Finland Travel Guide

Finland Adventure Travel Guide: Ideas and Inspiration

PureTravel Says: "The Nordic realm of Finland offers a simple and diverse destination that offers the best in outdoor living. With beautiful lakes, coastlines and forests, Finland offers mesmerizing landscapes that allow adventure seekers plenty of opportunities to trek, climb and be on the water. The country’s modern cities, like Helsinki, offer traditional architecture and historic sites that offer other ways to enjoy the beauty of Finland. In fact, Finland is often heralded for its ability to offer modern cities alongside simple colonial villages, making it easy to discover the many layers of the country."

Holiday Highlights

History & Culture - Finland’s culture offers a bountiful number of distinct details that make it one interesting destination. Incredible architecture and an abundance of museums can be found in larger cities like Helsinki and Lapland, while smaller areas showcase an uncomplicated way of life on the river and in the country. In fact, it is the smaller areas of Finland where visitors can see the most honest portrayal of the country, giving them a better perspective on true lifestyles of this populace.

Walking & Trekking - Trekking is one of the best ways to see the beauty of Finland’s countryside. With numerous national parks and nature reserves, the country’s natural surroundings are well preserved, with many hiking trails that make exploring easier. There are also more challenging trekking routes along the mountainous and forested regions.

Mountain Activities - There are several amazing mountain peaks found in Finland that offer breathtaking views and amazing opportunities for adventure. Many of the mountains are perfect for climbing in the warmer months and provide ranges for all skill levels. In the winter months, dense snowfall makes the perfect backdrop for skiing and snowboarding, which is available in many resorts and other areas in the country.

Water Sports - Finland is a great place to have fun with water sports. There are numerous lakes in the area that make for great boating opportunities. In addition, there are areas with rougher waters that are perfect for white water rafting. When temperatures dip, Finland is a popular spot for ice fishing, which can be done on many of the frozen lakes in the area.

Music and Dance - Most cities in Finland offer dance lessons and events for the public on a monthly basis. The Finnish are fond of dancing; the most common dance step is the Finnish tango and the most common dance event is a country dance. Try to visit the Naapurivaara Entertainment Center in Sotkamo or the Haikka Pavilion in Pirkkala for a view of the magical Finnish dance tradition.

When To Go

Summer is warm and dry and May-September sees the warmest temperatures. The winters can be cold but dry. Generally snow falls first in October and clears by the end of March. In Lapland snow can fall as early as September and can stay until late May.

Top Tips

- During June and July, gnats and mosquitoes can be a mild annoyance, especially in Lapland, so visitors should not forget their insect repellent if visiting during these months.
- At dinner, it is customary for the host to toast the table before visitors drink, and is considered rude to drink before this tradition.
- Everyman’s Rights is a concept of access to lands and natural habitats that has developed in Finland over the last several centuries. It gives freedom to Finland citizens and visitors alike to roam on most environments without permit or consequence. Enjoy this freedom, but do not abuse it.

Holidays In Focus

History and Culture
Finland has often been passed through the hands of neighboring nations, never managing to hold on to their own roots. Yet, despite this troubled past, the country has managed to build a strong and beautiful country that reflects many cultures through its architecture, quaint villages and warm cities.

The country was often fought over by Russia and Sweden, who both wanted the land for occupation. From these encounters, there remain many Swedish-speaking regions in southern Finland, and cities filled with wooden structures that are classic remnants of this culture’s influence. In the west, there are incredible onion-domed Orthodox churches that show the Russian influence on Finland, namely in the area of Karelia.

Although the country has been influenced by these cultures, they have managed to maintain a unique culture. Known for their warm nature, the cities of Finland are welcoming places to see this interesting mix of urban and traditional areas. Helsinki, Lapland, Savonlinna, Turku, Karelia and the Åland Islands are all wonderful cities to explore in Finland.

The capital city of Helsinki is a good place to find a mix of forested landscapes and urban living. The modern areas of the city show an interesting range of historical architecture and more modern designs. The city is known for high-end shopping, great music venues, and exceptional art scenes; Helsinki offers a fun and entertaining escape. Finland also boasts a beautiful natural landscape with coastlines, parks and forests full of interesting areas.

Lapland is worth seeing for its interesting Sámi people and the simple countryside, a far cry from the bustling city of Helsinki. There are also great preservations of Finland’s culture in the city’s museums, especially Rovaniemi’s Arktikum that showcases the history of the Sámi people.

