7 unusual places to visit in Finland

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Top 9 informal sights in Finland

There are plenty of interesting places to visit in Finland to get a better understanding of the country, its rhythm of life and the Finns themselves. Many of these “informal attractions” are quite unknown and even some Finns are unaware of their existence.

Top 9 informal attractions in Finland

Oil Tank 468

The construction is a steel tank in the form of a cylinder. Probably not to forget the year of construction of the art object, there are 2012 holes in its body. All of them have the same size. And in these holes are mirrors: for this reason, the building in the daylight shimmers with many reflections and colors. And at night an artificial lighting works, which colors the walls in all shades of red. The oil tank has become a venue for cultural events. The author of the art object is Tapio Rosenius. He has already won numerous awards for his work. In addition the Petroleum Storage Facility 468 was of great interest for professionals in the field of light installations. And the general public – they come here for the first time.

Nyasi’s Stone

Nyasi Stone is a huge boulder. It appeared on the territory of Porvoo city thanks to the continental glacier. But of course, there is an interesting legend about the origin of this place. People used to think that a real giant threw this fragment of rock on Näsinmäki Hill. He liked to spend his time in peace and quiet, he liked to sleep in the mornings and he lived on the rock in the village of Suomenküla. But construction began on a church in Porvoo, and from morning till night craftsmen were pounding and hammering on the rocks with hammers and sledgehammers. And that’s when the giant became angry. But he did not start a showdown, but simply plugged his ears with moss every time. It was that Sunday afternoon when the construction of the church came to an end. And the new copper bells of the church tower rang and rang over Porvoo. That’s when the giant became furious. The peace-lover picked up a huge stone and tossed it toward the city, but did not reach the bells. So the big stone fell on the coastal hill of Näsinmäki. There, in fact, it lies to this day. And the giant himself, if the legend is to be believed, went to live in the remote forests of Sipoo. The stone was known as a tourist attraction in Porvoo back in the late 1800s.

Näsinmäki Hill, Porvoo

Miina Jakkiyurkkä’s Autokorovs

Miina Jakkiurkka is apparently a fan of cows. They’re not bad animals, by the way. The woman collects unusual sculptures, and she really considers cows her muse. As the creator of unusual installations says herself, she loves cars and agriculture since childhood. And cows, of course. All the art-objects made by the artist and designer Miina repeat the outlines of cloven-hoofed animals. To make another cow, the talented craftswoman buys used cars from all over the country. She transforms them into gigantic iron monuments. The installations look so imposing that the real cows look like toys next to them. The colorful metal cows, so skillfully crafted from parts of old cars, graze on the capital’s lawn between the Hakaniemi Bridge and the Sørnainen Embankment.

Between the Hakaniemi Bridge and Sörnainen Embankment, Helsinki

Stone Castle on Devil’s Mountain

The stone castle on Devil’s Mountain was built by the artist Emil Danielson for his own atelier. The structure is built of stones and stands on a hill called Devil’s Mountain. For more than half a century, the building was used as an art atelier. From the territory of the castle you can admire an amazing panorama of the surrounding area. The unusual castle on the Devil’s Mountain is not only historically and architecturally interesting. You can go inside and appreciate the works of Emil Danielson. Guests of this place note both picturesque views and amazing atmosphere.

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Ellivuorentie 131, 38130 Sastamala

Paateri Church

Paateri Church can be found 25 kilometers south of Lieksa. The church is unique in that the structure is made of pine-tree. This construction is the most famous work of the Finnish wood sculptor Eva Ryunyanen. Seeing it for the first time and not knowing anything about it, you would think that this is not a church at all, but a hut carved from solid wood. Looking at the structure, you can see the carved doors and the beautiful glass facade in the high-tech style. Furthermore, the church of Paateri is also notable for its interior filling. The altar is also made in an unusual vision and surprising in shape – in the form of a huge rhizome. Everything that stands inside the structure – benches, crucifixes and even icons – is also made of wood.

Paateri 21, Lieksa

Hanging Bridge in Lapinsalmi

The view from here is spectacular. The view from here is spectacular not only because the bridge is located in a beautiful national park. Crossing the bridge at Lapinsalmi requires real courage, and for many it becomes an important test of oneself. Hanging crossing connects the eastern and western side of Lapinsalmi Strait. The bridge is located at a height of 10 meters. It is called one of the most interesting sights of this region. The bridge weighs 50 tons. The length of it reaches 50 meters. On the east side there is an equipped parking lot. In addition, there is an area for making fires and a lean-to, where you can wait out in bad weather or have a rest.

