Are you looking for the best places to visit in Finland for your bucket list? Keep reading if so!
This guide covers the top Finland destinations, including cities, towns, national parks, and more!
These amazing places take you from the Åland Islands in the middle of the Baltic all the way to the far northern reaches of the country!
Did we miss any can’t-miss places in Finland? Let us know your top picks in the comments!
Best Places to Visit in Finland
Finland’s second-oldest city, Porvoo, is known for its red-painted waterfront houses and cobbled streets.
The streets of Porvoo Old Town ascend a steep hill toward an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops with traditional Finnish delicacies, such as licorice, with other candy stores and antique shops.
On the main square, there is the old and quaint town hall which today functions as the Porvoo History Museum.
Additionally, there is the Porvoo Doll and Toy Museum and the house museum of Finnish National Poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg.
For local cuisine, the Runeberg Torte is a cake made with almonds and rum that is sold exclusively in Porvoo.
Head over to the Porvoon Paahtimo Bar & Café for patio and waterfront views whilst enjoying the treat with some coffee.
The Meat District is a popular stop for tourists, with outstanding foodie options ranging from classic and innovative burgers to local, traditional cuisine.
Rovaniemi is the contemporary counterpart to the many historical and traditional cities around Finland.
Its original historical layout was destroyed during World War II and thus, its rebuilding took on a modern approach.
The city is located in the Arctic Circle in Lapland, where Santa “officially” lives.
His village is open every day during the year, with cafes, restaurants, shops, snowmobile tours, husky and reindeer rides, ice and snow constructions, and SantaPark.
As for accommodation, there are both rooms available in holiday villages and igloo hotels.
Additionally, there is Lapland’s Provincial Museum Arktikum which explores the Arctic region and Finnish Lapland’s history, the Science Centre Pilke, which has interactive exhibitions on the northern forests, the Korundi House of Culture, and finally, the nature and location of Rovaniemi makes it a wonderful place to observe the enchanting Northern Lights.
Experience Polar Night in the winter and the Midnight Sun in the summer… and enjoy the many things to do in Rovaniemi!
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Saariselkä is a popular tourist destination known for being the northernmost ski resort in Finland and for its proximity to the Urho Kekkonen National Park, as well as for the Lapland Activities Center.
Saariselkä offers everything from cross-country skiing to downhill skiing on its 200 kilometers of ski tracks for the former and 15 slopes for the latter.
The scenic Kaunispää and Iisakkipää fells are used for downhill skiing as well as snowboarding. Along all ski trails, you’ll find huts and shelters, and some select tracks will have their own lighting and stay illuminated throughout the night.
Its location in the Arctic Circle enables you to see the Northern Lights– which is often done from the popular igloo glass hotels!
The tropical spa of the resort offers saunas, massaging jets, and jacuzzis along with kids’ pools and water slides.
Not too far away is the Kakslauttanen resort, where you can visit Santa’s home across the river and wooden bridge.
The former capital of Finland is also its oldest city, founded nearly 800 hundred years ago.
Turku is a metropolis and cultural center with the aesthetic of a small town, and its settlement originated on the eastern shore of the Aurajoki River in the 13th century.
The city’s life force is revolved around the riverbank, including some of Turku’s most popular cafes and restaurants, such as Café Art and Kaskis.
You’ll see Finland’s only medieval basilica in Turku as you walk throughout the city, especially alongside the riverbank, as well as the Turku Castle, another surviving medieval building.
Explore over 250 kilometers of the island and archipelago by cycling or hiking and pass by picturesque villages, traditional accommodations, coves, beaches, lighthouses, and the Kurjenrahka National Park.
Only 12 kilometers southwest of the city is Ruissalo island, lined with colorful villas and hosting a botanical garden. You can venture into the islands and archipelagos via ferry or bridge crossing.
In Finnish Lapland is the popular Levi resort known for its views of the Northern Lights, winter skiing slopes, and other outdoor thrilling recreational activities.
Starting with the most attractive activity, there are color-coded slopes to suit various levels of difficulties, with lifts as well as free-riding areas.
There is also cross-country skiing over a network of 230 kilometers of tracks. Additionally, there is snowmobiling, an ice track for ice-karting, reindeer sleigh rides, and husky dog-sledding adventures into the forests.
Close the day at a sauna and view the Northern Lights. In the summer, you can utilize the many lakes and rivers surrounding Levi.
Explore the water enclosed by fells and forests by canoeing to hard-to-read areas, especially on the large river Ounasjoki.
