Traveling tips for Finland – what you should know before a trip to Finland

Are you prepared to travel to Finland and have an amazing experience? Finland has something for every type of traveler, whether they are drawn to its breathtaking natural vistas, energetic cultural scene, or captivating Northern Lights. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare is important before you pack your bags and embark on your vacation.

As you prepare for your journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with Finland’s currency and payment methods. From euros to credit cards and mobile payment apps, we’ll cover everything you need to know to manage your finances while exploring this captivating country. And of course, no trip to Finland would be complete without visiting its must-see destinations. From the vibrant streets of Helsinki to the breathtaking landscapes of Lapland, we’ll highlight the top places to explore and immerse yourself in Finnish culture.

We’ll go over important tips for traveling in this comprehensive guide to make sure your trip to Finland goes well and without a hitch. Let’s explore all you need to know to make the most of your Finnish vacation, from figuring out visa requirements to knowing when to travel and seeing must-see locations.

Travel Documents and Visa Requirements

If you’re planning to visit Finland, here are the travel documents and visa requirements:

  1. Valid Passport: You need a valid passport or some other travel document accepted by Finland. It must be valid for at least ninety days after your intended date of departure from the Schengen area. In addition, the passport or other travel document must have been issued no later than ten years ago
  2. Visa: A Schengen visa is an entry permit for a short, temporary visit of less than 90 days in any 180-day period. The Schengen states have jointly agreed which countries’ citizens are required to present a visa. Each Schengen state decides which passports and travel documents it accepts from different countries’ citizens
  3. Proof of Accommodation: You need to provide proof of where you’ll be staying during your visit
  4. Travel Insurance: You need valid travel health insurance
  5. Financial Proof: You need to provide documentation of sufficient financial funds for your stay
  6. Return Flight Ticket: You need to have a booked return flight ticket

Please note that all visa applications must be submitted in person. Also, upon arrival in Finland, you must meet the general entry requirements according to which a person must not constitute a danger to public order and security, national health, or Finland’s international relations

Best Time to Visit Finland

The best time to visit Finland depends on your interests and the activities you want to do.

1. Summer (June–August):

This is when the weather is warmest, the days are longest, and the landscape is at its prettiest. It’s also when most of the places across the country will be open. You can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and city exploration. However, keep in mind that July is when Finns take their summer vacations, which means higher prices, some business closures, and the need for advance reservations.

2. Winter (November–March):

This is the best time for snow activities and viewing the Northern Lights. The weather can be incredibly cold, but it’s also the peak season for visitors seeking these experiences. For optimum snowfall and winter activities, March is recommended.

3. Shoulder Seasons (April-May and September-October):

These months generally have mild and sunny weather, with fewer crowds and lower prices than during the peak summer season. The Northern Lights are also visible during these months.

4. Spring:

If you’re looking for smaller crowds at the country’s major attractions and most popular destinations, spring is a good time to visit. The days slowly become longer, and the sunshine begins to make a reappearance from the dark winter months.

Currency and Payment Methods

The currency in Finland is the Euro (€). Each Euro is divided into 100 cents. You’ll find Euro banknotes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500, although the 200 and 500 EUR notes are seldom used. There are also 1 and 2 euro coins. Cents come in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50

As for payment methods, here are the most common ones in Finland:

  • Credit and Debit Cards: Credit and debit cards are widely accepted throughout Finland. In fact, Finns are dedicated users of plastic, even to buy a beer or cup of coffee.
  • Online Payments: Finns pay for their online purchases using bank online payments, payment cards, invoices, cash on delivery, virtual wallets, and mobile payments.
  • Mobile Payment Apps: Mobile payment apps are trending in Finland.
  • Cash: Despite the popularity of digital payments, cash is still accepted in many places.

Remember, when withdrawing money from ATMs in Finland, always choose to pay in the local currency—in this case, Euro—to cut your costs and get the best rates available

Must-Visit Places in Finland

Finland is a country of contrasts, where the urban culture of Helsinki coexists with the natural beauty of the countryside. Here are some must-visit places in Finland:

