Finland is a country of many rivers and lakes - there are about 188 thousand reservoirs in this country. The clearest water, beauty of nature, excellent ecology and measured way of life of the natives attract a lot of fans of eco-tourism and just travelers who are interested in this country. The climate here is varied, due to the strong influence of the Baltic Sea and Atlantic Ocean currents. Mild winter in the south of the country contributes to a year-round vacation, and the cold snowy winters of Finnish Lapland - the development of ski tourism. This type of recreation is popular among travelers at any time of year. Unusual national cuisine, which is worth a special meal, wonderful nature, a lot of beautiful old castles and other architectural structures. All this variety makes you think about what to see in Finland in the first place. In order to make your choice easier, we have compiled a list of interesting places, which includes the most popular sights in Finland.
In addition to its natural beauty, Finland is also an unusual, mysterious country, whose many attractions are shrouded in their age-old stories and legends. And this is quite understandable, because it has its own distinctive culture, characterized by many ancient traditions and customs.
Everyone has an opportunity to discover the country of wonders, as many travelers call Finland, but to do this you need to make a clear plan with the sights you want to see. Excursions in Finland are often long in time (because of the long distance between the monuments) - this feature should be taken into account.
On the rocky shore of Finland’s largest lake Saimaa, Olavinlinna Fortress, or Olafsborg in Swedish parlance, rises majestically in the late 15th century. In terms of popularity in the tourism industry, the fortress is probably the next largest after Turku Castle. The famous landmark of Finland got its name from the name of the 11th century Norwegian King Olaf Haraldsson.
The fortress is located in Suvonlinna - a small resort town near the border with Russia.
Construction of the fortress dates from 1475, its construction was supervised by Danish knight Tott. He had planned the location of the fortress in advance, because the borders of Muscovite Russia at that time were constantly expanding, and he had already been planning to conquer the Finnish territories.
The fortress turned out to the good, its ability to withstand firearms was unmatched, and in the 15-16 centuries, the fortress successfully defended its positions during the attacks of Moscow Russia.
Finally, at the very beginning of the 18th century Olafsborg Fortress was conquered by Russian troops, and at the same time Turku Fortress was besieged. Since then, the fortress remained in the possession of the Russian Empire until Finland’s independence.
Today in the walls of Olafsborg is a museum, the expositions are devoted to the history of the fortress and the Orthodox icons, and there is also a regular opera festival - this tradition goes back to 1912.
Official site: www.kansallismuseo.fi
True connoisseurs of wildlife, hiking romance and true extreme sports are sure to find something to see in Finland. Lemmenjoki National Park will be a real find for them.
After all, this is one of the most sparsely inhabited, untouched by man territories in Europe, located in Lapland on the border with the Norwegian park Anarjohka. These territories acquired the status of a national park in 1956, and since then the area has almost doubled in size to 2,850 square kilometers.
Travelling through this region is an ideal way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the world and merge with the wildlife. It is impassable wilderness, off-road, calm, measured and natural silence, which nothing can disturb.
For the most adventurous travelers are offered a walk in the most difficult places, for this special boats are offered - the only way to travel in such areas. Adhering to a certain route, you can climb Mount Morgam, and from there you will have a wide view of almost the entire northern border, vast forested areas and vast mountainous areas.
For those who don’t want to venture out, there is a beautiful park area, with numerous trails and wilderness huts. Rental of any of the huts with a set up campfire site is also offered.
At the mouth of the Joki River is another important landmark in Finland - the Castle of Abo, or Turku. The value of this structure is primarily due to its rich history - Turku Castle was built during the Middle Ages, and was one of the largest buildings of those times.
The history of the castle dates back to 1280, when the Swedes decided to found a fort on the site of the future castle. Over time, the fortress has played the role of the administrative center of the Swedish power in Finland. Despite the impressiveness and reliability of the building, the fortress was repeatedly attacked by the Danes and Novgorod inhabitants.
For several centuries until the 16th century the fortress was strengthened, expanded and rebuilt, until it was converted into a beautiful palace, which became a place for various celebrations with the participation of nobles and dignitaries.
