Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Finland Guide – Be My Travel Muse


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Melitta Mohamed



Finland, the land of a thousand lakes, mesmerizing northern lights, pristine forests, and stunning landscapes. Located in Northern Europe, Finland is a country that offers a unique blend of modernity and nature. From its vibrant capital city Helsinki to the untouched wilderness of Lapland, Finland has something to offer to every traveler.


With its rich history, intriguing culture, and warm-hearted locals, Finland is a destination that will leave you enchanted. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, a foodie, or a design enthusiast, Finland has plenty to offer.


This comprehensive Finland guide will take you through the must-visit places, the best time to visit, the unique experiences, and the local cuisine that you need to try. Whether you’re planning a city break or a wilderness adventure, this guide will help you make the most of your time in Finland.


Step into Finland and embrace the magical allure of this Nordic gem. Explore its stunning archipelagos, hike through scenic national parks, indulge in authentic sauna experiences, and discover the unique Finnish way of life.


So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into this ultimate Finland guide and embark on an unforgettable journey through this enchanting country.


Getting to Know Finland

Before you embark on your adventure in Finland, it’s essential to get to know the country and its unique characteristics. Finland is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe, bordered by Sweden, Norway, and Russia. It is known for its stunning natural landscapes, pristine lakes, and the famous midnight sun in the summer.


The official languages spoken in Finland are Finnish and Swedish, but most Finns also speak fluent English, making it easy for international travelers to communicate. The currency used is the Euro (€), and major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country.


Finns are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, making it a joy to interact with the locals and immerse yourself in the Finnish way of life. The cultural heritage of Finland is deeply rooted in nature and the simplicity of everyday life.


Despite being a small country, Finland offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring vibrant cities to experiencing the tranquility of the countryside, Finland has it all. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or indulging in Finnish cuisine, Finland will not disappoint.


It’s also worth noting that Finland is a country of stark contrasts. The summer months bring long days with plenty of sunlight, while the winter months offer magical winter wonderland landscapes and the opportunity to witness the mesmerizing northern lights.


Now that you have a basic understanding of Finland, it’s time to delve deeper into the best time to visit and the top places you should include in your itinerary.


Best Time to Visit Finland

Finland experiences distinct seasons, each offering a unique and captivating experience for visitors. The best time to visit Finland depends on the type of activities you’re interested in and the kind of experience you’re seeking.


Summer (June to August) is the most popular time to visit Finland, as the weather is at its mildest and the days are long and filled with sunlight. It’s the perfect time for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and boating. The Finnish summer also brings about the phenomenon of the midnight sun, where the sun stays above the horizon even at midnight. This provides endless opportunities to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of Finland. The iconic Finnish “mökki” or summer cottage culture is in full swing during this time, as Finns retreat to their lakeside cottages for some relaxation and outdoor festivities.


For those seeking colder and more magical experiences, winter (December to February) is the ideal time to visit Finland. The country transforms into a winter wonderland with snow-covered landscapes, frozen lakes, and the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring northern lights. Winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, and husky sledding are popular, providing plenty of adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. Don’t forget to warm up in a traditional Finnish sauna after a day in the winter wonderland.


Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) offer a different charm in Finland. Spring brings the awakening of nature, as flowers bloom and the days become longer. It’s the ideal time for birdwatching and witnessing the migration of birds in the southern parts of Finland. Autumn, on the other hand, paints the landscapes with vibrant colors as the leaves change. It’s a great time for hiking and enjoying the tranquility of nature before the winter sets in.


Overall, the best time to visit Finland depends on your personal preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. Whether you’re seeking the warmth of summer or the enchantment of winter, Finland has something to offer in every season.


Top Places to Visit in Finland

Finland is a country of diverse and breathtaking landscapes, offering a plethora of attractions for visitors to explore. From vibrant cities to untouched wilderness, here are some of the top places to visit in Finland:

