Typical Finnish things you should try
Finland is a country of forests, lakes and the happiest people in the world. Even in the cities like Helsinki, nature is always around you. We listed things that are definitely worth trying on your trip to Finland.
Enjoy your personal space
Finns are famous for keeping distance in public from people they don’t personally know. Some might think this goes to a comical degree but from the Finnish perspective, it is an act of politeness to not disturb the other person in their personal space. And why is this so normal for Finns? Finland is naturally full of uncrowded space and Finns are simply used to it.
You can best spot this behaviour by travelling by public transport. On a bus, Finns only sit next to a stranger when all the possible individual seats have already been taken.
Pick berries and mushrooms
Thanks to the clean air and fresh water, you can eat many wild berries and mushrooms straight from the forest. When the day gets shorter and when autumn gets closer, many Finnish families head to the woods and pick the fresh forest delicacies – local food at its very best.
Go pick blueberries, lingonberries, cranberries and cloudberries, a true pearl of the swamps, and enjoy the stunning sceneries around you. This all is possible as in Finland we have public access rights, so-called everyman’s rights which allows you to pick almost anything you desire from the forest. Just remember to not damage the environment or disturb others while exercising public access rights.
Relax at sauna
There are 5.5 million inhabitants in Finland and more than 3 million saunas. This means one sauna per household on average! You can find saunas in private apartments and on the shores of Finland’s countless lakes. Many companies have their own saunas, some saunas float on water and there is even a sauna gondola at the Ylläs Ski Resort!
Try some of Finland’s most unique saunas: a modern Löyly in Helsinki, Kiilopää smoke sauna in Saariselkä and a wonderful snow sauna in Rovaniemi. Yes, you read correctly, the sauna is made from snow and ice and the only thing made of wood are the benches.
Drink tap water
In Finland, the water that comes straight out of the tap is pure and healthy. In fact, among the highest quality in the world. On top of that, it might be the most tasteful water you have ever drunk! In Finland, tap water is available for everyone. Many Finns carry their own reusable bottle with them and when thirsty they simply fill them from the tap.
Adventure the outdoors
Finland is a true treasury of unique, unspoiled wilderness and fantastic national parks. Not to forget about stunning lake views and the world’s largest archipelago. Try hiking and mountain biking year around as there are many trails available around the country. Lakeland and the coastal area provide a great setting for maritime activities like canoeing, paddling, sailing and fishing.
In winter, Finns’ favourite activities are cross-country and downhill skiing, snowshoe hiking, swimming in a hole of ice and ice skating.
Unique dishes – karjalanpiirakka and salmiakki
One of the most famous Finnish dishes is karjalanpiirakka, Karelian pies in English. They originate from the Karelia region and consist of rye crust filled with rice porridge with egg butter on the topping. Finns love them so much that they eat them for breakfast and snacks, and even serve them at business events as well as weddings.
Salmiakki, salty liquorice in English is, as the name tells, a type of liquorice with a salty taste. Typically, it is eaten as candy, but you’ll find other food like ice cream, chocolate and alcohol flavoured with it. This delicacy is not in everyone’s favour but you’ll need to try and see how you like it!
Campfire coffee & sausage
When Finns go hiking, the essential part of the outdoor recreation is making a campfire. Often it crowns the whole experience. Sitting by a campfire, enjoying the tranquility of the forest with a warm cup of campfire coffee is everything you need to feel relaxed. Combine your coffee break with sausage, grilled in the campfire and topped with mustard and ketchup and here you have one of the most Finnish things you can do.
Remember that in Finland’s national parks, campfires are only allowed in designated spots if there are no grass or forest fire warnings. And take away everything you brought along after leaving the camp.