Nature plays a big part in the lifestyle in Finland. During the summer, the sun stays up all night, allowing long days of swimming, camping and hiking. In the dark months, trees fill with snow and create a winter sports wonderland. Here are the most beautiful spots to visit while you’re here.
Planning a mini break to Finland? Join Culture Trip on a five-day arctic adventure in Finnish Lapland for the chance to go husky sledding, snowmobiling and stay on a private island.
During the summer, Finns love to escape busy cities as much as possible and surround themselves with nature. Many own secluded cottages by peaceful lakes and spend the days picking berries, canoeing, fishing, swimming and just enjoying being outdoors. Saimaa, located in the Finnish Lake District, is the largest lake in the country, and the fourth-largest in Europe. It’s also a popular place for both Finns and tourists to get a feel of the cottage life. Some of the most beautiful spots on the shorelines of Saimaa include Linnansaari National Park, the idyllic town of Puumala, and Savonlinna, home to the Olavinlinna castle.
If you’re into architecture, Old Rauma should be on your list of places to visit. Located on the Gulf of Bothnia and in the heart of the western town of Rauma, it’s a Unesco World Heritage Site and the largest unified wooden town in the Nordic countries. The colourful homes, restaurants, boutiques and cafés date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. In the winter, after snow has fallen, the 600 wooden buildings turn into a fairytale-like town.
Yyteri is home to the longest beach in Finland, which stretches for 6.5km (4mi) on the western Baltic shore. It’s known for beautiful sand dunes and is a very popular leisure destination in the summertime. There are many events and public gatherings hosted on the beach throughout the season; other attractions in the area include a spa and golf course. Yvteri sits outside the city of Pori, which hosts a great annual jazz festival.
At Nuuksio, you can swim, ski, hike, camp, fish and experience a little bit of wilderness inside the city limits. It’s located within the Helsinki metropolitan area and can be easily accessed using public transportation. The park has nature trails and camping sites, offering a haven for those in need of a breath of fresh air. Animal life among the birch forests, lakes, swamps, cliffs and valleys includes moose, fox and flying squirrels. Nuuksio hosts events such as marathons and wilderness hikes throughout the year and is also home to Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, an ecologically-designed spot that specialises in outdoor activities and wildlife.
Suomenlinna is a sea fortress in Helsinki, located on a group of islands connected by bridges. The fortress dates back to the 1700s and is a Unesco World Heritage site. A 15-minute public ferry goes back and forth between the mainland Market Square and Suomenlinna multiple times an hour. The islands also have beautiful views of the sea, and many locals often visit just to stroll around the cobblestoned roads and enjoy picnics on the grass and rocky shores.
You can discover the highest peak in Finland at Halti: a mountain with beautiful rocky scenery, located in Lapland on the border with Norway. Native Laplanders consider the 1,323m-high (4,341ft) mountain a holy place; you can easily hike up there during the warmer months, but the extreme conditions during the winter make it difficult. Getting there can also be tricky; the mountain is in the middle of wilderness and there aren’t hotels on the way. However, you can solve that problem by bringing your own tent.
Despite being small, Kilpisjärvi is one of the largest villages in the Enontekiö municipality of Lapland. The most fascinating attraction is a monument called the Three Country Cairn. It marks a geographical convergence, where the borders of Finland, Sweden and Norway meet. Saana Mountain, which is part of the Scandinavian mountain range, and Lake Kilpisjärvi below it are the most picturesque spots of the village, attracting hikers and backpackers during all four seasons.
There are more than 20,000 islands and skerries on the Baltic Sea outside of the southwestern city of Turku, which make up the Turku Archipelago. Some can be reached by car or bicycle; others only by boat or ferry. There are many rentable as well as privately-owned cottages situated on the islands and it’s a popular area for sailors and boat enthusiasts. Outdoor activities in the archipelago include watersports, kayaking, cycling, fishing, tennis and golf. The oldest city in the country, Turku is actually the former capital of Finland and, in addition to the beautiful islands, it holds many interesting cultural events.
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