Finland: Top 7 Sights

15 must-see places to visit in Finland

Finland is a small country, but you can explore it endlessly. Each trip will be a discovery of this country from a new side. Where to start exploring Finland? We have selected for you the top 15 most interesting cities and regions that you should see first.

Finland. Photo: alltop10.org

Helsinki.

It is the largest city of Suomi, where live more than 630 thousand people. The city was founded on June 12, 1550 by the Swedish King Gustav Vasa, but only in 1812 he became the capital of Finland. Located on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, this city is considered one of the coldest capitals in the world: the average annual temperature here is only about + 5 C. Helsinki is situated on about 300 islands and its main attractions are St. Nicholas Cathedral designed by Carl Ludwig Engel, Assumption Cathedral – the largest orthodox cathedral in Western Europe and Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) Fortress. Helsinki is the only city in Suomi, where there are streetcars and subways. The largest museums of the country are concentrated here – for example, the famous throughout Europe Kiasma, the art museum Ateneum, the Helsinki City Museum, which you can visit for free. Helsinki is famous for its design district and amusement park Linnanmᾃki. Only here you will see a unique church in the rock, an innovative monument to Sibelius made of metal pipes. Countless music and art festivals do not let anyone get bored in the capital.

Helsinki

Daily trips from St. Petersburg to Helsinki

  • Comfortable buses or minibuses
  • Booking by phone +7 (812) 501-82-10
  • Cost from 1600 rubles

Tampere

Tampere is located in the Pirkanmaa Province in southern Finland. It was founded in 1775 by the Swedish King Gustav III. Tampere is famous for its amusement park Särkänniemi with the highest observation platform in Suomi on the Näsinuella tower, the cathedral of the early 20th century with unique frescos by famous Finnish artists, and also a “collection” of more than 20 amazing and unique. Among the latter are the Espionage Museum, the Lenin Museum, the Mummy Troll Museum, the Police Museum, the Sara Hilden Art Museum and many others. By the way, the Finns themselves consider Tampere the most attractive place of Suomi to live.

Näsinuella tower at night

Näsinuella Tower at night

Daily trips from St. Petersburg in Tampere

  • Comfortable buses or minibuses
  • Booking by phone +7 (812) 501-82-10
  • Price from 2300 rubles

3. lapland

It is located in the North of Finland and most of it is above the Arctic Circle. It is the largest reindeer breeding region in Europe – there are about 200 thousand reindeer, taken care of by more than 6 thousand reindeer herders. Lapland is a cultural and linguistic autonomy within Suomi, which has its own capital, Rovaniemi. In this northern region live the Lapps (better known in Russia as the Lapps), one of the indigenous peoples of Suomi, with its unique language, customs and traditions. The most popular attractions in Lapland are Arctic Rainua Zoo, Santa Claus Village, which is the official residence of Finnish Santa Claus Jolupukki, and of course the Northern Lights. By the way, the latter can be seen in the Lapland sky during 150-200 nights a year.

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Northern Lights in Lapland

Northern Lights in Lapland

Tours to Lapland from St. Petersburg

  • Comfortable buses and trains
  • Santa Claus Village
  • Cost from 11 285 rubles

4. Porvoo

Porvoo is located in the region of Eastern Uusimaa in southern Finland. This is the second oldest and one of the most beautiful cities in Suomi. Founded in 1346, Porvoo has preserved its narrow medieval cobblestone streets and the old barns along the Porvoonjoki River painted red, and the 15th century Lutheran Cathedral with its patterned roof, where in March 1809 the Russian Tsar Alexander I proclaimed Finland an autonomous Grand Duchy within Russia. Porvoo is also famous for the pastry store of the Brunberg chocolate factory, which sells the most delicious chocolates in Finland, the house-museum of the famous Finnish poet Rueneberg, who spent many years in Porvoo, and the well-preserved colorful wooden houses of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Medieval streets of Porvoo

Medieval streets of Porvoo

Daily trips from St. Petersburg to Porvoo

  • Comfortable buses or minibuses
  • Booking by phone +7 (812) 501-82-10/
  • Price from 1 600 rubles

5. Savonlinna

A city in the region of South Savo in Eastern Finland, founded by the Swedes in 1475. Savonlinna is often called the Venice of Finland, as more than 40% of the city area is occupied by lakes and rivers. The main attraction of the city – medieval castle Olavinlinna, 15th century, in the walls of which every summer takes place the famous all-European opera festival.

