Finland Travel Guide

Alternative Travel Index Rank: #5

Finland is also the 2nd Most Underrated & the 3rd Eco Travel Destination
Excels in environment protection, level of peace, and transport efficiency
Population and tourists density at peak season: 17 (low)

  • View of Helsinki in Winter

Finland is a very modern welfare state with well-planned and comfortable small towns and cities, but still offers vast areas of stunning and unspoiled nature. It has about 188,000 lakes and a similar number of islands, largely concentrated in the Archipelago Sea, between mainland and Åland. In the northernmost part of the country, the Northern Lights can be seen in winter and the Midnight Sun in summer. Finns also claim Korvatunturi (Lapland) as the home of Santa Claus.

Travel Costs

Finland ranks #121/141 for price competitiveness in Justraveling’s Alternative Travel Index. Average travel costs per day: $75 (backpacker) – $289 (mid-range). Cheapest Finnish cities: Tampere, Oulu, Espoo. Most expensive Finnish cities: Turku, Helsinki, Vantaa.

Best Time to Go

Jun-Aug is the best time to go to Finland, with temperatures around 20-23°C on sunny days. Finland has a relatively temperate climate, thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream. Oct-Dec – wet and dark – is the least pleasant time to visit.

Places to Visit

Helsinki, the “Daughter of the Baltic”, is Finland’s only real city. Rebuilt along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg in 1812, today it’s a vibrant capital, able to combine innovative design and architecture with a strong natural presence.

The hilly landscape of Finnish Lakeland is dominated by drumlins and by long sinuous eskers. Both are glacial remnants after the continental glaciers receded about 10,000 years ago. The area is dotted with thousands of lakes.

The Kvarken Archipelago, located in the narrowest part of the Gulf of Bothnia, consists of some 6,550 islands. Along with the neighboring High Coast of Sweden, it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage natural site in 2000.

The Koli National Park lies on the western shore of Lake Pielinen and covers 3,000 hectares of forested hills. Established in 1991, Koli has inspired various painters and composers, e.g. Jean Sibelius, Juhani Aho and Eero Järnefelt.

Travel Ideas and Things to Do

If you want to really escape, why not booking a lighthouse? Usually located on small, isolated islands, you won’t have a choice, other than to enjoy the seaview and the abundant and varied birdlife. More info here.

Camping in the Finnish Archipelago is a great way to dive into its beautiful and peaceful nature. Your daily routine may include doing a kayak expedition, hiking or go fishing, and in the evening relax with a nice sauna and a barbecue.

The Itäraja Hiking Route consists of 160 km of trails traversing wilderness landscapes in the eastern Kainuu region of Finland. The many points of interest along the route include Viena Karelian villages, Murhisalo, Martinselkonen, the Winter War memorials, and the Hossa Värikallio prehistoric rock paintings.

From late August to April, Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region, is the setting for one of the most spectacular natural wonders: the Northern Lights.

More active travel ideas for your next trip can be found in the Hiking Series. Check out these five routes to enjoy an awesome day hike in Finland.

This Travel Guide is a work in progress. Improve it with a Finnish touch!

Sources: some text excerpts from Wikitravel & Wikipedia; travel cost data from Numbeo.