Are you yearning for a Nordic adventure that transcends the ordinary? Let the pristine landscapes, shimmering northern lights, and serene lakes of Finland inspire you. This Northern European gem, often overshadowed by its more popular neighbors, holds secrets and wonders that few have truly explored. From its snow-covered landscapes in the winter to the endless daylight in summer, every season in Finland paints a unique picture, waiting to be discovered.
Dive deep into the ethereal glow of the midnight sun painting the vast Lapland wilderness. Here, the Sami culture thrives, reindeers roam freely, and the magic of the auroras dance across the sky. It’s a place where nature isn’t just something you see; it’s something you feel deep within, a connection that’s profound and moving.
But Finland’s allure doesn’t end with its natural wonders. Venture to its cities and towns, where age-old traditions meet modern design. Helsinki, the capital, is a testament to this harmonious blend, where historic architecture stands side by side with contemporary design, and the aroma of fresh cinnamon buns wafts through the air, inviting you to take a moment and savor the present.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or a culture buff, Finland offers a tapestry of experiences that resonate with the soul. So, as you sketch out your next European escapade, let the spirit of the Finnish wilderness guide you. Embark on this journey through Finland, a land of unparalleled beauty and rich heritage. Hyvää matkaa (Bon Voyage)!
Ready to jump into all the prettiest locations in Finland? As noted above, there’s something for everyone in this Nordic gem. So keep reading to discover the incredible scenery in Finland.
Are you looking for scenic city and cultural attractions? Or would you prefer a relaxing getaway in nature? Whatever you’re planning, Finland can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best spots in Finland you should know about:
Lapland, often referred to as the last wilderness of Europe, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Finland. Imagine a vast expanse where the sun never sets in summer and never rises in winter. It’s a land where the indigenous Sami culture thrives, and reindeers outnumber people.
The magic of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, dancing across the sky is a sight that will leave you spellbound. And if that’s not enough, the region offers a plethora of activities, from husky sledding to ice fishing.
Don’t forget to stay in one of the iconic glass igloos, where you can gaze at the stars or the mesmerizing lights from the comfort of your bed. Lapland is more than just a destination; it’s an embodiment of Finland’s beauty and an experience that will etch memories for a lifetime.
Nestled by the Baltic Sea, Helsinki stands proud as Finland’s capital, offering a blend of historical charm and modern flair. As one of the most beautiful cities in Finland, its skyline is dotted with architectural marvels, from the iconic Helsinki Cathedral to the contemporary Oodi Library.
The Design District beckons art enthusiasts and shoppers alike, boasting a plethora of boutiques, galleries, and cafes. Here, Finnish design, known for its minimalism and functionality, takes center stage. Wander the streets, and you’ll be treated to a visual feast of art installations, murals, and more.
Helsinki, however, offers more than just metropolitan attractions. The city’s coastline and archipelago offer a refreshing escape. Take a ferry to Suomenlinna, a historic sea fortress, or simply relax by the Market Square, savoring local delicacies. Visiting Finland without experiencing the pulse of Helsinki would be incomplete.
Turku, often hailed as Finland’s oldest city, is steeped in history and maritime charm. Situated by the Aura River, it’s a city where the past and present coalesce beautifully. As one of the must-see places in Finland, Turku’s medieval architecture and cobblestone streets transport visitors back in time.
The Turku Castle, dating back to the 13th century, stands as a testament to the city’s rich heritage. Its grandeur and the stories it holds within its walls are captivating. Nearby, the Turku Archipelago, a cluster of over 20,000 islands, offers a serene escape. Whether you’re sailing, cycling, or simply soaking in the views, the archipelago experience is unparalleled.
Modern-day Turku, however, isn’t just about its historical landmarks. The city boasts a vibrant arts scene, bustling market squares, and a culinary landscape that’s a delight for foodies. Dive into the local flavors, explore contemporary art galleries, and let Finland’s beauty in Turku enchant you. For those pondering where to go in Finland, Turku offers a compelling answer with its rich heritage and modern allure.
Sitting snugly on the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is a dream destination for many. Often dubbed the official hometown of Santa Claus, it’s a place where fairy tales come alive. As one of the most beautiful places in Finland, Rovaniemi offers a winter wonderland like no other. For those seeking the most scenic spots, this city provides an enchanting backdrop of snow-covered landscapes, the mesmerizing Northern Lights, and the magic of the Arctic wilderness.