Otherwise, take a pontoon ferry cruise on the lakes Sirkka and Levijärvi whilst enjoying a cozy breakfast.
The Midnight Sun is great to see after trekking along the Ice Age Trail.
On Finland’s west coast along the Kvarken archipelago is charming Vaasa, a picturesque town with traditional, cobblestone streets, and a lively city center with a plethora of things to do and see.
Start with the Old Market Hall, a Gothic-style building where the town gathers for all its essentials, and where you can sample and view local cuisine and flavors made with locally produced and fresh ingredients.
Additionally, there is an abundance of restaurants and cafés by the sea in the archipelago.
Old Vaasa’s ruins can also be found in the Rauniopuisto park area 7 kilometers away from the current city center and is an excellent destination for a peaceful promenade amongst beautiful scenery.
Walk a bit further to see the iconic church of Korsholm at the Adelcrantzinkuja alley’s end, or take a drive to Kyro Distillery for rye-based craft products, like their whisky and gin, and a tour of its facilities!
7. Nuuksio National Park
Nuuksio National Park is the second largest in Finland and is abundant in ponds, lakes, swamps, mountain ranges, and cliffs, and has been a popular traveling destination for thousands of years.
The natural environment is versatile in its biodiversity, with more than 80 lakes and ponds forged since the Ice Age, and is located in Vihti, Espoo, and Kirkkonummi.
There are a plethora of camping grounds to choose from, most of which have facilities available, such as Haukanholma, Holma-Saarijärvi, and Mustalampi.
The accommodations in the park are also diverse, with options including cottages, hotels, Igluhuts, wilderness huts, and tree tents.
Go cycling, paddling, row-boating, canoeing, or kayaking along the many lakes or ponds, and afterward picnic and barbeque at fireplaces available at the campgrounds.
Additional Nuuksio National Park Travel Guides:
Helsinki is the capital city of Finland and an international metropolis with an endless list of things to do.
The first thing that’ll catch your eye as you explore the city is the green dome of the Helsinki Cathedral. The whitewashed neoclassical structure towers over the cityscape and visiting is one of the best things to do in Helsinki.
In Katajanokka you’ll find another grand temple, the Uspenski Cathedral. Temppeliaukion Church represents an entirely different paradigm, and is built directly into solid rock– hence the name!
The Suomenlinna is another main attraction, as a star-shaped fortress expanded across seven islands. There are walking trails across the fortress which direct you to the Suomenlinna Museum and the King’s Gate drawbridge.
Additionally, there are seaside restaurants and breweries along the fortress and the 1930 Submarine Vesikko is available for tours.
In the middle of the city is Esplanadi, a green space excellent for picnicking and relaxing that is often used as a venue for concerts and other events – it is a must for every Helsinki itinerary.
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9. Rauma (and Old Rauma)
Rauma is situated on the Gulf of Bothnia, and its old town is one of the remaining medieval towns in the country.
Old Rauma maintains its original medieval town layout and is renowned to be a center of wooden architecture.
The old town was once against the seashore but had been uplifted and moved 1.5 kilometers inland over the course of its existence.
The network of irregular and narrow streets, courtyards, city blocks, and dispersed plots of land have been preserved since its medieval period.
In the middle of the Old Town, you’ll find the Market Square, which houses the former Town Hall, a Franciscan monastery, and a medieval church, in addition to the square which is the center of commercial and social activity throughout the town.
There are traditional Nordic wooden techniques and traditions found in the architecture around town as well as neoclassical ones, creating a stunning medley of styles.
10. Jyrävä Waterfall
Located in the Oulanka National Park in Kuusamo on the lower ends of the River Kitkajoki is the massive, 9-meter-high Jyrävä Waterfall.
One of the country’s most famous hiking trails runs along the waterfall, the Karhunkierros Trail, which will also introduce you to the Myllykoski and Aallokkokoski, two other rapids in the Kitkajoki River.
The flow rate of the cascading falls averages around 20.4 meters per second.
It’s categorized as a class IV rapid and is powerful, but is a short cascade down.
The waterfall is a beautiful place to add to your hiking itinerary, for picnicking, or simply for admiring the ethereal scenery throughout Finland.
11. Lake Saimaa
Lake Saimaa is Finland’s largest lake and Europe’s fourth-largest natural freshwater lake. It is more than just a lake basin, but a network of thousands of islands – about 13,710 of them – and their various waters.
