Finland-is a Northern European nation bordering Sweden, Norway and Russia. Its capital, Helsinki, occupies a peninsula and surrounding islands in the Baltic Sea. Helsinki is home to the 18th-century sea fortress Suomenlinna, the fashionable Design District and diverse museums. The Northern Lights can be seen from the country's Arctic Lapland province, a vast wilderness with national parks and ski resorts.
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the Schengen countries. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to Finnish consulate website: www.vfsglobal.com/finland/UAE/. Finland is part of the 26 Schengen State Countries.
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options. Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette, and how shoppers can take advantage of VAT refunds.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things do & see:
Northern lights safari with snowmobiles – Take a snowmobile safari in Yllas to see the Northern lights and explore the area. This is hands-down one of the most incredible sights in Europe, so make sure to research whether the weather is going to corporate for a great view. There are plenty of guided tours you can join, otherwise, venture out on your own.
Ice climbing – Finland is known for its impressive ice formations. For rock climbers, this is the perfect challenge, however, inexperienced climbers are welcome, too! There are several companies who will outfit you with the right gear and introduce you to ice climbing.
Rappelling down the icefall at Tajukangas – If you’re not afraid of heights and a bit of a thrill seeker, I’d recommend checking this out – if anything, Google rappelling at Tajukangas to see what it’s about. The best place to head is Pyhä with the team at Bliss Adventure. Visit Pakasaivo, the “Hell of Lapland” – This lake is 60m at its deepest, and the steep cliff walls surrounding the lake reach up another 60m above water level. It is a Sámi holy place and a scenic place to hike or snowmobile.
Salla Reindeer Park – This park gives you a comprehensive overview of the old forests and the encounters reindeer had with predators. There are also periodic reindeer competitions, husky sleigh rides, and canoe trips that are worth looking up online to see if they are going on during your visit.
Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi – Here, you will find year-round Christmas cheer! Check out the snowshoe safaris that run both day and night.
Cycle The King’s Road to the East – This route is an old postal route connecting Sweden and Russia. The 330km trail dates back to the 15th century, making for a great scenic trip for anyone looking to explore the country by bike!
Pyhä-Luosto Mine – Pyhä-Luosto means Amethyst in Finnish. During the mine tour, you actually learn how to mine this precious mineral. If you’re visiting during the winter, the experience is even more incredible because you can ski, snowshoe or walk the last stretch of the 2.5 kilometer trek before you head through Santa Claus Village.
Ranua Wildlife Park – While you’re in Finland, learn about the indigenous arctic animals in their natural habitats at the Northernmost zoo in the world.
The Old Church – This is Finland’s best-preserved wooden church. The steeple-less church was built from timber in 1689, commissioned by Charles XI, who granted 900 copper dollars to the building. Entry is free.
Sodankylä Museum of Local History and Culture – Built in 1906, the main building of the Sodankylä Local Heritage Museum is a Kuukkeli house from the village of Riesto, but it was moved to the museum site by voluntary labor in the 1960s. The museum also includes numerous other buildings from traditional Sodankylä industry, such as a workshop, an arctic house, a calving hut, a summer house, barns, and part of a reindeer fence. The museum is closed in the winter.
Suvanto village – Situated near Pelkosenniemi, Suvanto is one of the rare villages in Lapland that wasn’t burned down by the Germans in the Lapland War (a spin-off conflict from WWII). When visiting Suvanto, you should check out the cafe-art gallery Säpikäs because it is housed in the yard of an idyllic 1930s country house and renovated barn.
The Ethnographic Museum – This museum tells the story of peasant lifestyles at the turn of the twentieth century. The main building has a farmhouse living quarter, maid’s chamber, daughter-in-law’s chamber, and living room. In addition to the house, the grounds accommodate a granary, a workshop, a smoke sauna, a barn, and a stable. A memorial to the founder of the Finnish Co-Operative Movement, Hannes Gebhard, is nearby at his birthplace.
Sleep in an ice hotel — A very seasonal and very cool place to stay (pun intended). Everything in Snow Hotel is made of ice — including your bed! Don’t worry, you get very warm sleeping bags!
Helsinki — Historic, small, filled with green space, and set on the waterfront, Helsinki is an esthetically pleasing city filled with friendly people and few tourists. It’s especially great if you love art as they have a ton of museums there. You’ll definitely want to spend a few days!
Cruise around the Harbor Islands — If you don’t spend a whole day hanging out and lounging around Suomenlinna, take a tour around some of the other islands in theharbor to get an idea about how important the harbor was to local lifestyle in the past. There are a ton of tours to choose from, and if you have a Helsinki card, most are 20% off.
Air Guitar World Championship – Held every year at the Oulu Music Video Festival, this competition started out as a joke but has evolved into a major event. If you happen to be in Finland during the festival, be sure to check this quirky competition out!
Commune with nature – There are almost 40 national parks in Finland, each with hiking trails and camping sites. In the winter, they make for great places to cross-country ski or go snowshoeing. Most are conveniently located in the southern half of the country, too. However, if you really want to get off the beaten path be sure to visit Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park in the north!