The Beauty Of Finland Captured On Film

Screenshot from Doctor Zhivago
Screenshot from Doctor Zhivago | Public domain/Wikimedia Commons
Jessica Wood

Finland isn’t frequently chosen as a filming location—even the country’s own film industry only puts out a few native films each year—but the few films and TV shows shot in Finland perfectly capture the frozen landscapes, vast forests, and sprawling towns. Here are some of the best films partially or entirely shot in Finland and highlight the beauty of the Nordic country.

Billion Dollar Brain

This Ken Russell Soviet Spy film starring Michael Caine was shot in various locations across southern Finland. Not only was the capital city of Helsinki feature in the film, it became one of the few foreign-produced films to feature lesser-known Finnish locations such as Porvoo, which substituted for the Latvian capital Riga, and Turku Castle. Surprisingly enough, the ice scenes were not shot in Finland but on a disused airfield in the UK that was covered in salt to replicate ice.

speech icon man in bubble

Destinations Unlocked:

Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip

Looking for an expert's perspective?

Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
speech icon man in bubble
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

GORGEOUS GUATEMALA

Gorgeous Guatemala

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

1. Guatemala

An express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

BEACHY BELIZE

Beachy Belize

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

2. Belize

A quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

COLONIAL MEXICO

Colonial Mexico

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

3. Mexico

An exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

SouthAmerica

ADVENTUROUS ECUADOR

Adventurous Ecuador

8 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Ecuador

A remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

SouthAmerica

ANCIENT PERU

Ancient Peru

9 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Peru

An alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Europe

SEDUCTIVE SOUTHERN ITALY

Seductive Southern Italy

10 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Italy

The ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Europe

EDINBURGH AND THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS BY TRAIN

Edinburgh And The Scottish Highlands By Train

7 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

2. Scotland

Embark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Europe

COMPLETE PORTUGAL BY TRAIN

Complete Portugal By Train

8 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

3. Portugal

A wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Asia

SOULFUL SOUTH KOREA

Soulful South Korea

10 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. South Korea

Discover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Asia

THAILAND, CAMBODIA & VIETNAM

Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

11 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Thailand

From Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Asia

SECRETS OF SRI LANKA BY TRAIN

Secrets Of Sri Lanka By Train

10 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

3. Sri Lanka

A fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Africa

EPIC MOROCCO

Epic Morocco

11 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Morocco

An epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Africa

ULTIMATE EGYPT

Ultimate Egypt

9 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Egypt

From Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Africa

IMMERSIVE KENYA

Immersive Kenya

8 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

3. Kenya

An immersive blend of culture and wildlife for first time travelers to Africa. Learn about Nairobi, sample local coffee in the Aberdares and finish up with a fantastic safari stay in the Masai Mara.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

Turku Castle

Christmas Story

Despite the huge number of Christmas films featuring Santa Claus, it is surprisingly rare to see any actually shot in Lapland, where Santa lives. One exception is the Finnish film Christmas Story, or Joulutarina, directed by Juha Wuolijoki. The film tells an origin story of Santa Claus based more upon mythology but with a few liberties taken to better fit the modern-day image of Santa. It was primarily shot in the Utsjoki Prefecture, one of Finland’s most northern regions, during the middle of winter and with real Lapland reindeer. This gives the film much higher authenticity and cinematic value than most other Christmas films shot in studios with fake snow.

Utsjoki in summer

Doctor Zhivago

The 1965 adaptation of the classic novel is one of the most successful adaptations ever, winning five Academy Awards and becoming the eighth-highest grossing film of all time. While it was primarily shot in Spain, some of the winter scenes were shot in Finland, including the train ride to the Urals. The charge of the Partisans scene was shot on a frozen lake in temperatures of -30°C (-22°F). Finnish Laplanders were also cast as extras.

Frozen Finnish lake

Gorky Park and Reds

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, other Nordic cities like Helsinki frequently had to substitute for Moscow. The 1983 film Gorky Park was one of these, with the Kaisaniemi Park substituting for the Gorky Amusement Park.

The 1981 epic Reds was another, although the filmmakers had to wait for the snow to fall in Helsinki before they could begin shooting.

Kaisaniemi Park in autumn

Hanna

This German action-thriller film features a girl, played by Saoirse Ronan, raised in the Northern Finnish wilderness. The film made use of the location for filming, including the frozen Lake Kitka in Kuusamo. This again required the filmmakers to work in extremely cold conditions, but the lead actress said it served perfectly for the fairy tale elements and aesthetics.

Lake Kitka

Shamitabh

Finland may seem like an odd choice for a Bollywood film, but it was one of the shooting locations for Shamitabh, the story of a Danish-Indian actor trying to make his way in the film industry. The production drew one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, Amitabh Bachchan, to Finland, and was the first ever Bollywood film to shoot in Lapland and Helsinki (including Helsinki-Vantaa Airport). The production was affected by Finland’s infamously bad weather after a snowstorm interrupted filming of a dance sequence and the crew had to carry their heavy equipment 10km (6.2 miles) through the snow to safety. Despite the trouble, director R. Balki said he greatly enjoyed shooting in Finland and wished to return to the country for a family holiday.

Finnish Lapland

The Unknown Soldier

The original 1955 adaptation of the Finnish war novel was one of the first breakout successes for Finnish cinema, it remains one of Finland’s most popular movies today, and is aired every year on Finland’s Independence Day. Notably, the film was largely shot at the actual locations where the real-life battles of the Continuation War took place, and the uncut version uses archival war footage. Some of it was edited together with staged footage so well that audiences didn’t even notice. In Imatra in Eastern Finland, a recent storm had felled many trees which made the landscape look authentically war-torn.

Imatra
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider

Hanna

women sitting on iceberg

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?

2 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?

It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.

WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?

I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

X

Holiday Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article