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Overview

Finland is one of the most Northern and geographically remote countries in the world. This Nordic country has an extremely harsh climate, and is the most densely forested country in Europe. In summer, experience the midnight sun, lake cruises and music festivals as locals lap up every ray of sunshine outdoors. In the winter months, enjoy skiing, stay in an ice hotel, go on an ice fishing safari, and see the incredible aurora borealis. You’re also spoilt for choice with over 40 exquisite national parks to visit.

Urho Kekkonen National Park is the second oldest national park in Finland, and is known as the home of Father Christmas. This exquisite park is bisected by the Suomujoki river, and is laced with gorges and old pine forests. Here visitors can spot the famous golden eagle, as well as reindeer, moose, hares and foxes. Visitors may also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a bear, wolverine, wolf or lynx during their stay. Urho Kekkonenis is the perfect destination for hiking, trekking or skiing. During the winter months, experience snow-capped landscapes and the magnificent aurora borealis, and during summer, the eerie but beautiful midnight sun is a sight not to be missed.

A classically Finnish park, Nuuksio National Park lies just 45 minutes outside of Helsinki, and is the perfect park for a day trip. This scenic area boasts lush green forests, sprawling lakes and rugged crags. During winter the park is covered in thick snow, attracting skiers and hikers. In summer the area is ideal for bathing, swimming and picnicking, as well as camping safaris. When visiting this park, be sure to keep an eye out for the endangered Siberian flying squirrel and the wood lark.

The Archipelago Sea, off Southwestern Finland, has more islands than any other archipelago in the world. This massive archipelago, made of over 2000 islands, is rich in culture and biodiversity. Visitors to the Archipelago National Park can live like a local in a modest country cottage, or stay in a hotel, depending on their preference. A major draw to the area is the abundance of watersports, including canoeing, sailing and even skiing on the frozen sea. In this region visitors can spot the white-tailed eagle, Baltic ringed seal, and the grey seal, as well as over 130 bird species.

In Eastern Finland, close to the Russian border, the region of Kuhmo with its ancient taiga forest is home to brown bears and other wildlife such as lynx, wolverine, wolves and owls. During the summer months, the stunning nature and lakes are the backdrop for a range of outdoor activities such as kaykaing, swimming, fishing, boating and walking.

Travel Seasons

  • Jul – High Season. Attractions and accommodation are open everywhere. Outside Helsinki, hotels are often cheaper. Boat cruises are running and there are numerous fesitvals across the country. Endless summer days when the midnight sun doesn’t set. Locals escape to their country cottages.
  • Jun & Aug – Shoulder Season. Not as crowded as July. Long summer days with decent temperatures. Midsummer is a main national holiday, everything shuts down.
  • Sep-May – Low Season. Autumn colours are stunning in Lapland, September is a popular time for trekking in northern Finland. Look out for the aurora borealis during winter months. Dec-Apr is busy for winter sports. Jan-Feb there is almost always snow in northern and eastern Finland.

General Information

  • Capital – Helsinki
  • Currency – Euro
  • Languages – Finnish, Swedish, Saami
  • Size – 338,424 km2 (130,666 sq mi)
  • Population – 5.52 million (2018)

Health and Safety

  • Travel insurance is essential for all international travel. Click below to find out more:
  • There are no vaccinations required for Finland but make sure your routine vaccinations are all up-to-date.

Pros

Pros

  • Wealth of national parks
  • Good place to see brown bears
  • Wide range of year round outdoor activities
  • Northern lights in winter, midnight sun in summer
  • Experience Finnish cottage life during summer

Cons

Cons

  • Short summer, peak season can be very busy

Arriving in Finland

  • Helsinki is the main airline hub, serviced by direct flights from many European, North American and Asian destinations.
  • Helsinki-Vantaa airport is 19 km north of the capital. Rovaniemi is Lapland’s main airport for charter flights during the winter months.
  • There are land crossings with Sweden, Norway and Russia, by bus and vehicle.
  • By sea, ferries arrive at Helsinki and other ports, with year-round sailings between major cities. You should book ahead in the summer, at weekends and if you’re bringing a vehicle. Travelling Deck Class (no cabin) can be really good value.

Getting Around

  • There are good domestic flights out of Helsinki. Multi-trip journeys can be cheaper than one-way flights. Some airports in Lapland are open in winter only.
  • The long distance bus network operates buses which run on time and are rarely full.
  • The train service is fast and efficient, with similar prices to buses on the same routes.
  • The road network is great, with no road tolls, but alot of speed cameras and petrol is expensive. Car hire is pricey, advance and group rates are usually the best.

Visas

  • Most visitors do not require visas for Finland.
  • A Schengen visa is required by some nationalities including South African, Indian and Chinese so check before you travel Finland visa >>
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