The Santa Claus Village is a must-visit, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Send a postcard from Santa’s official post office, meet the jolly old man himself, and immerse yourself in the festive spirit all year round. Beyond the festive allure, Rovaniemi is a haven for nature lovers. The dense forests, frozen lakes, and the mesmerizing Northern Lights paint a picture of ethereal beauty.
Rovaniemi’s charm, however, doesn’t end with the winter season. Come summer, the land basks in the glow of the midnight sun, offering endless days and a plethora of outdoor activities. From riverboat cruises on the Kemijoki River to hiking in the pristine wilderness, Rovaniemi stands out as one of the pretty places in Finland. Visiting Finland and skipping this enchanting city would indeed be a missed opportunity.
Nestled amidst the sprawling Saimaa Lake District, Savonlinna is a testament to Finland’s beautiful places. The city, surrounded by shimmering lakes and dense forests, offers a tranquil retreat that resonates with nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
At the heart of Savonlinna lies the Olavinlinna Castle, a medieval fortress that stands majestically on an island. Built in the 15th century, the castle hosts the renowned Savonlinna Opera Festival every summer, drawing art lovers from around the globe. The harmonious blend of history and culture against the backdrop of pristine nature is truly captivating.
Savonlinna has a lot going for it besides just the castle. Embark on a leisurely cruise on Lake Saimaa, spotting the elusive Saimaa ringed seal if you’re lucky. Explore the local markets, savoring fresh fish and berries, and immerse yourself in the serene ambiance. With its rich heritage and natural beauty, Savonlinna is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Finland.
With its charming wooden houses and cobblestone lanes, Porvoo is a delightful blend of history and contemporary culture. As one of the oldest towns in Finland, it exudes an old-world charm that’s hard to resist. The iconic red shore houses lining the Porvoo River create a postcard-perfect scene, making it one of the prettiest places in Finland.
The town’s cathedral, a medieval masterpiece, stands tall, narrating tales of times gone by. While the historical landmarks are aplenty, Porvoo’s vibrant arts scene is equally captivating. Art galleries, boutique shops, and quaint cafes dot the town, offering a glimpse into its thriving cultural landscape.
The natural beauty of Porvoo, however, is what truly sets it apart. The surrounding archipelago and nature trails beckon outdoor enthusiasts for exploration. Whether you’re kayaking along the river, hiking through the woods, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll, Porvoo promises an experience that’s both enriching and rejuvenating. It’s a place where history, culture, and nature converge, making it a must-see in Finland.
7. Åland Islands
The Åland Islands, an autonomous Swedish-speaking region of Finland, is a cluster of over 6,500 islands and skerries. This archipelago paradise is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Finland, offering a unique blend of Swedish and Finnish cultures amidst breathtaking natural beauty.
Mariehamn, the capital, is a maritime haven. The Åland Maritime Museum and the Pommern, a tall ship anchored in the harbor, offer insights into the islands’ rich seafaring history. Cafes, boutiques, and wooden villas line the streets, exuding a laid-back charm that’s quintessentially Åland.
The unspoiled nature of the land islands, however, is what gives the islands their unique character. Cycle through meadows, kayak in crystal-clear waters, or simply relax on sandy beaches. The archipelago also boasts a vibrant arts and crafts scene, with local artisans showcasing their talents in pottery, textiles, and more. For those seeking tranquility and a touch of culture, the Åland Islands are a must-visit destination in Finland.
Due to its rich industrial history, Tampere—often referred to as the “Manchester of Finland”—is a vibrant city that successfully combines its fascinating past with cutting-edge attractions. Located between two lakes, Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi, Tampere offers some of the most scenic places in Finland, with panoramic views from the Pyynikki observation tower being a highlight.
The city’s industrial past is evident in the Finlayson area, where old factories have been transformed into trendy restaurants, shops, and cultural spaces. The Vapriikki Museum Center, housed in a former factory, showcases various exhibitions, from natural history to video games, reflecting the diverse interests of the city.
Yet, Tampere is not just about its urban allure. The surrounding nature, with its forests, lakes, and parks, beckons for exploration. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in hiking, fishing, or even a refreshing lakeside sauna session. As the sun sets, the city comes alive with its vibrant nightlife, theaters, and festivals. For a blend of culture, history, and nature, Tampere is one of the best parts of Finland to explore.
In equal measure, Kuopio, a city tucked away in the vast Finnish Lakeland, promotes both nature and culture. As one of the most beautiful places of Finland, Kuopio offers panoramic views from the Puijo Tower, where the expansive lakes and green forests stretch as far as the eye can see.
