Summer packing list for Europe


Are you wondering about a perfect packing list for Europe in summer? Then read on, as I share my tips which hopefully will be helpful for you, too.

If you have decided to spend your summer (or at least some time of it) in Europe, you will have plenty to look forward to. Europe in summer is definitely a good choice – whether you head to the beautiful beach in Greece, busy cities like London, or hike in places like Switzerland.

You definitely cannot go wrong with Europe – find out what to pack for your summer trip to Europe.

Click on this link to find a checklist with all the important things to do before your trip.Hastings Beach Points of Interest


Here is what to pack – of course, it depends whether you are a light-packer or tend to pack a bit more and on many other things, but hopefully, this Europe packing list will help you remember the important things for YOUR Europe packing list.

Luggage in Europe

  • Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in. If you are a backpacker, you´ll find plenty of your equals in Europe.
  • Carry-On: I normally always have extra carry-on luggage with me. I normally research if a destination in Europe is considered as safe (meaning, I do a quick research about the crime rate, and while it is probably totally safe to take out your fancy luggage in some parts of Europe, other areas are less safe, and robbing is more common. So, if you plan to bring your brand luggage double-check.
  • Laundry bags are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up. I prefer them over plastic bags.
  • Packing Cubes: Packing Cubes are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are convenient, and they also come in cool colors. I recommend using packing cubes that make packing and organizing easier. And let´s do not forget a laundry bag.
  • I choose a cross-body handbag with a zipper (to be safe) and several extra pockets for my handbag.
  • Passport Holder, I need a passport when I travel (when an ID is not enough), so I need a bigger wallet (aka a passport holder), and I love the fun colors here.
  • If you go on a beach vacation, you should also take a light and (ideally foldable) beach bag or a cotton bag instead.

London Eye at night - what a beauty.

Clothing in Europe in Summer

Summer in Europe can be a dream destination. Beautiful beaches, lovely cities and towns, charming villages, and amazing landscapes.

Summer means sun – most of the time. It can also be cold and rainy, and to be well prepared for your Europe trip, scroll down and learn more about the perfect Europe Packing List.

As you probably know, I never list any single item or say how many items to take (7 panties, etc.) because it clearly depends on the length of your stay and on you. It depends, whether you like to pack light and wash your clothes, or wear everything just once and do the washing part back home.

It also depends, where exactly you are heading to because there is no “European” style.

People in Italy are the best and fanciest dressed (in my eyes) people, while clothes are not important in other parts of Europe.

However, I recommend packing clothes that are comfortable and versatile so you can easily mix and match not to have to overpack.Dubrovnik should be on every Croatia road trip

Clothes to Pack for Europe

  • Hats: A hat is more than just an accessory in summer, so my must-have item is a stylish hat.
  • Sunglasses: Another must-have item on a sunny day: Sunglasses. Ray-Ban seems to be always a great choice, but the most important thing is the quality (sunglasses are an investment in healthy eyes)
  • Maxi Dresses: Summer means wearing cute dresses, and Europe is made to wear maxi dresses.
  • Skirts: You can wear short skirts in most places. Some shopping malls actually have dress codes and do not allow too short skirts or shorts (though many do not follow the rules)
  • Tops: The more, the merrier – my rule for hot destinations. I love skirts/trousers which I can wear with tops that are easy to change and are made from cotton are other light materials.
  • Blouses: Some cute blouses should be on your list (for the evening, some places that do not allow naked arms, or for the winter).
  • Cardigans and jackets: It can actually get chilly in the afternoon – not only but also after the sunsets. So definitely take at least 1 or 2 cardigans or jackets.
  • Linen Trousers: Though I love maxi dresses, the best thing to wear when it is hot is probably linen trousers – combined with a cool tank top and nice flat sandals, it can be super chic.
  • Denim is big in Europe and depending on where you visit in Europe. You might need some warmer clothes.
  • Sweatpants – for hiking, walking and feeling comfy and cozy (and yes, you can look great in sweatpants).
  • Shorts: Shorts are okay for most places – I love them, especially for the beaches.
  • Footwear:  flat sandals, flip flops, and ballerinas. But a pair of sneakers are almost always a good choice, too.

what to pack for Europe

Toiletries to Pack for Europe

If I travel for 10 days or shorter, I take travel-sized toiletries that I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water, and cleansing milk). Of course, you could buy toiletries here as well, but if you do not want to waste your time in drug stores or supermarkets, use this checklist for Europe.

Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit and have them super organized with you.

  • TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag
  • Sunscreen
  • Travel bottles to refill – I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use. I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels for several reasons.
  • Electric Hair Removal Epilator (only if you stay longer than a week or if you remove your body hair with it) – otherwise, a razor or whatever you prefer.
  • Face cream. I also use it as a hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream.
  • Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash plus Dental floss
  • Only use it when traveling: dry shampoo- (check size, and choose the small travel si ze)
  • Tissues
  • Deodorant
  • Refreshing towelettes
  • Magnifying make-up mirror
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
  • Hair ties
  • A small cosmetic bag with the following items:
  • Mascara
  • Rouge
  • Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows)
  • Tweezer
  • Eyelash curler
  • Eyeliner – I sometimes use black eye shadow as an eyeliner
  • Make-up brushes
  • Glass nail file
  • Cotton swabs

Here are a few more items that I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:

  • Hair spray
  • Hand cream
  • Foundation
  • Powder
  • Lipstick
  • Sanitizer

What to pack for Europe

What to Pack for a Day at the Beach in Europe

  • Swimming Suits: bikinis (though you might find some nudist beaches as well in some places).
  • I love kaftans and think, it is best to wear from the beach back to the hotel room etc. Luckily, they look super cool these days.
  • Beach Bag:  I recommend one of the cool beach bags, which are light, affordable, and stylish.
  • Flip Flops are my must-have for beach days.
  • If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towel yet, click here to get your beach essentials.
  • Do you prefer lying at the beach all day, or do you like to be more active? Bring your beach ball (click here to get yours), or a floating unicorn.
  • A reading book / Kindle is also a great idea for a day at the beach.

Click here to find my complete list: What to pack for a day at the beachEurope packing list

Tech Stuff to Pack for Europe

  • I have my laptop with me whenever I fly. Find the best laptop for travelers
  • A while ago, I thought my tablet  is the most useless item I bought in a while – since I can download from Netflix (and thus watch my shows offline), I have found one good argument bringing my tablet with me whenever I travel
  • My phone- without doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) item
  • Camera – Europe has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
  • I have to admit that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
  • A day at the beach or pool would not be perfect without my iPod
  • Power Charger- how long does your phone battery last? Not long? neither does mine, so this  is an essential
  • Check if you need an International Travel Power Adapter

Random Things to Pack for Europe

  • Umbrella (in many countries, like Germany, Switzerland, or England is can still rain quite a lot in the summer)
  • Guides
  • Medicine (headache pills etc.)

Read my: Packing guide for carry-on essentials.

Depending on where you travel in Europe, you could buy all or most of the items here in Europe – maybe even for a better price than in your country. Still, to avoid spending time shopping, I suggest coming to Europe and having your Europe packing list complete, so you can fully focus on discovering the beautiful places here in Europe.

best things to do in Switzerland

Safe Travels, Arzo


Helsinki - what not to miss

Best Things to do in Helsinki in 1 Day

Planning your Helsinki itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in one day in Helsinki? Then read on – whether you visit as a day trip from Tallinn or Stockholm or any other city close by or do a Finland trip and plan to stop in Helsinki in 1 day – here is what you need to know.

When I visited Tallinn in September  (find out about my Tallinn trip here), I also decided to spend a day in Helsinki. It seems a day trip from Tallinn to Helsinki is a great idea since it is easy to get from one place to another.

While I admit that Finland, especially Helsinki, is not probably the first place to visit in Europe as an American, it is a fun place to see if you are in Europe for longer.

Honestly, I was not blown away by Helsinki. It is a beautiful city, and I enjoyed my one day in Helsinki, but it hasn’t become my favorite place in Europe. However,  one has stolen my heart, and here are my top tips for things to do.

Scenic summer panorama of the Market Square (Kauppatori) at the Old Town pier in Helsinki, Finland

Disclaimer: Tallinnk provided me with a ferry ticket, but, as always, opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.


Before discussing your Helsinki itinerary, here is some info for your 1 day in Helsinki. I got to Helsinki from Tallinn, but if you get there from a mother place, scroll down a bit, and you’ll find the information you were looking for.

How to Get to Tallinn Harbor – Helsinki Harbor

The best way to get from Tallinn to Helsinki (or the other way around) is to take a ferry.

It takes about 10 minutes by bus from the old town of Tallinn to the Tallinn harbor. It takes about 15 minutes from Helsinki harbor to Helsinki city center by tram.