The time of splendid entertainments of the Renaissance passed quickly, and by the beginning of the 17th century the castle was abandoned, and later there was a huge fire. Restoration of the castle began only in the 19th century and was completed only after the Second World War.
Today, within the walls of Turku Castle is a historical museum, and in its chapel wedding ceremonies are held. The Renaissance tradition of holding various ceremonies, banquets, exhibitions and celebrations of various events in its halls has returned.
Official website: http://www.turku.fi/en/turkucastle
According to legend, Santa Claus’ dwelling is in Lapland on Mount Korvatunturi. But as rumors began to circulate among people about his dwelling place, Santa, not wanting to be declassified, chose a place near the town of Rovaniemi to meet with people. That’s how far beyond the Arctic Circle, among the sparkling snows and dense forests, Santa Claus’ village appeared many years ago.
But the real appearance of a popular attraction in Finland has a very different story. In 1950, wife of U.S. President Eleanor Roosevelt visited the region. In honor of her visit has been built a small wooden hut, which was presented as a temporary home of Santa Claus.
Over time, around this house a whole fairy tale village was formed, where a magical fairy tale mixed with reality: fairy tale characters live here and such events occur, which make even adults believe in miracles. Today, Santa’s village has Santa’s post office, his office and even a reindeer farm, in addition to the house that started it all. Guests can visit the many slides and stay in the cottages for longer stays. You can relax in one of the many restaurants, as well as visit the Arctic Winter World Park, full of amazing activities: it is amazingly beautiful slides and ice sculptures with mesmerizing lighting, a cafe where drinks are served in ice glasses, and there is even an ice hotel - igloo, where you can spend the night in a sleeping bag, equipped with heating.
Official website: http://www.santaclausvillage.info/
Not every traveler, wondering what to see in Finland, includes a visit to Suomenlinna: someone sailing by on a ship, contemplates its facade, someone just observes from afar from the waterfront. Meanwhile, Suomenlinna is one of the main attractions of Finland, namely its capital, Helsinki. This place holds a centuries-old history, and there really is something to see.
Suomenlinna Fortress, which was built in 1808 and originally called Sveaborg, was built at a time when Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom. Later as a result of Russian-Swedish war in 1809 the fortress was passed to Russian Empire, and for the next century the Russian garrison was located here. In 1918, after the Great October Revolution, the fortress got a new name - Suomenlinna.
Today the fortress has become an important tourist destination, in its central part is a tourist information center, where you can get a map, learn more about the hiking routes, visit a souvenir shop, a cafe or a museum. This is where guided tours leave. The main hiking route, marked in blue on the map, is 1.5 kilometers and goes through all the memorable places of the fortress. Inside the structures of the fortress there are tunnels, some of which are available for exploring. On the main square in front of the fortress Suomenlinna there is a tomb of the founder of the fortress and its first commandant - Augustin Erensvärd.
Official site: http://www.suomenlinna.fi/ru/
On the Katajanokke Peninsula, high above the skyline of the Finnish capital, rises the largest Orthodox cathedral in Europe, built by order of Emperor Alexander II in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Cathedral of the Assumption is an important religious landmark in Finland, whose history dates back to between 1862 and 1868.
The cathedral was built according to the project Alexei Gornostayev, which was based on another temple - the Church of the Ascension in the village of Kolomenskoye. The building was erected from red brick left over from the Bomarsund Fortress destroyed in the Crimean War. The very shape of the temple symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and its 13 domes represent Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles. The construction of the temple was carried out at the expense of voluntary donations, and in 1868 the consecration of the cathedral.
Today Dormition Cathedral, which has become one of the main attractions of the capital, serves as the residence of the Archbishop of Helsinki. Each year comes to visit the shrine half a million tourists.
The external appearance of the cathedral is quite modest, but impressive in its enormous size: four massive granite columns prop up the vault of the temple from the inside, which is crowned with a blue dome with a scattering of golden stars. A rich display of icons, many of them miraculous, completes the interior decoration of the temple. Huge chandeliers hanging from the high vaulted ceilings complement the typical Orthodox style of the church’s decorations. Today, the Cathedral of the Assumption hosts a variety of exhibitions and public events.