Medieval castle Olavinlinna

Olavinlinna Medieval Castle

6. Lake Saimaa

Saimaa is the largest lake system in Scandinavia, the fourth largest lake in Europe and the first largest lake in Finland. There are 13,700 islands in Saimaa and the length of its coastline is nearly 15,000 km. It is connected to Finland’s bay by the Saimaa Canal, which was built in 1856. Today it is Finland’s main waterway, and also a popular cruise route. During such a cruise you can admire the work of locks and rocky landscapes. On Saimaa stand cities such as Lappeenranta, Mikkeli, Savonlinna, a favorite among tourists. On Saimaa, you can rent a cottage, go fishing, canoeing, bajdarka, boating or yachting. In any of the towns of Saimaa you can rent a board for SUP-surfing. In winter, fishing, ice skating, snowmobiling and floating in ice water (swimming in wetsuits) can also be practiced on Saimaa.

Saimaa Lake System

Saimaa Lake System

7. Turku

A city and port located in southwestern Finland at the confluence of the Aurajoki River into the Archipelago Sea. It is the fifth most populous and the oldest city in Finland. Founded in the 13th century and the former capital of Finland until 1812, Turku is famous for its Cathedral, the well-preserved 13th-century Abos Castle, and the Luostarinmaki Ethnographic Open-Air Crafts Museum. Turku is also officially regarded as Finland’s Christmas capital, with the annual installation of Finland’s main Christmas tree and the largest and most beautiful winter market.

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Turku Cathedral

Turku Cathedral

8. Åland Islands

One of the most fascinating regions of Suomi.They are located on an island archipelago between Sweden and Finland, at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia of the Baltic Sea. Considering all the small skerries and rocks, the composition of Åland has more than 50,000 islets, and 90% of the population here speaks Swedish. Mariehamn, the capital and only city of the archipelago, is named after Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna. In Åland, live less than 30 thousand people, but every year the islanders come to more than 2 million tourists to visit the Mariehamn Museum of Sailing, ride bicycles and motorcycles along the scenic trails, fishing for their pleasure and just enjoy the unhurried island life.

Åland Islands

Åland Islands

9. Koli National Park

Located in eastern Finland in the province of North Karelia. Here you can find the most beautiful place of Finland – the highest peak Ukko-Koli 347 meters above the sea level, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the blue surface of Lake Pielinen and the gentle sloping hills covered with pine forest. According to legend, the famous Finnish composer Jan Sibelius ordered his grand piano to the top of Ukko-Koli and composed music there. According to legend, this is where he composed the future anthem of Finland. Also in Koli Park is a 34-meter narrow cave of a strange shape called “Devil’s Church”, old farms Ollila and Mattila, many beautiful hiking trails and places for picnics and fishing.

Finland in Summer

Free entertainment in Finland

In any trip, it is interesting to visit as many places as possible, but spend as little money as possible. Even though many activities in Finland have become quite expensive since the Euro jump, it is possible to have a great time without paying a cent.

Koli National Park

Koli National Park

10. Oulanka National Park

Located in northern Finland, in Lapland and Northern Ostrobothnia. It is famous for its rough river rapids, pine forests, rugged rock canyons, high hills and landscapes that resemble the wilderness of the Yukon, Alaska and Canada. The famous 80 km long Karhunkierros Bear Circle hiking trail runs through Oulanka Park for a 4-6 day trip. Along the trail, you can see some of the most beautiful scenery in Oulanka and, as the name promises, you can also see bears, wolverines and lynxes.

