Where to go in Finland beyond Helsinki

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When most of us think of Finland, there’s a good chance you imagine Helsinki as the picturesque capital. And truth be told, it is likely that many of us cannot name other cities in the Nordic nation outside of the capital. But Finland is full of a myriad of hidden gem destinations, ranging from an outdoor lover’s paradise to a city steeped in Finnish history.

The fresh air and natural beauty are just a few of the many reasons to visit the happiest country in the world, but we would be remiss not to mention that there is a lot of culture to be discovered in the big cities of Finland, including Rovaniemi, the capital of the Lapland Region; the picturesque wooden town of Porvoo; and the former Finnish capital of Turku. Make sure your Finland itinerary includes time for all three and they just might make Finland your new favorite European destination to visit again and again.

When to visit Finland

To experience Finland’s wide range of snow activities, visit it from late November to March, when average temperatures range between 30 and 30 degrees. For hot-weather jet skiing, horseback riding, and comfortable walks through the city, opt for a trip from late May to early August. Book early if you plan to visit from May to August, as tourism is at its peak in the countryside during this time.

Rovaniemi

Fans of the great outdoors love Rovaniemi. The city is full of outdoor activities for the cooler and warmer months, making it a great place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and relax.

Where to eat in Rovaniemi

While outdoor activities may be the reason you visit Rovaniemi, you certainly shouldn’t be sleeping on the city’s burgeoning food scene. Stop by the Arctic SnowHotel Ice Restaurant or the Glass Restaurant for unique winter dining experiences. Arctic SnowHotel Ice Restaurant serves your meal in an all-ice restaurant, while Glass Restaurant offers incredible views of the Northern Lights from its all-glass exterior. During the warmer months, head to Restaurant Nabo or Restaurant Nili to experience classic Finnish dishes and changing menus according to the season.

Arctic Treehouse Hotel

Antti Kurola / Courtesy of the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel

Where to stay in Rovaniemi

Plan your visit around accommodation at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel to feel like sleeping in your own private snow globe. Each bedroom is decorated with minimalist white decor, furniture and bedding on the walls and floors, plus a large north-facing floor-to-ceiling window directly in front of the bed that allows for the best view of the Northern Lights during the night. winter season (and beautiful greenery in the warmer months). The hotel is made up of just seven suites and five glass houses with two bedrooms in each, so book early.

What to do in Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is known to be the hometown of Santa Claus. The area hosts a wide range of Christmas-related activities (including Santa Claus Village) during the winter. However, you can also go skiing, dog sledding, snowboarding and spending all the time in the world doing whatever winter activity you can imagine. You might get a glimpse of the Northern Lights in winter, but if you’re not into winter sports or colder temperatures, the city is also nice in summer. With sleepless nights that never fall in darkness throughout the summer (late May to early August), you’ll have 24 hours of daylight to do activities like jet skiing, horseback riding, hiking, river cruises and visiting husky and reindeer farms. Whichever season you choose to visit, you certainly won’t get bored.

Porvoo

When you’ve just arrived in a new country ready to experience it all, one of the best introductions is to dive right into the food. Porvoo is the place to be, filled with everything to satisfy a sophisticated palette.


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