A Tourist’s Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Finland

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Finland, marked as the world’s happiest country, is located in Northern Europe and shares borders with Russia, Sweden, Norway, and more. With every season offering its unique delights, you can plan on travelling to the country any time of the year.

So if you are wondering ‘Is Finland a good place to visit?’, you should know that the country has ample sites and activities to try out - whether you are looking for an exploratory vacation or a relaxing one.

Whether planning a short weekend getaway or a longer break, we've got you covered with this guide to the best places to visit in Finland. Read on for more details about the places to visit in this beautiful Nordic country!

Top Places to Visit in Finland

Let’s start with a quick look at some of the best places to visit in Finland-

Best Places to Visit in Summer Best Places to Visit in Winter Best Places to Visit with Family
Helsinki Helsinki Helsinki
Turku Rovaniemi Turku
Tampere Tampere Rovaniemi
Espoo Porvoo Oulu
Vaasa Oulu Tampere
Jyvaskyla Rauma Lahti

1. Helsinki

Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, is an ideal starting point for travellers. Among the best Finland places to visit in winter, it is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with many attractions. History lovers can explore the famous Helsinki Cathedral or take a boat ride around Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, while culture enthusiasts can enjoy shows at Finlandia Hall or any of the annual summer festivals.

  • Helsinki Cathedral: Designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, it is a must-see attraction on the northern side of Senate Square. Completed in 1852, its white exterior is adorned with sculptures of the twelve apostles that make it a truly grand sight. Don't forget to experience this iconic landmark and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Helsinki. 
  • Linnanmaki Amusement Park: A popular destination for families, Linnanmäki is a fun-filled amusement park just a short tram ride from the city centre. It has numerous thrilling rides, games, food stalls, and more.
  • Market Square: Located in the city centre, Market Square is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. You can find many stalls selling local foods, crafts, and souvenirs, and even enjoy street performers and live music.
  • Temppeliaukio Church: Also known as the "Rock Church", this unique church is carved into a solid rock and features a stunning copper dome. You can attend services or concerts in the church or simply admire the impressive architecture.

2. Turku

Next on the list of the top places to visit in Finland is Turku, the old capital. This coastal city in Finland’s corner has been a cultural and economic powerhouse since the Middle Ages. Once an eminent trading hub and learning centre, today it is a key port on the Baltic Sea.

Here are the must-visit attractions in Turku -

  • Turku Cathedral: A majestic Gothic building overlooking the Aurajoki River with ornate stained glass windows, this church is one of Finland’s most iconic landmarks. As a seat of the Archbishop of Finland, this 13th-century structure has undergone many renovations throughout its nearly 800-year lifespan, making it a must-see for visitors.
  • Turku Castle: Built in the 13th century, this mediaeval castle is now a museum and features exhibitions on the castle's history as well as a dungeon and a stunning banquet hall.
  • Forum Marinum Maritime Centre: Dedicated to the maritime history of Turku, you can explore numerous exhibitions on shipbuilding, seafaring, historic ships, modern yachts, and more.
  • Kuralan Kylämäki: This open-air museum offers a glimpse into the traditional Finnish way of life after World War 2. You can explore preserved wooden buildings like a farmhouse, a barn, and a granary and discover the customs of the people who lived there.

3. Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking the joy of Christmas and outdoor activities. Home to the iconic Santa Claus Village, you can meet the man himself, take a ride on a reindeer-drawn sleigh, or even cross the Arctic Circle on foot. Surrounded by forests, lakes, and hills, this city has various galleries, museums, and theatres that make it one of the best places to visit in Finland.

  • Northern Lights: No trip to Rovaniemi is complete without trying to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. The best time to see them is from late September to early April, when the nights are the longest and darkest. You can take a guided tour to a nearby vantage point or simply head out of the city to a dark spot and wait for the show to begin.
  • Korundi House of Culture: This modern centre features exhibitions, concerts and events showcasing the best Finnish and international art and culture. The building is an architectural marvel with curved walls and glass facades.
  • Arktikum Museum and Science Centre: Among the best places to visit in Finland for those interested in the Arctic region and its people, this unique establishment features a distinctive design that symbolises the amalgamation of Arctic nature and the culture of local inhabitants. 
  • Rovaniemi Church: Located in the city centre, this striking church was designed by architect Bertil Liljequist and features a unique, modernist design. You can attend the church services and even admire the building's stunning architecture.

4. Tampere

Tampere’s lively atmosphere and rich culture make it one of the top places to visit in Finland. Situated near incredible reserves such as Mustila Arboretum and Lake Nasijarvi, it offers you the opportunity to experience the city's natural beauty alongside its vibrant urban culture.

Whether you're interested in history, art, or the great outdoors, you can find something worthwhile in Tampere!