Oulanka National Park

Oulanka National Park

11. oulu

The sixth largest city in Suomi, as well as the capital of Northern Finland and at the same time the oldest city in the region. Founded in 1605, Oulu stands at the confluence of the Ouluijoki River into the Gulf of Bothnia. The city is famous for its seafood restaurants, bohemian atmosphere, unique museum of northern Ostrobothnia, the northernmost Symphony Orchestra in the world and the strict classic Lutheran cathedral, built in 1777. Oulu is the cultural capital of Finland, and is home to dozens of well-known artists, designers and writers, as well as an annual series of art festivals. For example the Music Video Festival, Musixine music film competition, Invisible Guitar World Championships, Qstock Rock Festival, Oulu Winter Music Festival and more.

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Fish restaurants in Oulu

Fish restaurants in Oulu

12. the Kvarken Archipelago

Located in the Gulf of Bothnia, near the city of Vaasa, is more than 5 thousand islands on an area of nearly 200 thousand hectares. The uniqueness of Kvarken is that it literally keeps growing: every year the ground here rises out of the bay waters by about 1 cm. Next to the natural wonder of the Kvarken archipelago there is a Scandinavian architectural marvel – the longest cable-stayed bridge Replot bridge in Finland, connecting the mainland with the two main islands of the archipelago.

Replot Bridge

Replot Bridge

13. Hämeenlinna

City and municipality on the shores of Lake Vanajavesi, located in Kanta-Häme province in the province of Southern Finland. People lived on this site in Viking times, but Hämeenlinna received its city status only in 1649. The main attraction of the city is the 13th-century Häme Castle, which gave its name to the city. From the late 19th century to the mid 20th century the castle served as a prison for the city, and today you can visit both the medieval part of the castle and the former prison block where hundreds of prisoners were once serving their sentences. Hämeenlinna is the birthplace of the famous Finnish composer Jan Sibelius, and the author of the Scandinavian epic Kalevala Lennrot spent several years here.

Häme Castle

Häme Castle

14. Vaasa

City and municipality in western Finland on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia of the Baltic Sea. It was founded in 1606 and was named after the ancient dynasty of Swedish kings Vaasa (Vasa). The city is only 80 km from the Swedish border, so a quarter of the population here speaks Swedish. The most popular attractions are the Kvarken moraine archipelago, the open-air museum Brage, where you can see the ancient stone maze called the “Witch Circle”. Fun festivals such as the Cow Festival, the Water Carnival or the Kvarken Strait Sea Days are often held in this town.

Old Vaasa

Old Vaasa.

15. Parikkala

An inconspicuous settlement near the Russian-Finnish border. However, the extraordinary sculpture park of the self-taught Veijo Rönkönen attracts thousands of tourists here. Perhaps this is one of the strangest and most mystical places in Finland. The 500 human-sized concrete figures in various poses in the middle of the forest evoke mixed feelings. It can be both curiosity and admiration, and fear.

Veijo Rönkönen Sculpture Park

The sculpture park by self-taught sculptor Weiyo Ryonkyonen

The sculptures grin and smile, showing visitors to the park real human teeth, with which Ryonkyoungen was supplied by his dentist friends.

The sculptor built his collection over the course of 50 years and put all of his childhood complexes, fears, and thoughts into it. He admired the human body, was passionate about yoga, and this was reflected in the theme of his collection.

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Of course, this is an incomplete list of interesting places in Finland. But having already visited these cities and regions, you will learn a lot about Suomi and undoubtedly fall in love with this country.

Finland’s sights – TOP 30

Santa Claus Village, the best ski resorts and colorful New Year celebrations are the three main reasons why many tourists seek to visit Finland. But not only only the winter fun of this country is famous. Finland’s attractions are rich in interesting places that are worth seeing.

Finland’s historical sights

1. Sveaborg

Sveaborg

This naval fortress was built in the Finnish capital back in 1748. For 60 years it properly fulfilled its functions of fortification until it finally fell under the Russian army’s attack. Then, more than 100 years Sveaborg belonged to Russia, as evidenced by dozens of Russian cannons. Nowadays the fortress territory is used as a museum. Its walls hold many exhibits related to military affairs. Interesting in terms of sightseeing is the fortress itself, all the buildings which are made in different architectural styles.

