Everything you need to know about summer in Finland

Summer in Finland is the most amazing experience, and a summer in Finland is absolutely magical. The warm months in Finland are simply one of a kind, and I crave for the forest and lakes many days. Luckily, it’s easy and affordable to escape to the wilderness for a little bit, within a 2-hour drive you can reach beautiful regions with clear water lakes, lush forests and a lot of things to do. Here’s all you need to know about summer in Finland!

In this article:

    Summer in Finland facts

    • It can be a lot warmer than you expect: temperatures around 30°C are not rare these days, and especially around the coastlines it is humid. Even lower temperatures around 23°C can feel a lot warmer than in other places.
    • At the same time, depending on where you go, it can also get cool – especially in the North. Be prepared! I always take a chunky knit sweater with me, or a light down-jacket
    • Mosquitoes are your enemy in the countryside: in the cities and around the coast you’re fine, but it it important to keep in mind. See below for more information about insect protection.
    •  Be prepared for light around the clock. Depending on where you are in the country, the sun might not set at all in the peak summer months. But wherever you go, it won’t get dark. Bring a sleeping mask if you’re sensitive to light. 

    Where to stay in Summer in Finland

    Lomakylä: a Lomakylä is essentially a kind of resort, where you can find different accommodations from cabins, to cottages, often also villas or camping or all of it. It’s often centered around a reception with a restaurant or café, common and/or private sauna facilities, and activities that are offered. It’s great if you want to get on a lot of activities, you can possibly get some meals there, and it’s affordable. 

    Mökki: or cabin/summer cottage – is probably the most popular choice for a countryside holiday in Finland. Often without running water, a proper mökki really takes you to the basics of life in nature. Essential, of course: the sauna. Check out my Guide to the perfect Finnish summer cabin holiday as well!

    Camping: Finland has the Everyman’s Right which allows you to pitch your tent, park your car or boat for a temporary stay – if it’s not disturbing the landowner. If you plan a longer stay, consult the owner beforehand. Leave your spot clean and respect nature. Read more about it here.

    Hotels: there are countless beautiful hotel options all around Finland. I personally love staying in old Manor Houses in the countryside, there are beautiful glass accommodations all around Finland that make for a very special experience in any season. For great ideas for a Helsinki stay, check out my top picks here.

     

    Where to travel in Finland in summer

    Finnish summer outdoor activities

    Kayaking: one of my personal favourites! Kayaks are usually closed, and you cover the seating area with a sprayskirt. Recently we also tried open kayaks, that you kind of just sit on top, which are lovely for more quiet waters. No matter if you prefer sea or lake kayaking, both are easy and a great activity for beginners. You have one ore with one paddle on each side.

    Canoeing: these are open boats, unlike the kayaks, and you have one ore with a paddle on just one side. You alternative which side you paddle.

    Rowboat: much wider and open, and two one-sided ores for each side for rowing. These are widely available and lovely for a relaxed time on the water.

    SUP: Stand-up Paddleboarding is the most recent trend, and it is pretty nice! Also a lot easier than you’d think. You stand upright on the wide board, with one paddle. I don’t know anyone who has fallen off on the first try even. Give it a go!

    Hiking: Hiking in the summer is great, Finnish forests stay bright and lush, and you can always hop in a refreshing lake for a swim if you get too warm

    Berry picking: the forests are full of blueberries, and depending on where you are you will also encounter sea-buckthorn, wild strawberries, cloudberries and much more in Finnish forests. 

    Finnish summer city activities

    Market square coffee (torikahvit): coffee and a summer treat in one of the tent cafés on the markets is always a treat, but there’s something special about it in the summer time!

    & Market produce shopping: summer is full of berries and fruit – and the markets are full of lush and tasty things. 

    Flea markets (kirppis): the flea market culture in strong all around Finland and the summer time is prime season for outdoor second hand and antique markets. 

    Boat rides: summer is boat season! Most Finnish cities have water nearby – be it the sea, lakes or a river – and boat are never far as well. 

    Berry-picking: yes, you read right, also in and around the cities, berry-picking is a thing. Berries are never far. Wild ones you can find in parks and on islands, but there are also local farms where you can go and pick your own strawberries or raspberries (amongst others) and pay by the kilo. 

    Go swim and hang by the beach: even in Finnish cities, also the Capital Helsinki, beaches and swimming spots are all around. On this Outdoor activity map you can check the local beaches and water quality as well as temperature. An excellent resource year-round! All of Finland and other European bathing water status updates are to be found on this map

    Outdoor dining: from terraces to seaside cafés and island restaurants – summer is for delicious meals outside! Or a picnic in a park! 

    Visit a public sauna: sauna in the heat might seem counter-intuitive – but you will feel refreshed and cool afterwards. Don’t miss out on the swim as well! Check out my Sauna Guide here!

     

    What to eat in Summer in Finland

    The warm season in Finland is short, but the harvest during summer and autumn is lush. Finnish summer food is fresh, light and delicious. Here are some things you must try: 

    New potatoes: small baby potatoes are one of the best thing about Finnish summer food. You’ll find them in restaurants, often served with fish and seasonal veggies, you can buy them on the markets and in grocery stores. 