The city’s market square, Kuopion tori, is a bustling hub of activity. Here, you can savor local delicacies like kalakukko (a traditional fish pie) and pick up handcrafted souvenirs. The Kuopio Museum, with its intriguing exhibits, offers insights into the region’s history and culture, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
Kuopio is a gateway to the tranquil Finnish Lakeland, in addition to its urban attractions. Embark on a boat cruise, explore the numerous islands, or indulge in a traditional Finnish sauna by the lake. With its harmonious blend of city life and natural beauty, Kuopio stands out as a must-see destination when visiting Finland.
Northern Finland’s Oulu is a city that successfully blends innovation and tradition. Known as a tech hub and home to a vibrant startup scene, Oulu also boasts some of the prettiest places in Finland. The city’s riverside setting, with its picturesque parks and bridges, offers a tranquil ambiance that contrasts its bustling tech-driven core.
The Oulu Market Square is a lively spot, especially during summer. Here, locals and tourists mingle, enjoying the fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and the iconic Oulu Market Hall. Nearby, the Oulu Castle Park offers a peaceful retreat, with its historical remnants and beautiful gardens providing a serene backdrop.
Oulu is charming not just in its metropolitan areas, though. The Nallikari Beach, a surprising find in this northern city, is a popular spot for sunbathing, beach volleyball, and even winter ice swimming for the brave-hearted. As one of the must-visit places to see in Finland, Oulu offers both urban and natural attractions. Whether you’re exploring the cutting-edge innovations at the Oulu Museum of Art or soaking in the coastal views, Oulu is a destination in Finland that promises diverse experiences.
Vaasa, perched on the west coast of Finland, is a city that resonates with maritime charm and historical significance. As one of the most beautiful places to visit in Finland, Vaasa offers a unique blend of Swedish and Finnish cultures, given its bilingual heritage.
The Old Vaasa area stands as a testament to the city’s storied past. Here, the ruins of ancient buildings, churches, and fortifications paint a picture of Vaasa’s historical events, particularly the great fire of 1852. Modern-day Vaasa, however, is a vibrant hub of education, culture, and innovation, with the University of Vaasa playing a pivotal role in its dynamic atmosphere.
Beyond its urban allure, Vaasa is a gateway to the Kvarken Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This natural wonder, with its unique glacially sculpted landscapes, is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re hiking, bird-watching, or simply soaking in the serene views, the archipelago experience is unparalleled. For those seeking a mix of history, culture, and nature, Vaasa is a must-visit spot in Finland.
Situated in Finnish Lapland, Kemi is a city that truly embodies the magic of winter. Known for its iconic SnowCastle, the largest snow fort in the world, Kemi is one of the stunning locations in Finland that offers a fairy-tale-like experience. Each year, the castle is built anew, with intricate ice sculptures, chapels, and even a hotel made entirely of snow and ice.
The Sampo Icebreaker is another unique attraction in Kemi. Embark on a cruise aboard this mighty vessel, breaking through the frozen Gulf of Bothnia. The experience is exhilarating, and if you’re adventurous enough, you can even take a dip in the icy waters, safely ensconced in a survival suit. Exploring the icy wonders and maritime marvels of Kemi showcases the best part of Finland, where adventure and nature intertwine seamlessly.
But Kemi isn’t just about its icy wonders. The city is rich in culture and history, with the Gemstone Gallery showcasing precious stones and the history of Finnish jewelry. As the northern lights dance in the sky and the snowy landscapes shimmer under the winter sun, Kemi stands out as a beautiful place in Finland that promises enchantment at every turn.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Finland
Looking to expand your knowledge about the most scenic spots in Finland? Here are some common questions I get a lot about the best Finland attractions and activities.
Is Finland the most beautiful country?
Beauty is subjective, but many travelers and nature enthusiasts consider Finland to be among the most beautiful countries in the world. With its pristine lakes, dense forests, Northern Lights, and unique archipelagos, Finland offers a diverse and breathtaking natural landscape that captivates many.
What is Finland famous for?
Finland is renowned for several things, including its education system, design and architecture (like the works of Alvar Aalto), the indigenous Sami culture, and the concept of “sisu” (Finnish resilience). It’s also famous for its saunas, the Midnight Sun, the Northern Lights, and iconic events like the Air Guitar World Championships. Additionally, Finland is the home of Santa Claus, with Rovaniemi being his official residence.
