Are you looking for the best places to visit in Finland for your bucket list? If so, keep reading!
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 to the far northern reaches of the country!
Did we forget any can’t-miss places in Finland? Let us know your top picks in the comments!
In this post...
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’s Old Town ascend a steep hill toward an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops with traditional Finnish delicacies, such as licorice, as well as 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, check outnot 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 while enjoying the treat with some coffee.
The Meat District is another 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 make 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!
Additional Rovaniemi Travel Guides:
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- Northern lights in Rovaniemi
- Dog sledding in Rovaniemi
- Rovaniemi Airport to city
- Rovaniemi tours
- Day trips from Rovaniemi
- Best time to visit Rovaniemi
- Rovaniemi in autumn
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- Lapland packing list
3. Saariselka (and Ivalo)
Saariselkä is a popular tourist destination known for being the northernmost ski resort in Finland and for its proximity to Urho Kekkonen National Park, as well as to the Lapland Activities Center.
Saariselkä offers everything from cross-country skiing to downhill skiing on its 200-kilometer (124-mile) ski tracks for the former and 15 slopes for the latter.
The scenic Kaunispää and Iisakkipää fells are used for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Along all ski trails, you’ll find huts and shelters, and some select tracks will have their own lighting to stay illuminated throughout the night.
Its location in the Arctic Circle enables you to see the Northern Lights, which can often be seen from the popular igloo glass hotels! You can also visit nearby Ivalo.
The tropical spa at the resort offers saunas, massaging jets, and jacuzzis, along with kids’ pools and water slides.
Additional Saariselka and Ivalo Travel Guides:
The former capital of Finland is also its oldest city, founded nearly 800 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 revolves 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 (155 miles) of the island and archipelago by cycling or hiking. Pass by picturesque villages, traditional accommodations, coves, beaches, lighthouses, and the Kurjenrahka National Park.
Only 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) 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 thrilling outdoor recreational activities.
Starting with the most attractive activity, there are color-coded slopes to suit various levels of difficulty, with lifts as well as free-riding areas.
You can also try cross-country skiing over a network of 230 kilometers (143 miles) of tracks. Additionally, the resort offers snowmobiling, ice-karting, reindeer sleigh rides, and husky dog-sledding adventures into the forests.
Close the day at a sauna and see the Northern Lights. In the summer, you can visit the many lakes and rivers surrounding Levi.
Explore the water enclosed by fells and forests by canoeing to hard-to-reach areas, especially on the large river Ounasjoki.
Otherwise, take a pontoon ferry cruise on the lakes Sirkka and Levijärvi while 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 you can sample local cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients.
Additionally, there is an abundance of restaurants and cafés by the sea,
Old Vaasa’s ruins can also be found in the Rauniopuisto Park area, which is 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) away from the current city center and 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. It has been a popular travel 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, have a picnic or barbecue at the 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 it is one of the best things to do in Helsinki.
In Katajanokka, you’ll find another grand temple, the Uspenski Cathedral. The 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 that 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.
Additional Helsinki Travel Guides:
- Best things to do in Helsinki
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- Helsinki to Tallinn ferry
- Helsinki in winter
- Where to stay in Helsinki
- Helsinki packing list
9. Rauma (and Old Rauma)
Rauma is situated on the Gulf of Bothnia, and its old town is one of Finland’s remaining medieval towns. Old Rauma maintains its original medieval layout and is renowned for being a center of wooden architecture.
The old town was once against the seashore, but it has been uplifted and moved 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) inland throughout its existence.
The network of irregular and narrow streets, courtyards, city blocks, and dispersed plots of land have been preserved since the 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 for 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 (29.5 feet) Jyrävä Waterfall.
One of the country’s most famous hiking trails, the Karhunkierros Trail, runs along the waterfall, 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 (66 feet) per second.
It’s categorized as a class IV rapid and is a powerful but 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; it is 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 (9009 miles).
The nature surrounding the lake is untouched, continuing as a diverse habitat for a variety of animals such as wolves, bears, elk, foxes, and blue hares.
The town of Saimaa is made up of stunning lakeside shops, cafes, and restaurants, some of 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 in 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 (386 square miles) surface.
The lake has nearly 3,000 islands within it, some of the most notable being 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 is an excellent location to catch the Northern Lights.
You can also tour 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.
Sea views can be appreciated from the numerous restaurants sprinkled around or from vacation rentals.
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 (34.50 USD).
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-friendly.
Hanko is more suitable for those looking to liberate themselves from the city and enjoy all the comforts of society without the society part. Hanko is perfect for outdoor activities, with numerous walking trails.
The Love Path is 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) 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, 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 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 such as 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 is an abundance of beaches to choose from. In another town just 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) 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 in 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 are the factory’s previous owner’s horse stables, which have been transformed into a picturesque shopping and dining site.
The Tampere Market Hall is on the city’s main street called Hameenkatu. It 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 about and immerse in their culture.
See the traditional Lappish costumes while 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, 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. The shores are lined with pine trees.
You may also catch a glimpse of the endangered and unique Saimaa Ringed seal as you explore the coast. On 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 to ply the ice on the Arctic waters. The ship also has its own restaurant, offering cuisine centered 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. It is a genuine lakeside city where you can enjoy authentic and unspoiled nature.
The city of Lahti has been 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.
Wander through the Old Town of cobblestone streets and wooden buildings in every color you can think of. For trendy restaurants, cafes, and bars, walk along Linnankatu, which is 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 at 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 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 (95 feet) and the second reaching 25 meters (82 feet).
The upcoming series of smaller falls and rapids are no more than 10 meters (32 feet) high each, with everything together reaching 118 meters (387 feet) within a distance of nearly 400 meters (1,312 feet).
Although the amount of water is not 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, with a landmass of 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 square miles).
It is located in Lapland and is 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 is 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 (2.7 miles), or the Lemmenjoki Gold Trail, another circle trail of 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) that you can explore over an exciting few days.
Cimb the various fells sculpted along the landscape, with some rising to over 500 meters (1,640 feet) 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 six islands.
Throughout 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, 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 the 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, Kauppatori is an excellent place near the heart of the city to explore.
The city’s cultural history can be seen at the Ostrobothnia Museum, and local and regional artwork can be admired 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 and has international standing.
The resort hosts a multitude of Nordic skiing competitions, ski-jumping competitions, 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 flows 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 (168 miles) 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!
Places to Visit in Finland (On a Map!)
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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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.