Some posts here on ARoseTintedWorld may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and buy a product or register, then I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I may also use products from the companies mentioned in these posts. Thank you for supporting my blog!
To say that Finland is a pandora’s box of experiences is quite an understatement. From the vibrant art-filled cities of Helsinki and Turku to the unspoiled natural boreal forests, lakes, fells, rivers, and vast wild areas, the Land of the Midnight Sun offers plenty of unique experiences in store for tourists. Moreover, there is an infinite list of places to visit in Finland. So choosing the best one is quite challenging, especially if you have limited time to travel. We’ll help you narrow down the list with this guide. If you’re on a Finland tour package from UK, here are the must-visit travel destinations to include in your itinerary for you to discover the enchanting beauty of Finland.
*This is a collaborative post – for more details please see my Disclosure Policy
Discover the Enchanting Beauty of Finland: Must-Visit Travel Destinations
Best for: Seeing the Northern Lights and visiting the Santa Claus Village
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region. And it is famed for being the best place to watch the sought-after Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. The best times to catch a glimpse of this spectacular light phenomenon are during autumn and spring. This is when the Earth’s orientation towards the sun maximises the probability of solar flares interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. And this interaction thereby lights up the sky with the incredible aurora borealis.
Aside from that, it also offers stunning views of the vast arctic wilderness and the famous Santa Claus village. And lastly it is also home to the Sámi homeland or Sápmi, the land of the indigenous Sámi people.
Land Of The Midnight Sun
Summer in Lapland is also interesting because if you happen to be somewhere in the north of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets at all from May to August. Hence, earning the moniker “The Land of the Midnight Sun.” In contrast, during winter, the sun disappears for months. The locals call this phenomenon “Kaamos.” However, that does not mean that it is completely dark for several months straight.
During Kaamos, the sky is illuminated by the bright moon and stars. And if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights will make an appearance and create a magical nightscape. Perhaps the best way to enjoy such a magnificent sight while staying warm and cosy is to sleep under the stars in a glass igloo. But if you prefer traditional outdoor camping, you can definitely set camp in the wilderness. And keep yourself warm around a bonfire.
Finally, if you are among the people who believe in the magic of Santa Claus, head straight to Lapland because this is where you can meet Santa in person. After all, Santa’s official office is located in Rovaniemi in the Arctic Circle.
Best for: Historical escapades
The Bengtskär Lighthouse—the tallest lighthouse in the Nordics—towers 52 metres above the waves and 25 kilometres offshore from Hanko. This majestic lighthouse was built in 1906 to serve as a guide. It protects ships from the perilous archipelago waters of Finland.
Aside from holding the title of the tallest lighthouse in the Nordics, the Bengtskär Lighthouse is also imbued with a dramatic history. Before it was built, Hanko Island was infamous for wrecking many ships with its treacherous waters. But after the Bengtskär Lighthouse was built, it was attacked by Russians during World War I and II. Bombs and grenades have been hurled at this lighthouse with the intention of blowing it up. It was damaged extensively during the Continuation War. But the lighthouse has now been restored and refurbished. Nowadays, it operates as a museum and visitor lighthouse.
If you want to see the panoramic views at its top, you would have to climb 252 steps. The steep climb is well worth the trouble, though, for you’ll be seeing unparalleled views of the vast sea. And being at the top of this majestic lighthouse—away from the world—guarantees peace, save for the sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks and shores.
After soul-searching at the top of the lighthouse, you can visit the lighthouse museum. This is a home turned into a museum. Here there is an exhibition on the Battle of Bengtskär. Learn more about the history etched in the walls of this historic lighthouse. Then, you can stop by for some refreshments at a lighthouse-post-inspired café.
Best for: Experiencing traditional Finnish life in old wooden Nordic towns
The next place to visit if you wish to discover the enchanting beauty of Finland is Porvoo.
Finland used to be known for having red wooden houses with a touch of blue and yellow paint thrown in. To this day, these iconic Finnish red wooden houses remain preserved and sit just as they did centuries ago. So if you would like to experience what it is like to time travel to the very early days of Finland, visiting these quaint wooden houses in Old Porvo is a must. After posing and taking photos of these picturesque red wooden houses, you can now actually go inside and stay the night here. As a lot have been converted into charming restaurants and quaint B&Bs.
Aside from Old Porvoo, the Helsinki districts of Käpylä and Vallila, as well as Rauma in the west and Loviisa in the soutare are also charming to visit if you want to explore Finland’s old Nordic wooden towns.
Karhunkierros Trail in Oulanka National Park, Kuusamo
Best for: Hiking and Trekking
Finland has more than 40 national parks scattered around its islands, forests, lakes, and fells. And all offer a wealth of spectacular walking routes and pristine hiking trails. Among the best places to explore for tourists who want to stay active is the Oulanka National Park’s Karhunkierros Trail in Kuusamo. The hiking trails here are well-marked and well-maintained, so you can rest assured that it is safe. And you will have a grand time exploring them on foot.
This scenic trail will entertain you with sights of rugged landscapes that lead to mesmerizing waterfalls that you can admire from the hanging bridge. You will also find plenty of information boards, picnic sites, campfire sites, and even rented cabins here. This essentially makes Finland a hiker’s haven!
If you are done exploring the Karhunkierros Trail, give the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park a try because this is where you can breathe the cleanest air in the world. And if you fancy hiking along an amazing riverside at the sacred heartland of the indigenous Sámi people, get down to the Lemmenjoki National Park. Here, you can get acquainted with the Sami people’s unique gold panning history. Finally, if you’re looking for a trip in the wilderness in all its glory, visit the Urho Kekkonen National Park in eastern Lapland. This is one of the most popular national parks in Finland.
Sauna Löyly, Helsinki
Best for: Enjoying a traditional Finnish Sauna while appreciating iconic architectural designs
Saunas are an indelible part of the Finnish culture and national identity. In fact, they even have a dedicated word for the cloud of steam in saunas produced as you pour water on the hot rocks—löyly. Given such an interesting and profound meaning, there is no better name for this famous sauna other than Löyly.
Sauna Löyly is a unique sauna and restaurant by the Baltic Sea developed by the great architectural firm Avanto. The whole building—with its angular edges and a silhouette reminiscent of the Finnish coastal landscape—is made entirely of wood and is docked right on Helsinki’s seafront. This provides the guests with an unobstructed view of the tranquil sea’s horizon. What makes it even more relaxing is the sound of the waves that repeatedly crash on the building’s forefront. Löyly turned out to be so revolutionary that it was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places.
The Quintessential Finnish Experience
Aside from having the world’s cleanest and best air quality, Finland is known for many good things. Things like their relaxing saunas, mesmerizing natural landscapes, and wealth of history, culture, and heritage. Indeed, it is no wonder why the Finnish people are the happiest nation in the world. So, if you’re coming to Finland, add the mentioned must-visit places in this article. Discover the enchanting beauty of Finland. And ensure you do not miss out on the blissful and quintessential Finnish experience.