It is considered to have the world’s longest lake coastline, reaching a length of 14,500 kilometers. The nature surrounding the lake is untouched and unspoiled, continuing today as a diverse habitat for a variety of animals and species, such as wolves, bears, elk, foxes, and blue hares.
The towns of Saimaa comprise of stunning lakeside shops, cafes, and restaurants, some in which have terraces, all around the lake. You can travel from square to square in the town centers by boat!
There are more than 45,000 lakeside traditional Finnish cabins to enjoy throughout the year for camping or holiday lodging. Vendance, a fish from the lake, also shapes the local cuisine.
Immerse yourself into Sámi culture at its capital – the town and municipality of Inari. It is home to the third largest lake in Finland with the same name and has a 1,000 km² surface.
The lake has nearly 3,000 islands within it, some of the most notable being the Hävdieennâmsuálui and Äijih, the latter a significant historical sacrificial site for the indigenous peoples.
The lake grants the locals a cuisine of a variety of fish, such as lake salmon, trout, white fish, grayling, Arctic char, perch, and pike.
Take a lake cruise on an electro-hybrid catamaran for a pleasant tour of the surrounding scenery, or spend the night on an Aurora hut, which floats on the waterways and will also grant you an excellent location to catch the Northern Lights.
You can also tour around the town of Inari via reindeer. The Inari Reindeer Farm has reindeer driving tours, reindeer hiking, and even river trout fishing with the assistance of, you guessed – reindeer!
13. Yyteri Beach
Yyteri has beautiful sea views and picturesque sandy beaches you didn’t expect to find in Finland. The quiet resort area is also surrounded by charming forests with a few lakes.
The forests have the Santojen Lenkki Trail, which leads directly to Yyteri’s fitness stairs and observation deck. Nearby is also the Huikee Trampoline Park, which is only open during the summer.
The sea views can be appreciated from the numerous restaurants sprinkled around, or vacation rentals for your accommodation.
Camping is another excellent option to enjoy the beach, however, it can get a bit expensive: two people per tent for one night averages around 32 euros.
The beach however has comfortable facilities with practical infrastructure for showers and toilets.
Yyteri is a local favorite for hiking, fat biking, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kite surfing, and even horseback riding! The shallow waters at the start of the beach are also family-friend.
Hanko is more suitable for those looking to liberate themselves from the city and enjoy all the comfort of society without the society part.
Hanko is a town perfect for outdoor activities with numerous walking trails.
The Love Path is 1.5 kilometers in length and leads you along the Puistovuoret and cape, where you can take a breather for some more breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea.
The Peikon Polku nature trail leads through a hazel grove at the northern end of the peninsula.
The Tulliniemi nature trail is full of scenic views of meadows, cliffs, and forests surrounding beaches and seaside views, and the Högholmen nature trail leads you through pinewood, sand dunes, and tall views overlooking the Baltic Sea and its own natural reserve of the same name.
For accommodations, there are bed and breakfasts at the Villa Aurora, Villa Solgarden, and Villa Garbo. There is also the Viking Motel.
15. Åland Islands
Finland has an autonomous region called the Aland Islands, which comprises of nearly 6,700 islands within its territory.
The archipelago is located in the Baltic sea and its inhabitants are bilingual in Finnish and Swedish.
The main island of Fasta Åland is home to the capital of Mariehamn, which is renowned for historic streets lined with wooden townhouses from the 19th century and stunning beaches, like the sandy beach of Lilla Holmen.
It has a historic port, specialty shops with handcrafted goods and local delicacies, and beachfront cafes and restaurants. Its western port, Västerhamn, links Åland with mainland Finland in addition to Sweden and Estonia.
With over 6,000 islands, there are an abundance of beaches to choose from.
In another town just 25 kilometers away, you’ll find the medieval Kastelholm Castle, a popular attraction in Sund.
Include the Maritime Museum in your itinerary to check out 150 model ships, a genuine pirate ship, and learn about shipbuilding.
Additional Åland Islands Travel Guides:
Tampere is one of the most popular destinations in Finland for Finns, particularly for relaxing and unplugging from the world at the sauna.
The town itself is located between two great lakes that flow through the city center.
The center of Tampere is lined with red-brick buildings that were once for industrial use but are now renovated as trendy cafes, restaurants, shops, and even museums.
The Finlayson Cotton Factory is now a vibrant complex full of a variety of entertainment along with a grand cinema. It is located in the town’s main square.
Nearby is the factory’s previous owner’s horse stables which are also today transformed into a picturesque shopping and dining site.
