An autumnal hike in Finland (Shutterstock.com. See main credit below)
Article Words : Wanderlust team | 09 October

The Wanderlust guide to the best of Finland

Northern Lights. Amazing wildlife. Magical snow-dusted countryside. Welcome to Finland...

Stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Arctic Circle, Finland boasts calm lakes, glorious national parks and picturesque wooden villages.

Lapland in the north is home to Santa, as well as over 230,000 reindeer. For the wildlife fanatics there’s plenty more besides: see freshwater seals in the lakes at Linnansaoi National Park, and trek the Bear’s Ring in Oulanka National Park.

If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of an elk or wolf as well (probably not together, though!)

In the far north, the lights of the Aurora Borealis can be seen in the spring and autumn.

Explore the cycling routes around the Åland islands, or in July, go to Sonkajäri for the nation’s strangest sport, wife carrying (it hosts the world championships!)

In Finland’s capital city of Helsinki, mix contemporary art museums with browsing the stalls of Hakaneimi market, and let your worries melt away in the sauna. Perfect!

Brown bear at sunset (Shutterstock.com)

Brown bear in Finland (Shutterstock.com)

Looking for inspiration?

If it’s wilderness you’re after, you can’t beat Finland. It is home to part of the largest wilderness outside of Antarctica. It’s called the taiga and, but for the Bering Strait, it stretches east in an unbroken belt from Norway to Newfoundland. 

Alex Robinson says the Bear’s Ring Trail there is the perfect introduction to the vast Arctic taiga forest. Only got a weekend? Tim Bird says head to Nuuksio National Park – only an hour from Helsinki. It’s an exhilarating taster of the country’s landscape, dominated by pine and birch trees, placid lakes, moody pools and steep, craggy gorges.

If it’s autumn colours you’re after, Henri Anundi reveals the best places to see them. It’s the perfect time for foraging too. Watch out for the bears though. The forest is their home too. 

More information

The world’s biggest wilderness – Alex Robinson

A wilderness weekend in Finland – Tim Bird

The best of autumn colours in Finnish Lapland ­– Henri Anundi

How to forage for free in Finland – Visit Finland

Crossing the Finnish Line – Hayley Lawrence

Bear watching in Finland – Paul Morrison

Winter in Lapland (Shutterstock.com)

Go north for the Lights

Finnish Lapland is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. Whether you want to go on a photographic safari or lie back in your very own glass igloo and watch the spectacular show play out above you, Finland is the place to go.

Having said that, there’s no guarantee that the Lights will show. No problem, says Jasper Winn. Try the abundant snow sports and saunas instead. It’s fun and therapeutic!

More information

Finnish Lapland: photographing the Northern Lights ­– Nick Boulos

5 warm ways to see the Northern Lights – Visit Finland

Snow sports and saunas in Finland – Jasper Winn 

Northern Lights in Finland (Shutterstock.com)

Northern Lights in Lapland (Shutterstock.com)

Capturing it all on film

Photographing the Northern Lights is an acquired skill. Get it right, and you end up with images that will be the envy of your friends. Get it wrong and all you’ll end up with is a green smudge and a dull feeling in the pit of your stomach that you went all that way and stood around in sub-zero conditions for nothing.

Nick Boulos travelled to the far north of Finland, stood around in those sub-zero conditions and was tutored on the fine art of Aurora photography on a Northern Lights. You’ll find his top tips here.

There are plenty of other things to photograph in Finland, of course. Here’s a selection of images captured by our readers on their travels in Finland to inspire you.

More information

Finnish Lapland: photographing the Northern Lights ­– Nick Boulos

Readers’ photos from Finland

Pier, harbour and quay near Helsinki, Finland (Shutterstock.com)

Pier, harbour and quay near Helsinki, Finland (Shutterstock.com)

Everything you need to know

Ready to start planning your trip? Our Finland travel guide is the place to start. Make sure you drop by the Finland essential info page as well, for more everyday (but equally vital) information. We’ve rounded up the latest travel news from Finland too.

If you have a particular question about Finland, pop over to the myWanderlust Forum where our knowledgeable community are ready to spring into action and share all they know. Or check out the questions that have already been asked about Finland. The answer to yours might already be there.

More information

Finland Travel GuideWanderlust Team

Finland Essential InfoWanderlust Team

Latest travel news from Finland

Forum posts about Finland

Community content about Finland

Autumnal forest (Shutterstock.com)

Sunrise in Finland (Shutterstock.com)

Ready to go?

Here is a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From island hopping bike tours in the Turku Archipelago to tailor-made wildlife adventures, you’ll find something for every taste and budget.

Trip Finder can help find your next adventure in Finland


Main image: Autumn hike in Finland (Shutterstock.com)