Pine trees in front of the northern lights, Finland

Destinations Ultimate Guide to Finland

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Our Ultimate Finland Travel Guide

Finland is the most overlooked winter travel destination in Europe.

Known for its unique landscapes, Taiga forests and frozen lakes, over 70% of Finland is covered in thick woodland and it is often called “the land of a thousand lakes” because it has 187,888 in total. With magical snow-covered forests, epic displays of the northern lights and plenty of thrilling activities like dog sledding and snowmobiling, this country is a playground for travellers seeking outdoor adventure and a unique experience like no other.

Here at Kandoo Adventures we operate two fantastic trips to Finland and in this blog, we’ll answer some of the most asked questions about travelling to Finland. For more information regarding our trips to Finland, get in touch with our friendly team who will be happy to answer any of your questions.


Where is Finland?

Finland is one of the world’s northernmost countries belonging to the continent of Europe, bordered by Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, Russia to the east and the Baltic Sea to the south and southwest.

What’s the capital of Finland?

The capital of Finland is Helsinki which lies on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland and is the most densely populated area in the country, with 1.4 million inhabitants. Helsinki is Finland’s biggest city as well as the nation’s capital.

What is the population of Finland?

As of June 2024, the population of Finland is 5.5 million.

What is the currency of Finland?

The official currency in Finland is the euro replacing the Finnish markka as Finland’s official currency in February 2002.

What time is it in Finland?

Finland is in the Eastern European Time Zone, and it is UTC + 3 (Universal Time Coordinated). In terms of time difference with the UK, Finland is usually 2 hours ahead. The time difference between Finland and the US will depend on which part of America you are in, but Finland is 7 hours ahead of New York and 10 hours ahead of Los Angeles.

What languages do they speak in Finland?

The two main official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. In Finland, approximately 4.9 million people speak Finnish as their first language. Swedish is spoken mostly on the western and southern coast of the country, and it is taught in most secondary schools. Although Finland is often grouped with Scandinavia, the country’s languages share nothing in common.

There are also some lesser-spoken languages too including variants of the Sami language of the indigenous people of Lapland, the largest and northernmost region in Finland. Many indigenous Sami people from Lapland now speak Finnish as their first language, but some keep their language alive. English is also widely practiced, so visitors should have no problem communicating while travelling.

How long is the flight to Finland?

The London to Helsinki flight time is a little less than 3 hours and there are flights operating daily from other cities across the UK.

Non-stop flights from New York to Helsinki take a little over 8 hours and it takes around 10 hours 35 minutes to fly from Los Angeles to Helsinki.

Both of Kandoo Adventures trips to Finland require travellers to arrive at Kuusamo airport (KAO) just south of Lapland. From the UK, there are direct flights to Kuusamo from London Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham with TUI or Finnair and Air France offering flights with a layover in Helsinki. Flights from Scotland and London Heathrow all go via Helsinki.

If you're coming from the US, Finnair offer flights with a stopover in Helsinki from New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. From Atlanta and Miami you will need to fly via one of the other US airports or have a stopover in Europe and Helsinki.

Can you see the northern lights in Finland?

Finland is one of the best destinations in Europe to see the northern lights, or aurora borealis, in Europe. The northern lights occur all year round but are only visible during the hours of darkness so to give yourself the best chance of seeing them, visit Finland in winter when the skies are at their darkest for the longest from December to March.

In northern Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region located within the Arctic Circle, the aurora borealis shines just about every clear night between September and March, while in southern Finland they’re only visible about 10-20 nights a year.

The best time to see the northern lights when visiting Finland tends to be from 10pm to 2am though you should remember that the aurora is a natural event, and so the lights won’t appear on cue! To boost your chance of seeing the northern lights you should seek out landscapes with low levels of light pollution away from cities and towns and keep an eye on the forecast for clear skies.

Other popular destinations to see the northern lights in Europe that the team at Kandoo Adventures run trips to include Norway, Iceland and Greenland.


What is the weather like in Finland?

Temperatures vary greatly between Finland’s four unique seasons and across its regions as the country is long and has different coastal and inland climates. The hottest month is typically July and the coldest are January and February but due to the country’s location the weather can change quickly.

In southern Finland, summer usually begins in late May and lasts until mid-September while the season starts in Lapland about one month later and finishes one month earlier. The average summer temperature in Finland is around 20°C / 68°F and the country experiences endless summer.

The season of autumn begins around the last week of August in Lapland and about one month later in southwestern Finland. Autumn typically brings a rainier climate to Finland and the first snow usually falls in Lapland in September and elsewhere in October or November.

Winter is the longest season in Lapland, lasting for about 200 days in Lapland and 100+ days in southern Finland. The temperature in northern Finland is typically below 0°C for most of the winter and a bit warmer down south, and the whole country is likely to be covered in snow.