  1. Helsinki: Known as the “Daughter of the Baltic,” Helsinki is a mix of urban and great outdoors with numerous Art Nouveau-inspired buildings, galleries brimming with contemporary art, and restaurants riffing modern on foraged flavors. Don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Suomenlinna, a magnificent mid-18th-century island fortress.
  2. Rovaniemi: The capital of Lapland and the Official Hometown of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi is a place where you can enjoy the wonders of nature, the spirit of Christmas, and the warmth of the Finnish people. It’s also a cultural and scientific hub, where you can explore the Arktikum museum, the Pilke Science Centre, and the Korundi House of Culture.
  3. Turku City: One of the oldest cities in Finland, Turku is known for its rich history and vibrant cultural scene.
  4. Suomenlinna Sea Fortress: One of the world’s largest sea fortresses, the 18th-century fort on Suomenlinna is a 15-minute ferry ride from Helsinki’s Market Square.
  5. Archipelago National Park: This park is a paradise for nature lovers, offering beautiful landscapes and unique wildlife.
  6. Sauna Gondola and Ice Swimming: Experience the traditional Finnish sauna in a unique way.
  7. Santa Claus & Glass Igloos: Visit Santa Claus in his official hometown and stay in a glass igloo for a unique experience

Healthcare and Insurance

Healthcare in Finland is publicly funded by taxes and social security payments. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health focuses on policymaking while enforcing the country’s direction in healthcare policies with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion. Here are some key points about healthcare and insurance in Finland:

1. Public Healthcare:

Finland has affordable public health services for everyone who lives permanently in the country. The healthcare system is highly decentralized, and individual municipalities (local governments) organize and deliver the actual healthcare to Finland’s residents. Finnish public healthcare is considered of good quality.

2. Private Healthcare:

You can also use private health services. The private sector in Finland consists of primary care centers, dental offices, and specialist care. Expats living in Finland still prefer private healthcare facilities as they offer shorter waiting times, especially for secondary or specialist care in Finland, dentistry, and physiotherapy services.

3. Health Insurance:

All residents of Finland have their Kela Card issued to prove their eligibility for social security and National Health Insurance in Finland. Kela Card also gives discounts for buying medicines. However, it is only available to persons moving to Finland on permanent status.

4. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC):

Finland is in the European Union; therefore, citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are entitled to public healthcare upon provision of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

5. Emergency Situation:

In an emergency situation, you will be treated in public health care even if you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland or you are not entitled to medical care based on your work.

What are the Northern Lights, and when is the best time to see them in Finland?

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are a natural light display in the Earth’s sky. They are predominantly seen in high-latitude regions around the Arctic and Antarctica. These beautiful dancing ribbons of light are created when energized particles from the sun collide with Earth’s upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million mph (72 million kph). Earth’s magnetic field redirects these particles toward the poles, transforming this dramatic process into a mesmerizing atmospheric phenomenon. The bright colors of the Northern Lights are dictated by the chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere. The dominant colors seen in auroras are red, produced by nitrogen molecules, and green, produced by oxygen molecules.

As for the best time to see the Northern Lights in Finland, they are most visible from the end of August to April, when the nights are dark enough and the sky is clear. The most active seasons are actually autumn and spring, when Earth’s orientation towards the sun maximizes the probability of solar flares interacting with the planet’s magnetic field. The Northern Lights are visible on roughly 200 nights a year – or every other clear night – in Lapland. Your chances of catching them get better the further north you go. There are also local Northern Lights apps available in various parts of Finland that can help you track the Aurora activity


What outdoor activities are available in Finland during the summer?

Finland offers a wide range of outdoor activities during the summer months. Here are some of the best things you can do:

  1. Stay in a Lakeside Cottage: Finland is home to over 187,000 lakes, and staying in a cottage in Lakeland, Finland’s lake district, gives you a more authentic Finnish vacation. Popular destinations include Kuopio and Joensuu. Many cottages come equipped with their own saunas, perfect for relaxing after a day of canoeing and lakefront exploring.
  2. Attend an Outdoor Concert: Finland hosts more than 20 annual music festivals, ranging from classical to heavy metal. Many of these festivals take place in beautiful lakeside towns.
  3. Dine Al Fresco: Finland takes outdoor dining to another level with events like “Dinner Under the Helsinki Sky”, where streets and parks transform into glamorous dining rooms.
  4. Explore National Parks: Finland’s national parks offer unique views, activities, and opportunities. With many including hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and watersports like sailing, canoeing, and swimming, Finland’s national parks shine in the summer.
  5. Go Kayaking: Kayaking is a popular summer activity in Finland, with opportunities near Helsinki and in the Archipelago National Park

Before you set off on your Finnish adventure, remember to bookmark our website for future travel tips and inspiration. If you have any questions or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Leave your comments and questions in the box below. And don’t forget to share this article with others.

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