Places to see in Finland
Finland, a land of captivating destinations and outstanding sceneries, invites you to explore its unique allure. From the celestial majesty of the Northern Lights to the world’s most beautiful archipelago and tranquil lakeside retreats, each place offers a distinctive experience.
The hassle-free atmosphere of the country ensures a seamless journey, enhanced by efficient connectivity from Helsinki Airport. Discover places that promise an extraordinary encounter, paving the way for an unforgettable adventure surrounded by splendid wilderness, natural wonders, and a warmth that echoes the Finnish spirit. Get ready for a journey like no other.
The Northern Lights village
As summer fades in Finland, dark nights unveil the magical Aurora Borealis, also known as Northern Lights. In the Arctic sky, the celestial light display weaves a dance of emerald green, pure blue and cosmic violets transforming the night into a living masterpiece. Lapland, Finland's northernmost region, is the ideal place to see this extraordinary phenomenon – one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Saariselkä, only 25km south of Ivalo Airport — the northernmost airport in the EU, is renowned for its glass igloos. With only a glass roof between you and the mesmerising Aurora Borealis, you can stay warm and cosy, experiencing the thrill of sleeping under the Arctic nights.
Northern Lights Village, among Saariselkä's igloo hotels, specialises in hunting and photographing the Northern Lights. All guides, experienced photographers, assist guests in capturing the best photos of this fascinating display. Wilderness Hotel Muotka and Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort are also highly recommended, offering equally unforgettable Arctic experiences such as husky sledding, snowmobile safaris, and reindeer encounters.
As you travel farther north, your chances of seeing the glowing lights improve even more. Inari, just 50km north of Ivalo Airport, is another fantastic spot to witness this natural wonder. Wilderness Hotel Inari features 12 glass-roofed Aurora Cabins, and the entire Inari area is culturally rich as the home of the Sami people.
Rovaniemi, well-known globally as Santa's hometown, is nestled right on the Arctic Circle, serving as the gateway to Lapland. It is also an exceptional spot to chase the Northern Lights.
It's worth noting that the Northern Lights are visible from late August to April in Finland, whenever the darkness descends and the sky is clear of clouds.
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park
Situated in western Lapland, Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is the third-largest in Finland but stands out for its breathtaking views and numerous appealing features.
The landscape of Pallas-Yllästunturi is characterised by sublime fells and untouched forests. Boasting a variety of trails for both hiking and skiing, it accommodates individuals seeking different difficulty levels. You can explore the national park on foot, mountain bike, paddle, ski or snowshoes.
During winter, the park transforms into a spectacle of moonlit landscapes, and fells adorned with red winter clouds or snow-covered trees. With over 500km of cross-country skiing trails, it becomes a haven for winter sports enthusiasts.
In spring, you can indulge in ice fishing and skiing on frozen lakes, basking in the Arctic sun amidst the impressive fell scenery. Mountain biking is allowed on all officially marked summer trails, including the longest trail, the Ylläs-Levi Mountain Biking Trail spanning 50km.
In autumn, Lapland's beauty peaks as "Ruska" foliage, starting in mid-September, blankets the region in vibrant colors for about two weeks. You can join the locals for a Ruska hike to Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. The Hetta-Pallas Trail, the oldest marked hiking trail in Finland, is the best-known route in the national park. Enjoy the picturesque landscape and take a moment to breathe in the refreshing scent of autumn.
Nuuksio National Park
Just a stone's throw away from Helsinki, Nuuksio National Park is the perfect retreat for those in the capital seeking an escape into nature, whether it's for a day or an overnight stay.
In the park, you'll find eight marked hiking trails ranging from 1.5km to 17km, along with 30km of biking trails and 22km of horse-riding trails. Feel free to bring your own food, as there are designated areas for grilling.
Staying overnight in this pristine wilderness enhances your journey. Hawkhill Cottage Resort offers lakeside cottages for an authentic experience, with the opportunity to swim in the lake after a sauna. In the heart of the park, Haltia Lake Lodge features five glamping tents alongside the luxurious lodges, and you can spend the night in an igluhut at Nuuksio Reindeer Park, where you can feed the reindeer by hand. Furthermore, there are twelve camping site-free of charge.
Nuuksio National Park is also a great site to feel the onset of spring, especially after a prolonged winter. The return of wildlife and birds, the blossoming of wildflowers, and snow-covered landscapes melt to reveal the emerging life beneath. The Siberian flying squirrel is the emblem of the national park, given its abundant population in the area. However, due to their nocturnal activity, spotting them during the daytime can be challenging.
Åland, a Swedish-speaking archipelago consisting of 6,700 islands in the Baltic Sea, is the smallest autonomous region of Finland, positioned midway between Sweden and Finland. With only 60 islands hosting approximately 3,000 inhabitants, this idyllic and unspoiled destination offers much more than meets the eye.
Mariehamn, the capital of Åland, is an ideal destination for a tranquil summer escape, with pleasant temperatures and a wealth of outdoor activities. The town comes alive with numerous summer festivities, ranging from flea markets and concerts to music festivals, cultural happenings, and sports events.
While cycling and hiking offer excellent ways to engage with the nature of the archipelago, kayaking provides a unique experience on the open sea. You'll glide silently across the water among small islets getting up close to the rich birdlife. In the summer, you will have the opportunity to join tourist boats for seal-spotting tours or trips to charming skerries like Källskär, Rödhamn, and Kobba Klintar.
Åland's history is deeply tied to its maritime heritage. The impressive Pommern, a four-masted sailing ship transformed into a museum, is only open during the summer. Notably, the Åland Maritime Museum, previously recognised as the best museum in Finland, and the Kastelholm castle, dating back to the 14th century, is a must-see attraction on Åland.
Have you ever considered spending a holiday by the beautiful Finnish lake? Finland is known as the land of a thousand lakes. Lake Saimaa, the largest among them, is a welcoming destination all year round.
Far from a simple lake basin, Lake Saimaa is speckled with countless islands and divided by narrow canals. It is a habitat for many wild animals, particularly the endangered ringed seal, which solely resides at Saimaa. The best way to see them is by boating around the lake, adding a bit of luck to your wildlife encounter.
Several towns and villages dot the shores of the lake, including Imatra, Lappeenranta, and Mikkeli. In the heart of the lake lies the quaint town of Savonlinna, where you can lose yourself in the medieval castle, Olavinlinna. Each city offers a variety of outdoor activities, thoughtfully tailored to the shifting seasons.
Fishing is an activity that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Fishing on a snow-covered lake feels like a peaceful meditation. As you patiently wait for a potential catch, you have the freedom to focus undisturbed or let your mind wander in the vast expanse of white stretching in every direction. This mystical escape beneath the ice might just be the holiday you've always dreamed of.