The spring season begins in early April on the coast and later in April elsewhere, except for Lapland where the season kicks off a month later in early May.

When is the best time to go to Finland?

When most people think of Finland, they think of winter and snow but the best time to visit Finland depends on what you want to do. The winter season from December to April is ideal for winter activities such as dogsledding, snowmobiling and chasing the northern lights while the summer from late May until mid-September welcomes warm temperatures perfect for hiking and kayaking.

What to wear in Finland

Our best advice is to dress for the likeliest weather based on the month you are visiting Finland and to wear layers that you can take off or add on when needed. It’s always good to check the day’s weather before heading out! As a rule of thumb, its never a bad ideas to pack extra layers to keep you warm and protect you from the rain and wind.

What to pack in each season:

  • Winter – warm gloves, a hat, a scarf, woolly socks, winter boots and a thick jacket
  • Spring – layers of clothing, gloves, a scarf, a hat, a waterproof coat and sunglasses
  • Summer – lightweight clothing, a swimsuit, sunglasses and a light jacket for evenings
  • Autumn – a scarf, gloves, beanie, waterproof shoes, a raincoat and underlayers

Finland entry requirements

If you’re travelling to Finland from the UK, your passport must have a ‘date of issue’ less than 10 years before the date you arrive and have an ‘expiry date’ at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave. You can travel to Finland for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa but if you wish to stay longer, you must meet the Finnish government’s entry requirements.

When travelling to Finland from the US, you can travel to Finland for up to 90 days without a visa and your passport must be valid for more than 3 months beyond the period of stay.

Things to do in Finland

As well as chasing the northern lights, Finland is the perfect destination for enjoying a number of adventurous activities. Here are some of our favourite things to do in Finland:
Master the art of dog sledding

Not only is dog sledding an exciting Arctic adventure steeped in tradition, but it’s also one of the best ways to get out and explore the awe-inspiring surroundings and Arctic tundra. Nothing compares to the feeling of travelling across pristine snowy trails and discovering the natural wonders of Finland during a dog sledding trip.

Dog sledding, Finland
Try your hand at ice fishing

Ice fishing, or “pilkki” as it’s called in Finnish, is one of the most popular hobbies of the locals and a true Finnish experience that all visitors must experience. With snowshoes on you walk across a beautiful frozen lake and your guide will explain how to drill a hole and how the fishing rods work. End your successful ice fishing experience by cooking your catch on an open fire for a truly authentic Finnish meal.

Ride a snowmobile

Snowmobiling is one of the most exciting activities in Finland. When the scenery is this spectacular, being in the open air on the back of a snowmobile weaving through the nature of the beautiful Arctic is the only way to go and it is a bucket list experience for many.

Snowshoeing through dense forest

A form of hiking, snowshoeing is a winter activity and fantastic way to enjoy the quietness and beauty of Finland’s winter wonderland. It’s a great way to discover snow-covered forests and many national parks offer snowshoeing experiences and can provide you with information on trails.

Visit a sauna

A popular pastime in Finnish culture is going to the sauna – some people go every day. An easy option is to head to one of the great public saunas located in all of Finland’s major cities and enjoy the relaxing darkness and tranquillity for yourself.

Try Finnish cuisine

Finland’s cuisine differs from neighbouring Scandinavian countries, and it is built around fresh, natural ingredients gathered straight from the water, land and forests. From creamy fish soups to seasonal berries, trying some traditional Finnish food is a must when visiting this delightful country.

Trek in a national park

There are over 40 national parks scattered around Finland offering abundant nature and plenty of recreational activities including hiking, kayaking, climbing and snowshoeing. What’s more, Finnish “Everyman’s Right” enables anyone to venture just about anywhere as long as they respect the environment and clean up after themselves.

Meet Santa Claus

Located in the Arctic Circle, the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is known as “Santa’s Official North Pole Residence” and is one of the most popular travel destinations in Finland. The village is open year-round for kids of all ages to see Santa and his elves. You could even have your photo taken with Father Christmas himself!

Kandoo Adventures

At Kandoo Adventures we offer a number of fantastic Finland tours that are popular with travellers looking to explore off the beaten track and experience a trip like no other. All our activities including dog sledding on a traditional Finnish sled, snowshoeing through tranquil forests and drilling through frozen lakes to learn the art of ice fishing are run by experienced local guides who know this area like the back of their hand. Then after a day of adrenaline pumping adventure, each of our Finland trips let groups relax and warm up in the evenings in cosy cabin accommodation in beautiful and remote settings, offering an authentic Finland adventure experience. Get in touch with the helpful team at Kandoo Adventures to discuss our adventure expeditions in Finland.