For the ferry ride, you can either check-in online or at the terminal. You definitely need to have your passport ready. I got my tickets in advance and checked in a few hours before my departure.

Tallinn Harbor- taking a ferry to Helsinki

I love ferry/boat rides. They are probably my most favorite transport mean. If I love something more than ferry rides, it is food.

Taking a ferry with the Estonian shipping line Tallink from Tallinn to Helsinki in the Business Class was a perfect choice for me, as it combined those two things. So it does not come as a surprise that I enjoyed my ferry ride.

If you are on a budget, you can check out the other categories as well. They should also be more than fine as the ferry left a very good impression. Business Class, however, comes with a good choice of drinks and a buffet. There is also free and fast wifi, newspapers and magazines, and clean toilets.

Tallink recommends arriving at least 30 minutes before departure. It really makes sense because after “check-in, “ it still takes some walking before actually arriving at the ferry.


This Helsinki itinerary will start straight away with finding its popular hotspots.

Railway Station

I had about 8 hours in Helsinki and zero ideas about what to do. This day was not planned or organized, so I started my Helsinki trip in the city center. To be more precious, I started at the railway station which has become quite an attraction in Helsinki. I went inside and think it is nice, but if you are in a rush, you can skip it.

Train Station Helsinki
Train Station Helsinki

Market Square

I headed to the market square next to the water. The market was busy and might be inviting for a nice stroll – I was overwhelmed by all the fur sold there and thus had to escape quickly.

Helsinki Harbor

Island Hopping

I was happy to spot an “Island Hopping“ tour which stops on three islands (JT-Line, ticket 7€). It was after lunchtime, and so I did not have time to visit all three islands.

Boat tour Helsinki

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

The three islands are Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Lonna Island and Vallisaari, and Kunninkaansaari Islands. I only visited Lonna Island and Suomenlinna Sea Fortress.

While the latter island was awesome and my travel highlight in Helsinki, I recommend skipping Loona Island. It was a little boring, and there was not much to see. Thus I ended up sitting in a cafe where I had some nice but overpriced waffles.

Lonna Island in Helsinki
Lonna Island in Helsinki

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Must see Place in Helsinki

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress was more beautiful than the photos on the leaflet pictured. So green, so lush, so pretty, and full of history (and I should not forget to emphasize those little Hobbit houses). I really enjoyed the island, and I think visiting is one of the best things to do in Helsinki in 1 day.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress how cute are these houses?
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, how cute are these houses?

It is so picturesque, and I could have spent much more time if I had not been in a rush because I had to catch the last boat.

According to some information at the ticket center, visitors should plan in 2 hours to see all of the islands. I definitely agree that it is hard to see all within 1 hour. Though I often rush through places/attractions, this is definitely a place I would have liked to stay much longer at.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and not surprisingly one of Finland´s most popular tourist attractions.

It was built in the mid century to defend the country (back when Finland belonged to the Kingdom of Sweden) and was taken by Russia a few decades later.

After Finland´s independence from Russia in the century, Finland overtook the fortress again, and it is now open to the public without an extra entrance fee.

I really liked the island I discovered coincidentally and can highly recommend it if the weather is good. So when I left the island, and I already knew that Helsinki was worth the trip.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress in Helsinki
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress in Helsinki

So, after this must-see in 1 day in Helsinki (according to me), it is time to head back to the mainland.

Senate Square

Back on the mainland, I got a ticket for the minibus tour at Senate Square. The tour itself was quite short (8€), but I saw some buildings on my way, which I then decided to check out again after the tour.

Helsinki in 1 day - Senate Square @shutterstock
Helsinki in 1 day – Senate Square @shutterstock
Helsinki Cathedral @shutterstock

Since I did not know what to do, I left Helsinki about an hour earlier than planned and headed to the port to catch my ferry.

I am sure Helsinki has much more to offer, and if the weather had been warmer and I would have planned my day better, I would have seen much more. However, I think Helsinki makes a great day trip from cities like Tallinn or Stockholm and I can definitely recommend visiting Helsinki. I hope, though my day was not perfectly planned out, this Helsinki itinerary will help you for your one day in Helsinki.

Helsini in 1 day

Though I am sad I did not make the most of it, visiting the island was already a highlight and the whole trip was worth that alone.

