Best Places to Visit in Finland

Posted by Elena Praneviciute  |  July 27, 2019

A lot of snow, Santa Claus with his reindeers, and the Northern lights in the winter sky—probably that’s the image everybody conjures up when thinking about Finland. Yes, these are indeed the most popular and widely discussed things, and they are unquestionably worth seeing or experiencing at least once in a lifetime. However, Finland has much more to offer!

From famous winter destinations to sandy beaches and quirky museums, this list highlights the best places to visit in Finland.


Best Places to Visit in Finland in Winter

Seems like snow is more popular than ever before—the number of visitors in Finland during winter is increasing every year. That is not surprising because Finland is a perfect place for those who want to enjoy snow. The country can truly be called a winter wonderland. Despite the growing number of visitors, Finland manages to maintain quality and authenticity for travelers by opening new modern hotels, building glass igloos, and ice cottages, and providing fun attractions for families.

Although the whole country becomes a winter paradise, the best place to visit in Finland in winter is Lapland. Lapland is the largest and northernmost region of Finland. It is the place where you can experience something you have never experienced before, whether it’s the fascinating Aurora Borealis or riding a reindeer sleigh. The snowy landscapes will undoubtedly leave lasting memories, but there are also cool places you shouldn’t miss, especially if you are traveling in winter. The top 5 places to visit in Lapland are Rovaniemi, Santa Claus village, Kemi, Ivalo, and igloos to catch the Northern Lights.


Snow Castle in Kemi

This is truly an extraordinary and fun place to visit in Finland! The castle is rebuilt every year during winter and is the biggest snow fort in the world. The architecture of this snow castle varies, meaning that the castle looks different every year! However, some elements are always part of the castle: a restaurant, a chapel, and a hotel. The restaurant of the snow castle has ice tables and chairs covered with reindeer fur, and ice sculptures are also exhibited in the restaurant area. The chapel is commonly used for weddings or other Christian events. The temperature in hotel rooms is 5 degrees below zero Celsius, but it shouldn’t keep you awake because standard sleeping bags are provided for snow hotel visitors. These snowy attractions and activities in Kemi have only been available from January to April. But 2019 brought up some new unique activities which you can enjoy all year round. In the new massive building, you can enjoy Arctic delicacies in the Ice restaurant, participate in frosty events, or relax in a day spa and a true Finnish sauna.


Rovaniemi and the Village of Santa Claus

It is said that Santa Claus’s original home lies in the mysterious Korvatunturi in the Finnish Lapland. Since the exact location is a secret only known to a chosen few, Santa Claus decided to establish an office in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, in 1985. Rovaniemi received the status of the Official Hometown of Santa Claus in 2010. You have a chance to meet Santa—probably the most famous person on the planet—every day of the year, but during Christmas is that special time of the year when everything gets even better. In Rovaniemi, December is a special time, as Christmas markets and events start buzzing around and many flock to the arctic town to meet Santa in person and experience the festive season in magical wintry surroundings. Besides Santa Claus’s village, other good places to visit in Rovaniemi are Lapland’s Provincial Museum Arktikum, the forest-themed Pilke Science Centre, and the Korundi House of Culture. Rovaniemi is also a great place to experience the magic of the Northern Lights, ride reindeers, visit Arctic husky farms, have fun with winter sports like ice skating, skiing, or other activities like winter safari and winter swimming.



Ivalo is a village in the municipality of Inari, Lapland, Finland. Ivalo might be the best place to experience all winter activities in a comfortable way because it is the largest population center in the whole area of Inari, and it comes as no surprise that this is where you can find the widest range of services in Northern Lapland. The well-stocked grocery shops open their doors every day of the week, from early in the morning until late at night, including Sundays. The town of Ivalo also features an international airport, so the atmosphere here is always very international. The most popular things to do in Ivalo are nature tours, ice fishing, aurora hunting, husky or snowmobile safaris.