  1. Helsinki: The capital city of Finland, Helsinki, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan destination. Explore the bustling market square, visit the iconic Helsinki Cathedral, and discover the unique architectural gems like the Temppeliaukio Church, also known as the Rock Church. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to wander through the various neighborhoods, each offering its own charm and character.
  2. Lapland: For a magical winter experience, head north to Lapland. Home to the legendary Santa Claus Village, this region is a winter wonderland with its snow-covered landscapes, reindeer sledding, and the chance to witness the dancing Northern Lights. Enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the famous ski resorts, or embark on a husky safari through the wilderness.
  3. Rovaniemi: Located in Lapland, Rovaniemi is known as the official hometown of Santa Claus. Visit Santa Claus Village, where you can meet Santa himself, cross the Arctic Circle, and send postcards from the Santa Claus Main Post Office. You can also explore Arktikum, a museum and science center that showcases the Arctic region and its unique culture.
  4. Tampere: As Finland’s third-largest city, Tampere offers a mix of modern culture and industrial heritage. Explore the Särkänniemi amusement park, visit the Sara Hilden Art Museum, and take a stroll along the beautiful Tammerkoski Rapids. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in some Finnish sauna culture at Rajaportti Sauna, Finland’s oldest public sauna.
  5. Archipelago National Park: Located in the southwestern part of Finland, the Archipelago National Park is a stunning collection of islands and islets. Explore this unique coastal landscape by boat, kayak, or hiking trails, and discover the charming fishing villages that dot the archipelago.
  6. Savonlinna: Situated in the heart of the Finnish Lakeland, Savonlinna is a picturesque town known for its medieval Olavinlinna Castle. Every summer, the town hosts the world-famous Savonlinna Opera Festival, attracting music enthusiasts from around the globe. Admire the beauty of Lake Saimaa, Finland’s largest lake, and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding nature.

These are just a few of the many incredible destinations in Finland. From the urban charms of Helsinki to the untouched wilderness of Lapland, Finland offers a wide range of experiences and attractions that will surely captivate any traveler.


Exploring Helsinki

Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, is a vibrant and modern destination that is perfect for exploring. With its unique blend of historical landmarks, contemporary architecture, and cultural attractions, Helsinki offers something for everyone.


Start your exploration in the heart of the city at Senate Square, where you’ll find the iconic Helsinki Cathedral. Marvel at the neoclassical design of this architectural masterpiece and take in the panoramic views of the city from its steps.


From Senate Square, make your way to the Market Square, a bustling hub for locals and visitors alike. Explore the stalls selling fresh produce, local delicacies, and handicrafts. Don’t miss the opportunity to try some traditional Finnish dishes, such as salmon soup or reindeer meat.


Continue your journey by visiting the Temppeliaukio Church, also known as the Rock Church. This unique church is built directly into solid bedrock, and its interior boasts stunning natural acoustics. Take a moment to sit and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.


Art enthusiasts will love the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, which showcases a diverse collection of contemporary Finnish and international art. Explore the thought-provoking exhibits and immerse yourself in the world of modern art.


For a glimpse into Helsinki’s history and culture, visit the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. Located on an archipelago just a short ferry ride from the city center, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a fascinating look into Finland’s maritime past. Explore the fortress walls, visit the museums, and enjoy a picnic in the scenic surroundings.


No visit to Helsinki is complete without experiencing the Finnish sauna culture. Head to one of the public saunas, such as Löyly or Allas Sea Pool, and relax in the soothing warmth. It’s a truly authentic Finnish experience.


Finally, take a leisurely stroll along the Esplanade Park, a charming green space in the heart of the city. Here, you’ll find cafes, shops, and street performers, making it the perfect spot to soak up the lively atmosphere.


Helsinki’s efficient public transportation system, including trams and buses, makes getting around the city easy and convenient. Don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the clean and well-maintained streets and parks that Helsinki is known for.


With its blend of history, culture, and modernity, Helsinki is a fascinating destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler.


Gorgeous Nature in Lapland

Lapland, located in the northernmost part of Finland, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and untouched wilderness. This region offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the serenity of nature and experience the true essence of Finland.


One of the highlights of visiting Lapland is witnessing the mesmerizing northern lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. The dark nights of winter provide the perfect backdrop for this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. Settle in a cozy cabin or venture outside into the crisp winter air to catch a glimpse of the dancing lights in the sky.


Lapland is also home to the famous Santa Claus Village, a magical place that attracts visitors from around the world. Explore the workshops, meet Santa Claus himself, and even send letters from the official Santa Claus Post Office. It’s a truly enchanting experience for both children and adults.


For outdoor enthusiasts, Lapland offers a wide range of activities throughout the year. In winter, indulge in exhilarating activities such as husky sledding, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Embark on a magical reindeer sleigh ride through the snowy forests and meet the gentle creatures that call Lapland home.


During the summer months, Lapland transforms into a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Discover the stunning national parks, such as Urho Kekkonen National Park and Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, where you can explore the wilderness on foot or by bike. Marvel at the pristine lakes, lush forests, and rugged landscapes that truly showcase the untouched beauty of Lapland.


