In Finland’s summer months, when the sun barely dips below the horizon, you can enjoy hiking, glorious nature, music festivals and a buzzing outdoor café scene in the coastal cities. Take a luxury holiday to Finland in the winter, on the other hand, and find yourself transported to a magical, snow-covered realm illuminated by the aurora borealis.
For an iconic urban experience in Finland, you’ll want to make for the capital, Helsinki. Situated on the southern coast on a small peninsula surrounded by islands, Helsinki boasts scenery to rival all the other Scandinavian capitals. Clean streets, colourful buildings and public gardens and beaches can be found in abundance here – along with all manner of hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and night-time hangouts. Helsinki is a city rich with history that boasts significant sites such as Suomenlinna, an 18th-century fortress straddling six islands. The capital is also home to a world-renowned design scene, cutting-edge architecture and some fantastic Michelin-starred cuisine. With its excellent public transport links and tour operators, it’s the ideal base for exploring other areas of the country, from the coastal cities of the south, the stunning lakeland region to the snowy climes of the north.
In Turku, you can visit a medieval castle and wander down cobbled streets lined with boutiques, restaurants and buzzing cocktail bars. Take a trip to Oulu and explore the bustling markets and visit excellent museums and galleries.
Rovaniemi, meanwhile, is the beating heart of Lapland. The official home of Santa Claus, this chilly and picturesque city is the place to go for excursions into the wild, snow-covered north.
Finland has something to offer year-round. Visit in the summer and you can bask in temperatures in the early twenties (on the southern coast), boat cruises, festivals and plentiful daylight.
Visit in the winter months and you can enjoy fantastic skiing and snowboarding across the country. The long, dark days also come with the promise of the northern lights, which are best seen from Lapland. Visit during Christmas and you can pay a visit to Santa Claus himself!
Helsinki’s luxury hotels offer incredible dining experiences, serving up a selection of Finnish dishes and international classics, from fresh sushi to artisanal pizza. Outside of the hotels, the capital boasts a number of Michelin-starred restaurants creating truly delicious, modern tasting menus.
For a more traditional culinary experience, head to a local café or kauppahalli, a covered market where you can pick up Finnish specialities. Staple ingredients found everywhere include hand-picked berries, fish (often salted, fermented or smoked), mushrooms and rye bread – not to mention lots of coffee!
Before you book your holiday to Finland, you should check the entry requirements at GOV.UK. It’s advised that you carry identification with you while travelling.