On a quest to find Instagram-worthy winter vacation spots and adventures? Then you will love this post. For many people and families, the Christmas season is part of their whole year! We share with you our top picks of Christmas Europe destinations, where we spend our holiday in Finland. We have also included some tips for traveling with kids around the world .
Finland offers some of the best winter vacation spots around. From snow to saunas, Helsinki and Lapland bring all sorts of winter fun anywhere in the nation. Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or just want to escape your city life, Finland can offer plenty of indoor and outdoor activities based on the weather conditions.
Winter is the perfect time to visit Finland. The national service provider of food, housing and travel information, offers easy-to-use mode. Located in Helsinki, Finland’s capital and largest city, we offer you accurate information on other destinations and activities you can enjoy during your stay. Whether it’s exploring the archipelago farther west or visiting one of our many museums or event centers closer to home
Finland Winter Vacation
Best things to do in Finland in winter
1. SLEEP IN AN ICE HOTEL OR GLASS IGLOO
Visit Finland in winter and you could experience an unusual kind of hotel stay: sleeping in a room made of snow and ice.
Imagine waking up to beautiful art carved into the snowy walls of your room, or dining in a frozen restaurant. The ice hotels in Finnish Lapland are built by hand each winter and are enchanting to behold.
If sleeping amidst the ice isn’t really your thing, you could always visit a frozen hotel then stay in a glass igloo instead. Cosy up under your duvet and admire a starry night sky through the transparent dome. On a clear night, you might get to watch the northern lights from the comfort of your bed.
Arctic SnowHotel in Rovaniemi ©Visit Finland
- Explore these Lapland ice hotel tour packages
2. WARM UP IN A FINNISH SAUNA
Winter is the perfect time to enjoy a classic Nordic spa tradition: the sauna. This is a popular ritual in Finland so you won’t need to look far to find one.
Whether or not you’ve spent the night in an ice hotel, you’ll probably want to get toasty in a Finnish sauna during your winter trip. It’s a great way to relax the muscles and activate blood circulation.
You are also encouraged to dip in a cold plunge pool, or just roll around in the snow. By exposing your body to extreme high and low temperatures, you boost your immune system and relax your muscles. Don’t be afraid of the cold – give it a go!
3. HUNT FOR THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
If you’ve ever wanted to see the northern lights, also called aurora borealis, you can search for them in northern Finland. This part of the country lies within the Arctic Circle, which is a prime spot for aurora gazing as it’s close to the North Pole.
In fact, Finnish Lapland is situated in the “aurora zone” – located between 65 and 72 degrees north. This is where aurora frequency and intensity is at its highest. Come here for a winter trip and you’ll maximise your chances of seeing the northern lights in Finland.
Watching the aurora light up the sky in an enchanting display of bright green, purple, red or pink is as magical as it sounds!
- Chase the aurora borealis on one of these northern lights tours in Lapland
4. ENJOY ACTIVITIES ON THE SNOW AND ICE
Finland is a haven if you’re looking for fun winter activities. The best place to enjoy them is Finnish Lapland, where vast natural landscapes are carpeted in a blanket of snow.
Picture yourself zipping over the soft white powder in a dog sled or reindeer sleigh. This is a quintessential activity when you’re in Lapland and a fantastic way to see the snowy scenery.
Or how about snowmobiling through the wilderness? You could take an evening tour to drive over the snow while looking for the northern lights in the sky above.
Alternatively, consider going cross-country skiing or snowshoeing for some outdoor exercise in this part of Finland. There are also ski resorts you could visit, or perhaps you’d like to have a go at ice skating or ice fishing on frozen lakes.
5. MEET FATHER CHRISTMAS
You might already know that Santa Claus lives in Lapland. But did you realise that you can meet him in person in his hometown of Rovaniemi?
Plus, you don’t have to visit Lapland at Christmastime to catch him. Santa and his elves are here to meet you and have a chat year-round. There’s something really special about visiting him in winter though, so we recommend timing your trip for the snowy months – December to March.
- Check out these Santa holidays in Lapland
Santa in his office ©Visit Rovaniemi
6. ADMIRE HELSINKI’S ARCHITECTURE
Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is beloved for its outstanding architecture. You can take in the contrasts of this UNESCO City of Design, from the striking modernistic Finlandia Hall to the neoclassical Helsinki Cathedral.
For a taste of the capital’s more traditional architecture, take a stroll through the centrally located Market Square and stop by Parliament House. Admire the colourful buildings lining the Old Town Pier, as well as the redbrick Uspenski Cathedral with its golden cupolas.
Then you can’t miss the contemporary architecture of Helsinki, for which the city gets much praise. Discover the impressive Oodi Library, the Kamppi Chapel of Silence or the Amos Rex contemporary art museum.
Another top architectural gem in Helsinki is the UNESCO-listed Suomenlinna. Hop on a ferry for a day trip to these fortress islands, where you’ll find museums, a church, tunnels, and buildings from the 18th century.
- Visit Helsinki as part of a Scandinavian winter tour
7. LEARN ABOUT SAMI CULTURE
Visit Finnish Lapland and you could meet the Sami, the indigenous people who live in the northern parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway. The Sami have called this region home for thousands of years and have worked hard to maintain their customs.
On your winter trip to Finland, you could learn about the Sami’s way of life. Part of their culture is a strong connection with the land. You’ll discover how much the Sami rely on reindeer for their livelihood as well as nourishment.
Visit a reindeer farm to hear stories, ride in a sleigh and find out how the Sami are keeping their culture alive. You could also try the staple dish, Souvas, comprising smoked reindeer meat cooked over an open fire.
8. SWIM IN THE ARCTIC
Yes, you read that right. Swimming in the Arctic is a thing and you can do it in Finland in winter!
You’ll get the chance to swim in the Arctic Gulf of Bothnia as part of the Sampo Icebreaker tour from Kemi. This icebreaker vessel was made to do just that – clear the frozen water to make way for ships.
Now the Sampo invites visitors onboard to learn about its history, enjoy lunch at the restaurant, and have a dip in the Arctic. Don’t worry, you’ll be wearing an impermeable flotation suit to protect you from the cold. You’ll be buoyant so relax and enjoy floating in the freezing water!