Lapland is also known for its winter sports offerings, with several ski resorts providing excellent facilities for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. Hit the slopes and experience the thrill of gliding through the powdery snow while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


For a truly unique experience, spend a night in a traditional Finnish log cabin or an igloo made of snow and ice. The cozy interiors and the opportunity to witness the midnight sun or starry skies from your accommodation are moments you will never forget.


Whether you’re seeking the magic of the northern lights, yearning for outdoor adventures, or simply yearning to connect with nature, Lapland offers a remarkable experience. Prepare to be captivated by its stunning landscapes, untouched beauty, and the sense of tranquility that can only be found in this pristine corner of the world.


Experiencing Finnish Saunas

Finnish saunas are an integral part of Finnish culture and a must-try experience for anyone visiting Finland. Saunas hold a special place in the hearts of Finns, as they provide relaxation, socialization, and a deep connection with nature.


Traditionally, saunas are small wooden cabins heated by a stove, typically with rocks on top. These rocks are heated to a high temperature, and water is poured over them to produce steam, creating a hot and humid environment. Finns believe that saunas cleanse both the body and the mind, and they are taken seriously as a place for relaxation and reflection.


One of the best ways to experience a Finnish sauna is to visit a public sauna. Helsinki alone boasts several public saunas, such as Löyly and Allas Sea Pool, where you can enjoy a sauna with stunning views of the city or the sea. It’s customary to sit in the sauna in the nude or with a towel, and it’s a great opportunity to embrace Finnish openness and equality.


Taking a sauna session typically involves several rounds of heating and cooling. After spending time in the hot sauna, it’s common to cool down by jumping into a cold lake or rolling in the snow, depending on the season. Some saunas even have a separate room or outdoor area for cooling off. This contrast between the hot and cold temperatures is believed to have numerous health benefits and promotes a sense of rejuvenation.


During your sauna experience, it’s important to remember sauna etiquette. Respect the silence and tranquility of the sauna, and always be considerate of others. It’s common to have conversations, but keep them relaxed and peaceful. Don’t be surprised if someone offers you a birch branch, or “vihta,” to gently smack against your skin. This practice is believed to improve circulation and add to the sauna experience.


In Finland, saunas are not limited to just homes and public spaces. You may come across saunas in unlikely places, such as on boats or even at the Arctic Circle. There’s even an annual event called “Sauna Day” where private individuals open their saunas to the public, providing a unique opportunity to experience different types of saunas across the country.


Experiencing a Finnish sauna is not just about sweating and cleansing the body; it’s about connecting with the Finnish way of life. It’s a chance to unwind, embrace relaxation, and immerse yourself in Finnish traditions. So, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in a sauna when visiting Finland – it’s an unforgettable experience that truly captures the essence of Finnish culture.


Trying Finnish Cuisine

When it comes to Finnish cuisine, prepare yourself for a unique and flavorful experience. Finnish dishes are rooted in simplicity, local ingredients, and a deep connection to the country’s nature and traditions.


One of the iconic Finnish dishes is salmon soup, a comforting and hearty meal made with fresh salmon, potatoes, vegetables, and a creamy broth. This dish showcases the abundance of freshwater fish that Finland is known for.


Another must-try food in Finland is reindeer meat. Reindeer is an essential element of Finnish traditional cuisine and is typically served in various forms, such as reindeer stew and smoked reindeer. The meat is tender and flavorful, with a slightly gamey taste.


For a taste of Finnish street food, try korvapuusti, which translates to “slapped ear” in English. These delicious cinnamon buns are made with a sweet cardamom-infused dough and topped with cinnamon and sugar. They are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.


Karelian pasties, or “karjalanpiirakka,” are a Finnish pastry specialty. These small, thin pastries are made with a rye flour crust and filled with a savory mixture of rice or mashed potatoes. They are often served with a spread of butter, cheese, or egg butter.


Finnish cuisine also features a variety of fish dishes. From smoked vendace (a type of whitefish) to gravlax (cured salmon), fish plays a significant role in Finnish gastronomy. For a true Finnish treat, try muikku, small silver-colored fish that are fried and enjoyed whole.


And let’s not forget the beloved Finnish berries. Finland is known for its abundance of wild berries, including bilberries, lingonberries, and cloudberries. These berries are used in a variety of dishes, from pies and jams to desserts and sauces.


