Where to travel to in Finland in summer? No matter which place you choose, it is absolutely dreamy, with endless sun, sauna and lake swims, pure nature with forests full of berries. It’s a true paradise for those who seek peace and calm, who enjoy simple pleasures and who love nature. It’s also the time of year when not only the ice thaws, but also the people warm up and the Finnish culture comes alive in a completely different way compared to the winter months.
Here are my favourite summer destinations to travel to in Finland, in every part of the country – and everything else you need to know about Finland in summertime!
However, it does not get really dark anywhere in Finnish summer. Even in the very South you can experience daylight for most of the day. Make sure to have a sleeping mask with you, and invest in block-out curtains or blinds in time before summer comes.
Always remember: the Northern sun is very bright and strong. Make sure to wear sunglasses and put on SPF every day.
The not-so-fun part first: Mosquitoes and ticks. These little creatures are arguably the worst part of summer in Finland, and they can ruin the most beautiful experience. So it it important to:
Ticks: especially in the Åland Islands and the Western archipelago there are many ticks, but with their presence growing in all of Finland, it is worth thinking about getting your Tick-borne encephalitis vaccine – especially if you like to spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s an easy way to protect you from them. The Punkkibussi is a bus that you can just go to and get your vaccine without an appointment. They are stationed around many different cities.
Additionally, make sure to have tick tweezers with you and thoroughly check yourself and others for ticks after time outside – they can be super tiny. They typically feel most at home in high grasses but can be anywhere. Don’t be afraid, but cautious. I’ve had many ticks in my life and it was always fine.
Mosquitoes: there are many mosquitoes in Finland, especially in warm and wet areas. The lakelands and the swamplands of Lapland are particularly popular with them, as they thrive in standing waters. Usually it’s less of an issue around the coastline, as it is more windy and the water is in movement. If you really despise them, think about the Western coastline for your summer in Finland!
– see which mosquito-repellant works best for you. You can get them in any supermarket or pharmacy in Finland. If it’s too late, have some itch-relieving cream with you.
– invest in some clothing with insect shielding
– wear thing, long layers to make it harder for insects to get to you
– Thermacell is a device that emits a mosquito repellant into the air and keeps an area of ca. 20qm around you free from insects. It is for outdoor use only, and it’s a bit controversial as it can also kill other insects. It is nice to have when you sit out on your porch and want to have peace from the buzz, but I strongly discourage to use it during a hike. Also make sure the components are discarded properly when used up.
Oh yes! Especially the thousands of lakes in Finland are incredible to swim in. The water is clean and wonderful, and usually around the end of June the water is warm enough for a comfortable swim. It is great to refresh yourself in a lake or the sea.
There are many public beaches (Uimaranta) that are well looked-after all around Finland.
Absolutely! Whereas many might associate the sauna with winter to warm up, the Finnish summer sauna culture is one of a kind. A perfect summer evening is a lakeside sauna, a good beer and your favourite people. You might sweat in the sauna, but the swim afterwards is incredible and: the sumer heat feels almost refreshing after sauna! Read all about my sauna essentials and guide here!
Oh, the Åland Islands have a piece of my heart. The rugged wilderness of the islands in between Finland and Sweden, are a very special part of the world – as an autonomous region they set themselves apart and proudly celebrate their uniqueness.
How to get there? From Helsinki, you can take a short flight to the Capital of Mariehamn, or an overnight ferry from Helsinki. I personally love the ferry, it’s a beautiful journey through the archipelago. From Turku, there is also a ferry connection. With the boat, the journey is definitely part of the destination.
What to do there? From a luxury holiday at the Havsvidden resort, to a hike across the islands of Kökar and Sottunga – Åland can be what you want it to be. Very popular with climbers and cyclists, also the St. Olav’s Waterway pilgramage trail takes you across the Åland Islands. When in Mariehamn, don’t miss the Pommern ship museum.
How to get there? The area stretches wide and far, and it’s recommended to travel around by car. You can rent a car from one of the bigger cities like Mikkeli or Savonlinna which is further East, and make your way from there. From Helsinki, it’s a 3-4 hour drive depending on where you want to be.
What to do there? The biggest lake of Finland, Saimaa, all the way from Central to Eastern Finland is a tranquil summer paradise with its clear waters that are just a dream for swimming, kayaking, boating and all other water activities. The islands and countless summer cabins in the area make it one of the most popular regions for a cabin holiday, where you focus on relaxing in nature and enjoying life. A visit to Savonlinna to admire the Olavinlinna castle should be on every list, and a fresh local dinner at Hotel Punkaharju is an absolute must as well. Read more about Saimaa and Savonlinna in summer here!
How to get there? Central Finland can be reached by bus, car or train. The train connection is a really convenient way to get to the general area.
What to do there? The Jyväskylä region in Central Finland is a great place for those who want to learn more about Finnish culture, while also enjoying some incredible Finnish nature. The lake landscapes are stunning. The lively town of Jyväskylä is great to spend a day, a visit to the Petäjävesi or Keuruu chuch takes you back in time in local history. Read more about what to do in the area here
How to get there? There is a great and fast train connection to Turku, also getting there by bus is fast and easy. By car, it’s about a two-hour drive.
What to do there? Turku is a beautiful summer city, with a lot going on in town and around the Aura river. It’s a great place to taste some incredible food – which you can find out more about here. Learn more about Finnish history in its former Capital city, by visiting the Turku castle and the Turku cathedral. The Archipelago can be reached by boat directly from Turku, or by bus towards Parainen or Nagu, and out towards the islands from there.
How to get there? If you don’t want to drive for many hours, an hour-long flight from Helsinki with Finnair takes you to Kuusamo really conveniently. It’s a good idea to book ahead to make a bargain.
What to do there? Northern Finland, or Finnish Lapland, might not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of how you want to spend your summer in Finland. However, Kuusamo is not only home to one of the most famous hiking trails in all of Finland, the Karhunkierros, it also has a lot of unique things to offer in the last wilderness of Europe. River-rafting, biking in the rough nature and all that in the endless day of the midnight sun, but also a unique destination to experience the Slow Wilderness Lifestyle with good food and welleness. Read more about the options here.
How to get there? Getting around the Southern coast of Finland is admittedly easiest by car, as there are many amazing destinations within just a short drive, whereas it can be a bit time-intensive by public transport – although totally possible.
What to do there? Where to start! Helsinki and the Espoo archipelago are always great places to start. Within just 1-1,5 hours drive you can reach amazing places like Mathildedal and Teijo National Park, Loviisa or the city of Kotka, the old ironworks vilage of Strömforsin Ruukki or the Malmgård brewery – although my favourite might be the Imperial fishing lodge of Langinkoski. There is so much to do and see!