Northern Lights

Lapland is also the best place to visit in Finland if you are seeking to see the Northern Lights. It is not a place by itself, but the experience you have to witness at least once in your life, and all the locations in Lapland, a little out of the towns and other light sources, are very suitable for that. To see the Northern Lights, you basically need two things: a clear sky and darkness. You might get a clear sky all year, but darkness in Lapland only sets in wintertime. Summer nights get too light for observation of the Northern Lights because of the natural phenomenon—the Midnight sun, when the sun remains visible for a full 24 hours. But during the winter season, which actually starts in late August and ends at the end of April, the darkness in Lapland is in complete control without any rest. Aurora usually appears from 8 pm till 2 am and could last from a couple of minutes to several hours. Waiting for the Aurora might be a little challenging and cold. To skip this waiting outside, a lot of people choose to spend that time inside the glass buildings. For example, cozy glass Igloo hotels, which make the whole experience unforgettable. The roofs of the Igloos are made of thermal glass to allow the room to remain warm without disrupting the view.


Best Places to Visit in Summer

It is widely known and probably already clear to you that Finland might be called the true residency of Christmas and a place where reality is most near to what you can call a winter wonderland. For this reason, most people think that it is only worth it to go there in winter. But set all of your presumptions aside because to some of the most beautiful places in Finland, it is the best to go in summer!



Salo is a town in the Southwest of Finland and is located between the capital Helsinki and the provincial capital Turku, making it a busy, small but very charming city. The most beautiful place that Salo offers is Teijo national park with peaceful lakes, seashores, and forests, as well as historical places: ironworks villages where traditional crafts still thrive. There are seven historic villages in the area around Salo, where you can enjoy a delightful selection of quaint scenery, art, design, and antiques. In summer, the ironworks host many art exhibitions and events. Also, only in summer Salo offers markets in the evenings, where you can enjoy Finnish music performances, trade stalls, pancakes, second-hand goods, and flea markets.



Rauma is a town on the West coast of Finland, mostly famous for its amazing wooden architecture in the center of town. Old Rauma is one of those historical places where you feel like in a fairy tale, because of all the colorful wooden houses, decorative gates, cobblestone streets, and beautiful public buildings, which create a charming atmosphere. Rauma is a good place to visit in Finland in the summer because the famous Lace week is organized during the summer months. Lace week is a set of exhibitions since the 18th century, but nowadays developed into a huge communal event with music, dance, traditional cooking, friendly battles in which contestants vie for the title of the town’s fastest lace-maker, and other fun activities. Of course—lace-related!



One of the most famous characters in the world, created by the Swedish-Finnish writer Tove Jansson, has a residency on the Island of Kailo, Naantali, Finland. Moominworld is probably the best place to visit in Finland for families traveling with kids. A lot of live performances, fun costumes, and an atmosphere filled with love and games. Moominworld is a summer theme park, which means it is only open in summer. It also sometimes opens in winter for Christmas or another season for other special occasions.



Pori is the seaside city on the West coast of Finland, which attracts visitors with its colorful history and peaceful nature. The most well-known event in the city is the Pori Jazz Festival, one of Europe’s largest jazz festivals and one of the best summer events in Finland. The best places to visit in Pori are the 6 km long Yyteri beach—one of the largest Baltic Sea beaches, Juselium mausoleum, Central Pori Church, Pori art museum.



Oulu is a heaven for cyclists: this city has the most extensive cycling network. If you prefer walking, that is not a problem as well—the city offers many pedestrian areas, parks, and green spaces to enjoy wonderful views. A stay in Oulu will be easy, comfortable, and entertaining, while the city offers a huge variety of cafes, restaurants, shops, and a major music festival in July, and the most beautiful places and natural wonders are near Oulu: the Syöte National Park is a perfect place for cross-country skiing during the winter and hiking and mountain biking in the summer, Turkansaari open-air museum, and Kierikki Stone Age Center or Koitelinkoski Rapids.



It is best to visit Kuopio in the summer when the whole city comes alive! The wine festival, dance festival, restaurant terraces by the lovely harbor, summer markets with fresh Finnish produce, and some of the best views of Lakelands in Finland. The best places to visit near Kuopio or in the city itself are Puijo Tower, which is also the starting point for good summer trekking trails or charming and authentic Pikku-Pietari market alley, which is open from June to August.



