Finland is arguably one of the best travel destinations in Northern Europe, as the country offers plenty of attractions and beautiful sights that tourists can adore. Because of how many tourist spots there are in Finland, no one can argue that tourists should go there if they truly want to make their vacation worth it.
Before visiting Finland, you must know that the month or the season that you set to go to the country will actually determine the tourist spots that you can go to. During the summer, it is best to visit heritage sites, national parks, and the islands surrounding the country, but during the winter, the best place to go to is snow parks and places where glass igloos are located. To know more about the location you can go to in the country during summer or winter, as well as help you narrow down your choices in tourist spots, here are ten fun things to do in Finland.
The most popular tourist spot near the capital city of Helsinki is Suomenlinna, a sea fortress that is built within eight islands located to the southeast of the country’s capital. The Finnish fortress is said to have been built by the Swedish forces in 1748 and was then regained by Finland after they declared independence as a result of the Russian Revolution.
Suomenlinna has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991, although the fortress has been kept in good shape by the Finnish government before being declared as a heritage site. Finland considers Suomenlinna as one of its prized possessions, as it perfectly captures the unique architecture, history, and culture of the country.
Go to the Söderskär Lighthouse
Another tourist spot near Helsinki, the Söderskär Lighthouse can be reached via a one-and-a-half-hour boat ride from the capital city. Once you’ve reached the island where it is located, you can climb to the top of the lighthouse, or you can enjoy a cup of coffee by visiting the lighthouse keeper’s cottage nearby.
The Söderskär Lighthouse served as a replacement for the Glosholm Lighthouse, which was deactivated in 1863 and turned into a daymark for boats or ships. The Glosholm Lighthouse was eventually demolished in 1940.
Observe Animals at the Korkeasaari Zoo
The Korkeasaari Zoo, formerly known as Helsinki Zoo, is one of the longest-running zoos in the world, as it has been in the capital city of Helsinki since 1889. Because it is located in Helsinki, the Korkeasaari Zoo is one of the most popular places for tourists to visit in the country.
During the summer season, tourists can take a ferry or a water bus to Korkeasaari to visit the zoo, and those modes of transportation can be found in Market Square and Hakaniemi, two other popular spots in Helsinki. During the winter season, tourists can go to the zoo by riding a bus that goes through a bridge that connects Mustikkamaa to Korkeasaari.
Discover Amethysts at the Lampivaara Amethyst Mine
Located in the largest region of Finland called Lapland, the Lampivaara Amethyst Mine features an amethyst deposit that is said to have been there for more than 200 million years. In order to visit the mine, tourists must hike there during the summer or ride a snowmobile during the winter.
Once you’re at the mine, a tour guide will guide you on how to dig for your own amethysts at the location. During the process, you will also learn a little bit of history in regard to the mining techniques that have been utilized over the years by miners in Finland.
Buy Products at the Market Square
Market Square is the perfect place to buy Finnish souvenirs in Helsinki, as it features different kinds of stalls and shops that sell a variety of items that could only be found in Finland. In addition, it is also a place for local artists to showcase and sell their artworks.
Besides being a place to buy products, Market Square is also a beautiful location that has buildings with amazing architecture and interior design. Furthermore, Market Square also offers a dazzling view of the Baltic Sea to the east, making it the perfect place for people to take Instagram-worthy photos.
Relax at the Archipelago National Park
The Archipelago National Park is located in the southwest region of Finland and is declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2007 because of the country’s effective plans to preserve the flora, fauna, and other geological features of the location. Because the park is well preserved, tourists can often spot several animals living freely in the place, like geese, seals, and fishes.
Tourists are able to move around the islands of the national park, although there are places that are protected in order to properly preserve the ecology of those areas. For the areas that open to the public, tourists will be able to build campfires and pick berries.
Play Games at Casino Helsinki
Casino Helsinki is a big casino that is located in Helsinki and is near the country’s Central Railway Station, making it easily accessible for tourists who want to play different types of casino games in Finland. Besides Casino Helsinki, there are also other casinos located in Finland, and some of those are Finnish casinos without registration requirements.
According to official reports, there are approximately more than 300,000 locals and tourists that visit the Helsinki Casino every year, thus allowing the company that owns the casino, Veikkaus, to receive around 30 million euros in revenue. However, all of the profits of the casino are donated to charity, making one of the few charity gambling establishments in the world.
Stay in a Glass Igloo
During the winter season in Finland, the sun would often disappear for months, and this phenomenon is nicknamed by the locals as “Kaamos.” During this event, there is a chance the Northern Lights, a name given to the Aurora Borealis that shows up in Finland’s night sky, would show up. The Northern Lights are said to only appear on 200 nights a year, so if you want to witness the colorful natural light show, you must go to the country during the winter.
A better way to enjoy the view of the Northern Lights is by renting a glass igloo, which is, as its name already suggests, an igloo that is made of glass. As the walls and the roof of the igloo are transparent, you will be able to witness the Northern Light in its full glory while you are lying comfortably on your bed.
SantaPark is a Christmas-themed park that is located in Rovaniemi, a city located in the region of Lapland in Finland. The park first opened on November 28, 1998, and since then, it has been a popular attraction for tourists, especially for children who want to meet Santa Claus and visit his residence on the Arctic Circle.
During summertime, SantaPark is open from June to August, while during wintertime, it is open from November to January. Of course, since Christmas is celebrated in the winter, there are more events and attractions set up during the said season.
See the Imatrankoski Rapids
A famous tourist attraction since the 1700s, the Imatrankoski Rapids, also known as the Imatra Rapids or simply Imatrankoski, is naturally produced on the Vuoksi River. According to historical records, the Imatra Rapids is more than 5,000 years old and has occurred on the Vuoksi River due to the uncontrollable waters that are gushing out of the nearby lakes.
A dam was built on the river in 1929 to give power to the Imatra hydroelectric plant, which creates energy out of the speed and velocity of the rapid waters. The dam is opened daily between June and August, so if you want to see the rapid waters of Imatrankoski, you can visit the location during those months.