Here are the must-visit places in Tampere -

  • Tampere Cathedral: Earlier the ‘Church of St. John’, this impressive cathedral is an iconic landmark of the city with its striking twin spires and stunning interior. You can attend services or admire the building's impressive architecture, which features numerous frescos.
  • Vapriikki Museum Centre: This museum complex is housed in a former factory building and offers exhibitions on the city's industrial history. You can enjoy interactive exhibits on technology, science, and the environment here.
  • Pyynikki Observation Tower: Built in 1929, this tower offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding lakes and forests. You can climb to its top or enjoy a cup of coffee in the nearby cafe.
  • Kaleva Church: Completed in 1966, this modernist church was designed by architects Raili and Reima Pietilä. Its unique shape and use of natural light make it a popular destination for architecture enthusiasts.

5. Lahti

A perfect getaway for travellers, Lahti is an idyllic city on Lake Vesijarvi’s shores and just a few miles from Helsinki. Founded in the 15th century, it offers you world-class skiing facilities, a dynamic cultural scene, and magnificent natural beauty.

Here are some of the best places to visit in Lahti -

  • Sibelius Hall: Among the city's iconic landmarks, this concert hall has a striking design and impressive acoustics. You can attend concerts and other cultural events and admire the building's unique architecture.
  • Lahti Market Square: This bustling market square features various vendors selling everything from fresh produce and flowers to handicrafts and souvenirs. You can also enjoy live music and other performances here in the summer.
  • Lahti Ski Museum: This unique museum is dedicated to the history of skiing in Finland, with exhibits on everything from traditional wooden skis to modern-day ski racing. You can also learn about the development of ski technology and enjoy interactive exhibits of winter sports.
  • Salpausselka Ridges: Besides offering stunning views of Lahti, the Salpausselka Ridges also has excellent hiking trails. This is also among top Finland places to visit in winter, with winter sports events being held here for 90 years and counting!

6. Jyvaskyla

Among the best places to visit in Finland, this city is also known as the ‘Athens of Finland’ owing to its reputation as a great educational centre. You can witness the Jyväskylä Arts Festival, a yearly event, if you are travelling at the time.

  • Jyvaskyla Harbour: You can enjoy the exquisite view of Lake Jyväsjärvi on this bustling harbour by taking a walk or renting a boat or cruise. In the summertime, the harbour is a popular spot for outdoor events and festivals, attracting locals and tourists alike.
  • The Finnish Air Force Museum: A must-visit for history buffs, this museum houses a large selection of aircraft, artefacts and memorabilia from the early days of Finnish aviation up to modern times. With guided tours, flight simulators, and interactive exhibits available, this is an ideal place for families and groups. 
  • Jyvaskyla Art Museum: This museum features a diverse collection of contemporary Finnish and international art, with exhibits on everything from painting and sculpture to photography and video art. You can also enjoy guided tours and participate in various educational programs and workshops here.
  • Lutakko Harbour: If you are looking for a serene place in Jyväskylä, look no further than the lively Lutakko Harbour! This historic port offers breathtaking views of Lake Jyväsjärvi as well as its surrounding areas. It is also home to numerous restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops, making it an ideal spot for foodies and shoppers.

7. Porvoo

Located along the southern coastline, Porvoo is just a short drive away from Helsinki and is the country’s second oldest town. You can enjoy stunning views of the countryside and the sea and explore the traditional city centre that dates back to the 14th century, with its cobblestone streets and delightful stores. Furthermore, you can savour delicious local food and experience the vibrant nightlife at numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars.

  • Porvoo Cathedral: This stunning cathedral is among Finland’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 13th century. Although it has been damaged by fire multiple times, it still has exquisite Gothic architecture that you should certainly check out.
  • Old Porvoo: The Old Porvoo has a well-preserved mediaeval town centre that features a maze of cobblestone streets, colourful wooden houses, and historical landmarks. You can explore the shops, galleries, and cafes that line the streets, or take a guided tour and explore the town's rich history.
  • Porvoo Museum: This museum offers a fascinating insight into the history of Porvoo and has exhibits on traditional crafts, modern art, natural history, and more.
  • J.L. Runeberg Museum: You can explore the cultural history of Porvoo at the Runeberg House Museum, the former home of national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg and his wife Fredrika Runeberg. Visiting this museum is an ideal way to gain an insight into the life and works of one of Finland's most celebrated poets, where you can see items like Runeberg's hunting weapons in the 'fox skin room', porcelain pieces in the cupboards, and more. 

8. Vaasa

The port city of Vaasa, among top Finland’s places to visit, is located on the western coast of the country. Founded in 1606, Vaasa boasts many cultural attractions - from traditional wooden buildings to cobbled streets and market squares showcasing traditional Finnish crafts.