The Temppeliaukio Rock Church is perhaps one of Finland’s most unusual sights and one of the most original churches in Europe. The church embodies the main feature of Finland - a combination of wildlife and modern technology: it blends in with the natural landscape and blends perfectly with the rocky surfaces.
Temppeliaukio Church was built in 1969. Its main feature is that the entire area of its interior is carved directly into the rock. On the surface there is only a small dome of glass through which the sunlight penetrates into the premises.
Despite the modest appearance outside, the interior decoration of the church is very beautiful: all the bulges of granite walls highlighted by a special lighting, granite rock has a variety of colored inclusions in the form of unusual patterns, which are created by nature itself. Besides decoration, the church favourably differs and the extraordinary acoustics, which provides exactly the untreated internal surface of the walls. For this reason, concerts of classical organ music are often held there, as well as of contemporary music.
Temppeliaukio church is located in the heart of Helsinki, in one of its central areas. That is why it is easy to get here, walking around Helsinki.
Official website: http://www.helsinginkirkot.fi/ru
Connoisseurs of world art have a lot to see in Finland, especially if your travel route takes you through the capital city. Ateneum Art Museum, located in Helsinki near the railway station, now houses Finland’s largest collection of art. The very name of the museum was formed from the name of the ancient Greek goddess - Athena, the patroness of all the arts and crafts.
The museum opened its doors for the first time in 1887. The basis of the museum collection in the year of opening were 18 canvases presented by Russian Emperor Nicholas II to the Association of Finnish Artists. The museum has two departments.
Official website: http://www.ateneum.fi
One of Finland’s main national shrines is the Turku Cathedral, which was the parent of the Finnish Lutheran Church. It is a landmark of Finland with a huge history and one of the most important monuments of history and architecture, made in the North Gothic style and for many years became a benchmark of architectural thought.
The first building of the cathedral, made of stone in the second half of the 13th century, was much smaller than the present one and was located where the pulpit is situated now. Throughout the Middle Ages, the cathedral building was expanded and supplemented, experienced hardships related to the historical events of the country, and was rebuilt and reconstructed several times.
Thus, in 1827 the cathedral suffered heavy losses due to the fire, but it was rebuilt rather quickly. Therefore, most of its interior refers to the 19th century. Thus, the image of the Transfiguration of Christ was painted in 1836, the pulpit and altar - in 1830, the stained-glass windows of the chapel - in 1870. On the creation of interior decoration worked Frederick Westin and Karl Engel, frescoes on the walls and ceiling were created by the artist Ekman, who is considered the father of painting in Finland. In 1980, a colossal musical instrument, an 81-register organ, was installed in the cathedral, thanks to which, to this day, extraordinary beautiful music can be heard under the vaults of the cathedral.
In the chapel of the cathedral rest a number of famous historical figures, including the wife of King Eric XIV, Katharina Monsdotter, and Bishop Hemming, a saint.
If you are interested in the distinctive culture of the Finns, their traditions, mentality, way of life, then you certainly have something to see in Finland. On an emerald island, buried in verdure, a few kilometers from the Finnish capital, is an open-air museum Seurasaari. The island is an oasis in the midst of urban life, and the Finnish way of life is reflected in the old farmsteads, cottages and manor houses that have been built over the past few centuries.
The location of the museum itself is very organically combined with the exhibition, because Seurasaari Island is in fact a typical example of the nature of Finland. Since the 80s of the 19th century it became a favorite place for the residents of Helsinki, who came here for picnics in their spare time.
In 1882 a bridge was built to the island, and we can say that it was the construction of the bridge that marked the beginning of the open-air museum. In 1909, Professor Axel Oliheikel officially established a museum on the island, and old houses from different provinces of Finland began to be brought here. It is the diversity of types of buildings that allows you to form an overall impression of provincial Finnish life in the 18th and 20th centuries.
