Finland Travel Guide
Tucked away in northern Europe, you will find a land filled with verdant forests, reindeer and bears, picturesque lakeside cabins and stunning natural beauty. Of course, we’re talking about Finland. Home to celebrated landscapes and vibrant cities, the Baltic Sea and highlights like Archipelago National Park, it’s time to create everlasting memories.
Finland’s beauty extends beyond the mainland out to the Åland Archipelago, covering more than 6,500 islands. Located on the west coast of Finland, the Åland Islands can be found in the heart of the Baltic Sea. Although only 60 or so are inhabited, you won’t be short of experiences to enjoy including exploring the many hiking trails, visiting historic museums or embarking on a kayaking adventure.
Picture this: fresh air, an abundance of birdlife to watch and plenty of cycling routes that you can take at your own pace makes the Turku Archipelago on the south-west coast an obvious choice for nature lovers. Boasting an impressive number of islands (an odd 20,000 or so) means there are plenty of natural wonders to marvel at.
Like any bustling capital, Helsinki is the starting point for most adventures in Finland however it’d be a shame to treat it as just a stopover. Take time to explore the Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church), the Sibelius Monument, the Uspensky Russian Orthodox Cathedral then enjoy the atmosphere of the Market Square on the harbour.
If you haven’t heard of the Lakeland area, we guarantee you’ll want to add it to your Finland itinerary. Lakeland is where you will find sparkling waters as far as the eye can see along with luscious forests that cover the majority of central Finland. Cruise on a traditional steamboat, kayak through the waters, spend time in a quintessential cottage or don a pair of ice skates in winter.
Lapland might conjure images of the northern lights, husky-led sled rides, icy forests and traditional cabins blanketed in snow, but there is more to this winter wonderland than you might expect. During summer, Lapland is where you can spend time along the Hetta-Pallas Trail, learn more about Sami culture and explore Lake Inari or Rovaniemi.
Take a step back in time and visit the medieval town of Porvoo, famous for its historic Old Town that dates back to the Middle Ages. Make sure you carve out time to visit the most recognizable landmark; a row of crooked orange and red houses that sit along the river before making your way to the Porvoo Cathedral that was constructed during the 11th century.
Finland is located in northern Europe and shares borders with Sweden, Norway and Russia to the east. From New York, a non-stop flight is 8h 10m, and from London, it is roughly 2h 15m direct.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland and is located in the southern part of the country just on the peninsula in the Gulf of Finland.
Helsinki Airport is the main hub for domestic and international travellers. It is located just 17 kilometres from central Helsinki.
- Closest City
The official language of Finland is Finnish and Swedish. A large majority of the population speak English.
Finland uses the Euro. The currency code is EUR. ATMs are everywhere, and you should have no issues withdrawing cash while you’re there.
As part of the Schengen zone, most travellers can enter for up to 90 days without a visa. Some nationalities need a Schengen visa. EU citizens can travel freely to Finland. We recommend checking your country's travel advisories before you travel.
Electrical current is 220V/50hz using two round prongs. The standard voltage in the US is 110 volts, so to avoid frying your electronics, you may need a surge adaptor.
You do not need any vaccinations to travel to Finland, however, it would be advised to consult your doctor 6 to 8 weeks before you depart.
The phone numbers to call in case of emergency are 112 for the police, ambulance and for fire.
When to Visit
Visit ResponsiblyTravelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Finland:
- Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.
- Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.
- Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.
- Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.
- Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Finland or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!
Sustainable Tourism in FinlandFinland encourages all travellers to use the words "respect, treasure, enjoy, love" as their mantra when visiting the country. Nature in Finland is at the core of Finnish life and they make it a priority to protect it.
Take the Sustainable Finland Pledge
Visit Finland, the national tourism board, has published a pledge on their website that all visitors are encouraged to make. The pledge is a promise to respect and treasure Finnish nature, its inhabitants, and the culture during your visit. Though you likely would do this anyway, by making it official through a pledge, you become mindful of your impact and are likely to hold yourself accountable for seeing your promise through.
Green Transporation Options
There are green options for getting to and around your destination easily, such as rail or bike. Did you know that Helsinki's bike rental system is one of the most used by citizens in all of Europe? Whether you're in the city or exploring the outdoors in Lapland or Lakeland, cycling is one of the best ways to experience Finland's nature while also minimizing your carbon footprint.
There are a variety of eco-labels that can be found in a variety of places that make it easy to find products and services that are ethical, energy-efficient, or are produced/grown locally. As a visitor, you can look for these on any products or services you purchase, most notably within your hotel or on your food.