15 Best Things To Do In Finland For An Exciting Vacation

A land of all things magical – that’s Finland in a nutshell for you! Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a Northern European country that is home to lovely snow-dusted pines, bustling summer cities, cute wooden villages, artistic coastal towns, and our most beloved game – the Angry Birds. But wait, there is more. Its forever-young summer, wood smoke filled autumn air, fierce and bleak winter, and spring that brings back life makes for many interesting things to do in Finland. 

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For tourism purposes, the country is divided into four destinations – Lapland, Lakeland, Helsinki, and Archipelago, each with its refreshing lifestyle. Whether it’s hiking in the irresistible Lapland, cycling the Archipelago, or paddling a thousand lakes in the Lakeland, every experience is as unique as it gets. The question is, are you ready to explore Finland? 

Travelling to Finland? Well, the country has 22 commercial airports, and most of the international flights fly in and out of Helsinki. To travel within the country, car rentals and public transports are recommended. 

1. Visit Santa’s real home

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Nudged into the Arctic, Rovaniemi is one of the best places to visit in Finland. The capital of Finnish Lapland, this city is pretty. Santa comes from Finland, and Rovaniemi is also the Official Hometown of Santa Claus. Discover the many secrets of Santa Clause, visit Santa’s Official Post Office, take a short reindeer sleigh ride, take part in the “Crossing of the Arctic Circle” ceremony, shop for souvenirs and enjoy a delicious lunch. At nightfall, take a walk at this magical winterland and see what all the fuss is about. 

2. Spend a night in an ice igloo

ice iglooImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Spending a night in Finland's glass igloos is an unparalleled experience. Disconnect from the modern world and watch the northern lights spiral in the sky as you relax on your fur beds inside the heated glass domes. One of the most innovative types of accommodation, the Finnish Lapland offers a range of beautifully furnished igloos for you to choose from. Spend your days kayaking in remote lakes or visiting a reindeer farms, but your nights, keep them exclusively reserved for watching the lights dance across the sky. 

3. Grab a basket and go picking berries in a forest

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A basket of wild lingonberries or a pot of fresh strawberries, these superfoods are waiting to be picked in Finland’s forests. Next time you are in Finland, head out to the woods to pick berries and mushrooms. Thanks to the liberal laws of the country, you can legally pick up berries from any forest in Finland. Come summer, and the lush forests are covered with millions of wild berries. The activity is free, get going and pick some fresh blueberries, lingonberries, lingonberries, and raspberries among many others. 

4. Tour Helsinki - the capital and largest city in Finland

Helsinki Image Source: Pixabay.com

A vibrant hub of happy energy, it is easy to fall in love with Helsinki. Located at the Northern coast of the Baltic Sea, Helsinki’s buzzing culture, art and architecture scene, a booming restaurant scene, and many great nightlife choices make for a great Nordic escape. Museums like Kiasma, Helsinki Art Museum, and National Museum of Finland, churches like Kamppi Chapel of Silence and Uspenski Cathedral, shopping streets like Esplanadi, Aleksanterinkatu and Mannerheimintie will keep you on your toes. In the evening, you can head to Johan & Nyström for a lazy stroll before heading to Finnjävel for a lovely backyard dinner. 

5. Sweat in a sauna, or go ice-swimming

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Saunas are a big deal in Finnish culture. A place for a spiritual cleansing and social bonding, sauna is the way of life for the Finns. Of the many types of saunas in Finland, the electric, wood-heated and smoke saunas are the most common ones. Then there are public saunas, sauna in the nude, and ‘vasta’ or ‘vihta’ sauna. There are a few rules when it comes to visiting these saunas, the top rule being that you need to relax and have a good time. The post-sauna feeling is absolutely blissful. 

Alternatively, you can take an icy plunge in the Finnish waters. A refreshing experience in itself, they say ice swimming lowers stress and fatigue. If you are one of the brave ones, we say dive right in!  

6. Summer hike in one of Finland’s National Parks

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Some of Finland’s most beautiful landscapes are hidden in its forty national parks. Scattered all over the country, these protected areas offer you great opportunities to get up close to Finland’s best scenery and wildlife. Apart from this, the parks also offer scores of recreational facilities and plenty of spots for relaxation. Some of the top national parks in Finland are the dreamlike Pyhä-Luosto National Park, the freezing cold Utö Island, the bathed-in-sunlight Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, and tree-covered Koli among many others. 

7. Visit the fortress of Suomenlinna

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One of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Finland, Suomenlinna is also one of Finland’s top attractions. A 15-minute ferry ride from Helsinki, the construction of the fortress of Suomenlinna started in the mid-18th century during the Swedish era. This maritime fortress and its centuries-old artillery and defensive walls will fascinate everyone in the family. After touring the fortress, you can plan a short picnic at Market Square. 