Putronniemi, Karhunpäntie 101, Taipalsaari

“The Maid of Imatra

The northern part of the island between the two arms of the Vuoksa is partly devoid of natural charm. Among the neat paths there is a system of fountains with a sculptural element. The nude bronze “Virgin of Imatra”, which is installed in memory of the dead here, lies on her back. It is worth saying that the girl was originally conceived floating, but often the water level is lower. That’s why it seems as if the Virgin slides over the water surface. The monument is also unique in another way. This is the only monument to suicides in the world. But tourists still do not bypass it, despite the tragic subtext. The creation belongs to Finnish sculptor Taysto Martiskainen. To find the sculpture is not difficult: from the hotel-castle you have to go to the bridge, cross it and go down the stairs on the left side of the road. Thus, you will get to the place where the fountain with the statue is located.

Imatrankoski 55100 Imatra

The Roots of the City

This installation in the form of signs decorates the ceiling of the Kamppi subway station. In total, the installation consists of 375 signs. The exact coordinates and directions of the signs were determined by geographer Nina Kolu from the University of Helsinki, and the lighting was designed by light artist Taneli Pyusalo. The art object itself is a figment of sculptor Otto Karvanen’s imagination. Signs directly through the ground indicate the direction of settlements. According to the author’s idea, the plaques mark only the places where people who now live in Helsinki moved. But, of course, not all are indicated. Among the signs we found a plate with the name “Kondopoga”. They say there should be Petrozavodsk, but it has not been found yet.

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Kamppi metro station, Helsinki

“Silent People: A Field of Scarecrows

An intriguing art object is located near the town of Kuusamo, or to be more precise, near the highway N5 between Kuusamo and the village of Suomussalmi. The ominous sight, which can be called a spectacle clearly not for the faint-hearted, is on the left side of the road. Indeed, if you see the art object for the first time and not knowing that it is there, it can be very scary. And the view is creepy: a large field in the middle of nowhere, which is filled with hundreds of stuffed animals in the form of men, women and children. They are all dressed in colorful clothes, and some of them have freakish hairstyles on their heads. The author of this intimidating art-object is the Finnish artist and dancer Reijo Kela Dannaj. Heads of scarecrows are made of bog bumps. The unusual exhibition is called “Silent People”. The installation has been standing there since 1994 and naturally attracts travelers’ attention by right.

Cities of Finland – where to go?

Finland is situated in the northern part of Europe between Sweden in the west and Russia in the east. Widely known for its effective medicine and education, which is ranked among the best in the world. Finland is one of the most popular countries in Europe among travelers. People come here for the uniquely beautiful nature.

In this article I have compiled a list of cities in Finland, where you can go on a weekend or a longer vacation with your family, child or alone, winter or summer. Especially if you are going to Finland for the first time and do not know where to go.

Map of Finland with cities in Russian

Worthwhile cities to visit in Finland

Helsinki

Best cities in Finland

Helsinki, Finland © iceninejon / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Helsinki is Finland’s main city, its capital and largest city. Next door in the Baltic Sea is a striking archipelago of 330 islands. The best way to explore Helsinki is on foot and by public transportation.

It is best to come here in summer, because in the neighborhoods of Helsinki, there are many beautiful places: parks, houses with beautiful architecture, lakes, which is better to visit when the weather is comfortable warm. In addition, at this time, children go on vacation somewhere, and in the city there are many festivals and parties.

As many other capitals, Helsinki has a lot to offer tourists. This is an interesting tour and restaurants, where you can try unusual dishes of Finnish cuisine. In Helsinki, many restaurants that cook in “grandma’s style,” that is based on local culinary traditions. Where to go shopping in Finland, is in Helsinki.

Tampere

Best cities in Finland

City of Tampere, Finland © snoopsmaus / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Another great option for where to go in Finland is the city of Tampere. You’ll find it in the southern part of Finland, squeezed like a sausage in the dough between two lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. These lakes are very popular with fishermen, you can go boating and fishing here. Nearby are many public saunas. And sauna is known to be a favorite pastime among Finns. In Tampere is also best to come in summer.

Tampere is the second largest city in Finland and is known for its rich cultural life. There are many museums, one even dedicated to Lenin. Tampere is popular with tourists and locals alike. If you come here, be sure to go to the amusement park Särkänniemi (Särkänniemi), which is known throughout the country. Especially if you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love the abundance of rides, slides and merry-go-rounds.

Espoo

Where to go to Finland with a child

Espoo City, Finland © saadchdhry / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

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Espoo is another major city in Finland and is easily accessible from Helsinki. Espoo is home to the country’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary art, the Espoo Museum Modern Art, and it’s far from the only museum in the city.

