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Finland Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Finland in 2022

Welcome to Finland

Finland is the perfect place to spend your next holiday as it offers fabulous outdoor activities, artsy cities, interesting Finnish culture, and gorgeous scenery. Because it's situated in the corner of Northern Europe, few people think about it when planning their vacation. But if you get the opportunity to visit Finland, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise!

Continue reading this ultimate Finland travel guide, and get all the practical details about traveling around, unmissable sights, and visa information to visit this magical Nordic country.

Document checklist for Finland

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • Valid passport (must have a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of arrival in Finland)

  • Sufficient funds to cover your entire trip

  • Return airline ticket

Essential Finland travel information

  • Currency - Euro (€). $1 is equivalent to approx. €0.98.

  • Daily budget for 1 person - Tourists in Finland should plan to spend around €125 ($130) per day.

  • Languages - The two official languages in Finland are Finnish and Swedish. English is also widely spoken as a second language. There are also a few official minority languages: Sami, Finnish sign language, and Romani.

  • Socket type - Types C and F. The country operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  • Time zone - Eastern European Time (EET): UTC +2.

  • Top 3 cities to visit - Helsinki, Rovaniemi, and Turku.

  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Sea Fortress Suomenlinna, Helsinki Cathedral, and Turku Castle.

Visa information for Finland

Visiting Finland has become simpler over the years, as now you can opt for electronic visas or authorizations online.

Depending on your nationality, you may need the Schengen Visa or ETIAS visa waiver to visit the country. These services will become available from 2023 onwards on iVisa.

ETIAS explained

The ETIAS, or the European Travel Information and Authorization System, is a mandatory document for all nationalities that are visa-exempt to enter Finland and the Schengen zone. With this travel authorization, you can travel around Finland and the 26 Schengen countries.

The ETIAS will be mandatory from May 2023. Make sure you get it if you plan on visiting the region after this date.

Schengen Visa explained

If your nationality isn’t eligible for the ETIAS, because you need a visa to enter the Schengen zone, you will soon be able to apply for the Finland Schengen Visa online with iVisa.

The Schengen Visa offers stays and travel for up to 90 days throughout and between all Schengen countries. The flexibility of this visa is what makes it so appealing to many travelers.

Typical costs and budget for Finland

For your trip to Finland, please check the following relevant information about budgeting:

Daily spending per person - the daily budget per person is around €125 ($130) per day, which includes:

  • Meals - A meal in a good restaurant in Finland will cost around €28 ($30).

  • Transport - Daily transport costs are around €30 ($31).

  • Hotel - A room for two people will cost around €117 ($122) per night.

Example: Two people traveling to Finland for one week will spend, on average €1,745 ($1,817). This approximate cost doesn’t include luxurious accommodation or entry tickets for tourist spots around Finland.

Transport and best ways to travel around Finland

Helsinki has a developed public transport system that consists of buses, trams, metro, commuter trains, and the Suomenlinna ferry. As a tourist, you can buy your tickets through the HSL App, R-kiosks (small service stations), HSL service points, ticket machines at stations, and with the bus driver. Remember that you can’t purchase tickets on trams, the metro, and commuter trains, these must be purchased before you board.

Single and special value tickets are valid for 80-110 minutes and permit switching between transport modes within this timeframe. Children’s tickets for ages between 7 and 17 years old are also available. Minors under 7 years old can travel for free.

There are also reduced-rate tickets for pensioners, students, people with limited mobility, and people over 70 years old available.

To get to the national parks or Lapland, it is easiest to rent a car or take the train to Rovaniemi.

Safety in Finland

Finland is considered one of the happiest countries in the world and one of the safest to live or travel to. Crime rates are low.

Still, you could find yourself in a snowstorm, blizzard, or any other natural calamity, make sure you have the contact details of local authorities on hand. Aside from nature, which is uncontrollable, Finland is mostly safe for tourists.

Weather in Finland

Weather in Finland is variable due to its location in the Eurasian continent’s coastal zone. The weather can change at any second, which is common in Scandinavia, so make sure to pack clothes for all types of weather.

In Lapland and surrounding regions, there can be up to seven months of snow each year due to its geographical location, making it a dream come true for people who love winter. It’s also the best time to visit if you want to see the Northern Lights! Summers, however, are also very special because the sun shines almost all day long.

Spring is short, with the winter continuing until March. With pleasant temperatures and little to no tourists (and lower prices), it can be a great time to visit Finland.

Popular cities and towns in Finland

Finland is an incredible place to visit both urban spaces and rural villages, that will equally take your breath away. Check out the most exciting destinations in Finland.

