Finland is one the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. The country is famous for its clean nature, saunas and people who think highly of peace.
One of the country's greatest tourist attractions is its versatile nature. The pearls of the country are the rugged fells of the north, the endless lake scenery of the central areas and the east, and the labyrinthine archipelago of the south and the west.
With 1 300 kilometers in length, Finland is a long country! To put it into perspective, the distance from the German-Danish border to the Alps at the southern border of Germany is only 1 000 kilometers.
The northernmost province of Finland, Lapland, is well-known as the winter wonderland and the home to Santa Claus. The most popular ski centers of Lapland are Levi and Ylläs, which also have the longest slopes in Finland. Other popular destinations include the skiing resort Saariselkä and Rovaniemi by the Arctic Circle. Rovaniemi is also the official home of Santa Claus. The rugged nature of Lapland is the home to many unique animals, such as reindeer and snowy owl, which you won’t be able to see anywhere else. Hence, Lapland is a prime destination for wildlife viewing as well.
Finnish Lakeland, which refers to the area of large lakes in the central and eastern parts of the country, is gaining popularity each year. The lake Saimaa in eastern Finland is perhaps the most beautiful part of it all. The winding roads around Saimaa, switching from an open lake view to a thick forest in seconds, provides a perfect setting for a car trip. The largest cities around the lake are Lappeenranta, Mikkeli and Savonlinna. A cruise or a canoe trip on the lake is another great way to get to know the area, with a chance of getting a glimpse of the rare Saimaa ringed seal.
The best-known cities of the south are Turku and Helsinki, which are also the cultural flagships of Finland. The Archipelago National Park unfolding from the shores of Turku is hugely popular among boaters. From there, you could easily go on a boating expedition all the way to Åland, or even to Sweden.
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Weather fluctuations between the northern and southern areas of Finland are significant. Therefore, you should pay attention to the weather of the corresponding area you’re going to visit. In Finland, there are four seasons, each with distinct characteristics and charms.
The months of spring, from March to May, are cool. Typically in March, the whole country is covered with snow. For the ski centers of Lapland, March is the best time of the year, since the temperatures are milder than in the wintertime, and the number of sunny days is increasing. The season of the Northern lights ends around the end of March. Typically, the ski centers of Lapland are open until Easter.
Sunny summers bring about abundance of culture and music events to the country. On average, the months of July and August are the warmest months with the highest daytime temperatures, changing between 20-30 °C throughout the country. Midsummer festivities are celebrated either on June 21 or 22. At the same time, the areas such as Rovaniemi on the Arctic circle or higher, celebrate the nightless night, or the Midnight Sun, with the sun not setting below the horizon during the entire day. In the summer months, mosquitos are the biggest nuisance in Lapland. Do prepare yourself with mosquito nets and repellents.
Fall is a rainy season in all of Finland. In the north, the Northern lights may appear for the first time in September, and there may be frosty nights by the end of the month. In the north, the period with permanent snow usually begins at the end of November.
Early winters in Finland are characterized by darkness. While the northern areas of the country are covered with permanent snow in December, that is very rarely the case in the south. December is characterized by Polar nights in Lapland, as the Sun doesn’t ascend above the horizon during the course of the entire day. Between January and February, the whole country is covered with permanent snow, and temperatures range between -5 and -20 °C.
Finland is an expensive country by European standards. Based on a survey by Eurostat in 2018, Finland was the seventh most expensive country in terms of accommodation and restaurants in Europe. City-specific price information is available on the dedicated pages of the Finnish destinations.
The travel safety risks in Finland are insignificant, based on an assessment made by the world's leading medical & travel security services company International SOS. Roads are in good condition, and the traffic rules are well respected. Ticks are common in the coastal regions, and you should watch for any bitemarks on the skin: Instructions to take care of tick marks.
Destination guides in Finland
The lively culture hub, Helsinki, by the Baltic Sea combines both eastern and western influences in its architecture. Helsinki has been awarded the UNESCO Creative Cities status, and this modern city prioritizes the inhabitants and visitors in its urban planning. This has resulted in well-functioning transportation, and the harmony of the city and its nature.
Read more: Helsinki
Hämeenlinna is the oldest city in mainland Finland and the southern gate to the Finnish Lakeland. Hämeenlinna is a good option for a day trip, as it is situated only a good hour away from the capital. It is a peaceful, almost dreamy little city surrounded by lakes - a perfect getaway.
Read more: Hämeenlinna
Levi is the most popular ski resort in Finland with after ski parties going strong all day long! The village itself is packed with restaurants, bars and alpine houses, and it is surrounded by rugged fells. The ski season is triggered by the FIS Alpine World Cup taking place at Levi usually around mid-November.
Read more: Levi
Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland and the home of Santa Claus is the most popular travel destination of the north. Rovaniemi has a lot to discover: art museums, natural museums, excellent restaurants and good-quality hotels. The city is also a good base to head out for snow activities in the Lappish nature.
Read more: Rovaniemi
The third-biggest city of Finland is located in the southern Finnish Lakeland area. The red brick chimneys rising high above the city remind of the industrial working-class roots of the city. In summer, the Särkänniemi theme park guarantees an unforgettable day for the whole family.
Read more: Tampere
Turku, the former capital of Finland, is rich in history dating back the first stages of the nation. Turku Castle and Turku Cathedral, both built in the 13th century, constitute the most impressive cultural attractions of the country. In summer, Turku bursts into life as people are enjoying the sun in the lush parks and the terrace boats by the river Aura.
Read more: Turku