Travellers who are interested in outdoor activities and don’t have time to explore the rest of Finland other than the capital and surrounding areas can come to Espoo for the Nuuksio National Park.

In Espoo you’ll find 11 beaches by the sea and 10 by the lakes, and 165 islands, each of which can be explored.

Vaasa

distance between Finnish cities

Vaasa City, Finland © timokoo / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

The city of Vaasa is called the sunniest in Finland. This is not the most popular tourist destination, compared with other cities. But it attracts students from all over the world to study in three languages: Finnish, Swedish and English. Just imagine this wild mix of students and the very visible influence of different cultures in a small town.

There are many national monuments in the center of Vaasa, this city suffered the most from the invasion of the Russians.

If you like active sports, opportunities to go rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, and just walk around the local lake are at your disposal.

Vaasa is located north of the capital. You can get to this town from Helsinki by train in 4 hours, so you had better find a place to stay overnight to explore the city.

Porvoo

largest cities in Finland

Porvoo, Finland © krolchatina / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Porvoo is on the south coast of Finland east of Helsinki. Porvoo is over 600 years old and is the second oldest city in Finland. Porvoo is a classic old town and a walk through its streets has a calming effect on every visitor. The best way to explore the city is on foot or by bicycle.

One of the symbols of Porvoo are the pretty red houses on the waterfront. You can buy a boat ride and admire them from the water. It is well worth the view. Porvoo has lots of cafes and restaurants. You can easily get here by bus. It takes you an hour and a half and you get a completely different vibe to the bustling city of Helsinki.

Turku

oldest city in Finland

Turku City, Finland © salmiac / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Turku is the former capital of Finland. It is located at the mouth of the Aura River on the southwest coast of Finland. It is the third largest city after Helsinki and Tampere. Turku has a very well-developed network of public transport, with which you can easily reach all corners of the city.

The main attraction of the city is Turku Castle, one of the main attractions of Finland. On the waterfront of Turku very many restaurants where you can eat a delicious meal overlooking the river. It’s best to come here in the summer because of the pleasant weather and the many festivals that take place from June to September.

If you want to take in Sweden as well, there are luxury cruises from Turku to Stockholm.

Pori

the second largest city in Finland

City of Pori, Finland © 110608682@N04 / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Located on the west coast of Finland, Pori is a major center of education in the country. In addition to science, Pori hosts many cultural events of interest to both local and foreign tourists. The most important of them is the annual jazz festival (Pori Jazz Festival).

Another place of attraction in Pori is Yyteri Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Finland with a good infrastructure.

Pori also attracts thousands of bird watchers who come to watch the birds as they migrate through the delta.

Mariehamn, Aland Islands

beautiful cities in Finland in winter

Mariehamn Town, Finland © infomastern / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

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Mariehamn is the capital of the Aland Islands, which is an autonomous territory under Finnish sovereignty. The area is also known as the “Heart of the Baltic Sea. Åland Islands was once the largest sailing fleet in the world and romantically called “the port of the last windmills. There are white sand beaches, rocky shores dotted with furry flocks of sheep, the sea winding among numerous islands, ruins of old castles and green spruce groves everywhere.

You can go kayaking and hiking here, as almost everywhere else in Finland. In Mariehamn you will find several architectural wooden houses that remind you of Finland’s history. It has a very peaceful atmosphere and is an ideal place for families.

An interesting fact about Mariehamn: Even though it is officially part of Finland, 88% of the islanders speak Swedish. The population of the Aland Islands do not pay taxes, there is also a duty-free zone.

Savonlinna

where to go with your child

City of Savonlinna, Finland © yuenchiyan / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Savonlinna is a province in southeastern Finland, surrounded by beautiful nature and lakes. It is infamous for its culture and environment, which makes Savonlinna extremely attractive to both local and foreign tourists. They come here to see the old castles, including the famous Olavinlinna Castle or Olafsborg by Lake Saimaa.

In addition to castles Savonlinna is known for two national parks Kolovesi and Linnansaari.

In Savonlinna it is a great place to go hiking, canoeing, diving, kayaking and cycling.

Rovaniemi, Lapland

santa claus town in Finland

Rovaniemi, Finland © johnlsl / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Rovaniemi is the main city in Lapland, the northernmost province of Finland. It is here that the residence of the world famous Santa Claus is located and the Santa Park is built. If you do not know where to go in Finland in winter with children, choose Rovaniemi. The choice is obvious, many people come to Lapland in winter, especially during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Here half the year is the polar night, when the sun barely rises over the horizon, and half the year is the polar day, when the nights are white and the sun barely rises over the horizon. People come to Lapland to see the northern lights. It shines almost 200 nights a year.