Savonlinna is a wonderful place to see the more artistic side of Finland. Known for its operas, festivals and other celebrations, Savonlinna proves to be a merry place to visit. The country’s opera festival, held every July, is especially popular. The city also has great historical value with well-preserved medieval castles and other traditional architectural sites.

Turku was once the capital of Finland, making it rich in cultural history. This history can be seen in the medieval castles, intricate cathedrals, and impressive museums all over the city. The Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum is an especially interesting spot to see the creativity and talent of the locals.

Karelia is a city worth seeing in Finland because of its rustic villages and interesting cuisine. There is a large concentration of Orthodox citizens here, which brings many religious festivals. The Åland Islands are another wonderful area in Finland, with some of the best water areas in the country. This area is Finland’s warmest region, making it a great place to spend time outdoors. In fact, one of the best ways to see this beautiful terrain is to hike or ride a bicycle. In addition, some of the oldest homes and churches in the land can be found in these islands.

Walking, Trekking and Mountain Activities
With endless mountain ranges and rough grounds, Finland is a great place to find opportunities for trekking and mountain activities. The country’s many forests and national parks offer traditional trekking routes and a magnificent backdrop. In addition, Finland’s high mountain peaks offer some of the most thrilling ways to spend time here.

Since almost all of Finland is covered in either lakes or forests, there are many opportunities for trekking. Some of the best trekking routes in Finland can be found in Lapland. Here, especially in early autumn months of September and October, the weather is warm and plant life is at its most colorful stages. Endless species of rich vegetation are also an interesting site found on these trekking routes.

Outside of the classic trekking routes in Finland, the mountains offer even more challenging opportunities to find adventure. There are many areas that are good for climbing in the warmer months, including Saana Fell and Haltia Fell, which are some of the highest peaks in the country. In the winter months, the mountains of the country are transformed to offer great opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowboarding. Skiing and boarding can be done in one of the many mountain resorts found in Finland, such as Pallas, Levi, Ruka, Himos and Lahti. Many of these resorts offer extra sport details such as half pipes and slaloms that offer more challenge for expert skiers. Ice fishing is another popular activity in the mountain regions.

Water Sports
Although many people don’t think of Finland as a water destination, spending time in the country’s waters is one of the greatest ways to enjoy the scenery. The lake areas are the most popular places to partake in water sports. Lake Inari, Lake Oulujärvi and Saimaa are all choice locations to canoe and kayak. White water rafting can also be found, especially in the Kukkolankoski rapids and in the rivers found in the gorges of Oulanka National Park. Ice fishing is another popular water sport in Finland in winter months.

Finnish Cities

Helsinki — This is Finland's capital and also the largest city with the greatest concentration of cultural sights.
Jyväskylä — A university town located within Central Finland.
Kuopio — A university town best known for its lakeland areas.
Lappeenranta — Explore Lake Saimaa from this central base.
Rovaniemi — The gateway to Finnish Lapland.
Savonlinna — The small lakeside town is well-known for its large castle and popular opera festival.
Seinäjoki — The fastest growing city in Finland which hosts many high-profile cultural festivals.
Tampere — The spiritual home of music, art and museums.
Turku — The old capital of Turku is located on west coast and is brimming with history in its medieval castle and cathedral.
Vaasa — A Swedish influenced town which is a gateway to the UNESCO world natural site of the Kvarken Archipelago.

Classic Itineraries

- See more than 200,000 reindeer in Lapland, where it is common to run across a reindeer-driving competition.
- Take a brisk ride atop the snow onboard a thriling husky safari, where a pack of canines whisk passengers along the incredible terrain, offering grand scenic views.
- Visit the Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress, the world's largest maritime fortress and a great place to enjoy the warm climate.
- Visit the capital Helsinki and visit an underground church at Temppeliaukio, Finnish art at Kiasma and Ateneum and take a ferry to Suomenlinna.
- Fun for all the family at the Serena Water Park in Espoo, said to be one of Europe's best.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

- Fortress of Suomenlinna
- Old Rauma
- Petäjävesi Old Church
- Verla Groundwood and Board Mill
- Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki
- High Coast / Kvarken Archipelago
- Struve Geodetic Arc

National Holidays

January 01 - New Year´s Day
January 06 - Epiphany
April 18 - Good Friday
April 20 - Easter
April 21 - Easter Monday
May 01 - Labour Day
May 29 - Ascension Day
June 08 - Whitsun
June 21 - Midsummer day
November 01 - All Saints' Day
December 06 - Independence day
December 25 - Christmas
December 26 - St. Stephen´s Day

Travel Resources

By Julie Bowman

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