I am looking forward to spending more time in Finland since the pictures of Evan Kristine convinced me to re-visit and spend more than 1 day in Finland (read more here).Goodbye Helsinki

Book Tours in Helsinki

Since you are reading this post, you are already better prepared than I had ever been for my Helsinki trip if you want to be the best way to book tours in Helsinki in advance (unfortunately, the island hopping tour is not bookable online).

I use GetYourGuide for most of the tours that I book, and I strongly and honestly recommend them to you if you like to have a reliable website where you can book all kinds of tours throughout the world.

So check out different tours in Helsinki if you like to explore more of them.


One day in Helsinki will allow you to get a good overview of the city – but, of course, you would need more time to see the real Helsinki, the hidden gems. But with 1 day in Helsinki, you have the above-outlined itinerary, which hopefully is helpful to you!


Safe Travels, Arzo

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Where to Stay in Helsinki – Best Places and Best Hotels 

Helsinki where to stay best hotels all budgets

Where to Stay in Helsinki – Best Places and Best Hotels

If you plan to visit Finland´s capital and are wondering about “where to stay in Helsinki,” the answer is quite simple: If you visit Helsinki, stay in the city center and close to the harbor. BUT there are some exceptions and before it gets too complicated, there are a few alternatives that I have listed for you, but most of the sights and tourist attractions are actually in the center, so it makes the most sense to stay there.

Why visit Helsinki?

Compared to other Scandinavian destinations, accommodations are quite affordable. Helsinki´s proximity to other cool destinations, like Tallinn, Espoo, and Porvoo, make it a good base from which to travel around.

But, of course, there are also enough interesting places in Helsinki itself to visit, so booking an accommodation here does not mean that it is only a gateway to other destinations.

Some of my favorite attractions include: Soumelina Fortress (I absolutely love this island, which served as a fortress and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and can be visited by tourists), The Helsinki Cathedral, the Uspensky Cathedral, the Senate Square, and the Market Square next to the harbor.

Admittedly, the number of sights, as you might know from other cities, is a bit limited, but you´ll also find cool restaurants and cafes, nightclubs, saunas, and shops.

Most of these, and other interesting places for visitors, are located in the center of the city, so it is a good idea to book your hotel there.

If you want to find out about the best things to do in 1 day in Helsinki click here.

However, as is the rule (almost always), you´ll find cheaper places to stay in Helsinki if you stay a bit farther from the city.

Since the city is quite small, it is easy to get around, and it does not take long to get from one place to another.

This is why I have also added a few hotels that are not directly in the heart of Helsinki.

Helsinki skyline

What to Pack for Helsinki

As one of the most nordic cities, it is not – surprise, surprise – as warm and sunny as other European destinations, so make sure to pack accordingly. 

Helsinki - Boat Tour @shutterstock

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

Luxury Hotels in Helsinki

Hotel Kämp

Hotel Kämp is the most luxurious hotel in the city. Located close to the central station, the Presidential Palace, and a few other sights, this place is great for those who enjoy beginning and ending their day in opulence.

Of course, this hotel has a gym, a sauna (which you will also find throughout Finland), restaurants, and spa services.

Click here for for the best rates at Hotel Kämp

Hilton Helsinki

Hilton Helsinki is not directly located in the city center, but you can reach it within 15 minutes (it’s a 6 km drive). You´ll find other tourist attractions close by, like the Sibelius Park.

This hotel has all the amenities and facilities you´ll need – including a pool, gym, business center, and restaurant.

Click here for the best rates at Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa

Mid-Range Hotels in Helsinki

Scandic Passi

This lovely four-star hotel is close to the main Helsinki sights, and its modern design has been influenced by the people who shaped the area.

Whether your want to hit the gym, the library (yes, you read that right), or have a drink at the hotel bar (in summer, the terrace is also open), there are worse ways to end your day than in this hotel.

As a bonus, you can also rent a bike from the hotel and discover the city while riding.

For the best rates at Scandic Passi click here

Hellsten Helsinki Parliament

At Hellsten Helsinki Parliament, you can book an apartment (great for long-term travelers, but also good for a short stay) and prepare your own meals in the kitchen, while still enjoying the benefits of a hotel (including a 24/7 reception desk). 

It is a good choice for those who enjoy being in close proximity to the city center – its name says it all! The Parliament is just a stone’s throw away, and so are other points of interest.

Click here to get the best rates for your stay at Hellsten Helsinki Parliament

Budget Hotels in Helsinki


Eurohostel is not directly in the city center, but rather on Katajanokka.

It is close to the ferry terminal, which makes it perfect if you are also planning a trip to Tallinn, etc. 

