5 Amazing Places You Need to Visit in Finland

Amazing Places You Need to Visit in Finland

While not technically a part of Scandinavia, Finland boasts some of the same traits as its neighboring countries. Incredible scenery, unspoiled nature and a relatively liberal, modern political system are all positive attributes of Finland. In the winter the Northern Lights can be seen in the northernmost part of the country while in warmer months many Finns love to head to their summer cottages to enjoy some swimming, fishing, barbecuing but most of all the sauna. When visiting Finland, it is natural to head to Helsinki, but your itinerary should also include other destinations beyond the capital. From small towns to natural wonders, this list highlights the best places to visit in Finland.

5. Levi

With so much unspoiled landscape, Finland is a nature lover’s dream destination. For outdoor enthusiasts, winter resort of Levi is undoubtedly a top pick for fun. Located in Finnish Lapland, Levi boasts miles of trails for skiing and snowboarding. There are also opportunities for more unusual activities such as reindeer safaris, ice fishing expeditions and relaxing in large outdoor saunas. The nightlife in Levi is a major draw for Finnish residents, so don’t leave until you have explored the bars, lounges and clubs in Central Levi.

Levi Finland

4. Tampere

Although it is the third-largest city in Finland, Tampere is still not a huge urban area, and it feels more like a collection of neighborhoods than a major metropolis. To get an understanding of Tampere’s history and heritage, check out the Vapriikki, a museum complex housing the Natural History Museum and the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame, among others. Outdoor recreation like skiing and hockey are incredibly popular in Tampere, but the less athletically inclined can settle for a stroll through outdoor hubs like Duck Park or the Hatanpää Arboretum. The popular Särkänniemi Adventure Park on the edge of downtown features an aquarium, a planetarium, a children’s zoo, an art museum and an observation tower with great views of the forests and lakes.

3. Porvoo

The second-oldest town in all of Finland is Porvoo, a destination known for its unique and picturesque wooden homes. As you stroll through the cobblestone streets of Old Porvoo, known to locals as Vanha Porvoo, you can see landmarks from the 13th century, although much of the wooden architecture was constructed at the end of the 19th century. Other great ways to pass the time in Porvoo include touring the 11th century Porvoo Cathedral, exploring local art and heritage at the Porvoo Museum and indulging in delicious local pastries and candies at the Brunberg shop, an iconic business in the city.

Porvoo Finland

2. Savonlinna

A small city in the heart of Finnish Lakeland, Savonlinna is a charming historic destination worth a visit on your next trip to Finland. Located in the middle of Lake Saimma on a series of islands, the area’s biggest attraction is unquestionably Olavinlinna, or St. Olaf’s Castle, which was built in the 15th century. Since the castle’s location wasn’t militarily or politically important for centuries, it has withstood the test of time and remains largely intact and furnished. Also worth checking out in Savonlinna is the Orthodox Museum, the Savonlinna Provincial Museum and nearby Kerimäki, where the world’s biggest wooden church is located. In Savonlinna’s market square, be sure to dig into muikku, or a local herring dish, from one of the many vendors in the area.

Savonlinna Finland

1. Helsinki

As the country’s capital, Helsinki is the most popular place to visit in Finland and a destination you won’t want to miss. If Helsinki looks a lot like St. Petersburg, it is because it was built to replicate the Russian city’s style in 1812. Today, some of the main attractions in Helsinki include the many churches, the three most important of which include the Lutheran Cathedral, the Church in the Rock and the Uspenski Cathedral. The stadium that served as the site of the 1952 Olympics is worth a visit, as is the art deco architecture of the Parliament House. While there are dozens of excellent museums and galleries in Helsinki, one of the best to see is the National Museum of Finland, which does a great job of tracing Finnish history over time.

Helsinki Finland