Finland is a Christmas wonderland full of snow, reindeer, and forests. It’s basically the Canada of Europe, except a lot smaller and with more Finish. With the majestic mountains, gorgeous landscapes and charming cities like Turku and Helsinki, there are seemingly endless things to do in Finland. If you’re used to summer weather, Finland could be a nice change of pace. The country is famous for it’s Christmas bash and skiing, but if you want to try the summer months, there’s plenty of time to bike or hike.
Things to do in Finland
From staying in an Igloo looking at the Northern Lights to visiting the beaches off the coast here are 9 reasons to visit Finland this year.
Go to SantaPark to Meet Mr. And Mrs. Claus
Santa Claus comes to life at SantaPark during the winter and summer season. Deep underground you’ll find Santa’s secret cavern where merry elves make toys for children. The indoor Christmas theme park is rated as the top Christmas destination in the world. A magic train will take you around the complex, while an Ice Princess gets ready to nap. There’s an elf show on the main stage, and a post office located close to the end. Finally, you’ll see Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick himself. If you ask nicely, he’ll take his picture with you.
Take a Walk Around Olavinlinna
Olavinlinna is a 15th-century three-tower castle that sits in Savonlinna, Finland. It’s the southernmost Medieval castle that’s still standing. It’s an impressive structure to see in person. Once the castle comes into view, you’ll see three towers constructed on a rock surrounded by a clear lake. You’ll have to walk across rickety bridges to go inside the structure. You’ll find that the castle is surprisingly intact as you take the hour tour through the fortress. The tour will also give you a history lesson on what life was like back in the 15th century. I wouldn’t pass this up if you’re a history buff.
The Helsinki Casino has several different progressive jackpot machines like Egyptian Gold, Quick Hit Platinum, Fireball and Fort Knox. Even if gambling isn’t your thing, Helsinki Casino offers a wide range of entertainment throughout the year and a sports bar that will keep your belly full of liquor. But what if going out isn’t your thing? There are plenty of online casinos in Finland that can offer you a similar experience from your hotel room or mobile phone if you prefer to spend your time at the attractions below.
Linnanmäki Amusement Park
Finland also has a classic American amusement park filled with good food and laughter. Ride like 4D movies, bumper cars, the helicopter ride, and the coffee cup carousel will keep you entertained for hours. Try the haunted house or a sit-down movie when you want to relax. If you’re hungry, multiple restaurants offer classic amusement park food like hot dogs, burgers, and fries. Board of rides? Linnanmäki also has many games for you to play.
Go Dig for Amethysts
You can actually dig for precious jewels in Finland! The Lampivaara mines are over 200 million years old and are the oldest surviving mine of its kind left in Europe. Getting up to the mine is quite a hike, so if you aren’t up for it, you could take a snowmobile through Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Once at the mines a tour will begin telling you the history of amethyst mining in Finland, then you’ll dig for them yourself. You can keep all the amethysts you find as long as they aren’t any bigger than your fist.
The famous Northern Lights at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
You’ve never seen the Northern Lights like this before. At the Kakslauttanen resort, you’ll stay in giant glass igloos that give you the perfect view of the Northern Lights while you keep warm inside. The resort is also north enough to see the midnight sun. If you’re looking for the best time to view the lights, the website recommends August until April. This wonder of the world shouldn’t be missed. Put it on your bucket list when you decide to go north.
Visit the Ice Caped Lumilinna
Every winter, a team of sculptures get together and construct Lumilinna. Open since 1996, the snow, ice, and seawater are all taken from the surrounding area. You won’t just find a large castle there; you’ll also find snow sculptures, ice sculptures, and the SnowHotel. The castle is open from January to April, so this can only be seen at a specific time of the year. If you happen to miss it because the castle melted, you can take a virtual tour instead. Nothing beats the real thing, though. Even if you can’t stay in the SnowHotel, seeing a hotel completely made from snow is a sight to behold.
We talked about an exclusive winter venture, lets flip over to the summer. Although it’s hard to believe, yes, Finland does have a summer. A beautiful summer so warm you can swim in the ocean. Hietaniemi beach is located on the outskirts of Helsinki. This once frozen ocean is now a tropical paradise full of sandy beaches, shops, and kayaking. If you came on a cold day, you could visit the sauna to keep you warm while you wait for the summer.
If you’re done with the adventure and want to spend a relaxing day inside, try the Siida Museum in Finland. This museum takes you through the history of the country, starting with the Sami (or the Laplanders) the semi-nomadic tribe that lived in pre-Finland. You’ll find multiple photographic galleries and nature exhibits. The galleries featured here take you from ancient times to the modern-day, along with rotating pictures showing you the various colors of the Northern Lights.