Finland

With vast tracks of deep green forests, cobalt blue lakes and a capital city steeped in Scandinavian style, there's much more to this Nordic beauty than snow and saunas. Roam free in the wild national parks, be enchanted by the simplicity of small, fishing villages, appreciate modern art and design in Helsinki and gaze skyward at the dazzling Northern Lights… it's all possible in Finland.

Finland Tours & Travel

Articles on Finland

Unbelievable Baltic experience

Posted on Mon, 24 Sep 2012 by Sue Elliot

"After more than 4 decades of secrecy, the people of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are now telling their stories..."

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About Finland

At a glance

Trips Available: 1
Capital city: Helsinki (pop: 570,000)
Population: 5.2 million
Language: Finnish, Swedish
Currency: EUR
Time zone: (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius
Electricity: Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
Dialing code: +358

Best time to visit Finland

Finland has pleasant summers, with July being the warmest month (temperatures usually average around 15°C). Outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking and fishing are popular during summer and spring. In Lapland midsummer is also the time of the midnight sun, a phenomenon where the sun barely sets. Winter runs from November to March and during this time expect plenty of snowfall - perfect for skiing, snow boarding, snowshoeing and sledding. With temperatures regularly hitting -20°C, Finland's winters are particularly cold, so pack accordingly if travelling at this time.

Finland weather chart

Geography and environment

Lake in Finland
Finland is home to large tracts of forest, a multitude of pure lakes and hundreds of islands, making it one of nature's most blessed landscapes. The north of Finland (known as Lapland) is characterised by relatively flat terrain, demarcated by long rivers and due to its Arctic location, extreme snowfall and ice can be found, particularly in winter. Bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia, Finland also has long stretches of coastline along the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia. The coastal areas are home to thousands of rocky islands (which are mostly uninhabited) while the interior of the country is dominated by forests and lakes.

Top Picks

Assortment of berries from Finland

Top 5 Culinary Delights of Finland

1. Karelian Pasty

This traditional, savory pie can be found widely throughout Finland. Featuring a rye crust filled with rice and served with egg and butter, this is a simple yet tasty snack ideal for vegetarians.

2. Berries

Finland is home to some of the world's best fresh produce, and the variety of berries on offer is astounding. Blessed with ideal climatic conditions for berry-growing, visitors can expect to snap up superior tasting, fresh cloudberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and lingonberries, See them offered fresh at markets and shops, served alongside meals in sauces, jams and spreads or baked in delicious pies.

3. Kaalikaaryleet

These baked cabbage rolls are a standard entry on most Finnish restaurant menus. Featuring ground beef, rice, onion and cream wrapped in cabbage rolls and served with cranberry or lingonberry sauce, they may be hard to pronounce but they sure are easy to eat.

4. Graavilohi

Finland has a proud heritage steeped in fishing, so it's no surprise that the quality of seafood is very high. This simple meal of salted salmon doesn't need any dressings or condiments as the pure, natural flavors of the salmon are the main attraction.

5. Pulla

These sweet bread treats have numerous varieties, from cinnamon, to almonds and raisons. Typically eaten with a coffee, pulla are an inexpensive cafe snack - a great, budget choice in a notoriously expensive country.

FAQs on Finland

Tipping isn't customary or expected in Finland and is generally left up to the discretion of the customer. If the service in a café or restaurant is exceptional, feel free to leave spare change or a small tip.
Travellers should be able to access the internet at cyber cafés and Wi-Fi hot spots in Finland's major cities and towns. Remote and rural areas will have less internet availability, so be prepared for this when travelling out of the city.
As the home of Nokia, mobile phone coverage is generally very good in Finland. Travellers should activate global roaming before leaving home.
Western-style, flushable toilets are the standard in Finland.
Cup of coffee = 3-4 Euro
Bottle of beer = 4-6 Euro
Bottle of mid-range wine = 10-12 Euro
Basic café lunch = 10-15 Euro
Dinner at a mid-range restaurant = 20-30 Euro
Tap water is considered safe to drink unless otherwise marked.
Major credit cards are accepted by most large shops and hotels in Finland. Smaller vendors may not accept credit cards, so carry enough cash to cover small purchases.
ATMs are commonly found in Finland's cities and urban areas. Remote regions will have less ATM availability, so prepare accordingly before travelling away from cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 6 Epiphany
Mar 29 Good Friday
Mar 31 Easter Sunday
Apr 1 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 9 Ascension
May 19 Whit Sunday
Jun 22 Midsummer
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Dec 6 Independence Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 St Stephen's Day

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Finland/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Finland Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Finland

1. Be considerate of Finland’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Learn some of the local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
Riding with ReindeerRobert M Goldstein
Wonderful Women by the SeaMonika Fagerholm
Seven BrothersAleksis Kivi
The Summer BookTove Jansson
A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940William Trotter