Come for the wildlife, the skiing at the many resorts, or sledding with reindeer or husky, hiking near the Swedish border and exploring the ancient wooden churches.

If the romance of the north beckons you, Lapland is one of the best places in the world to experience it for yourself.

Salla

Finland city Rovaniemi

City of Salla, Finland © raoulvanwijk / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Salla is a municipality in Lapland. Usually, locals come here for the weekend to ski, snowboard and various sleds, then with huskies, then with reindeer. People come here both in winter and summer. If you’re going in winter, I suggest having a good sauna and dive into the cold Finnish lake (if health allows).

Jyväskylä

what cities in Finland are worth visiting

Jyväskylä, Finland © 94704573@N03 / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Jyväskylä is a university town in central Finland. It is also known as the “Athens of Finland.” This is the only place in the world where you will see many buildings created by the famous Finnish architect – Alvar Aalto.

Kemi

most beautiful city in Finland in winter

City of Kemi, Finland © artofbackpacking / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Kemi is another city in Lapland. It is home to one of the most popular tourist attractions, Ice Castle, the world’s largest structure made of snow, where you can even spend the night.

There is also the world’s only Arctic icebreaker, Sampo, which takes tourists on cruises.

The rest of the attractions here are not particularly original, all the same northern lights hunting, skiing and sledding.

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Kuhmo

cities in english

Kuhmo, Finland © wwwwolf / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Kuhmo is an ideal place to explore Finland’s wildlife. Kuhmo is best known for its annual Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, which runs for two weeks. In Kuhmo there are also a record number of 600 lakes, offering a wide variety of water activities for tourists. You can explore the city by swimming from one lake to another.

Kajaani

interesting cities in Finland not far from the border

Kajaani, Finland © yourbartender / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Kajaani is located in the heart of Finland. This place is popular with fishermen who come to Lake Oulu (Oulu). In addition to fishing there is a wonderful castle of Kajaani and peaceful safaris, during which you can watch bears. Such an adventure you will never forget.

Oulu

where to go in Finland

City of Oulu, Finland © krolchatina / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Oulu is the oldest city in Finland, located in the northern part of the country and very proud of being the best place to go to explore the Arctic. It’s easily accessible from anywhere in the country, which is what all nature lovers who love to hike and hunt for the northern lights do.

In winter Oulu is covered by a thick layer of snow, which creates perfect conditions for all winter sports.

Joensuu

First time in Finland

City of Joensuu, Finland © hsivonen / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Joensuu was founded by Russian Emperor Nicholas the First, it is the capital of Karelia. The city is located in southeastern Finland. It is best to come here in the summer. Thanks to its young citizens Joensuu has acquired several interesting places, one of which is the Botanical Gardens of Botania, where you will find exotic plants and butterflies, the beauty of which is breathtaking.

Also, Joensuu is home to such Finnish delicacies as Karelian pie and stew. Foodies, get your bellies ready.

Lappeenranta

where to go shopping in Finland

Lappeenranta, Finland © alvaroo / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

The city of Lappeenranta is known for the Lake Saimaa by which it stands. This is another city in Finland worth a weekend trip to. Many people get here by the lake to sunbathe on the nice beaches in the summer heat. Yes, it can be hot in Finland in the summer.

Seurasaari

where to go in Finland in winter

Seurasaari City, Finland © bertogg / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Seurasaari is just west of Helsinki. It is a green and tranquil island in the Baltic Sea. Here is probably the most famous open-air museum in Europe. Wooden barns, carved manor houses, rowing boats bobbing on the water, and village houses designed to showcase the traditional Finnish way of life. In addition to the museum, the island is also known for its secluded beaches (hello, nudists).

Overnight stays are available in Helsinki.

Hameenlinna

sights Finland city fortress

Hameenlinna, Finland © kmoliver / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

People come to Hämeenlinna to see with their own eyes the old Swedish castle, built as early as 1200 to provide trade routes on the way back to the Gulf of Bothnia. It is often used for picnics by locals and just to relax in a beautiful place.

Levi

shopping in Finland where to go from Peter

Levi, Finland © eirikso / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

If you don’t know where to go in Finland in winter, consider Levi – it is the northernmost and largest ski resort in Finland. There are already 43 slopes of varying difficulty, 230 km of trails for cross-country skiers and special trails for skiers. There is even a special park for snowboarders.

See the price statistics from Level Travel, and I advise to buy tours at Onlinetours.

That’s all. I have listed all the interesting cities in Finland that are worth visiting. To better orient yourself, study the map of Finland with cities in Russian, which is at the beginning of the article. If you have something to add, welcome to the comments)

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