  • Korsholm Castle: This historic castle is among Vaasa’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 14th century. You can explore its many towers, courtyards, and medieval chambers or take a guided tour to learn about its rich history.
  • Hietasaari Beach: This popular beach and recreation area is located just a short drive from Vaasa. You can enjoy various outdoor activities here like swimming, sunbathing, and boating.
  • The Tikanoja Art Museum: Housing an impressive collection of international and domestic art, what sets the collection apart is that it was not gathered for public display but rather as a private home collection. This gives it a unique character that reflects the collector's interests, personality, and expertise, as well as the era in which it was collected.
  • Kvarken Archipelago: A natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, this stunning nature reserve is located just off the coast of Vaasa and features a maze of islands, rocky outcroppings, and pristine beaches. You can take a boat tour of the archipelago or explore its hiking trails and nature reserves.

9. Oulu

Located in the northern part of Finland beside the Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu is well-known for its cultural history, stunning natural beauty, and lively atmosphere. This wonderful city has many galleries, theatres and festivals, as well as various outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and fishing that make it one of the best places to visit in Finland.

Oulu’s most popular attractions are as follows -

  • Kauppahalli: This is an indoor market frequented by locals and travellers alike. Being around 120 years old, the hall serves as a hub for music events and art galleries as well as vendors and restaurants selling unique foods.
  • Liminganlahti Nature Reserve: This is among the best places to visit in Finland for those interested in nature's beauty. You can engage in bird watching and check out the well-maintained trails around the lake amidst breathtaking scenery.
  • Nallikari Beach: With a sandy beach stretching for more than a kilometre, Nallikari Beach is a popular summer destination that offers visitors a perfect opportunity to enjoy swimming, beach volleyball, and sunbathing while relaxing in the sun.
  • Tietomaa Science Centre: An interactive museum in Oulu, it is an ideal destination for families with kids who want to learn about science in a fun and interactive way. First opened in 1988, it also hosts a range of workshops and events regarding space exploration, robotics, and the latest scientific discoveries.

10. Rauma

This is among the finest places to visit in Finland for an authentic travel experience in Scandinavia. It is renowned for its well-preserved old town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its rich cultural and architectural heritage. You can explore over 600 wooden houses and wide streets that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries here.

  • Sammallahdenmaki: If you are curious about archaeology and history, you should visit Sammallahdenmaki to witness remarkable stone structures dating back to the Bronze Age. This amazing archaeological site offers an intriguing peek into the life of our ancestors, making it a must-see destination for history enthusiasts.
  • The Church of the Holy Cross: This Lutheran church is the main church in Rauma and dates back to the 15th century. It features a distinctive black-and-white exterior and a stunning interior with a wooden altarpiece and impressive ceiling paintings. As a visitor, you can attend services or take a guided tour to understand the church's history and architecture.
  • Rauma Maritime Museum: This museum is dedicated to Rauma's maritime history and industry, showcasing the city's shipbuilding traditions, fishing industry, and maritime culture. Opened to the public in 2004, this museum features a collection of ships as well as interactive exhibits and multimedia displays.
  • Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse:  You can get a bird's eye view of the Baltic Sea and its surrounding archipelago when you visit Kylmäpihlaja Lighthouse on a tiny island close to the coast of Rauma! You can take a leisurely boat ride across the island, explore the lighthouse and its surroundings, or just sit back and enjoy the remarkable views. It is an ideal spot for both nature lovers and history buffs!

11. Espoo

With its stunning lakes, forests, and other natural attractions, you can truly unwind in the wonderful scenery and explore various cultural venues such as museums, galleries and festivals here. The second largest city in Finland, it is equipped with highly efficient transportation services and first-rate healthcare, making it a secure and enjoyable destination for those travelling from abroad.

  • WeeGee Exhibition Centre: Anyone interested in culture and art should certainly check out the WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Espoo. Featuring the Espoo Museum of Modern Art, the Finnish Toy Museum, and the Finnish Museum of Horology, it is among the best places to visit in Finland to spend a day and have an educational outing.
  • Serena Water Park: Located near Espoo, this park is great for cooling off on a hot day. With slides, pools, and other water attractions, this place is fun for the whole family!
  • Tapiola Ice Park: This ice skating rink is located in the heart of Tapiola and is a popular spot for both locals and visitors. The rink is open throughout the winter and offers skate rentals and lessons for those new to ice skating. 
  • Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA): If you're an art enthusiast or simply curious about contemporary art and design, the EMMA is the place for you. This museum houses a diverse selection of works from both Finnish and international artists.

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Finland, as we saw in great detail earlier, is a fantastic place to have a vacation. You can use our list of the best places to visit in Finland to start planning today. When packing for the trip, however, don’t forget to buy travel insurance!

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