Ultimate Finland Travel Guide

Finland Travel  - Reindeers

Finland Travel Guides & Tips For Planning Your Trip

Known for its incredible opportunities to see the northern lights, igloos, husky tours, and scenic starry night skies, Finland is a wonderful destination. In the Finland travel guide, you will learn how to plan a vacation in Finland, along with additional in-depth Finland itineraries!

Finland is located in Northern Europe and is a part of Scandinavia. Within Finland, the Northernmost region of Finnish Lapland, where the native Sámi’s used to live. Countries boarding Finland include Norway, Sweden, and Russia.

Nearby countries include Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Poland, Germany, and Ukraine. Below, you will find Finland travel tips, itineraries, and more to help you plan the best trip to Finland!

Snowy road and Aurora in Rovaniemi Finland Lapland

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Finland Travel Guide Tips

Before diving into this Finland travel guide, here is the short version for helpful information and travel tips to know when traveling in Finland. This includes Finland’s popular cities, favorite eats, safety, and more!

Finland Language:

The official language in Finland is Finnish, and Swedish is the second language. At least 70% of the population can speak English. It is always best to download Google Translate just in case you hit a language barrier.

Finland Population:

The Finland Population has around 5.5 million people.

Helsinki Population:

Helsinki is the capital of Finland. In Helsinki alone, there are around 631,695 thousand people. Helsinki is considered one of the most populated urban areas in Finland. Helsinki is located all the way to the South of Finland on the Baltic Sea.

Credit Cards and ATMs in Finland:

Credit cards (Visa & Mastercard) are widely accepted in Finland. With that in mind, some shops in more rural areas may only accept cash. So, it is recommended that you take both cash and card, depending on where you are staying. 

Some of the major banks are Akita Savings Bank, BNP Paribas Fortis, Nordea Bank Finland, and OP Corporate Bank. You will find a lot of places to exchange your local currency with Finland’s local currency if you can’t use a card.

Finland Currency:

The currency used in Finland is the Euro. 

Tipping in Finland:

Tipping is not required in Finland, and locals usually do not tip. Additionally, service charges are often added to the bill. However, if you want to leave a tip, it is at your discretion.

Finland Airports:

There are a multitude of popular airports across Finland. The most popular international airport is the capital’s airport, Helsinki Airport (HEL).

When flying domestically around Finland, popular airports include Rovaniemi Airport (RVN) and Oulu Airport (OUL). The most popular airline in Finland is Finnair. Find the best flight prices here.

The Airports in Finland are rather small. You will usually get through security quickly.

Finland Safety:

Finland is considered an extremely safe country. Crime levels are usually low. However, you should be cautious of petty crimes such as pickpocketing, especially in tourist-filled areas.

Getting Around Finland:

The best way to explore Finland depends on where you are staying. In Helsinki, you can use public transportation. Outside of Helsinki, renting a car is the best way to get around.

Other main ways to travel across Finland are by bus, train, and tram. The Finnish railways offer routes to and from cities and all throughout towns.

Google Maps works well in Finland, for navigation.

Power Outlets in Finland:

The two main plug types in Finland are the C and F plus. Plug type C has two round pins, and F has the same but with two earth clips on the side. Finland operates on 230V and 50Hz. 

This is the Travel Converter I use that works across the Globe.

Cell Service:

Cell phone service is very good in Finland, especially around major cities and tourist attractions. You can buy a local sim card in Finland or go with an Esim if you have a smartphone.

We always go the Esim route, so we don’t have to worry about finding a sim card. We used the Holafly esim while in Finland and had internet everywhere.

I also have a special discount code with Holafly “FINDLOVEANDTRAVEL”

Popular Places in Finland:

Some of the most popular cities to visit in Finland are Helsinki, Rovaniemi, Levi, Tampere, and Oulu. All have the infrastructure to support tourists.

Famous Dishes Across Finland: 

When visiting Finland, make sure to try some of the most famous cuisines across the country. This includes:

  • Salmiakki (Salty Licorice) – This is not the type of Licorice you have eaten in the US. Instead, this has a far saltier taste.
  • Ruisleipa (Rye Bread)– Voted the national bread of Finland in 2017, this bread is often served with cheese, ham, and butter.
  • Karjalanpiirakka– A rye crust pastry filled with rice porridge.
  • Poronkaristys– Sauteed reindeer usually served with mashed potatoes.

Books About Finland:

For additional guidebooks about Finland, check out:

Accommodations in Finland:

There is a vast amount of different styles of accommodation in Finland. You can find chain hotels, cabins, B&BS, and even Igloos. 

Our favorite way to book hotels is on Bookingdotcom. They have flexible cancellations and competitive rates.

Visa in Finland:

Currently, most visitors do not need a visa to enter Finland unless the stay is over 90 days.

Starting in 2024, most visitors, including US Citizens, will need to apply for ETIAS when visiting 30 different European Countries. Learn more about the application at ETIAS. This must be done before your trip and costs 7 euros.

Helsinki Train Station

Weather in Finland

The weather in Finland is diverse and tends to change quickly. The weather in the summer is often mild and warm, especially in Southern Scandinavia. The month with the warmest temperature is July. In comparison, the winters are long and cold. The coldest month is usually February.

The Spring season in Finland begins in mid-April, although the temperature is warmer than the Winter, you may still see snow on the ground in northern locations. The days start to get longer during the spring, so there are more opportunities for outside activities during this time. The temperature usually remains around 50°F (10°C).

The Summer months in Finland consist of warmer temperatures. In July, the weather is at its hottest and the days are the longest. During the summer, Finland experiences the midnight sun. This means that some of Finland will experience 24-hour daylight. The temperatures can range from 58°F (14°C) to over 71°F (22°C).

