A lot of people put driving coast to coast across America on their bucket lists. Others dream of backpacking across Europe. Not many consider the possibility of going on a road trip through Finland when they really should. These are a few reasons why it is the best country in Europe for a cross-country road trip.
The best part of driving through Finland is taking in all of the beautiful scenery. You will be amazed at just how vast and diverse some of the landscapes are. A typical Finnish road trip involves driving through days’ worth of dense pine forests and sweeping farmlands and more lakes than you could possibly count. There are also the islands of the south west archipelago (which can be crossed by ferry), the beaches of the west coast, and the barren tundra of Lapland.
Travelling through all of this scenery by car gives you a greater sense of freedom to venture wherever you want. Even getting lost in Finland is worthwhile. Traversing the rural roads can turn up some amazing sights, which you otherwise might not have seen, and will help you feel completely off the grid and at peace.
If you do want to stay on the beaten path and visit the tourist attractions in Finland, travelling by car allows you to see as many as you want in a single trip. These range from the Moominworld theme park outside of Turku to the Tankavaara gold mining village in northern Lapland.
While exploring sights and scenery, you will inevitably encounter some of Finland’s amazing wildlife such as birds, deer, and if you’re lucky, moose. It’s best to be wary of moose however, since they can dart from the forest onto the road without warning and cause over 2,000 car accidents in Finland every year. If you travel north to Lapland, you will frequently be held up by herds of reindeer roaming freely across the roads. Even if they are a pain, they are still a sight to behold.
There are many campsites and places to park a caravan throughout Finland, plus everyman’s rights mean you are free to pitch a tent anywhere (apart from somebody else’s garden). You can even find your own dinner from the Finnish countryside by fishing from a lake or picking wild berries or mushrooms.
If camping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of hotels up and down the country to stay the night, some of them highly unusual. These range all the way from quaint, wooden summer cottages in Lakeland to the Aurora Domes in Lapland for glamping.
A Finnish road trip doesn’t have to be done entirely by car. By hitching a bike onto your car, you can stop off at any of Finland’s thousands of cycling paths to see even more nature inaccessible by road. All of the National Parks and hiking trails have their own car parks and some have campsites.
Each of the small towns and villages you will pass through on a road trip through Finland have a retro charm, some almost feeling as if they have been paused in time. Most will have amenities such as petrol stations, supermarkets, and kiosks to buy ice cream. You can also find hidden gems you won’t find in guide books, such as old churches and classic wooden buildings. Locals might come across as stand-offish at first, but once you talk to them you will likely find them friendly and helpful.
What is unique about a road trip in Finland is that you can drive at any time of day or night thanks to the Midnight Sun. It is amazing to drive well past Midnight while the sun is still barely below the horizon and it makes driving safer too (so long as you still take regular breaks).
With a population of only five million, traffic jams are practically unheard of in Finland outside of Helsinki, so you can enjoy your time on the road without sitting in queues for hours. In some remote places you might travel for miles without seeing another vehicle!