Finland in a Nutshell
- Eat! – When in Finland you must try their staple Finnish food – the Karelian Pie (Karjalanpiirakka). A pastry made of a thin rye crust and filled with rice, usually spread with butter before eating. Other staple foods include Ruisleipa (rye bread made from sour dough), Reindeer meat (not for Bambi lovers), and Leipajuusto aka. Finnish Squeaky Cheese!
- Drink! – Finnish people are the world’s heaviest coffee drinkers (kahvi), so if you like coffee you’re in luck! Alcohol is pretty expensive here, but try the Finnish beer, Sahti, which is flavoured with juniper berries. And if you’re in Finland during winter, a glass of hot spiced Glogi is a must!
- Wear! – Summers in Finland are pretty mild so t-shirts and shorts are doable, although bring a sweater along and some longer trousers too. Winters on the other hand are cold, cold, COLD, especially when travelling up north! Pack your thermals.
- Beware! – Finns, although friendly and helpful, are generally also very reserved. Avoid affectionate gestures and touching (kissing and hugging) especially when meeting newly made friends. It is not the Finnish way!
An Introduction to Finland
Finland – the deep north – known for her gorgeous Aurora Borealis, the midnight sun, steamy saunas, NOKIA, and being home to Father Christmas and his reindeer! With a hustling, bustling, colourful city scene in Helsinki and its neighbouring southern cities, alongside the vast, serene quietness of the wilderness, this beautiful country is made for all to enjoy – urban explorers as well as nature lovers will find what they are looking for here, and much more!
The Capital of Finland – Helsinki
This colourful harbourside, Baltic city is vibrant and lively, with design being a really big deal here. Pastel-coloured, gorgeous art nouveau buildings line the streets in the old city, and pretty tree lined squares and gardens are ample (and make ideal resting places when walking around Helsinki city during mid summer season). Helsinki is in fact an archipelago and consists of over 300 islands, the most popular being Suomenlinna – the Fortress Island.
An array of budget accommodations can be found, and although eating out can be quite costly, a number of cafes and small eateries do serve great local food and drinks at affordable prices. Spending at least a couple of days in the city would be essential when travelling to Finland, just to stroll through the gorgeous streets of old Helsinki and visit the neighbouring islands. A walk to the pretty harbour is a must do, especially when the market is open (Mon-Sat 8-16, during summer season also Sundays 10-17). This pretty market is full of traditional foods and hand made local crafts and is an ideal place to get some great souvenir shopping done whilst in the city!
The Aland Islands are a region of Finland that consists of an archipelago lying at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea. The people here speak Swedish and it is quite literally the sunniest spot in Northern Europe during the summer season! This makes the Aland Archipelago perfect for spending lazy summer afternoons at the beach, soaking up the sun and enjoying the idyllic island setting. A number of ferries (and flights) travel to the islands from Helsinki, so it is fairly easy to visit.
Although most of Finland is covered in lakes, this particular part of the country is more water than land! A maze of canals, rivers and lakes pass through islands of thick, lush forest, creating a place of beauty and immense quietness. Renting out a cottage in this region is a must for nature-lovers! Kayaking and paddling are a fun and adventurous way of getting around the vast waters (not to mention a great workout) although inland cruises are also available. Visiting the cities of the area – Hameenlinna, Joensuu, Kuopio, Tampere and Savonlinna – is a great way to start before heading towards the quieter areas of the country.
If this place could be described by one word (other than cold), it would be magical. The Finnish Lapland is a real life, bonafide winter wonderland. It is the home of the indigenous Sami people, as well as the best place to catch a glimpse of the elusive and eerily beautiful Aurora Borealis (during the fall-winter season). Cross country skiing is very popular around here, as is the ever so fun husky sledging and reindeer riding! Of course, Lapland is also the home of Santa Claus, though nobody knows the exact location of his home. Relax and take some time out in an authentic Finnish sauna whilst you’re here – are you brave enough to jump into a frozen lake after a steamy session?
- Currency: Euro
- Capital City: Helsinki
- Main Religion: 73% Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
- Main Language: Finnish and Swedish – English is widely spoken, especially when visiting the larger cities such as Helsinki, Tampere, Rovaniemi etc.
- Telephone Code: +358
- Time: GMT +3
- Emergency Number: 112
Finland Visa Information
Visiting Finland may or may not require a VISA, depending on which country you are from. If travelling to Finland from the EU or from countries making part of the Schengen Area no VISA is required. More VISA information can be found here.
Known as a land of four seasons, each season is actually very distinct in Finland. Summer is warm and bright, boasting temperatures as high as 30 degrees Celsius in July. Winter, on the other hand is cold and snowy, with temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius being not uncommon in many areas of the country! The average temperature in Helsinki in July is +17°C and in February -5,7°C. Of course, the winter temperatures in Finnish Lapland can be much lower. Fall in Finland, is absolutely beautiful with an amazing array of red, yellow and orange colours adorning all the trees.
5 Random Facts about Finland
- Finland is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union, with only 16 inhabitants per km².
- Every October 13th, the Finnish celebrate the Day of Failure! The ceremony was initiated in 2010 and celebrates bad news and ill-fortune as a way of learning for the future.
- There’s over 187,888 lakes within the territory of Finland, the most of any country in the world. There is also a otal of 179,888 Finnish islands to explore!
- Weird Sports lover? Visit Finland! Home of the “Wife Carrying World Championships” and the “Air Guitar World Championship” – this country’s quirky activities are likely to raise eyebrows!
- Heavy Metal is Finland’s favourite music! World famous acts like Nightwish, Lordi, and Children of Bodom are all from Finland.