Farms, farmsteads, stores, cottages and even a church - all this creates a unified picture of local life.
In order to see the life of the Finns in the provinces of past centuries, you should take a tour of Seurasaari, visit each of the buildings, get into the spirit of those times and just take a walk through the wonderful local scenery.
There are many ways to organize your leisure time in this country, and you must first determine whether you will need guides in Finland or whether you can handle the organization yourself. Take a look at the list to learn more about the interesting places and understand how you should vacation and where to go after you check into your hotel.
Back in 1945, the famous Finnish writer Tuve Jansson drew a funny hippo for her younger brother, who later became one of the most beloved characters in Scandinavian fairy tale literature. Yes, it’s that very same Moomin-Troll - about him and his family there is a whole series of fairy tales, whose plots form the basis of the cartoons that many of us love.
These cute and funny characters are loved by adults and children not only in Finland but all over the world. And the little fans of the world of mummies find something to visit in Finland, because it is here is one of the best children’s theme parks in the world.
Mumi-World, or the Valley of Mumi-Trolls, is located on Kailo Island, not far from the coastal area of Naantali. Here the favorite fairy tale of the famous writer has become a reality, becoming a popular family vacation spot. Here, as if directly from the pages of the book, funny characters come out, in front of you opens the landscape described in the fairy tale:
In addition, the park is equipped with many swings, ladders, slides, towers for young visitors, as well as a beach, cafe and souvenir store. During the cold season, the mummy trolls hibernate, so the valley welcomes visitors in the summertime.
Official website: https://www.moomin.com
Finland pays special attention to family recreation, which is why there are so many amusement parks where the whole family can relax. Especially popular are the so-called “flow parks” - rope rides, if we call them that. Among the largest of them - Rauha rope park in Imatra. Once here, you can spend a day full of exciting adventures, because the visitors developed a whole 6 tracks of varying degrees of complexity located at a height of 1.5 to 22 meters, where you have to go from one obstacle to another, performing exercises one after another.
All the routes are supervised by an instructor, and there is also a personal safety net in the form of a strong rope attached to the person with special carabiners.
The real jewel of Finland, the largest lake in the country and the fourth largest lake in Europe is Lake Saima, located in southeastern Finland, right on the border with Russia. Saima was formed by the melting of a huge glacier that moved through Finland during the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. In fact, this lake consists of many small lakes communicating with each other.
In addition to its size, today Saimaa is distinguished by its developed infrastructure: on its shores equipped with cottages and saunas for comfortable recreation for the whole family. The area around the lake is famous for its rich flora and fauna. But of course the main trump card of a holiday on Lake Saimaa is fishing. The waters of the lake abound in fish - there are salmon, pike, pike, trout, perch.
In terms of tourism Saimaa is also of particular interest, because along the shores of the lake are located several interesting cities, where you can visit a lot of attractions in Finland. So, Russian fans of Finnish shopping come to the cities of Imatra and Lappeenranta, which are located right on the border with Russia. In the heart of the lake rises the already mentioned fortress Olafsborg, which regularly hosts opera festivals. On the West coast there are two resort towns - Varkaus and Mikkeli.
On the north side of Senate Square is one of the main architectural symbols of Helsinki, the most important landmarks of Finland - St. Nicholas Cathedral. Its domes rise high above Helsinki, so it’s well visible from any point in the city. Twelve apostles on its roof as if watching you from above and guarding the city.
The Cathedral was built for 22 years and was opened in 1852. During these years another architect began to work on the project, and as a result there were 4 towers in the corners of the cathedral, and also there were 2 pavilions. In one pavilion the bells were installed, and in the other the parish chapel was established. Initially the cathedral was named as St. Nicholas Cathedral in honor of St. Nicholas - the patron saint of all seafarers. It was a peculiar expression of respect to Nicholas I. It was by the order of the emperor 12 sculptures of the apostles adorned the cathedral. Inside the altar part is decorated with a painting by the artist Timothy Andreevich von Neff, presented by the emperor.
