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Things to do in Finland

Things to do in  Finland

Welcome to Finland

The most sparsely populated country in the European Union, Finland attracts travelers in search of wide-open spaces and unspoiled swathes of beautiful nature. But city-dwellers will find plenty to love as well—in fact, the bulk of the country's population is concentrated in the capital, Helsinki, located on the southern coast. Known for its cutting-edge design and tech scene, it's a truly cosmopolitan city that's home to top-notch museums; stately historic buildings; and cool restaurants, bars, and markets (be sure try local delicacies like squeaky "bread" cheese with cloudberry jam). With its extra-long words, the Finnish language can be tricky to master, so a local guide can be helpful for navigating the city. A typical Helsinki tour includes stops at the Rock Church (Temppeliaukio), Senate Square, the Parliament Building, and the Sibelius Monument. Day trips from the city include the Suomenlinna sea fortress, the medieval city of Porvoo, Nuuksio National Park, or picturesque Tallinn, just a quick boat trip across the Baltic Sea in Estonia. Up north in Lapland, where the nights are long, you'll find an amazing vantage point from which to photograph the northern lights and engage in unforgettable wintertime activities. Hop aboard a dog sled for a tour of the tundra, explore an amethyst mine, go snowmobiling, do some ice fishing, or visit a reindeer farm.

Top 10 attractions in Finland

#1
Arktikum

Arktikum

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With its beautifully designed glass tunnel stretching out to the Ounasjoki, Arktikum is one of Finland's best museums, albeit with a hefty admission fee. Exhibition spaces include superb static and interactive displays focusing on Arctic flora and fauna, as well as on the peoples of Arctic Europe, Asia and North America. It tells the story of the people of the North.The level of information is very impressive; this is really a place to learn about the unique northern environments, and there is an excellent research library. There are also good displays of canoes, dwellings, fishing materials, and costumes of various northern peoples (including a good exhibition on the Sámi), as well as a room devoted to the history of Rovaniemi itself. A scale model shows the destruction wrought by the Axis retreat in 1944. There's also a multi-vision theater and a good restaurant. You should allow yourself at least a couple of hours to get around it all.More
#2
Suomenlinna Fortress

Suomenlinna Fortress

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Spread over six islands in the Helsinki archipelago, Suomenlinna Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular destination for picnicking and leisure activities. The fortress is an important historic site with multiple on-site museums, as well as a living community with roughly 900 permanent residents.More
#3
Santa Claus Village

Santa Claus Village

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The city of Rovaniemi, in Lapland, is home to Santa Claus Village, a unique theme park located right on the Arctic Circle. The ultimate destination for kids looking for a private word with Father Christmas, the park includes Santa’s workshops, a reindeer petting area, gift shops, and Santa’s official post office.More
#4
Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko)

Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko)

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Hewn into solid rock in the middle of a residential square, Helsinki’s Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Kirkko) features a circular ceiling covered entirely with copper stripping. Natural light streams in through 180 window panes, while an ice age crevice in the natural rock serves as the altar.More
#5
Sibelius Monument

Sibelius Monument

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Nestled among the trees of Sibelius Park, the contemporary Sibelius Monument commemorates the life of acclaimed Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius. 600 hollow, silver-steel pipes hover above the ground and evoke a range of creative interpretations. Initially, the abstract sculpture caused controversy with its modern design, so a bronze Sibelius bust was installed nearby to appease critics.More
#6
Parliament House of Finland (Eduskuntatalo)

Parliament House of Finland (Eduskuntatalo)

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An impressive architectural landmark, Finland’s Parliament House (Eduskuntatalo) is home to the nation’s governing body. The imposing building looms over Helsinki on Arcadia Hill, making it both the political and geographical heart of the Finnish capital.More
#7
Helsinki Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)

Helsinki Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko)

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The Helsinki Cathedral is also known as Tuomiokirkko. Built from 1830 to 1852, it replaced a smaller 18th-century church and was originally called St. Nicholas' Church in homage to Russian Czar. After Finland gained independence from Russia, the church was renamed, and in 1959 it became an Evangelical Lutheran cathedral.More
#8
Helsinki Senate Square (Senaatintori)

Helsinki Senate Square (Senaatintori)

