When you think of Finland, you probably think of Father Christmas and cold, harsh snowy winters, but there is far more to Finland than Lapland and the weather. It is undoubtedly one of the most underrated holiday destinations in Europe, and no matter what time of the year you visit, you are guaranteed to have a good time, well providing your take the time to plan your itinerary to squeeze in as much Finnish magic as you can, anyway!
Want to have a fabulous time in Finland? Here are a few things you simply must do when you’re there:
Explore Turku Castle
The ancient castle in Turku is one of the oldest properties still standing in Finland and it is truly a sight to behold. With impressive architecture and bags of interesting exhibitions on the history of Finland, as well as a very good cafe, it is the perfect place to find out about the magic of Finland before you head off and see more of the country for yourself.
See the Northern Lights
Okay, so the Northern Lights are not exclusive to Finland, but the country is arguably the best place to see the Aurora Borealis in the world. Your best chance of seeing them is in the winter when the skies are totally dark, so if seeing this wonderful natural light show is important to you, be sure to book in the Autumn/Winter months. You might also want to hire a guide to help you chase the lights and increase your chances of seeing their beauty (it’s unlikely you won’t get to see them if you’re in Finland for more than a day or two).
Eat a Pie at Lappeenranta
Lappeenranta is a small town on the east coast of Finland just a stone’s throw from the Russian border, so it might not be the first place that you consider visiting when you’re in Finland, but there is one very good reason why you should head there – the pies. Providing you’re a meat eater, you will not regret sampling the traditional meat pies that are sold in Lappeenranta. They taste kind of like doughnuts stuffed with hamburger, which might sound mighty strange but that are totally to die for, especially if you order from Satama Sanni.
Spend Some Time in Helsinki
Helsinki’s downtown area is one of the best places to go if you want to get a feel for what life in Finland is all about. Not only will you have fun people watching, but you’ll delight in the historic squares and buildings like the impressive Lutheran Cathedral and Market Square, which give the city so much of its unique character. If it gets too cold or wet for you, pop off to the Ateneum and check out some impressive works of art.
Stay at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
If you’re looking for somewhere fabulous to stay when you travel to Finland, look no further than the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort which is made up of several glass igloos that give you an uninterrupted view of the beautiful skies above you. Imagine lying tucked up in bed watching the natural light show that is the Aurora Borealis take place above you – it simply doesn’t get much better than that!
Check Out Suomenlinna Island
Suomenlinna Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the ruins of an old fortress and lots of rugged nature. Pack a lunch and spend the day there exploring the ruins, having fun on the beach and looking out for interesting Finnish wildlife and it will be a day well spent. This is one place that the kids will absolutely adore if you’re travelling with them.
See Santa in Lapland
Okay, so I said earlier that there’s more to Finland than Father Christmas, and as you can see, there really is, but it would be kind of sad to visit Finland and not go and see the good man himself, especially if you’re travelling with children. Lapland is truly a magical place thanks to the pure white snow, the beautiful reindeer, the regular appearances of the Northern Lights, and of course, Santa himself, So, make an effort to visit if you possibly can.
Have a Sauna on Saunasaari Island
It might be cold outside, but you’ll be pleasantly warm and totally relaxed if you pay a visit to Saunasaari Island, which is home to several amazing smoke saunas that truly feel like a little piece of heaven right here on earth. Bliss!
Finland is truly fabulous!