8. Race through the Arctic

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A wild and fun outdoor activity, snowmobiling through the Arctic is as Finnish as one can get. Whisk past the wintry wilderness on a beast of a machine. The first timers are obviously given a riding lesson, but the seasoned drivers can take trips spanning over days. When the first snow falls, daredevil snowmobilers from around the world make their way to Finland. There are rules, and safety is never to be taken lightly. 

9. Celebrate Midsummer (or the Juhannus)

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On the weekend following the 19th of June, Finland celebrates Midsummer. A celebration of the summer solstice, Finns like to spend this time of the year with family and friends. Traditionally, this festival is celebrated by lighting bonfires (or kokko) and bathing in the saunas, but there is a lot more to it. Young Finnish women cast love spells in nature, cities host traditional dance festivals, plus a lot of people decide to get married during this time. Celebrated all over the country, the Midnight Sun is a key element of this festival. 

10. Sunbathe at the Yyteri Beach  

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See the other side of Finland when you visit Yyteri Beach. This six-kilometer-long beach is one of Finland’s most beautiful beaches. Offering many opportunities for a relaxed day, here the surfers can make the best use of the waves, while the kids can splash in the waters. The beach is clean, the water is warm, and the maritime views are super attractive. A part of Yyteri Beach is one of the best nude beaches in Finland. If you are arriving in the month of July, don’t give Pori Jazz Festival a miss. 

11. Stroll around the town of Mänttä-Vilppula

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Experience the very best of Finish art and culture in the Art Town of Mänttä-Vilppula! Located in the Pirkanmaa region of Finland, these towns are perfect for a stroll on a warm summer afternoon. The one with many art galleries, museums, and churches, here you can check out many interesting places like Serlachius Museum Gösta, Serlachius Museum Gustaf, Art Centre Honkahovi, Public sculptures of Mänttä, Vilppula Museums, and Vehkaniemi among many others. 

12. Go searching for Aurora Borealis

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Chasing the Aurora Borealis is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many, and Finland’s Northern Lapland is one of the best places to watch the lights shine. A little bit of science first, aurora borealis is a phenomenon when the sun’s solar flare interacts with earth’s magnetic field. What follows is a clear and starry sky lit up by all shades of green, blue, red, and many in between. Honestly, you can never get enough of the lovely auroral displays. Autumn and Spring are the best aurora seasons in Finland. 

13. Tour Finland by car

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Start off the south of the country, and a tip to tip Finland trip will take you approximately 16 hours. But you will want to make a few stops, right? Well honestly, starting from Gävle in the south and going all the way to Haparanda in the north, driving on the 900-kilometer-long Bothnian Coast Road is one of the best ways to see Finland. Along the way, stop at the Bronze Age burial site of Sammallahdenmäki and the wooden buildings of Old Rauma, walk through the vintage gardens of Kristiinankaupunki, click photos at the Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse, admire the spruce alley of Vuojoki Manor in Eurajoki, and enjoy the sand dunes in Kalajoki before finally entering into the Lapland. 

14. Hit the waters, or visit the towns at Lakeland 

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Finland is called the Land of Thousand Lakes. To be precise, there are 188,000 lakes in Finland. This region is popularly called Lakeland and stretches from Kuhmo and Kajaani in the north to Savonlinna and Tampere in the south. Most of these lakes are formed by glacial melt at the end of last Ice Age, but the resultant was a staggeringly beautiful expanse of smooth and unruffled water bodies. Here you can sit by the lake’s clean waters, cruise on a steamboat, go kayaking and paddling, relax at a cosy lakeside cottage, and try ice-skating on the frozen lakes. There are many beautiful towns in Lakeland that are worth stopping by. A few of them include Hämeenlinna, Joensuu, Kuopio, and Mikkeli. 

15. Indulge in iconic Finnish foods of all times

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Finns are very passionate about their food. Their fresh seafood, seasonal produce, and local delicacies are everything a heart can desire for. Breakfast in Finland can be Ruisleipä (Rye Bread) or Riispuuro (Rice Porridge). While lunch and dinner can include Lihapullat Muusilla Ja Puolukkahillolla (Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes and Lingonberry Jam), Makaronilaatikko (Baked Macaroni with Minced Meat), or plain and simple Karjalanpaisti (Meat Stew). For deserts, do try the Korvapuusti (Cinnamon Rolls) and Leipäjuusto Lakkahillolla (Cheese Bread with Cloudberry Jam). Go on, don't be shy. 

Complete with many arctic escapades and secrets, Finland will keep calling you back. Are you listening?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ever since my first trip at the age of 4, I’ve been fascinated to explore places around the world. Lover of world cultures, food, souls and all things blue; I spend most part of my day writing about travel ...

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