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Our Expert Guide to Finland Tourist Attractions

A land of snow, ice...and excellent shopping. You don't want to miss these crowd-pleasers

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The Northern Lights behind snow-covered trees in Lapland, Finland

The home of Father Christmas (or Santa Claus if you prefer) was never going to be dull. Speckled with dazzling snowy peaks and rugged archipelagos, the country’s terrain is as beautiful as it is diverse. It’s a place where ice becomes something more than the stuff you can scrape off the inside of your freezer - ice climbing, ice skating, ice fishing and even ice karting are popular activities in this scenic slippery spot. Skiing and snow shoeing continue the theme of cold activities, while the Aurora Borealis will make for an unforgettable sight. The array of vodkas popular with the locals here will keep you warm and toasty through until summer, when the lakes unfreeze and the sun lingers long into the dawn. Towering forests and vibrant meadows delight the eyes, while the towns and cities take you back to a bygone era with their wooden edifices. And here at Plum Guide, we've taken it upon ourselves to ensure that you don't miss any of the most impressive points of interest in this captivating country, by putting our expert heads together (you're welcome). So without further ado, here is our guide to the very best Finland tourist attractions.

Visit the Santa Claus Village, Lapland

A small Father Christmas figurine on display at the Santa Claus Village, Lapland, Finland

A small Father Christmas figurine on display at the Santa Claus Village, Lapland, Finland

It’s the first name on the lips of many visitors to Finland - particularly those with kids. There’s nothing quite like belief in Santa as a child, and here to make it feel all the more real is the Santa Claus Village. Packed away in the snowy valleys of Lapland, the complex is a child’s dream. Here, you can enter Santa’s Post Office to see the fable come to life. As if that weren’t enough to satiate your children's enthusiasm, there are reindeer sleigh rides and husky rides that’ll take you out into the snowy hinterland. You can even take on the ice karting, before skiing down the slopes of the Yllas Ski Resort. Don’t miss the Science Centre Pilke and the Angry Birds Park.

Saint Nicholas, Plum Guide home in Lapland, Finland

Saint Nicholas, Plum Guide home in Lapland, Finland

Take a trip to Portsa, Turku

One of the main Finland tourist attractions is its array of old wooden towns that give us a window into the country’s old-world origins. Turku is the oldest city in Finland, and its historic quarter of Portsa comprises a remarkable set of wooden buildings divided by narrow cobbled lanes that are like something out of a storybook. Another wooden town worth seeing is Old Porvoo, which is just a one-hour drive from Helsinki. The districts of Vallila and Käpylä are also packed with wooden villages.

Nature's Way, Plum Guide home in Finland

Nature's Way, Plum Guide home in Finland

Tackle some ice fishing in North Ostrobothnia

Two people ice fishing at sunset in Finland

Two people ice fishing at sunset in Finland

Remember all that talk above about ice? Well, it’s a big part of the culture up in these northern climbs. Delve into North Ostrobothnia for all sorts of fun and exceptional activities. You could rush down the slopes of the Ruka Ski Resort, or go chocolate tasting in Oulu. But something that is just so typically Finnish is ice fishing. Head to Nallikari to take up the ice fishing tour, and sit in chairs by a fire in the snow. Eat the fish that you catch, and catch up with old friends in this relaxing and beautiful setting, as the sun escapes the horizon beside you. While in the area, bring your little ones to the Kujala Reindeer Farm and enjoy a picnic in the Ainolan Puisto park.

Winter Solstice, Plum Guide home in Finland

Winter Solstice, Plum Guide home in Finland

Marvel at the Fortress of Suomenlinna

Some of the best Finland tourist attractions can be found by hopping from island to island. And the Fortress of Suomenlinna is one of the most intriguing features you’ll find gracing these historic islets. It was constructed in the second part of the 18th century, and is now a UNESCO site. It is part of the archipelago situated in front of the harbour in Helsinki, so can be visited in an afternoon while staying in the nation’s capital. Continue across the other islands just off Helsinki to see some of the other fortresses and dungeons dotted across them.

Milky Quartz, Plum Guide home in Finland

Milky Quartz, Plum Guide home in Finland

Spend your money at Kauppatori

Breads, pastries and croissants on display in a bakery in Helsinki, Finland

Breads, pastries and croissants on display in a bakery in Helsinki, Finland

So, as difficult as this word might look, it is simply designating the market square. Right by the Helsinki Harbour, the market takes pride of place, and is a great starting point for seeing some of the most historic and impressive landmarks in the city. Pick up fresh salmon and ripe berries as well as foraged woodland mushrooms that just taste like Finland. Saunter along the Esplanadi in summer, and enjoy a meal at the Kappeli restaurant beside the bandstand.

Enjoy a day in the Design District

While in Helsinki, it’s time to gather your bags and wallets/purses for a trip to the Design District. It comprises elegant Scandinavian-design buildings at the centre of Finland’s creative world. Purchase antiques from the alternative shops, delve through the luxury boutiques and rummage through the exhibits of the upscale art galleries.

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