Room prices start at 19€ for a triple room, which comes with shared showers and bathrooms.

The reception is open 24/7, the restaurants serve breakfast, snacks, and food until 11pm, but you can use the self-service kitchen as well. For backpackers and budget travelers, the Eurohostel might be a good choice.

Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Eurohostel

Hostel Soumenlinna

If you ask me about my favorite place in Helsinki, my answer is easy: Soumenlinna and so Hostel Soumenlinna

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Must see Place in Helsinki
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

This beautiful, lush island has become one of the most visited places in Helsinki, so it is no surprise that I would love staying here. I recommend this hostel to anyone who is on a budget, a backpacker, or who wants to spend more time on the island.

Suomenlinna is an island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To get there, hop on a boat at Helsinki Harbor and you´ll arrive after a 15-minute ride.

The hostel itself has 39 beds in 8 rooms (you can get a private room as well), a small kitchen, and a lounge area.

You get complimentary coffee and tea and even free Wi-Fi on the island.

Click here for the best rates at Hostel Soumenlinna

Rastila Camping Helsinki

This camping site is located a bit farther out and is great for those who like to spend more time in nature.

Within 20 minutes, you are in the center of Helsinki, so you are not out in the middle of nowhere.

Choose between a cabin, a cottage, a caravan, or a tent pitch. You are provided with all the necessities at the cottages and cabins, so it does not feel like you’re roughing it.

Though it is not close to the hotspots, it is a great choice if you are on a budget – especially if you have a few people with you.

It also comes with a few extras, including five saunas (for a charge), free Wi-Fi (I know, it does not sound fancy, but after all, this is a camping site), a lounge with TV, and a children´s playground.

Click here for the best rates at Rastila Comping Helsinki

I hope, this post has helped you to find the perfect accommodation for your stay in Helsinki. Safe travels and a wonderful time!

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Places to Go in Finland

Best places to visit in Finland


Are you one son those who just think about cold weather and Lapland when thinking about Finland? Then you need to keep reading as Finland has way more to offer than that – there are many beautiful places to visit in Finland and fun things to do and some of my fellow travel bloggers have shared the best places to go in Finland.

Find out where to go in Finland and what to do!


Jessica from Independent Travel Cats

Porvoo is the country’s second oldest town and is probably best know for its historic Old Town and colorful riverside warehouses.

Provo in Finland a must see place
@Independent Travel Cats

One of our favorite things was to do a walking tour of the historic area which included stops at the city’s historic cathedral, Old Town Hall, and a view of the city’s red riverside warehouses. 

The town is also notable for its local artists, including Finland’s national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg whose home is not a museum that can be visited. Other popular things to do include shopping, dining alongside the river, cycling, and taking a trip to the nearby Pellinki archipelago. 

One of the things to eat here is the local chocolates from the confectionery maker Brunberg which is based in Porvoo and has been making sweet treats since 1871. The town is compact and most of it is easy to explore on foot. 

The town is located only about a 45 minute drive or 1 hour bus ride from Helsinki, making it an excellent day trip destination or overnight stop from the capital. 

Cyclists can also easily bike here from Helsinki and in the summer you can even take a boat for a slower but more scenic day trip from Helsinki to Porvoo.


Laurence from Finding the Universe

Oulu is Finland’s most northerly city. Found on the bay of Bothnia, this waterside town has something to offer whatever time of year you visit.

Bobby statue and marketplace oulu finland
@Finding the Universe

In the summer the long warm days give rise to a wonderful cafe culture, and the cities waterfront location means there is a lot of scope for water activities – everything from stand up paddle boarding to wilderness canoeing through to just visiting the beach.

In Winter, Oulu becomes the perfect launching spot for all the winter activities you’ve always dreamed of doing – husky sledding, spotting the northern lights, and snowmobiling – to name but a few. 

Winter is also the perfect time to wrap yourself up warm and enjoy Finnish delicacies – don’t forget to try the reindeer and the cloudberries!

Finally, no mention of Oulu would be complete without mentioning its most famous event. Oulu is home to the annual Air Guitar World Championships, where passionate air guitar players from around the world descend on the city to strut their stuff and battle for the title of Air Guitar World Champion. Not to be missed if your visit happens to bring you into Oulu when it’s on!

With the second busiest airport in Finland, Oulu is easily reached by air, both from inside Finland and from further afield. You can also drive here of course.