In 1959, St. Nicholas Cathedral officially became a cathedral, that is, the main temple of the country. Today here, in addition to traditional services, solemn services are held. For example, in December here, according to the old national tradition, the coronation of the Queen of Light Lucia is held annually.
Official website: http://russian.stnicholasdc.org
When it comes to historical and cultural enlightenment, you are sure to find something to visit in Finland. National Museum in Helsinki holds a lot of valuable historical information, so it is considered one of the most important educational centers in Europe. The museum is located near the Finnish Parliament, so it is not difficult to find it in the city.
Among the expositions of the museum are archeological, historical, ethnographic and numismatic items, which appeared on display as a result of painstaking work of collectors over 170 years.
The entire exposition of the museum is divided into 6 parts, each of which is varied and perfectly designed.
The museum has a store where you can buy not only souvenirs, but also useful scientific literature.
Covering the sights of Finland briefly, it’s worth starting with the Finnish capital of Helsinki, which is where one of the city’s three central squares, Senate Square, is located. This place has always attracted tourist interest because it is here that many valuable architectural monuments and other objects are concentrated. Once upon a time the square in the area of Kruununhak was home to the old town hall, cemetery, church, town market, but with the beginning of large-scale construction of the city in the 19th century the old buildings, which did not fit into the new image, were demolished. By the design of architect Carl Ludwig Engel in place of the demolished buildings grew St. Nicholas Cathedral, on both sides of the square erected new buildings - the largest university in Finland, the Senate, the University Library. And in the former merchant houses are now housed cafes, restaurants and stores.
Official website: https://www.hel.fi/helsinki
When planning a trip in the springtime it is natural to ask - what to see in Finland in the springtime to see the interesting places of the country in all their beauty and splendor? Staying in the Finnish capital, you do not have to go far - in its historic center is the Esplanade Park, designed back in the early 19th century by Carl Engel. Today it is a popular destination for walks and recreation for locals and visitors alike. In the heart of Helsinki stretched green alleys with original sculptures, lime groves, bright flower beds, beautifully blooming in spring, and along the walking paths cozily placed benches. At the eastern end of the Esplanade is the Espa, an open-air stage where all kinds of events - concerts, fashion shows, and entertainment shows - take place. The streets around the park are lined with stores, cafes, and restaurants.
For those interested in Finland’s national, cultural attractions, the guide’s report at the Arktikum Museum will be a kind of journey to the northern peoples of the country, with an exploration of their history, traditions and culture. The Arcticum is located in a beautiful natural corner, on the banks of the river Ounasjoki, not far from the center of Rovaniemi. It is noteworthy that there are special underground premises for the main part of expositions, and in the above-ground premises there are temporary exhibitions. The museum building is shaped like a semicircle, from the center of which exits a glass gallery - “the portal to the Arctic”. From the transparent portal, you can watch the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and in winter - the stunning views of northern lights. The main exhibition is represented by three large exhibitions: the first introduces the household items, art and crafts of northern Finnish peoples, the second tells the history of the city, and the third is dedicated to the fantastic nature of the Polar region.
Official site: https://www.arktikum
The original Espionage Museum is a one-of-a-kind museum that reveals the intriguing history of covert intelligence. The fact that it was opened in Finland is no coincidence - the country, located at the crossroads between East and West, was the main strategic point for countries working against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The museum’s exhibits feature fascinating stories of famous spies and showcase the technical means of espionage that were used in different times - such as lie detectors, optical instruments, handheld weapons, encryption machines and a number of other gadgets. All of the exhibits can be touched and even tested in action, such as invisible ink or a device capable of changing the voice. Those who wish can even take a test to see if they have the aptitude for professional espionage.
Официальный сайт: http://www.vakoilumuseo
Not only museums, monuments, parks or nature can surprise tourists in Finland. The sights of Helsinki are oriented and family vacation, including young holidaymakers. The beautiful Serena amusement park is a huge area of water amusement, 20 kilometers from the capital.