The Tampere Market Hall is on the city’s main street called Hameenkatu and is presented in a charming art nouveau building.
As for saunas, there are more than 50 public saunas. Just walk along the rapids and you’ll find one at every corner!
Additional Tampere Travel Guides:
Explore the largest Wilderness Area in the country at Utsjoki. It is the northernmost destination in Finland and borders Norway and the Arctic Ocean.
Its wilderness is a tundra with bushes, old fells sculpted by glaciers from the Ice Age, and stunted trees.
The unspoiled nature to the north includes the Tenojoki River, where ice-fishing traditions from the Stone Age are still maintained today, the main bounty in question being salmon.
The majority of the region’s population is Sami, and thus there are an abundance of opportunities to learn and immerse in their culture.
See the traditional Lappish costumes whilst tasting local and fresh delicacies in the village. The northern location of Utsjoki grants the experience of seeing the Northern Lights, the midnight sun, and the polar night in their respective seasons.
The small villages consist of traditional wooden houses and igloos with modern conveniences renovated inside for comfortable lodging.
18. Kolovesi National Park
Kolovesi National Park was formed by the Ice Age and is known for its rugged, rocky, and sheer cliffs framing the network of islands and rapids in the Saimaa Lake System and the narrow lake channels that form it.
The rocky islets and narrow straits and bays create the remarkable labyrinth that it is known for, making it an ideal destination for canoeing and paddling.
Equipment rentals are available in the park, in addition to camping grounds and rentals. The majority of the park is formed by the islands of Mantysalo and Vaajsalo.
On the shores of the park are rocks and angular boulders exclusive to Kolovesi that were sculpted after the Ice Age’s change in sea levels, and are lined with pine trees.
You may also catch glimpse of the endangered and unique Saimaa Ringed Seal as you explore the coast.
In Ukonvouri Hill, you can explore ancient rock paintings dating back 5,000 years during the Comb Ware era.
Explore the largest snow castle in the world in Kemi, a town only 90 minutes south of the Arctic Circle in Lapland, situated on the northern end of the Bothnian Bay.
The SnowCastle is available year-round at the harbor of Kemi, and the carved ice complex is chiseled entirely from the snow and saltwater ice found in its natural environment.
The castle has its own restaurant and accommodation, where you can indulge in local delicacies and sleep in rooms entirely sculpted of ice, beds of snow, and sleeping bags made of fleece sheets and lambskin.
Nearby, you can find the massive Icebreaker Sampo, a ship built exclusively in order to ply the ice on the Arctic Waters. The ship also has its own restaurant offering cuisine centralized on the local King Crab.
Marvel at the Northern Lights or Midnight Sun in their respective seasons in seaside glass villas not too far from the SnowCastle!
Lahti is a region and city located in the Lakeland region of Finland and is raved to be a genuine lakeside city to enjoy authentic and unspoiled natural environments.
The city of Lahti is particularly known for hosting major sporting events for international crowds for centuries, some of which include the Ironman world championships, and the eighth FIS Nordic Ski World Championships.
The Lahti Sports Center should thus be your first stop, where you’ll find ski jump towers, ski trails, hiking trails, an ice hockey arena, an outdoor swimming pool, and even a ski museum.
It’s located only ten minutes away from the city center and lies on the First Salpausselka Ridge, which can be more intimately observed on a hiking trail from the center.
For a more artistic turn of events, the Lahti Museum of Visual Arts Malva is full of fascinating exhibitions and is around the harbor area, which is lined with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and boutiques.
Additional Lahti Travel Guides:
Savonlinna is nicknamed the “Capital of Saimaa” because it is located in the heart of the gorgeous Saimaa Lake region. It is an old city surrounded by water with an abundance of activities!
Explore the emblematic Olavinlinna Castle, a 15th-century castle and the northernmost medieval stone fortress in Finland that functioned as a strategic fortress along the borders of the Russian and Swedish Empires.
Wonder through the Old Town of cobblestone streets and wooden buildings of every color you can think of. For trendy restaurants, cafes, and bars, walk along Linnankatu, which is actually a stone’s throw away from the medieval castle.
Paddle through the nearby Linnansaari National Park and catch glimpses of the Saima Ringed Seal on a kayak or canoe, or take a steamboat cruise from the harbor and pass by numerous small islands sprinkled with quaint summer houses.
Enjoy the local dishes of the foodie haven—like the Lorsty!