To wash it all down, indulge in some Finnish drinks. Try Finnish beer, such as Lapin Kulta or Karhu, or opt for a glass of lonkero, a refreshing mix of gin and grapefruit soda. And, of course, don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Finnish berry liqueurs like cloudberry liqueur or cranberry liqueur.


Exploring Finnish cuisine is not just about the food itself, but also about the experiences and traditions that accompany it. Take the time to savor each dish, appreciate the simplicity and quality of the ingredients, and embrace the Finnish way of life.


So, whether you’re dining in a cozy local restaurant or enjoying a meal at a summer cottage, let Finnish cuisine take your taste buds on a delightful journey through the flavors and traditions of this enchanting country.


Outdoor Activities in Finland

Finland, with its vast wilderness and pristine landscapes, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From thrilling adventures to peaceful immersions in nature, Finland offers a wide range of outdoor activities that will satisfy every adventurer’s desires.


One of the most popular outdoor activities in Finland is hiking. With its numerous national parks and nature reserves, Finland boasts a vast network of trails that cater to all levels of hikers. Explore the stunning Nuuksio National Park, hike through the picturesque Koli National Park, or challenge yourself with a multi-day trek along the Karhunkierros Trail in Oulanka National Park.


In the winter months, Finland transforms into a winter wonderland, offering a host of winter sports activities. Strap on a pair of cross-country skis and glide through the snowy forests, try your hand at downhill skiing or snowboarding in one of the country’s excellent ski resorts, or experience the joy and thrill of snowshoeing across pristine snow-covered landscapes.


If you’re a water sports enthusiast, Finland’s abundant lakes and coastline offer ample opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddling. Paddle through the peaceful waters, explore secluded islands, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Finland’s pristine nature.


Fishing is another popular outdoor activity in Finland, with its abundance of lakes and rivers teeming with fish. Cast your line and try your luck with angling, or challenge yourself with ice fishing in the winter, drilling a hole in a frozen lake and waiting for the fish to bite.


For thrill-seekers, Finland offers exciting adventure activities. Experience the rush of white water rafting in the rapids of the Kitka River, go rock climbing on the rugged cliffs of Olhava, or embark on an exhilarating ATV safari through the Finnish wilderness.


And let’s not forget the long summer days, perfect for camping and exploring the great outdoors. Pitch a tent under the midnight sun, enjoy a bonfire by the lakeside, and take in the peaceful atmosphere that only Finland can offer.


Whatever outdoor activity you choose, make sure to also take some time to simply immerse yourself in nature. Finland’s forests, lakes, and national parks provide the perfect backdrop for quiet reflection and rejuvenation.


As you embark on your outdoor adventures in Finland, remember to respect the environment, follow sustainable practices, and embrace the tranquility and beauty that nature has to offer.


So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your paddle, or hit the slopes – the outdoor playground of Finland awaits you!


Traditional Finnish Crafts and Design

Finnish craftsmanship and design are highly regarded worldwide, known for their unique blend of simplicity, functionality, and timeless aesthetics. Traditional Finnish crafts and design reflect a deep connection to nature and the country’s rich cultural heritage.


One iconic Finnish craft is Marimekko, a textile design company known for its bold and vibrant prints. Marimekko’s iconic patterns can be found on clothing, home decor items, and accessories, representing a harmonious blending of modern design with traditional Finnish motifs.


Iittala is another well-known Finnish design brand famous for its glassware and tableware. Iittala products showcase clean lines, functionality, and minimalist design. From the iconic Aalto vase to the Teema dinnerware collection, Iittala pieces are cherished for their elegant simplicity.


Woodworking and carpentry are deeply rooted in Finnish culture, and traditional Kuksa cups are an example of this craftsmanship. These wooden cups are made from birch burls and are often used for enjoying hot beverages while out in nature. Each cup is unique, showcasing the natural beauty of the wood.


When it comes to textile crafts, Finnish traditions shine through in intricate kalevala embroidery. Inspired by the Kalevala – Finland’s national epic – these embroideries feature detailed motifs and vibrant colors, often used on clothing, home textiles, and accessories.


Another traditional craft is Sámi silver jewelry. The Sámi people, the indigenous inhabitants of northern Scandinavia, create exquisite silver jewelry adorned with intricate designs inspired by nature and their cultural heritage. These pieces are not only beautiful but also hold deep cultural significance.


