While it’s not always listed as a mainstream tourist destination, Finland has a lot to offer both to winter and summer travel enthusiasts. From vibrant cities with an abundance of art and historical landmarks to immense archipelagos with stunning nature, from lakes and beaches to snow castles and skiing trails, Finland knows how to surprise its visitors. Don’t forget to check out the Visit Finland’s official website.
As the largest city in Finland, Helsinki is packed full of places of interest. Your best bet is to start with a walk through the streets and squares to soak up the city vibes and savour the beautiful architecture. Some highlights you don’t want to miss include the Lutheran Cathedral, the National Museum of Finland, the 1952 Olympics Stadium and Uspenski Cathedral.
If you are a fan of unique architecture, you should visit the Church in the Rock. This marvelous Lutheran church was constructed from solid rock with a barred copper dome through which sunlight pours in. You are best off visiting the church in the morning when the sunlight illuminates and warms up the interior. The Seurasaari Open-Air Museum is located on one of the Helsinki’s islands and features a collection of century-old houses brought from the villages meant to show how the Finlanders lived in the distant past.
If you are in love with nature, heritage and history, this picturesque city of Savonlinna located in the Finnish Lakeland should be on your itinerary on your next trip to Finland. The small city has many historical sights that are worth a visit. The most prominent attraction is the St. Olaf’s Castle located right in the middle of a lake, acting as an independent island. The imposing fortress was built in the 15th century, but since it had been attributed little military and political value over the centuries, it remained largely intact to this day.
Other historic places you can visit include the Orthodox Museum, the Provincial Museum and the Kerimäki Church which is the biggest wooden church in the world. Don’t hesitate to roam the Savonlinna’s market square to catch some historical city vibes and savour Muikku, a traditional herring dish, served in many restaurants in the city.
With more 20,000 islands, Turku is the largest and most attractive archipelago in Finland. Even though islands seem pretty much the same, each of them has its unique charm and provides a unique scenery. You can travel within the archipelago using a ferry. Bike is the most popular mode of transport on the dry land, but you are also encouraged to take on the idyllic trails by foot to explore the unspoilt nature of the islands.
Turku is a major city that used to be the capital of Finland in the 19th century. Although it has lost its capital status, it’s still an important destination for travelers, being full of historical landmarks. Some of the top destinations include the Turku Castle built in the 13th century, the cathedral, the twin museums, and the maritime center.
Finnish Lakeland is a vast area spread across central and eastern Finland that hosts about 55,000 lakes whose width exceeds 200 m. The lakes provide a stunning scenery and are a perfect place for nature trips. Travelers recommend to go to the largest lake, Saimaa, where you can enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking, boating and strolling the shore savouring the picturesque scene.
In winter, ice skating is available. There is also a hiking route of 60 km around the lake that hikers and bikers can use to reconnect with nature while keeping their body in shape.
Lapland is known as the home to Santa Claus and boasts many beautiful places that are worth visiting in winter. Kemi is an industrial city that has two major attractions, the pulp mills and the impressive snow castle. The castle is built every year and can host weddings, celebrations and music performances. Visitors also have the chance to spend the night in the snow hotel. Another popular activity in Kemi is to board an icebreaker and cruise the arctic waters, enjoying the stunning views and searching for icebergs.
A Lapland tour isn’t complete without visiting the capital of the region, Rovaniemi. The main attraction in the bustling city is hands down the Santa Claus Village where the home to Santa Claus is located. You can explore the scenic village, take photos, get stamps from the Santa Post Office and have a lot of fun in the underground amusement park.
Raahe is a small and vibrant town in the Northern Ostrobothnia, Oulu Province awarded the title of the Finnish Outdoor Destination of the Year 2016 thanks to its beautiful nature and plenty of outdoor activities. There is a archipelago near the city coast consisting of 50 small islands that attracts crowds of tourists every year. You can take a cruise to the archipelago, visiting its picturesque islands, learn about the maritime history of Raahe, explore the nature trails, wander the sandy beaches and admire the 19th century wooden lighthouses.
Moreover, there are many captivating attractions and activities, including boating, kayaking, stand-up paddling and swimming. In winter when the sea freezes, you can ski, snowshoe and take a sleigh ride around the archipelago. The largest islands are equipped with mooring points, campfire sites, barbecue facilities, benches, tables and toilets. The second largest island, Iso-Kraaseli, even has a sauna and a pilot house with accommodation for 13 people. You can read more about the City of Raahe from Raahe Guide website.