Nicholas from Rambling Feet

Jyväskylä rarely registers as a place worth visiting for the majority of visitors to Finland, unless a local friend invites them to stay at their summer house or sail on one of the many lakes. 

Jyväskylä in Finland a good place to visit

For most of the year, it’s a lively university town. For fans of the iconic Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, Jyväskylä has a museum that is devoted to his life’s work. Some of his buildings, including the said museum, the police headquarters and the labour club, are in the centre and in the surrounding countryside. 

For everyone else, these spaces, with their clean design and references to nature, are the stuff of Pinterest envy.

In early August, the university students may have returned home for the holidays but, for a single weekend, thousands take their place in the town. 

They come for the annual Rally Finland, the World Rally Championship’s blue riband event. Over four days, the world’s best drivers (sorry, Formula 1 fans) race their steeds through the forest, on some of the most famous stages in rallying: Harju, Ouninpohja, Ruuhimaki, just to name a few. 

Major car brands such as Toyota, Citroen, Ford and Hyundai have teams in the championship.

It’s a very slick operation, with the teams’ service park, the victory celebrations and at least one stage being in the heart of the Jyväskylä, and shuttle buses to selected stages. 

Finland places to visit
@Rambling Feet

Accommodation gets fully-booked months ahead of this period, however; if you get to go for at least one day, the atmosphere can be infectious. 

Finns love their comfortable silence but they’re at their noisiest here, especially when the cars go sideways and fly through the air!


Mary from The Life Long Adventures

Salla, located in Lapland, Finland near the Russian boarder, is a beautifully remote village and municipality north of the Arctic Circle. 

Sale visit in Finland
@The Long Life Adventure

A two hour drive from Rovaniemi over frozen, icy roads, Salla is a popular winter destination and one of the best places to visit in Finland.

As part of our winter road trip through Finland over the Christmas holidays we stayed at Sallatunturin Tuvat in a rustic two-bedroom cottage. 

We had a wonderfully warm private sauna and a fire place with a pile of wood waiting for us to use. While staying at Sallatunturin Tuvat we had a sense of being in a super remote and romantic arctic destination. 

At the same time, the cottages were surprisingly easy to reach and only a few minutes from the village’s restaurants and other conveniences.

While Salla is probably most well known for its downhill and cross-country skiing, we visited for one of its more unique experiences – a reindeer safari. 

The Salla Reindeer Park offers a six hour excursion during which we rode in a reindeer-drawn sled out into the snow-covered wilderness. 

Sledding with husky dogs in Lapland Finland

The jingling of sleigh bells echoed against the snow-capped evergreens as we were pulled across frozen lakes and through an icy forest. We stopped at an enclosure to feed our reindeer before heading back to a traditional Sami hut to warm ourselves near an indoor fire. 

The Salla Reindeer Safari was a magical and educational experience that 

I would recommend to anyone visiting the area.

Lapland Region

Jessica from Independent Travel Cats

Lapland is Finland’s northernmost region and a sparsely populated part of the country. 

Lapland and northern lights

The area is probably best suited for adventure seeker type travelers and although there are plenty of things to do here all year round, winter is a special time of year to enjoy the subarctic wilderness! 

There are loads of things to do in Finland during winter in this region, which include skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, saunas followed by jumping into freezing lakes, dog sledding, kicksledding, and sleeping in ice hotels. 

Most activities in the winter end with a campfire gathering which usually includes stories, coffee, pulla (Finnish sweet roll), and sausages. 

Lapland is also an area where there is a good chance to see the Northern Lights on a clear evening as all of Lapland is either near or north of the Arctic Circle. 

There are specially designed glass igloos that you can sleep in so you can view the Northern Lights without leaving your bed! 

If you come during summer, there are loads of hiking trails, biking opportunities, national parks to visit, and you can also experience the Midnight Sun. 

The region’s main city Rovaniemi is well-known for being the home for Santa Claus (he’s there year round!), the Arktikum Museum & Arctic Science Centre, and the architecture of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. 

What to see in Finland
Santa Claus Home @shutterstock

Rovaniemi is a great place to stay and book tours. While in Lapland we’d also recommend taking the opportunity to meet and learn about the Sámi, the only indigenous people in the EU and a group that is fighting to preserve its language and heritage in northern Europe.


Alta from Stingy Nomads

Helsinki in our opinion is one of the underrated European capitals. Quite small compared to Paris, London or Berlin Helsinki has its own unique vibe and mood, it’s a city comfortable for living, safe, optimal for cycling and easy to commute.