The city where nature and historical places come together. Feel the history in the fortress town Hamina or Langinkoski, experience the Finnish forests, try local food and beer, and, most importantly, enjoy city parks which are the most awarded parks in all of Finland. A lot of cycling routes, hiking trails, seaside and water parks, historical sites, and pure nature make it one of the top places to visit in Finland.



Jamsa is definitely one of those top tourist places to visit in Finland. The city is in a good central location surrounded by beautiful rivers, and it offers a huge variety of international events, music festivals, and interesting exhibitions in summer. Nature lovers will find themselves in union with high hills, lakes, and rivers and then lose themselves, hopefully not literally, again while hiking in the Isojarvi National Park or canoeing in Wanha Witonen canoeing route.



This place is suitable not only to have fun in Sarkaniemi adventure park, where usually everybody flocks, but for culture as well! The best places to visit in Tampere are the world`s only museum of Moomin, Sisallissota Civil War museum, where you can learn a lot about the history of the country and the Finnish mentality, Tampere Cathedral, and several observation towers. Getting back to the famous Sarkaniemi park, it is worth mentioning that it is open all year round, but all of the attractions, the amusement park, and Doghill Fairytale Farm are available only in the summer season.


Unusual Places to Visit in Finland

If you travel a lot, sometimes you can get a feeling that everything is the same. All cities start to look alike, all the natural wonders, of course, are breathtaking every time you see them, but put a question in your head: is it really worth it to travel that far away to see something I can see in my own surroundings? Especially to a country that is expensive for most tourists. And if you are traveling to know other cultures, after some time you see that even people, in general, are very similar. But there are places in the world that stand out. They have that special something that makes traveling memorable and exclusive even for the pickiest travelers. Here are a few places in Finland that are a bit unusual but very unique. And the best part is that they are not overcrowded by tourists.



With 6700 named islands and 20000 smaller islands, this archipelago turns into one of the most spectacular places in Finland. Even though it has its own autonomy and the Swedish language as its official one, this place still has the Finnish modernity which perfectly blends together with peaceful nature. The easiest way to get around is by bike or motorbike, so put your helmet on and get ready to do some island hopping instead of bar hopping and fall in love with the special picturesque nature views of Aland.



Imatra is considered to be the first tourist destination in Finland but nowadays it is overshadowed by Helsinki or towns of Lapland. Its outstanding beauty was a shelter for poets, writers, and Russian royalty for years and it is even mentioned in the famous Finnish epic poem—Kalevala. In Imatra, you can find numerous museums, hiking trails, and extraordinary architectural gems, like the Church of the Three Crosses and Imatran Valtionhotelli, which serves as a hotel. Imatra has an amazing atmosphere and tranquility that you`ll wish to come back to again and again.


Helsinki – Top 10 Places to Visit

After some unusual places, it is time for the most famous and most touristic places in the country. Of course, it is the capital of Finland—Helsinki. And like most of the time, what happens with the capitals, it wouldn’t make any sense just to mention Helsinki in a list of the best places to visit in Finland because it just naturally has too much to offer. And if you have very limited time in Finland, that would probably be the safest choice. Here is a list of the best places to visit in Helsinki:

  • Rock Church – Temppeliaukio Kirkko
  • Suomenlinna
  • Helsinki Cathedral
  • Market Square
  • Uspenski Cathedral
  • Seurasaari Open-air Museum
  • Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
  • National Museum of Finland
  • Kaivopuisto National Park
  • Helsinki Central Railway Station


Sleep in a snow castle, enjoy the world-famous Finnish sauna, then jump into the cold water for a swim. Meet Santa Claus and childhood friends, the Moomins. Go for a ride in a reindeer or husky sleigh, admire the unforgettable Northern Lights, and have fun in amusement parks. See some unique worship places, visit the most exciting museums, go hiking in summer and skiing in winter. Relax on the beach, by the rivers, and lakes. Discover charming villages and modern cities. Go alone, with a friend, or with family. Choose a tour or plan it independently and discover the best places in Finland for yourself!