What to see in Finland on vacation

Cities in Finland – where to go?

Finland is located 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

Most interesting 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.

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Espoo

Where to go to Finland with a child

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

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

The city of Vaasa is called the sunniest city in Finland. This is not the most popular place among tourists, compared to 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 City, Finland © krolchatina / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Porvoo is located on the southern 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.

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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

Pori City, 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, Finland © infomastern / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Mariehamn is the capital of the Åland 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.

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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, and here is 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 famous 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

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).

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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.

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

Kajaani is located in the heart of Finland. It is a popular destination for fishermen who come to Lake Oulu. In addition to fishing, there is the wonderful Kajaani Castle 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.

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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 farmsteads, 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. The locals often picnic here, and simply relax in the beautiful surroundings.

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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