Scenic summer panorama of the Market Square (Kauppatori) at the Old Town pier in Helsinki, Finland

Some people think it’s boring, but they are wrong, there are plenty of things to see and to do here. Helsinki is located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland; its harbor is one of the most popular weekend places (mostly in summer).

If it’s a sunny day, you’ll see many people walking around enjoying short northern summer. There are plenty of bars and restaurants with open terraces where you can have traditional Finnish salmon soup or just eat delicious local ice-cream.

Of course, the Market square is not only a ferry departure place it hosts the daily food market (Mon-Sat, in summer on Sun) that is opened from early morning till late afternoon. And if you’re lucky to be here in summer you’ll be delighted with all the forest and garden berries you can buy; strawberry, raspberry, bilberry and cloudberry (the best and the most expensive one).

If you come here in autumn, then it’s mushroom not to miss fried potatoes with forest mushrooms. In winter it’s a Christmas market where you can get a cup of hot coffee or chocolate with ginger cookies. 

The main Helsinki symbol is the cathedral that crowns the city center, it looks very impressive and is basically visible from anywhere in the city. Modern art lovers will find interesting Kiasma, a contemporary arts museum, the building itself is a piece of modern art.

And the last but not the least place to visit in Helsinki is Sibelius monument dedicated to the greatest Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, it’s one of the most interesting and inspiring monuments I’ve ever seen. 

Click here for a one day Helsinki itinerary and if you are looking for the perfect Helsinki accommodation click here.


Jane  from Scarlet Jones Travels

Don’t ignore Tampere which is charming even in the depths of the winter months.  It’s a great city to visit because it’s compact, easy to get around and it has a fascinating mix of old and new.

Best places to visit in Finland
@Scarlet Jones Travels

Tampere was founded on industry during the Industrial Revolution thanks to the river that cuts through the middle of the city and which to this day provides power for the city. 

The river banks are taken up with the red brick buildings that once housed the factories and the mills and which now host galleries, shopping malls and government buildings; however you don’t have to venture far to discover some beautiful walks in the country next to lakes or through the forest.

Tampere has more than its fair share of museums too.  Some of them are in bright shiny new buildings, others share space in some of the old mills and most of them cover some rather specialist topics, such as spies, ice hockey or the Moomins to name just a few.

You will find streets lined with the impossibly delicate looking wooden houses plus churches and cathedrals that range from the plain and austere to the onion-topped spires of the Russian Orthodox church.

You can go to the beach, climb the observation tower in the forest at Pynnikki Park or warm your hands around a mug of hot chocolate in a steamy little cafe if you visit in the winter months.


Megan from Megan Starr

Finland is a stunning spot in Eastern Lapland along the border of Russia that is one of the most picturesque places I have ever had a chance to visit!

reindeer in Kuusamo
@Megan Staar

I recently went up there and had the opportunity to visit Ruka, a very well-known ski resort.

Ruka is one of Finland’s premier ski resorts and I had the chance to learn how to snowboard there.  I was definitely no pro by the end of it, but I can’t wait to try it again.

Kuusamo also has many Sami people and you can visit reindeer farms and learn about the culture of the people and families that rely on reindeer in their everyday lives.

Many activities exist in the Kuusamo region of Finland- everything from husky sledding to living a ‘Day as a Finn’ to hikes in the Oulanka National Forest to ice climbing and snowmobiling!

I went in winter, but the activities were endless!  In summer, the region is known for its bears!  You can even go spotting brown bears when there- something I am so keen to do in the future.

This is a can’t-miss area of Finland that will leave you wanting more and planning another trip back to Lapland.


Lena from Travel Monkey Blog

Though some people consider Espoo to be just a suburb of Helsinki, people living in Espoo claim that it is actually the seconds biggest city in Finland.

Best holiday spots in Finland
@Travel Monkey Spot

Not only that but also it has a healthy startup balance with many young companies choosing to base themselves exactly in Espoo. 

But besides the size and good career prospects, Espoo has something else to offer to an adventurous visitor and that would be the getaway to the Nuuksio national park outside the city. 

Just a short 15-minute ride from Espoo or 40 minutes’ drive from Helsinki you’ll find yourself in the real wilderness of Nordic natural beauty. In the summertime, people come here for water activities in the lakes, such as kayaking, swimming, and fishing. It is a popular place for hikes and just being out in nature.