2 Lutheran Cathedral in Kotka

Lutheran Cathedral in Kotka

Lutheran Cathedral in Kotka occupies a special place among the historical sites of Finland. Built in the late 19th century, and she immediately became the main church of the city. The cathedral is made of red brick with the use of neo-Gothic style. The top of the building is crowned with a tall 54-meter spire with a cross. Decorates the shrine altar icon “Adoration of the Magi”, represents the infant Jesus. Interesting cathedral in Kotka and the fact that here are regularly held concerts of classical and organ music.

3. Monument to Alexander II

Monument to Alexander II

World-famous Russian Emperor Alexander II has left his mark on the history of Finland. It was he who promoted the establishment of the Finnish state, brought back the official language and currency to the country, renewed the sessions of the Diet, and opened the first gymnasium and post office. The monument to the emperor has been standing majestically in the center of Senate Square for over 120 years. The 10-meter high monument is one of the most striking examples of Finnish architecture. The area around the monument is decorated with numerous flowerbeds.

4. Fort Catherine

Fort Catherine

Fort Catherine also belongs to the number of significant sights in Finland. It was erected before the advent of the city and acted as the main defensive center against the Swedish attacks. Over the years the fort has lost its importance, and in the second half of the 19th century, it was destroyed. With the advent of the 20th century the territory of the former fort began to be improved. In 2008 at the initiative of the city opened the Catherine Sea Park, walking through which you can see the ruins of the battery and the powder cellar of the fort.

5. Church of Callio

Kallio Church

Many consider this shrine a true benchmark of northern architecture. The church was erected in 1912 of gray granite. The facade of the shrine is decorated with mural paintings in the Arnuvo style. The church is located on a high hill, which makes its already majestic spire look even more impressive. The belfry of the church has seven bells, whose sounds merge into a single symphony at 12 noon and 6 p.m. daily. Thanks to its unique acoustics in Kallio, as well as in most other churches in Finland, music concerts are held regularly.

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6. Old Indoor Market in Helsinki

Old Covered Market in Helsinki

For those who do not know what to see in Finland, except historical monuments and churches, you should visit the old market in Helsinki. The uniqueness of this place is that the rows of shops market is located in an old building, dating back to the 19th century. It is here you can feel the true spirit of Scandinavia. Buy anything at the market, from handicrafts and souvenirs to exotic foods and products from abroad.

7. Senate Square

Senate Square

After Finland gained autonomy, the government decided to move the capital to Helsinki. The city immediately began to rebuild and modernize. Changes have affected the main square. All the existing buildings on it were torn down and a new architectural ensemble was created. Now the Senate Square is decorated with old buildings in the Empire style. Here you can admire the beauty of the Cathedral, see the houses of wealthy merchants and visit the Museum of merchant life. Crowning the square is a monument to Alexander II.

8. Olafsborg Fortress

Olafsborg Fortress

The first stone in the construction of the fortress was laid back in the 15th century. Olafsborg is located in the province of South Savo near the lakes Pihlajavesi and Haapavesi. Olafsborg fortress was the first Swedish fortification building on the territory of Finland. For decades it has faithfully performed its functions. Nowadays this fortress is considered one of the oldest castles in Scandinavia. Within its walls are several museums, regularly held exhibitions and concerts.

9. Observatory in Pyunikka

Observatory in Pyunikka

Walking through the park in Pyunikk, you should climb to the top of the tower with the same name. Previously it used to be an observatory for observing the starry sky. But over time, the tower has lost its relevance and turned it into an observation deck. From its top there is a magnificent view of the city and its surroundings, and at the foot there is a cozy cafe where you can eat after a long walk.

10. National Museum of Finland

National Museum of Finland

For even more of Finland’s best sights, check out the country’s National Museum. Its collections contain hundreds of artifacts belonging to different periods of the state’s existence, from ancient times to the present. The museum has several expositions, each of which has its own name and theme. For example, in the treasures exhibition you can look at old coins, medals and jewelry. In the history department visitors can see treasures found during excavations: household items, ceramics and weapons.

We still have small but interesting countries: Luxembourg and Belgium

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