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Senate Square (Senaatintori) symbolizes the cultural heart of Helsinki. Among the many landmarks surrounding the square are the Government Palace, National Library, Lutheran Cathedral, City Museum, and Helsinki’s oldest building, which make Senate Square an essential stop on any first-time visitor’s itinerary.More
#9
Helsinki Central Station

Helsinki Central Station

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For thousands of commuters, Helsinki’s Central Railway Station is the main traffic hub from which buses, the metro and numerous local and long distance trains arrive and depart. In fact, with roughly 200,000 daily visitors, it is Finland’s most visited structure. The building also happens to be one of the landmarks of the city and looks back on over 100 years of history. Designed in 1909 by Eliel Saarinen and opened in 1919, the Railway Station’s most distinctive features are the big clock tower and the two towering figures of two heavily muscled, half-naked men holding big globes of light.Another notable feature is the red Finnish granite that was used to clad the façades of the Central Railway Station. The granite originated in Hanko, the southernmost region of Finland and is believed to be over 400 million years old. A more curious addition to the station, which is also unique in the world, is the presidential lounge. It was originally supposed to be reserved for the private use of the Emperor of Russia, but since Finland’s independence, the waiting area has been dedicated to the sole use of the Finnish President and his guests.More
#10
National Museum of Finland (Suomen Kansallismuseo)

National Museum of Finland (Suomen Kansallismuseo)

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The impressive National Museum of Finland (or Suomen Kansallismuseo) looks a bit like a Gothic church with its stonework and tower. Built in 1916 and extensively renovated in 2000, the museum's rooms cover different periods of Finnish history. The Treasure Trove has coins, silver, weaponry, medals and jewelery. The Prehistory of Finland is a large, permanent exhibition of prehistory and archaeological finds. A Land and its People shows life in Finland before industrialization. The Realm covers the history of Finland in the 13th - 17th centuries when it was under Swedish rule and an independent duchy of the Russian empire. The permanent exhibition, "Suomi Finland 1900", explores 20th-century Finland and was opened in April 2012. There are also changing displays of church relics, ethnography and cultural exhibitions.The superb frescoes on the ceiling arches (by Akseli Gallen-Kallela) depict scenes from the epic Kalevala, including one of the hero Väinämöinen plunging a stake into the giant pike. You can visit the cafeteria at the end of your day to rest and absorb what you've learned about the history of Finland.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Helsinki

How to Spend 1 Day in Helsinki

How to Spend 2 Days in Helsinki

How to Spend 2 Days in Helsinki

Recent reviews from experiences in Finland

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An amazing experience with a great nature-loving guide who has everything prepared
Vedaansh, May 2021
Full-day tour in a Finnish National Park
Definitely worth the trip and Jeff is my go-to guy from now on for any nature activities and camping in the woods anywhere in Finland.
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This was absolutely a great day outside...
Michael B, Sep 2018
Snowmobile Safari in Helsinki Archipelago with Lunch
Guides are super kind, safety was key and it was a great glimpse into winter living in Finland.
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Porvoo is a very lovely old city...
Olga, Mar 2016
Private Half-Day Trip to Medieval Porvoo from Helsinki
Porvoo is a very lovely old city, and it is really one of those hidden gems of the country that you should visit to see the real Finland.
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We took this tour because we wanted...
Lia, Mar 2016
Private Half-Day Trip to Medieval Porvoo from Helsinki
We took this tour because we wanted to see really historical and authentic Finnish city.
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Outstanding Guide & Worthwhile Sights
WaTraveler44, Sep 2019
Helsinki and Suomenlinna Sightseeing Tour
Asthaloy is a native of Finland so is very knowledgeable about the country but lived in the USA for a number of years so speaks English very well.
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Not your usual tourist performance.
Sara C, Aug 2019
Sibelius Finland Live Music Experience
Not the most stunning musical performance, but for a musical performance in the middle of summer, quite enjoyable.
star-5
My sister and I had the most...
Mirona A, Mar 2018
Private Guided Helsinki City Tour
We were so glad we decided to make the tour, we had such a good experience, and Cornelia is absolutely amazing, we felt we learnt so much about Finland, life style, traditions we were fascinated about the activities and the amount of entertaining at such a low temperature .
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My husband and I were looking...
Janette, Aug 2018
Small-Group Walking Tour of Helsinki
We were able to see more places of interest than we expected.
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