close as reality gets to those who dream of a winter wonderland. Northern Lights appear here on more than 200 nights a year.
Contrasts are a key factor in the allure of Lapland where 24-hour sunlight in the summer replaces the dark blue winter days.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit Finland?
It depends on what you’d like to experience: for plenty of snow and winter activities, December to March is the best time. For springtime sun and the revival of nature after the winter, April to May is the period. For long and warm summer days and plenty of events, opt for June, July and August. For autumn leaf color, visit in September-October.
I don’t speak any Finnish, will I manage?
If you speak English, you should not have any difficulties as most Finns speak fluent (or at least understandable) English.
When and where can I see the Northern Lights?
In northern Lapland the lights shine about every other clear night between August and April. In southern Finland they are visible on about 10-20 nights a year. Auroral activity peaks often occur at the beginning and the end of the season.
How about the Midnight Sun?
Also in Lapland. In Utsjoki, the very north of Finland, the sun stays above the horizon for more than two months between mid-May and late July. In southern parts of Lapland, the sun stays up constantly for a month in June-July. However, nights are white throughout the country for most of the summer.
What about temperatures – how cold does it get and will there be snow?
During the winter months, temperatures can drop as low as –35 degrees Celsius. Luckily, this is not the norm: regular winter temperatures fall somewhere between –5 and –15.
In the summer, it gets as hot as 30 degrees Celsius, sometimes even more. Normal summer temperature is a bit over 20 degrees. In Finland, it is common to have up to a 70 degree difference in temperature between January and July.
During January and February, there is almost always snow in northern and eastern Finland. Even if there’s little snow in Helsinki, there’s often up to a metre or more on the skiing slopes of Lapland. The snow season in northern Finland begins in November and lasts at least until April-May. In the inland regions of southern and central Finland, the first snow falls at the beginning of December and melts during March.
What should I wear?
If you are planning a winter visit, get a warm, padded winter jacket. Thermal underwear, a warm hat, thick socks and gloves help out a lot when temperatures drop below freezing.
If you have trouble finding winter gear where you come from, don’t worry – everything can be purchased in Finland. Warm clothing is included in guided safaris and other winter excursions.
In the autumn and spring, waterproof footwear comes in handy if you intend exploring the outdoors. In the summer, casual wear is pretty much the same as in other parts of northern and central Europe – light trousers, shorts, tee-shirts and so on.
How late are bars and night clubs open?
Most bars stop serving at 1.30 am and close at 2 am. Night clubs stop serving at 3.30 am and close at 4 am at the latest.
What is the legal drinking age in Finland?
The sale of alcohol to persons under 18 years of age is prohibited by law. People over 18 can buy alcoholic drinks such as wines and beers containing at most 22 per cent alcohol by volume.