  • Helsinki - The capital of Finland, Helsinki, offers an incredible array of attractions, and you must stop in this fabulous city. A unique subculture is on the rise in this city known for its innovative art, culture, and underground techno parties.

  • Rovaniemi - Located in the Lapland region, Rovaniemi is the gateway to the Arctic. Here you’ll find the authentic Sami culture and the mysterious Northern Lights. The city is also the base of Santa Claus Village, which you can visit by taking the Santa Claus express all the way from Helsinki!

  • Turku - The oldest and formerly capital city of Finland, Turku was once the country's most important city. There is a rich seafaring history here and the city is home to a magnificent Gothic cathedral, a medieval castle, and a large student population.

  • Savonlinna - A nature lovers' paradise, Savonlinna is situated in the Saimaa Lake Region, where you can explore a labyrinth of thousands of islands and waters.

  • Punkaharju - The perfect destination to learn more about nature in Finland. Still unknown to many, Punkaharju makes a great destination for travelers wanting to get off the beaten path.

Must do and see in Finland

There is definitely plenty to see and do in Finland, and some people prefer the unique culture and scenery over other Nordic Countries. Check out some of the best things to do in Finland:

  • Northern lights - During winter, the sun disappears for months on end. However, you won’t be completely in the dark because this is the time that you can best see the colorful Northern Lights, a natural spectacle lighting up the sky at night. For an extra special experience, book one of the famous glass huts, and see them up close while cozying it up.

  • Lighthouse islands - Finland is home to the largest archipelago national park in the world, which means you can find plenty of islands to explore. Most of these islands are equipped with automated lighthouses, which locals and tourists alike love to visit on day trips or weekend escapes.

  • Old wooden towns - In ancient times, most houses in Finland were built of wood and painted red. The country still boasts many preserved wooden towns that have existed for decades or even centuries. Visiting one of these traditional villages will feel like you’re traveling back in time.

  • National parks - Don’t miss the chance to enjoy nature, which is not far away from anything in Finland. You can find over 40 national parks all over the country with shimmering lakes, abundant forests, uninhabited islands, and more natural wonders.

  • Finnish sauna - In a world that never stops moving, the Finnish believe saunas are a great way to relax the mind. Most Finnish people go to the sauna at least once a week, and many have a sauna at home. A must-do in Finland! When you come out of the sauna, it’s customary to jump in a lake or roll in the snow (or simply just take a shower).

Typical Finland food to try

A trip to Finland is not complete without trying some of the typical Finnish cuisine:

  • Karjalanpiirakka (rice pies) - This famous pastry comes from the Finnish region of Karelia. The crust is filled with rice porridge and egg butter. You usually have it for breakfast.

  • Ruisleipa (rye bread) - Rye bread is made everywhere in Finland. Finnish rye bread is made 100% from Finnish yeasts, which provides a dark, dense character.

  • Leipajuusto (bread cheese) - In the US, you know it as squeaky Finnish cheese. It’s made of milk from a cow that has recently calved. People have it with coffee or cloudberry jam.

Vaccine information for Finland

The Finnish government has lifted all restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, travelers don’t need to show a COVID-19 vaccine certificate, get tested, or quarantine upon arrival.

Still, make sure to check the CDC website for general vaccination advice or communicate with your local general practitioner for further details.

Seeing the Northern Lights in Finland

Every winter, travelers from all over the world can enjoy the aurora borealis, or northern lights, while it dances across the sky to give a light show you will never forget. Imagine seeing the colorful curtains of lights across the night sky. It’s truly an unbelievable experience.

This bucket list experience is best seen in the northern part of Finland, specifically in Finnish Lapland (Rovaniemi), during the winter months (September - March). As well as chasing the northern lights, Finland is the perfect place for enjoying activities in the snow like dog sledding and ice skating.

Fun facts about Finland

Check out these fun facts before visiting Finland, and impress the locals!

  • In 2020, Finland took the top spot as the happiest country in the world. Most of the Nordic countries have ranked high on the list, which considers life expectancy, freedom, economic strength, social support, perceived corruption, and others.

  • The Finnish language is entirely different from the other languages in the Scandinavia area. It has a Uralic origin, and it resembles Hungarian. Swedish is also taught in secondary school.

  • People from Finland are the biggest coffee drinkers in the world. On average, they consume 12 kg of coffee per year. It is not uncommon to see a person drinking 8 cups of coffee a day.

  • You can find over 187,000 lakes in Finland! It may be known as the land of a thousand lakes, but the actual number is much, much higher.

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