The Fall season in Finland is filled with heavy winds, blizzards, and even snowfall in the North. October through to December is when you can expect cold temperatures and heavy rainfall, making it the least popular time to visit in the southern regions.

It’s unlikely that the temperatures will rise above 50°F (10°C) during this time. However, in Lapland, November and December are the most popular months to visit because of Santa’s Village.

The Winter season in Finland is far longer than in many other countries. Snowfall can persist from October until May. Winter is actually the most popular time to visit Finland as activities such as snowmobiling, husky tours, and northern lights tours take place.

The temperature ranges from 25°F (-4°C) to 33°F (1°C). However, it is not uncommon for temperatures to fall even lower – especially in the Lapland area, where it is often in the negatives.

Northern Finland also experiences Polar Nights, where it will be “nighttime” most of the day, with the sun hardly rising. This happens because of Finland’s location to the Arctic Pole.

Helsinki tends to be warmer, and full snow attire (snow pants, snow boots) will not be necessary.

Check out my Lapland Winter Packing List!

Rovaniemi Snow covered forest

Finland Travel Itineraries

Find current Finland Travel Itineraries in this section. If you do not find what you’re looking for, feel free to email me or check back, as new guides are always being added.

Brief Finland History

The history of Finland begins way back in 9,000 BC after the end of the last glacial period. Finland became a part of the kingdom of Sweden and was governed by the Catholic Church from the 13th. In 1809, Finland experienced the Finnish War and was ceded to the Russian Empire. 

Finnish nationalism began in the 19th century, where more of the Finnish culture emerged through traditions, cultures, mythology, and language before they declared independence in 1917.

Finland Fun Fact: Finland is the largest consumer of coffee.

Popular Things to Do in Finland

As you probably guessed, seeing the Northern lights is easily the most popular thing to do when visiting Finland, but there are so many more winter-themed activities to be enjoyed in Finland. Some of the most popular things to do in Finland include:

  • Husky Safaris
  • Experiencing the Saunas
  • Visiting Reindeer Farms
  • Seeing Santa Claus in Santa Village
  • Helsinki walking tours
  • Hiking in National Parks
  • Visiting Finland’s hot springs
  • Stargazing 
  • Visiting Snow Hotels
  • Snowmobile rides
  • Kayaking & Canoeing
Best things to do in Rovaniemi Finland Lapland

The Best Time to Visit Finland

The most popular time to visit Finland is in the Winter months. Despite the temperatures being their coldest, this is when the most activities can be found in Finland. Also, you are most likely to see the Northern lights during this time, which is one of Finland’s most popular attractions. However, this is when prices will be at an all-time high.

Summer is also a popular time to visit Finland, as there is so much daylight to explore and see the country. Plus, temperatures are at their warmest. This is when many travelers will make road trips through Finland.

Fall in Finland is the least popular time to visit. However, if you want an opportunity to see the Northern Lights, you can have a good opportunity in the Northernmost parts of Finland during these months. It will also be much warmer as well.

Plane flying over Finland

Is Finland Budget-Friendly

Finland is known to be a more expensive country, like its neighboring Scandinavian countries. However, you can still experience Finland on a budget if you avoid the high season. Many museums are free to visit in Finland, and you can get free water everywhere. Finland also does not really have a tipping culture, so you can save additional money there.

Other ways to save money in Finland are to take public transportation and limit the number of tours and activities you do. Furthermore, many cities include free walking tours.

Winter activities are usually around $80-100 per person (huskies, snowmobiling).

Finland Fun Fact: Did you know Finland has some of the cleanest water in the world?

Huskies in Rovaniemi Finland

How to Plan a Trip to Finland

Planning a trip to Finland is relatively easy. This is because most Finnish people speak English, they are prepared for tourists, and public transportation is easy to use. The main deciding factors to figure out is where in Finland you’d like to go, and for how many days.

Typical Finland itineraries include at least 1 day in Helsinki and usually no more than 3 days. The Lapland area of Finland is also extremely popular. Rovaniemi is the Capital of Lapland and the home to Santa Claus, therefore, it is very popular to visit around Christmas time.

Plus, all winter activities can be done in Rovaniemi, including seeing the Northern Lights, Husky Safaris, Reindeer Farms, Snowmobiling, and more.

Travelers tend to spend 3-5 days exploring the Lapland Region. Therefore, you can consider flying into Rovaniemi and ending in Helsinki. Or, you can do a round-trip flight to Helsinki and take the overnight train to Rovaniemi, which is a popular option for those on a budget.

Helsinki often has great round-trip deals ($550 USD from NYC).

Suggested Finland Itinerary:

  • 3-5 days in Lapland (renting a car is recommended)
  • 1-3 days in Helsinki (no car is needed). If you stay for 3 days, you can take a day trip to Tallinn, Estonia.
Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki

Finnish Words to Help You Get Around Finland

English is spoken in Finland, however, it never hurts to learn some Finnish words before visiting. Locals always appreciate it when you try to speak their language. Additionally, having offline Google translate will also be very helpful if you do experience any language barriers.

Common Finnish Phrases:

  • Hei – Hello
  • Hyvästi – Goodbye
  • Joo – Yes
  • Ei – No
  • Kiitos– Thank you
  • ole hyvä– You’re welcome
Dancing in the snow in Lapland winter

Finland Travel Guide Wrap-up

This concludes all the information you should need to plan your Finland vacation! Make sure to check the Finland Travel Guide itineraries that were above. These guides delve even further into Finland planning, what to wear in Finland, and suggested itineraries.

If you have any questions about the Finland travel Guide or feel I missed something, feel free to reach out via email or social media! Have the best time in Finland!

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