Winter, on the other hand, turns Nuuksio national park into a totally different setting, where you’ll be mesmerized by snowy pine peaks and selection of winter activities to do.

The list includes ice finish, snowshoeing and, of course, taking loads of pictures of a winter wonderland. This is the ideal place to try camping in one of the traditional Finnish tents with a fireplace inside for making tea and frying pancakes. 

Whenever you decide to go, Nuuksio national park could be your day trip from Helsinki.


Misha from Lemonicks

When I think of a great place to visit, Saimaa in Finland comes first to my mind. Couple, friends or family, Saimaa is for everybody.

You can visit Saimaa both in summer and winter. I like it as a winter destination when all you see is white around you.

The famous Saimaa Lake is frozen and one can do a lot of indoors and outdoors activities.

If you enjoy ice fishing, you can try it at the lake. Your guide can help you dig a small hole in the thick ice of the lake and then it’s pretty much up to your luck and patience.

Cross country skiing on the frozen lake is another popular winter activity. I was more than happy to see the skiers went whizzing past me.

What I like most is snowmobiling. I have done it in a few countries and loved doing it here as well. Sturdy and comfortable, snowmobiles are cooler way to explore the vast expanse of area. Have you ever tried ice swimming in that sub-zero temperature? Lake Saimaa is the answer. Another activity is skating on the frozen lake.

When the snow is fresh and knee deep, I like to go for snowshoeing.

Probably you’d want to go for a reindeer safari?

Among indoor activities, there is a very popular indoor park, Angry Bird Park. Children and adults both enjoy it equally.

Jacuzzi, swimming pool, Sauna and spa treatments are some of the other indoor activities.


Nienke the Travel Tester

Seinäjoki lies in the Southern Ostrobothnia region in West-Finland, a pleasant 3 hour train ride from Helsinki’s Central Station.

Finland where to visit
@Travel Tester

At the Alma hotel, located right next to the station, you have the chance to spend the night in the old water tower of the town and unwind in your personal en-suite sauna. The restaurant dates back to 1909 and was used by the railroad workers back in the day.

In Winter, temperatures are around -25 tot -30 degrees Celsius, so pack up warm and get active! ‘Komiat Hetket’ is a company specializing in various experiences in the Finnish wilderness and with them, you can go Nordic walking, snowshoeing, kicksledding, ice fishing, learn wilderness skills or even build your own igloo.

Warm up with traditional Finnish coffee and a ‘monki’, a donut-like pastry filled with blueberries.

For the kids, the ‘Duudsonit Activity Park’ is another highlight. ‘The Dudesons’ are a four-man stunt group with similar fame as the guys from the ‘Jackass’ TV-series.

At the park, you can experience what it’s like to roll down a hill in a shopping cart, shoot balls at people trying to complete an obstacle course or jump into an ocean of foam blocks and hit the trampolines, just to name a few things.

Art lovers can explore the ‘Taidehalli’ (Art Hall), which offers changing exhibitions of modern art and architecture fans will recognize the many buildings by famous architect Alvar Aalto.

The white church (‘Cross on the Plain’) was the first building erected in Seinäjoki and both outside as inside are by Aalto’s hand.


Laurence from Finding the Universe

The town of Rauma in western Finland is an absolute must-visit when in Scandinavia, and is an easy day trip from Helsinki or Stockholm.

Finland - Best things to do

The old town centre is a UNESCO world heritage site, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s the largest and best preserved old wooden town centre in Scandinavia, consisting of 600 old wooden buildings spread out across 70 acres, with the oldest buildings dating from the 18th century.

So naturally, a walk through the old town centre should be high on your to-do list for Rauma, where you’ll find a range of specialist shops as well as historic and artistic highlights.

There’s more to Rauma than the old town centre too, impressive though that is. Rauma is renowned for its lace-making, and you’ll want to stop in to see lace being made in the traditional way, and maybe even give it a go yourself, or, failing that, buy a hand-made piece of lace.

We picked up a lovely pair of lace earrings for example, which are certainly among the more unusual earrings Jess has!

Finally, Rauma is located on the coast, which opens up a world of possibilities. There are 300 islands of the Rauma archipelago to explore, which can be accessed by water taxi in summer – or you can skate to them in Winter!

As you can see, Finland has so much to offer – and with the tips of the best places to go in Finland, you hopefully got inspired to visit Finland.

Are you convinced that there is more to see in Finland? Which of these places have you visited or added on your bucket list?

Safe Travels, Arzo

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