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Best places to visit in Finland in 2024

Simon Calder’s Travel

Finland may not appear as regularly on the tourism wish-list as European heavyweights such as Spain or Italy, but it’s ability to cater to vastly different types of tourism means that it will inevitably start popping up on the radar.

Few countries on the continent can cater to beach holidays, Northern Lights excursions, island hopping and trips to the Arctic wilderness – but Finland is one of them.

Whether you want to ski in Lapland, explore some of its thousands of lakes in the Lake District, visit Santa Claus near the Arctic Circle or live like the world’s happiest locals in Helsinki, Finland caters to both the well-trodden and the unfamiliar in terms of potential holidays.

From the cool capital and historic cities to lakeside towns and national parks that provide a vast expanse of wilderness, Finland offers an abundance of the unexpected to the uninitiated. Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best places to discover in this part of the Nordics.


Helsinki became the capital of the country in 1812 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The capital of the world’s happiest country is always going to be an intriguing place. Helsinki contains some of the country’s most famous landmarks and attractions, from the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Ateneum (a space for Finnish art) to the Suomenlinna fortress and the National Museum of Finland.

What makes Helsinki particularly appealing, though, is the effortless fusion of nature and city life. Helsinki sits on the Baltic Sea, part of an archipelago of 330 islands, and is home to fantastic beaches and dense forests that make shoreside relaxation and hiking equally as accessible as dining out or shopping. Within the city, the verdant Esplanadi park and beaches such as Hietaniemi are the highlights, while a range of public saunas – Löyly is the most well-known – cater to outdoor swimming and easy relaxation.

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Rovaniemi is the official ‘home of Santa Claus’ (Getty Images)

Rovaniemi is the capital of Finnish Lapland, and the centre of the winter wonderland around Christmas time. Those visiting during the festive period can enjoy a trip to the Santa Claus Village, where you can cross the Arctic Circle, go on snowmobile and husky excursions, and potentially see the Northern Lights.

For a great view of the Arctic landscape, head to the…

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