Why is Finland so amazing?
Finland is amazing for a variety of reasons. Here’s a breakdown of what makes Finland so special:
- Natural Beauty: As mentioned earlier, Finland is a land of lakes, forests, and natural wonders like the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. The country offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from skiing and ice fishing in the winter to hiking, kayaking, and cycling in the summer.
- Quality of Life: Finland consistently ranks high in global quality of life indices. It has an excellent healthcare system, low levels of corruption, and a strong social welfare system.
- Education: The Finnish education system is one of the best in the world, with shorter school days and less homework compared to other countries, yet achieving some of the highest educational outcomes globally.
- Safety: Finland is considered one of the safest countries in the world. Crime rates are low, and the general atmosphere is one of trust and mutual respect.
- Innovation and Technology: Finland is a hub for technology and innovation, being the home of companies like Nokia and Rovio (the creators of Angry Birds). The country is a leader in sectors like mobile technology, clean energy, and design.
- Culture: Finnish culture places a high value on simplicity, functionality, and connection to nature. This is evident in everything from Finnish design principles to the concept of “Sisu,” a unique blend of determination, resilience, and courage.
- Work-Life Balance: Finns value their personal time and work-life balance. The country is known for its reasonable working hours, generous parental leave policies, and a general focus on well-being.
- Sauna Culture: The sauna is a Finnish institution. With an estimated 2 million saunas for a population of around 5.5 million, it’s clear that saunas are an integral part of daily life. They offer both relaxation and a social gathering point.
When is the best time to visit Finland?
Finland offers unique experiences throughout the year. For the Northern Lights and winter activities, visit between December and February. If you prefer endless daylight and warmer temperatures, June to August is ideal.
Can I see the Northern Lights from anywhere in Finland?
While the Northern Lights are more commonly seen in Lapland, they can occasionally be spotted in other parts of Finland during clear, dark nights in winter.
What is the nature beauty of Finland?
Finland is often referred to as the “Land of a Thousand Lakes.” However, that’s an understatement; the country actually has around 188,000 lakes! These lakes are a central part of Finland’s natural beauty, offering stunning reflections of the surrounding forests and skies. The Finnish landscape is a mesmerizing blend of expansive lakes, dense forests, and rolling hills, with the occasional sprouting fells in the northern regions.
One of the most magical natural phenomena in Finland is the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. Visible in the northern parts of the country, particularly during the winter months, these lights dance across the sky in hues of green, pink, and violet. The experience is nothing short of surreal!
In contrast, the summer months offer the Midnight Sun, a phenomenon where the sun doesn’t set for several weeks, particularly in the northern regions. This provides endless opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and fishing, all in the unique light of the extended twilight hours.
Finland is also home to several national parks, each with its unique landscape and biodiversity. Parks like Nuuksio, close to Helsinki, and Urho Kekkonen in Lapland, offer excellent hiking, bird-watching, and a chance to experience the country’s unique flora and fauna, including its iconic reindeer.
Whether it’s the serenity of the lakes, the magic of the Northern Lights, or the lushness of its forests, Finland’s natural beauty is both diverse and captivating.
Is Finland expensive to visit?
Finland is considered one of the pricier European destinations. However, with careful planning and budgeting, it’s possible to have an affordable trip.
How many days do I need to explore Finland?
While a week is a good starting point to explore major attractions, Finland has so much to offer that even a month might not be enough to see everything!
What are the must-try Finnish foods?
Don’t miss out on sampling dishes like Karelian pies, salmon soup, pulla (sweet bread), and of course, the traditional Finnish sauna followed by a refreshing dip in a lake!
Is it easy to travel around Finland?
Yes, Finland boasts an efficient public transportation system, including trains, buses, and domestic flights. Renting a car is also a great option for more flexibility.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in Finland
Finland, with its mesmerizing landscapes, rich culture, and warm-hearted people, is a destination that beckons travelers from all walks of life. From the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights in Lapland to the bustling streets of Helsinki, every corner of this Nordic gem tells a story.
Whether you’re seeking solace amidst nature, diving deep into history, or simply looking to experience a unique blend of traditions and modernity, Finland promises a journey that’s both enriching and unforgettable. As you chart your next travel adventure, let the Finland destinations highlighted in this guide inspire you.
After all, in the words of a Finnish proverb, “Happiness is a place between too much and too little.” And in Finland, you’ll find that perfect balance, wrapped in nature’s embrace and the warmth of Finnish hospitality.