With a large proportion of the country engulfed by the Arctic Circle, it can be pretty chilly in the winter with temperatures known to plunge to -30°c but with 1.6 million saunas across the country, you’ll soon warm up. Summer is definitely more pleasant with temperatures well into the +20°c’s and the Finns truly celebrate. With a plethora of activities to enjoy, it’s easy to see why Finland has been described as one of Europe’s most underrated holiday destinations so make the most of it when you visit.
Finland Tourist Board: The official website for the Finland National Tourist Office – a useful resource for planning your trip to Finland.
Know Before You Go: Travel advice from the FCO from Finland.
Things to see and do
- A magical place to visit for the young and old, Santa Claus village is truly a must see. Once you’ve met Santa Claus himself, explore the shops, see the many ice sculptures and much more.
- Explore more of Lapland and have a go at some of the activities on offer such as a husky sled ride or snowmobile safari.
- Head for the capital city Helsinki and delve into the sights and sounds; the Lutheran Cathedral is stunning whilst Linnanmaki Amusement Park will make for a fun few hours and the market square bustles with activity.
- Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland and the fourth largest in Europe is definitely worth a visit; take to the water and enjoy an afternoon of canoeing or fishing.
- Step back into Finnish history and spend some time exploring Turku Castle, the largest in the country which dates back to the 13th century.
- If you are visiting at the right time of year, be sure to go in search of the phenomenal Northern Lights. These colourful Aurora Borealis are on the wish list for many so seize the opportunity.
- Explore eastern Finland, which boasts a huge number of lakes; 60,000 of the total 180,000 in just this area. Drive around and drink in the sights and take a dip during the short, but warm summer months.
- Enjoy a Finnish tradition and visit the Smoke Sauna found on the shores of Jätkänkämppä Lake. This is the largest sauna in the world and is heated by a large wood burner. Cool off afterwards with a dip in the lake.
- Journey to the beautiful Porvoo, the second oldest city in Finland with a great atmosphere and plenty of things to see and do including the quaint wooden houses, Porvoo Cathedral, the chocolate factory, the market, and the busy marina area.
- Visit Iso-Syöte near to the town of Oulu where you will find the rare opportunity to enjoy downhill skiing. If that doesn’t appeal, have a go at cross country skiing which is available across the country.
Festivals and events
- There are a great number of music festivals held through the summer. Nummirock in Nummijärvi is quintessential for fans of heavy metal, RMJ in Pori mainly focusses on pop and disco music and Provinssirock in Seinäjoki plays rock music but there are many more to choose from. (June)
- The humorous Wife Carrying World Championships sees the locals literally carry their wives along an obstacle course with the winner receiving their wife’s weight in beer and of course some electronic goods. (July)
- Sulkavan Suursoudut is held in July and is Finland’s largest rowing event with up to 10,000 rowers and 20,000 spectators. Set in beautiful surroundings, it is not to be missed. (July)
- Head to Hyrynsalmi for the Swamp Soccer World Championships which is perhaps the messiest event of the year. Thousands have been known to get involved! (July)
- The Amateur Dramatics Festival is held at various locations across the country throughout July and sees various, traditional performances including theatre, dance and music. (July)
- Hosted in Oulu, the Air Guitar World Championships is another of the many bizarre events on the Finnish calendar. (August)
- Held every year since 2000 to promote recycling of old mobile phones, the Mobile Phone Throwing Championships welcome entrants and judges them on their skill and the distance they can throw. Wacky but wonderful! (August)
- Helsinki Festival is one the largest events of the year; lasting for 17 days, the city comes alive with brass band and classical music performances, photography and dance exhibitions and more.