Resources

Metsähallitus (www.nationalparks.fi) Excellent resource, with detailed information on Finland’s national parks and protected areas.

Finnish Tourist Board (www.visitfinland.com) Comprehensive official site.

Helsinki Times (www.helsinkitimes.fi) English-language newspaper.

This is Finland (https://finland.fi) Maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; informative and entertaining.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/finland) Destination information, bookings, travel forum and more.

Finnish Camping Association (www.camping.fi) Book campsites online.

Top Tips

  • Distances are vast, particularly in the north of the country, with very little in the way of services between towns. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks if you're driving, and consider flying between key destinations if you're short on time (multistop tickets are considerably cheaper than single trips).
  • Smaller towns often have limited shopping, so it's worth stocking up in larger centres if you're planning a hike in a remote region.
  • To reduce costs, make lunch the main meal of your day. Numerous cafes and restaurants offer an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet with soup, salad and various hot daily specials for a fixed price that's far cheaper than dining à la carte.

What to Take

  • Swimsuit – visiting a sauna is a quintessential Finnish experience and although nudity is common, if you prefer modesty, some saunas allow swimwear
  • Umbrella and/or waterproof jacket – rain (or snow) is common
  • Electrical adapter – if you need one for the two-pronged European power sockets

What to Wear

The big swing between the seasons in Finland means that preparing for a trip depends greatly on when you want to go. Pack decent thermals and a warm top layer for winter visits, when temperatures can easily be -20ºC, or less. A cosy hat and proper gloves, and eyewear if you’re going out on the snow, are also essential.

In summer, plan on protection of a different nature. The insect season is short, but the clouds of mosquitoes, gnats, black flies and horseflies make the most of it. Especially in July, especially in Lapland, and especially if you’re hiking or camping, cover up with long sleeves and trousers. A heavy-duty insect repellent will be your best friend.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your arrival date
  • Check the airline baggage restrictions
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company you’re heading away
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance
  • Contact your mobile-phone provider about roaming charges, getting an international plan, or getting your phone unlocked to use a Finnish SIM