It consists of outdoor and indoor areas that allow visitors to have fun here at any time of year. In total, in the indoor and outdoor areas of the park there are more than 20 attractions aimed at different ages, as well as several swimming pools and spa area with baths, saunas and jacuzzis. During the summer, there is an open-air area, where you can enjoy the fresh air on a number of exciting water slides and swim in the large pool, which is accessed by several slides. In the cold season there is an indoor area with slides and a pool simulating high waves of the sea surf.
Official website: https://www.serena
There are plenty of travel options outside of Helsinki - for example, you can head north to explore the sights of central Finland, or you can drive along the coast of the Gulf of Finland in an easterly direction. About a hundred miles east of the capital is a port city of Kotka, which is famous for old forts, historical museums and beautiful parks, the most picturesque of which can be called a water park Sapokka. A small but incredibly beautiful park is attractive in any season - in winter it impresses by the quiet ice smoothness of the frozen bay, in spring it is fragrant with flowering bulbs, in summer it is drowned in azaleas and rhododendrons, in autumn it puffs with bright colors of the last leaves. And, of course, the main element of the park is water, which conquers by smooth lakes and ponds, rustles with numerous streams and bubbling waterfall streams. All this outlandish diversity makes Sapokka a beautiful natural oasis in the center of Kotka.
Official website: http://www.kotka.
Often a trip to Finland is included in the itinerary of the countries of Scandinavia, covering the attractions of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and including visits to their capitals. A tour of the Finnish capital’s sites is worthy of a noteworthy monument, the Sibelius Monument. This composer once made a major contribution to European music, expressing in his music the soul of the Finnish people. The name of Sibelius is an object of national reverence in Finland, and the love for the composer’s work is expressed in the form of an original monument. It consists of 600 steel pipes of various lengths, all united in an unusual composition. Some of the pipes are decorated with an intricate pattern on the surface, others have a vertical cut. The uniqueness of this design is that during the wind the air passes through the pipes, creating a kind of music.
Official website: https://www.visitfinland
Those who want to see something fantastic and unusual should visit the lost in the southeast of the country sculpture park, which includes almost 5 hundred figures made of concrete. The author of these creations was a local self-taught artist Vejo Rönkönen, who since his youth and throughout his life in his spare time created strange mythical figures. The concrete statues, which are located right in the middle of the forest, depict people, animals and fantastic characters, as if reflecting the author’s intricate inner world. Many sculptures are already overgrown with moss - a sort of abandoned open-air museum. Complementing the eerie impression of what we see is the fact that many of the characters have realistic teeth - in this way the author’s friends-dentists, who have provided him with real dentures for creativity, have tried.
Choosing what to see in Finland by car, you can find interesting objects immediately after crossing the Finnish-Russian border. For example, in one of the Finnish border towns, Imatra, there is Imatrankoski waterfall. Once there was a natural waterfall on the Vuoksa River, but in 1929 a hydroelectric power station was built on the river, the waterfall was dammed, and now he “works” on schedule - once a day in the summertime for about 20 minutes the floodgates are opened, and violent streams of water rush into the rocky bed, filling it and going further to join with the waters of the Vuoksa below. An extraordinary spectacle can be watched from the road bridge, located near the dam, as well as from special platforms, equipped on the shore. For those who like to tickle the nerves here offers an extreme entertainment - the brave person is hooked on a rope and let in a free “flight” right above the bubbling water.
Official website: http://www.gosaimaa
Finland’s nature is the first thing that attracts tourists to this wonderful country. Mirrored lakes, pristine forests, picturesque seashores, extraordinary beauty of the northern lights are the real treasures of the Scandinavian country. When studying the natural attractions of Finland on the map, you can see that in the central part of the country is a “fishy sea” - Lake Oulujärvi, one of the five largest lakes in the country. Although its depth is not particularly impressive - an average of 7 meters, but a rich underwater world amazes even seasoned fishermen. From spring to late fall, the biggest pikes, burbots, pike-perch and salmon are fished here, and say, to catch a 5 kilogram pike is quite a common thing here. Taiga zone, in which the lake stretches, creates a superb beauty of landscapes - pristine forests, rocky shores are a favorite place among tourists who prefer active recreation.
Official website: https://www.visitkajaani