Finnish craftsmanship also extends to wooden objects such as puukko knives. These traditional Finnish knives have been part of Finnish culture for centuries, often passed down through generations. They showcase the skill and precision of local artisans and are treasured for their quality and craftsmanship.


Visiting artisan markets and craft shops in Finland is a fantastic way to explore traditional Finnish crafts and design. From Helsinki’s Market Square to the Arctic Circle’s Santa Claus Village, you’ll find a wealth of handmade goods, from ceramics and glassware to textiles and jewelry.


Overall, traditional Finnish crafts and design capture the essence of Finnish culture and nature. They embody simplicity, functionality, and a profound connection to the country’s pristine landscapes. Embrace the opportunity to take a piece of Finnish craftsmanship home, and you’ll have a beautiful reminder of your time in this enchanting country.


Tips for Traveling in Finland

Traveling to Finland is an exciting adventure, and with a few handy tips, you can make the most of your time in this enchanting country. Here are some tips to help you navigate Finland like a pro:

  1. Pack for the weather: Finland’s climate varies significantly throughout the year, so pack accordingly. Layered clothing, waterproof outerwear, and sturdy footwear are essential for both summer and winter visits. Don’t forget your swimsuit for sauna experiences!
  2. Learn basic Finnish phrases: While most Finns speak English fluently, learning a few basic Finnish phrases can go a long way in showing respect and connecting with the locals. Phrases like “hello” (hei), “thank you” (kiitos), and “yes” (kyllä) are appreciated.
  3. Respect nature and the environment: Finland treasures its pristine natural landscapes. Practice responsible tourism by respecting wildlife, following hiking and camping guidelines, and using designated waste disposal facilities.
  4. Experience the sauna culture: Take the opportunity to experience a traditional Finnish sauna, an essential part of Finnish culture. Remember sauna etiquette, such as bathing and sitting naked or with a towel, and enjoy the benefits of relaxation and rejuvenation.
  5. Try local cuisine: Finnish cuisine offers unique flavors and traditional dishes. Don’t miss the chance to try salmon soup, reindeer meat, traditional pastries like korvapuusti, and delicious berries like lingonberries and cloudberries.
  6. Plan for seasonal activities: Finland’s seasons offer distinct activities. Enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding during the snowy months, and embrace summer with hiking, kayaking, and midnight sun experiences. Research and plan accordingly to make the most of each season.
  7. Stay updated on daylight hours: Finland experiences long days during summer with the midnight sun, and shorter days during winter. Be prepared for varying daylight hours depending on the time of year and adjust your activities and sightseeing accordingly.
  8. Get a Finnish sauna towel: A Finnish sauna towel, known as “saunatonttu,” is a small towel with a loop for hanging in the sauna. It’s a practical and traditional accessory to have during your sauna experiences.
  9. Use public transportation: Finland has an efficient and reliable public transportation system, including trains, buses, and trams. Utilize these options to explore cities and travel between regions comfortably.
  10. Embrace the silence in nature: Finland is known for its tranquility, and spending time in nature can be a meditative experience. Embrace moments of silence, enjoy serene landscapes, and connect with Finland’s beautiful wilderness.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to immerse yourself in the wonders of Finland and have a memorable and rewarding travel experience.



Finland, with its captivating landscapes, vibrant culture, and deep-rooted traditions, offers a truly unforgettable travel experience. From the modern allure of Helsinki to the untouched wilderness of Lapland, Finland has something for every type of traveler.


Immerse yourself in the Finnish way of life by trying local cuisine, experiencing the warmth of a traditional sauna, and exploring the rich crafts and design that the country has to offer. Whether you’re hiking through national parks, witnessing the magic of the northern lights, or enjoying the midnight sun, Finland’s natural beauty will leave you in awe.


Throughout your journey, remember to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature, respect the environment, and embrace the simplicity and warmth of Finnish hospitality. Engage with the locals, try Finnish customs and traditions, and be open to new experiences.


As you navigate through Finland, keep in mind the tips for traveling, from packing for the weather to learning a few Finnish phrases. By being well-prepared and flexible, you can make the most of your time in this enchanting country.


Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, cultural exploration or communion with nature, Finland has it all. So, embark on your Finnish adventure and be prepared to create memories that will last a lifetime.


From the bustling streets of Helsinki to the tranquil forests of Lapland, Finland awaits with its unique blend of modernity and natural wonder. So, embrace the magic of this Nordic gem and let Finland enchant you with its beauty, warmth, and captivating experiences.