In our comprehensive Finland travel guide we invite you to delve into a tapestry of experiences that range from the enchanting Northern Lights to the vibrant charm of Helsinki. Uncover valuable insights into accommodations, budget-friendly strategies, culinary delights, and cherished souvenirs, all designed to enhance your journey through this Nordic wonderland.
Fast Facts About Finland
- Climate: Finland experiences a varied climate with distinct seasons. Winters (December to February) are snowy and magical, while summers (June to August) bring long daylight hours and pleasant temperatures.
- Local Currency: The official currency is the Euro (€). ATMs are widely available in cities and towns, making currency exchange convenient.
- Power Voltage: Electrical outlets in Finland operate on a standard voltage of 230V. Don’t forget to bring a suitable adapter to keep your devices charged.
- Language: Finnish and Swedish are the official languages. While many Finns speak English, learning a few basic Finnish phrases can enhance your experience.
- Religion: The majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Respect for religious practices is important, even though Finland is known for its religious tolerance.
- Safety: Finland is generally safe for travelers. Violent crime rates are low, but like any destination, it’s advisable to be cautious and take standard safety measures.
- Cultural Etiquette: Politeness is valued in Finland. A firm handshake is a common greeting. Removing shoes when entering someone’s home is customary, and punctuality is appreciated.
- Tipping: Tipping is not mandatory but is appreciated for exceptional service. Typically, rounding up the bill or leaving a 10% tip in restaurants is considered polite.
Best Time to Visit Finland: Seasons and Festivals
- Summer (June – August): Experience the captivating phenomenon of the midnight sun, with long days and mild temperatures. The Midsummer Festival in June is a popular celebration of light.
- Autumn (September – October): Witness Finland’s landscapes adorned in vibrant fall colors. The Ruska Festival in September celebrates the changing foliage.
- Winter (December – February): Embrace the winter wonderland with activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and witnessing the enchanting Northern Lights.
- Christmas (December): Immerse yourself in Finland’s festive spirit with charming Christmas markets and Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi.
- Vappu (May 1st): Join the locals in celebrating Vappu, a joyful spring festival featuring picnics, parades, and merriment.
Top Attractions and Things to See and Do in Finland
- Northern Lights: Witness the mesmerizing dance of the Northern Lights in Lapland during the winter months. Seek out locations away from city lights for the best views.
- Santa Claus Village: Embrace the magic of Christmas at Rovaniemi’s Santa Claus Village. Meet Santa, cross the Arctic Circle, and experience the enchantment year-round.
- Helsinki: Explore the vibrant capital city, Helsinki, known for its stunning architecture, bustling markets, and picturesque harbor.
- Lakes and Forests: Immerse yourself in Finland’s natural beauty by visiting its numerous lakes, forests, and national parks. Hike, camp, or simply revel in the tranquility.
- Saunas: Indulge in a quintessential Finnish experience by enjoying a sauna. With over 2 million saunas in Finland, it’s a cultural tradition that offers relaxation and well-being.
- Rovaniemi: Discover the Arctic Circle’s gateway, Rovaniemi. Beyond Santa Claus Village, enjoy husky sledding, reindeer rides, and the unique Arctic SnowHotel.
The Best Ways To Get Around Finland
- Public Transport: Finland boasts an efficient public transport system, including trains, buses, and trams. The Helsinki Card offers unlimited access to public transport and attractions.
- Domestic Flights: If you’re covering longer distances, domestic flights connect major cities and regions efficiently.
- Biking: Many Finnish cities are bike-friendly, with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programs. Exploring by bike allows you to soak in the surroundings at your own pace.
- Rental Cars: Renting a car offers flexibility, especially if you’re planning to explore rural areas or remote destinations.
- Ferries: Given Finland’s numerous lakes and islands, ferries are essential for island hopping and exploring the archipelago.
Accommodation Tips: Finland
- Variety of Options: Finland offers diverse accommodations to suit every traveler’s preferences and budgets. Choose from charming guesthouses, cozy cabins, modern hotels, and even unique options like glass igloos.
- Advance Booking: During peak tourist seasons, it’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance to secure your desired stay and potentially save money.
- Rural Retreats: Experience Finnish hospitality by staying in rural accommodations like farmhouses or lakeside cottages. Immerse yourself in nature and local culture.
- Historic Lodgings: Some cities offer historic hotels and boutique lodgings that exude charm and character, giving you a glimpse into Finland’s past.
Finland Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
- Free and Low-Cost Activities: Take advantage of Finland’s many free or low-cost attractions, such as parks, markets, and walking tours. You can also explore the countryside without spending a dime.
- Lunch Deals: Opt for lunch specials in restaurants, which often offer a more affordable way to sample local cuisine.
- Discount Cards: Consider purchasing discount cards or city passes that grant access to attractions, public transport, and even discounts at restaurants and shops.
- Local Transport Passes: If you plan to use public transportation frequently, invest in daily or weekly transport passes for cost-effective commuting.
Culinary Delights and Traditional Cuisine in Finland
- Ruisleipä: Savor the hearty flavor of ruisleipä, Finnish rye bread. Pair it with local cheeses, meats, or fish for a delicious snack.
- Karjalanpiirakka: Try karjalanpiirakka, a Karelian pastry filled with rice porridge, mashed potatoes, or fish. It’s a popular Finnish treat.
- Kalakukko: Indulge in kalakukko, a traditional Finnish pasty filled with fish and pork. It’s a culinary delight from the Savonia region.
- Berries and Mushrooms: In the Finnish forests, you’ll find a variety of berries and mushrooms. Sample them in jams, pies, and sauces, or try foraging yourself.
Souvenir Ideas: Bringing a Piece of Finland Home
- Design and Craftsmanship: Finland is known for its design heritage. Bring back quality Finnish design items like Marimekko textiles, Iittala glassware, or traditional handicrafts.
- Lappish Souvenirs: From reindeer-themed items to Sámi handicrafts, you’ll find a range of unique souvenirs representing Lapland’s culture.
- Finnish Food Products: Pack Finnish flavors by bringing home items like cloudberry jam, licorice, or Finnish chocolate as tasty mementos.
- Sauna Products: Capture the essence of Finnish relaxation with sauna-related products like aromatic sauna scents, birch sauna whisks, or high-quality towels.