22. Kitsiputous Falls
Just a few kilometers away from the Norwegian border in Enontekio is Finland’s highest series of waterfalls called Kitsiputous Falls.
These vertical falls are known as Gihcigorzi in the Sami language, or “the tears of Malla” as the river that feeds the waterfalls begins from the Iso Malla Fell and Malla Strict Nature Reserve.
The Kitsijoki River crosses the southern slope’s steep passages along the fells and flows into the Kipisjarvi Lake.
The total drop height of the fall is divided between its two main drops and the smaller drops below, with the first reaching a height of 29 meters and the second reaching 25 meters.
The upcoming series of smaller falls and rapids are no more than 10 meters high each, with everything together reaching 118 meters within a distance of nearly 400 meters.
Although the amount of water is not that much, the height of the falls makes it a stunning attraction along the Nordkalott Trail.
23. Lemmenjoki National Park
The biggest national park in Finland is none other than Lemmenjoki National Park, reaching a landmass of 2,850 square kilometers.
It is located in Lapland and in the heart of the Sami people’s indigenous space. The river Lemmenjoki leads into the National Park and can be explored via river cruise.
There are an abundance of trails to consider hiking, including the Lemmenjoki Nature Trail, which is an easy circle trail of only two hours for 4.5 kilometers, or the Lemmenjoki Goldtrail, another circle trail of 25 kilometers that you can explore over an exciting few days.
Cimb the various fells sculpted along the landscape, with some rising to over 500 meters above sea level or the Vipustunturi and Maarestatunturi fells formed and contoured by the prominent river of the same name.
There are a variety of rare Arctic flora and fauna in the park’s wilderness as well as wolverines.
Explore the 18th-century star-shaped sea fortress called Suomenlinna that once served as a defensive realm against the Russian and Swedish empires.
This attraction in Helsinki maintains its centuries-old artillery and the impressive defensive walls that link and expand over a series of 6 islands.
Over the course of its existence, the fortress also served as a harbor and garrison and the rest of the area was converted for civilian purposes, housing, and businesses.
The attraction is only a short ferry ride from the big city and has everything from cannons and underground tunnels to supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants overlooking the sea.
There are plenty of scenic walkways along its walls, with a distinctive church with a beacon and lighthouse and the bunkers of Kustaanmiekka.
The blue trail will lead you along the prevalent military sights and history of the fortress and ultimately lead you to the shipyard of Viaporin Telakka.
In central Finland, along the Bay of Bothnia where the Oulujoki River meets is the waterfront city of Oulu. The natural environment includes typical Finnish nature of everything from swamps to forests.
The Virpiniemi recreational area is right on the Bay with a sports center including summer trails and winter ski tracks, charming beaches, golf courses, stunning scenery, and recreational activities on the sea, as well.
There is even a camping area in Rantasara for those seeking an intimate connection with Oulu’s nature! For local food, delicacies, and specialty shops, the Kauppatori is an excellent place near the heart of the city to explore.
The city’s cultural history can be exhibited at the Ostrobothnia Museum and local and regional artwork can be seen at the Oulu Museum of Art.
For 3D films and interactive exhibits in a large cinema, there is the Tietomaa Science Center and for popular shopping, Rotuaari is the go-to.
One of the best holiday destinations in Finland for skiing is Kuusamo. The region is particularly known for Ruka Ski Resort, which is one of the largest in the nation with an international standing.
In fact, the resort hosts a multitude of Nordic skiing competitions, ski-jumping, and cross-country skiing competitions.
The marvelous unspoiled landscapes are attractions in their own right. Water from the Gulf of Bothnia, the Barents Sea, and the Baltic flow in five different directions throughout the region.
There are thousands of canyons and forests full of rivers, lakes, and rapids– most of which are unspoiled and untouched.
You’ll find rare flora, fauna, and animal species in the wilderness, such as wolverines, and near the Russian border, you’ll find the 270 kilometers of Kuusamo’s Oulanka National Park.
Explore the open-air Museum of Kuusamo, the Kuusamo Church, and Kuusamo Hall to see the historic architecture and culture of the local population.
Additional Kuusamo Travel Guides:
Did we miss any of the best places to visit in Finland? Let us know your favorite towns and cities in Finland in the comments. Thanks!
More Finland Travel Guides
- Things to do in Helsinki
- Things to do in Rovaniemi
- Things to do in Tampere
- Things to do in Lahti
- Things to do in Kuusamo
- Finnish Lakeland villages
- Where to go in Finland in winter
- Renting a car in Finland
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