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Finland is known as one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis. But this winter wonderland has so much more than that.
This country has over 30 National Parks, some of the biggest ski resorts in Europe, and the famous Finnish sauna experience. The list goes on and on.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Finland, if you’re finding it hard to choose
What's in this article
- 1 Chase the Northern Lights
- 2 Visit Santa at Santa Park
- 3 Explore and conquer St. Olafs slott /Olavinlinna
- 4 Ride a husky sledge or reindeer sledge in Lapland
- 5 Take a boat tour of Helsinki
- 6 Search for amethysts at Lampivaara amethyst mine
- 7 Take a stroll around the Lumilinna snow castle of Kemi
- 8 Take a hike towards Högberget Cave Kirkkonummi
- 9 Experience the famous Finnish sauna
- 10 Get lost wandering around Suomenlinna
- 11 Sleep in an igloo
- 12 Looking for more adventures in Scandinavia?
Chase the Northern Lights
The super duper long winter nights in Lapland are perfect for seeing the Northern Lights. Imagine there can be as few as 3 hours of daylight in the middle of winter.
Consider planning your trip in the winter months beginning in September. By May, the sun sticks around all night, obstructing the view.
Visit Santa at Santa Park
Santa Park is a magical place where Santa appears daily to meet with people.
The village has Christmas all year round. Indulge in the season by making gingerbread treats, learning calligraphy (for letters to Santa of course,) hanging around with the huskies and reindeer.
Located in Rovaniemi, Santa Park is the Official Hometown of Santa. You can stay in Santa Park by booking a cabin at the Santa Claus holiday village.
Here you will find the Elf School and you can even meet Santa and Mrs. Claus in person. Don’t miss out on Snowman world where you can visit an ice bar and a restaurant and slide on the world’s longest slide.
Explore and conquer St. Olafs slott /Olavinlinna
In 1475 a knight decided the best way to protect the Savo region was to build a highly fortified castle.
Erik Axelsson Tott wanted to protect against Russian incursions and placed Olavinlinna in the center of a lake on a rock.
When visiting the castle you will learn about the tragic myth of the lady and the rowan tree as well as the daily lives of people living within the castle walls.
Ride a husky sledge or reindeer sledge in Lapland
A breathtaking way to see the Lapland is by sledge. Choose from reindeer or husky safaris to witness the wilderness first hand and be exposed to the arctic wildlife.
Husky rides allow you to be the musher and you will be infected with the animals excitement as they race across the snow, pulling you along.
Reindeer safaris are a good option if you want to see the land at a more relaxed pace. Sledge rides run from December to May.
Note – Remember to do your research and choose an ethical provider that cares for its animals rather than one that puts profits first. There are some tips on how to do this here
Take a boat tour of Helsinki
From May to September you can hop on a boat cruise through the Degerö canal. This tour’s scenery is picturesque and allows you to see the best of Helsinki while on the boat.
Wi-fi is available on the boat so you never have to be disconnected as you see such attractions as you pass by the historic Suomenlinna Island Fortress, Korkeasaari Zoo, the icebreaker fleet and Degerö Canal.
Essential reading for Finland
Search for amethysts at Lampivaara amethyst mine
Have you ever dreamed of digging out beautiful gemstones straight from the ground? Make that adventure happen at the Lampivaara Amethyst Mine.
Located on the top hill of the Pyhä-Luosto national park, the working mine will allow you to mine using the traditional methods.
Visitors even get to keep smaller amethysts and get treated to warm drinks as well about the history of the mine.
Be aware that it is very cold there and to get there you have to ride a snowmobile or for the daring individuals: hike.
Take a stroll around the Lumilinna snow castle of Kemi
Every year the Snow Castle is built in Kemi. A tradition that started in 1996 to be a gift to children everywhere.
This amazing engineering feat is recreated every winter to delight visitors. Each year the castle is made from snow and ice and then left to melt in the sun during summer.
Take a hike towards Högberget Cave Kirkkonummi
Högberget Cave isn’t marked on the trail and no signs point to it. But this cave is remarkable for its familiar appearance.
The two-meter square cave is cozy and evokes the feeling of being in the womb. Thus it got its moniker, the ‘‘Womb of Mother Earth.’’
The only light is sunlight filtered through cracks in the ceiling and the entrance. Finding the cave involves hiking through the Finnish countryside while searching for a mossy entrance in a granite cliff face.
Experience the famous Finnish sauna
Many important decisions in life and businesses are made in the Finnish saunas. Saunas are considered a necessary part of life and not a luxury.
They are hubs for socializing and have areas to roast sausages over an open fire with friends and family.
There are lots of types of Finnish saunas ,from the traditional smoke saunas to electric saunas.
But one sauna stands out from the rest which is the Sauna Gondola in Ylläs. A sauna experience in a cable car while enjoying spectacular views below is a must do activity in Finland!
Get lost wandering around Suomenlinna
After enjoying some shopping in Helsinki’s Kauppatori Market Square, consider taking a ferry ride to Suomenlinna.
Built in 1748, Suomenlinna was once a fortress to protect against the Russians. It is now a popular getaway for locals and home to 800 residents, many of whom are artists.
It’s a picturesque place full of history and the perfect spot to wander around and take pictures.
Sleep in an igloo
There’s no better way to experience Finland than sleeping in a glass igloo.
Get cozy inside the glass-roofed igloo while gazing at the sky. Depending on which season you’re traveling, you’ll experience the midnight sun in the summer time.
And, if you’re lucky, you’ll witness the Northern Lights in the winter season.
There is more than enough to keep you entertained in Finland. Whether you go to Finland to enjoy Christmas all year round, have drinks in the ice castle or just meet new friends in the sauna, you will be sure to make amazing memories.
If visiting Finland isn’t on your bucket list, think again!
We love the Nordics! Each country is beautiful and unique but they all have incredible nature experiences, interesting cultures and delicious food.
To read our 10 day itinerary covering Norway, Sweden and Denmark – click here
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Pierre moved to Norway in 2014. Before settling down into life there he had backpacking adventures across Norway and Scandinavia. He now writes about his travels and his life at Anything Under Our Stars.
Now, a health care worker by trade, adventurer by passion, he blogs wherever he goes. He is passionate about inspiring others to travel and discover the world to see new places and experience different cultures.
Flying here, driving there, he is someone who never tires of the wonders of adventure, pushing his boundaries time and again in order to broaden his horizons and share what he finds with the world at large.