Finland is not geographically included in the Scandinavian region, although it shares many of the same characteristics as its Scandinavian neighbours.
Finland is a country with stunning landscapes, pristine wilderness, and a progressive, modern political system. Many Finns spend the summer at their summer cottages, where they swim, fish, barbecue, and, of course, relax in the sauna after a long winter spent viewing the Northern Lights in the country’s far north.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Finland
While a trip to Helsinki is a must for any visitor to Finland, it’s important not to let the capital city dominate your schedule. The top places to visit in Finland, from small towns to natural attractions, are highlighted here.
Finland is a nature lover’s paradise because to its vast stretches of untouched wilderness. Levi, Finland is a fantastic winter resort, especially for those who enjoy being outside. Levi, in Finnish Lapland, is home to an extensive network of ski and snowboard tracks.
Other, more out-of-the-ordinary options include ice fishing trips, reindeer safaris, and relaxing in spacious outdoor saunas. Don’t leave until you’ve experienced the lively nightlife in Central Levi—a significant lure for local Finns.
Tampere is the third largest city in Finland, but it is still not a very large urban region; rather, it is made up of several smaller cities. The Vapriikki is a museum complex in Tampere that showcases the city’s history and culture through exhibits from the Natural History Museum to the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame.
Skiing and ice hockey are two of Tampere’s most popular outdoor activities, but residents and visitors alike also enjoy leisurely strolls through Duck Park and the Hatanpää Arboretum.
Together with its aquarium, planetarium, children’s zoo, art museum, and observation tower overlooking the city’s forests and lakes, Särkänniemi Adventure Park is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
3. Aland Archipelago
The Baltic Sea is home to the Aland Archipelago, a group of islands in the middle of the sea. The islands are part of Finland geographically, but they are governed independently. In a rare occurrence, Swedish is actually spoken more frequently here than Finnish.
By taking a ferry, you may travel between the Aland Islands and enjoy sights like the Pommern ship museum, the Aland Maritime Museum, the Kastelholm castle from the 14th century, and kilometres of beautiful hiking paths. Don’t leave the islands without trying the dessert pancakes filled with stewed plums and topped with whipped cream, a local delicacy.
Kemi, a city in Finnish Lapland, is well-known in the industrial world for its pulp mills. Kemi is most known among tourists as the site of the picture-perfect snow castle. The castle, which can be up to three floors tall, is created every year and is used for events like weddings and concerts.
Guests have the option of spending the night in the snow hotel. In addition to its thriving bar and club scene, Kemi is also the starting point for the Arctic Icebreaker Tour, which travels the Arctic Seas in search of stunning icebergs and panoramic vistas.
5. Finnish Lakeland
The region of Finland known as Finnish Lakeland is characterised by an abundance of lakes, as suggested by the name. The average width of the region’s 55,000 lakes is over 200 metres (660 feet)!
Located in the middle and eastern parts of Finland, the territory is bounded to the west by the beautiful Salpausselkä Ridges and to the east by the Russian border. Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in the area, is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to swim, boat, or simply stroll the lake’s perimeter and take in the scenery.
Travelers to the Finnish Lakeland can also stop by Jyväskylä, home to a prestigious university, and mediaeval St. Olaf’s Castle.
Turku, located on the coast of southern Finland, is the country’s reputed oldest city and was its capital for the majority of the nineteenth century. Despite Helsinki’s lengthy reign as Finland’s capital, Turku remains a popular travel destination thanks to its abundance of historic sites and cultural institutions.
Turku Castle, built in the 13th century, is one of the city’s top attractions; the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museums are another; and the Luostarinmäki neighbourhood is worth visiting because it is one of the few places in the city where architecture from before the early 19th century fire has been preserved.
Porvoo, the second-oldest town in Finland, is a popular tourist attraction thanks to its historic wooden architecture. Some of the buildings in Old Porvoo (or Vanha Porvoo as the locals call it) date back to the 13th century, but the majority of the town’s wooden structures were built at the end of the 19th century.
The Porvoo Cathedral, built in the 11th century, the Porvoo Museum, which showcases local art and tradition, and the Brunberg store, a local landmark, are all excellent ways to spend time in Porvoo.
Savonlinna, a little city in the middle of Finland’s Lakeland, is an interesting and historic place to visit. Olavinlinna, also known as St. Olaf’s Castle, was constructed on an island in the centre of Lake Saimma in the 15th century and is the main draw for visitors to the area.
The castle has survived complete and fully furnished for centuries because its location was neither strategically nor politically significant. Savonlinna is also home to the Savonlinna Provincial Museum, the Orthodox Museum, and the world’s largest wooden church in the neighbouring village of Kerimäki.
Try some of the muikku, a native dish made with herring, sold by one of the many sellers in Savonlinna’s market square.
Rovaniemi is the best starting point for exploring the rest of Lapland. Rovaniemi, Finland’s Lapland capital, was obliterated by Allied bombing at the war’s end. Hence, many buildings feature mid-century or brutalist styles.
While there are many exciting things to do in Rovaniemi, the fact that it is Santa Claus’s official Finnish residence stands out. The Santa Claus Post Office sells stamps, and there’s also an underground amusement park with a Santa Claus motif for guests to enjoy.
Rovaniemi is home to many sights that are open year-round, not just during the holiday season. They include the Korundi House of Culture, the Pilke Science Center, and the Jätkänkynttilä Bridge.
Helsinki, as the capital of Finland, is undoubtedly the most visited city in the country. In 1812, Helsinki was constructed in a style meant to evoke that of the Russian metropolis of St. Petersburg. The Lutheran Cathedral, the Church in the Rock, and the Uspenski Cathedral are three of Helsinki’s most significant churches and popular tourist destinations.
The art deco architecture of Parliament House and the stadium that hosted the Olympic Games in 1952 are also worth seeing. The National Museum of Finland does a fantastic job of charting the course of Finnish history and is well worth a visit if you find yourself in Helsinki, which is home to dozens of superb museums and galleries.