Finland Travel Guide
The ultimate guide to the coolest things to do and see in Finland
Finland is different and unique from its Scandinavian neighbors, with a distinct history and heritage, lots of open space but some cool cities, good hearty food and a long tradition of saunas! The Lane of a Thousand Lakes should not be missed. Start here with my basic Finland travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest Finland travel blogs.
When to Visit
Definitely the best time to visit Finland is in summer in order to enjoy the beautiful nature the country has to offer. From June to August, the days are longest (and the further north you go in the country, the longer they are!) and the weather is at its warmest, though bare in mind that August is when most Finns take summer holidays so some scenic spots, especially on the coast, do get busy. Fall can also be a great time to visit Finland to see the changing colours, and of course winter is the time to come if you’re into snow sports or want a chance at seeing the Northern Lights.
Top Things to Do
Explore hipster Helsinki – For a relatively small city, Helsinki has no shortage of hipster hangouts. The neighborhood of Kallio is definitely the epicenter of all things hip in the city, with plenty of cool cafés, bars, clubs and second hand shops to explore.
Finland’s capital is the type of city that’s helpful to have a Helsinki travel itinerary, so you can make a plan on what to see and when, especially for those on short one-day itinerary trips.
Sweat it out in a sauna – Finns love their saunas, and take them very seriously, considering them more of a necessity than a luxury, and most people use one around once a week, typically on Saturdays. Be prepared to go in fully naked and do not expect much talk from Finns inside: these are places for relaxation, not socialising!
Pick a lake – With over 55,000 lakes across the country, it is said there are enough for every family living in Finland to have their own private lake! Even in summer, when it seems like everyone and their grandma heads out of the cities to enjoy a day by a lake, it’s possible to find a deserted lake to call your own, even if for an afternoon. Take a picnic, read a book, and maybe go skinny dipping while no one is watching.
Taking a tour in Finland will save you time and money, especially if you want to visit a more remote region of the northern part of the country which can be hard to reach by public transport. Tours through the more southern cities in Finland can also be a great way to get to know the local culture in a much deeper way than you would just walking around on your own. Take a look at this selection of Finland tours.
LGBT – Gay Finland Travel Guide
Finland is a very liberal country and homosexuality is generally accepted. Travelling to Finland as a queer person is quite easy and you shouldn’t encounter problems. Here are some of the best things to know about gay Finland.
Vinokino – Every October and November, the long running LGBT film festival takes place in several Finnish cities, with the main focus on its headquarters in Turku. There are also screenings in Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Oulu and Tempere for a couple of days each. Films are mostly feature length, but there are also documentaries and several short films, all of which are either in English or subtitled.
Helsinki Pride – Taking place on the last week of June, usually right after midsummer, Helsinki Pride is Finland’s biggest pride celebration. As well as the parade through the city, there are lectures on current topics in the LGBT community, picnics, cultural events and performances throughout the week leading up to the final celebration.
Tom of Finland Experience – Take a walking tour through Helsinki and learn all about the history behind Touko Laaksonen, a military officer who fled Finland to pursue his dream of becoming an artist.
More gay travel resources here.
Finland Hotel Deals
In Finland, you can find all kinds of accommodation options from budget to luxury depending on how much comfort you want. I’ve found using Booking.com, Agoda.com or Hotels Combined is a great place to start and can be really useful for finding some amazing last-minute deals.
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