    Fish & Crayfish: the lakes are full of fresh fish – and an absolute delight in summer. Keep an eye out for perch (ahven), whitefish (siika), pike (hauki) or arctic char (nieriä).

    Berries: thanks to the long hours of sunlight, the Nordic berries are extra sweet – but small. Finland is the land of berries: the best strawberries, bilberries or blueberries, currants, raspberries, gooseberries, cloudberries, sea buckthorn 

    Mushrooms: the mushroom season starts in late summer, but still – chanterelles and boletus mushrooms are not to miss!

    Herbs: herbs are an important part of Finnish food. Besides classic herbs like dill, parsley and chives; wild herbs like nettle, dandelion, birch, heather or juniper are widely used in dishes here. During spring, also spruce tips for example are a popular ingredient.

    Sweets: Summer pastries are a delight, and while you can get delicious buns and treats in Finland year-round, summer delights with rhubarb or blueberries are just something else. Also keep an eye out for mustikkakukko (a blueberry crumble), Brita kakku (a beautiful layered cake with cream and fruit, like straw- or raspberries)

     

    Must-haves for Summer in Finland

    • Sunglasses: it’s light most of the day, so protect your eyes from summer brightness! I love the wooden sunglasses from Finnish brand Aarni. 
    • Linen shirts: linen is my go-to material in summertime, it’s light and breathable, washes well and a long-sleeve shirt is perfect to protect yourself from harsh fun, to throw on when it’s a bit chilly or just to look effortlessly put-together. Check out the linen shirts from Finnish brand Nanso or Swedish outdoor brand Astrid Wild
    • Post-sauna things: whether it’s a light dressing robe or a sauna towel – it’s the nicest feeling to wrap yourself into a soft coverup when you come out from the sauna or a swim. It’s my top pick for the summer time! Check out Lapuan Kankurit for linen towels.
    • Birkenstock Eva slippers: These are a true summer essential – light, waterproof and comfortable, pretty much all I wear in summer!
    • Rubber boots: for rainy days or moist mornings in the forest, a pair of boots can be important!

    Important things to know about Finland in summer

    Ticks, Mosquitoes & other insects

    A very underestimated force of nature in Finnish summer, are ticks. They sit in high grass and bushes and are very common in Finland. They pose a threat to humans as they can carry a number of diseases that can be dangerous.

    • Mosquitoes (Hyttyset): oh there are sadly plenty of those. They like moist warm areas, so in swampy forest and around lakes, there will be many mosquitoes in Finland. Most protection tips for ticks also apply to mosquitoes. 
    • Horseflies (paarmat): these are the worstttt. They stick to your skin weirdly and their bites can really hurt. On the plus side, they are really slow so easy to catch.
    • Ticks (punkki):
      • Tick-borne encephalitis: In the last years, the percentage of ticks that can infect you with TBE has grown. TBE is a virus that affects the nervous system, and it can be deadly. It can lead from flu-like symptoms to inflammation of the brain membranes, which can’t be treated with medication, but you can prevent it by getting the vaccine. It is administered, amongst others, by the Punkkibussi, a mobile vaccine station you can visit without an appointment. Read more here on the Finnish Institute for Health and Wellness.
      • Lime disease is another one that is carried by ticks, you can’t get vaccinated for that, but it is treatable with antibiotics, and if caught early often not a big problem. It can, however, lead to anything from headaches to paralysis and should not be taken lightly. The easiest way to spot Lime disease is a round red circle on the skin that forms around the bite.
      • Find ticks: they can be incredibly tiny and hard to spot. It’s good to ask someone else to look at your back and back of the legs. If you spot any, remove them as soon as possible to minimise infection with Lime disease.
      • How to remove ticks: take tweezers and pull out the tick straight from as close to the skin as possible. Be careful not to squish the body or turn it, as it can aggravate the tick resulting in potentially more saliva excretion which is infectious.

         

    • Other tips regarding insect protection:
      • Keep an eye out for ticks already while you’re out in nature
      • If you can, wear long clothing to prevent any bites. You can also get specific clothing that insects cannot penetrate. Check it out here.
      • Tick bites themselves don’t hurt as ticks saliva is numbing the skin, so you cannot rely on feeling it
      • I found Finnish insect repellant more efficient, so I recommend buying it local
      • Carry tweezers with you, I recommend this First Aid Tick Kit, but regular ones will do
      • Check local pharmacies or outdoor shops for tick and mosquito supplies
      • Thermacell is a heat-activated insect repellant that is a little electronic device. It can create an insect-free zone around you. It should not be used in the forest or near water as it will also harm the “good” insects around you, and it is very important to dispose of properly. It is a bit controversial, but if used around your camp or porch, it is fine. Read up on it carefully before you use it!

    Sun protection

    I’m very much team #SPFeveryday, even in the depth of winter, SPF is part of my every day routine. The sun is strong in Finland, and with many hours of sunlight in the summertime, it’s not only important to wear sunscreen but also to re-apply.

     

    • Check Ruohonjuuri for organic sunscreen
    • Garnier products (cruelty-free as of 2021) for Face and Body are my favourites
    • The Atopik tinted sunscreen is lovely is you want a bit of light coverage
    • Origins tinted moisturiser with SPF 40 is great as well for a bit of a sheer coverage.

    Have the best summer!

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