Adventures in Finland
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- Finland & Regional information
- Year-round Adventures
- Sauna and Spa
- Winter Activities
- Winter Adventures
- Rally Driving
- Related Links: Transport, accommodation, etc.
- Finland's best-known public figure is Santa Claus, and each winter people come from all over the world to visit him. But did you know you can meet Santa all year round in his village at the Arctic Circle? Find out more about Santa at VisitFinland.
- The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. From September to March the Northern Lights may be seen in Lapland a few times a week. In southern Finland the phenomenon is less common - perhaps 10-20 nights per year. They are less visible from cities due to the bright light conditions. Wherever you do see them, it's something you won't forget! There's an incredible video, filmed in Lapland, at VisitFinland
- The Moomins, created by Tove Jansson, are a particular favourite amongst Japanese visitors. In fact a Moomin theme park is being opened in Lake Miyazawa, Tokyo, in 2017. But where better to meet the Moomins than at their Finnish home? www.moominworld.fi
Hibernation: please remember that Moomins sleep all winter and don't come out of hibernation until February
- Finland's Sauna Culture is ubiquitous - there are over 3 million saunas for a population of under 5½ million! Some saunas are adventures in themselves.
- Rally Driving Finland has more World Rally Championship champions than any other country. Experience the thrill of being a Flying Finn!
- Sweden & Estonia are obviously not in Finland, but some visitors are unaware how simple and affordable it is to visit either of these countries for a day or two. Furthermore, cruises to Stockholm pass through the stunning Archipelago. Numerous ferries depart Finland daily for each destination, and an overnight cruise is often cheaper than a hotel room. Stockholm and Tallinn each have beautiful 'Old Towns' and should not be missed!
Every season offers experiences unique to Finland, and this page links to some specialist service providers.
For general information and region-specific information, see also:
- VisitFinland: The official travel site of Finland, with tons of articles, photos and videos for Destinations, Seasons, and Themes
- Regional Sites: Finnish municipalities have their own travel sites with information on local events and activities
- Finterest: Zoom in on the map of Finland for details of events and activities in 6 groups: Culture, Kids, Festivals, Sports, Outdoors, and Nature
Regular saunas are great, but Finland also offers some amazing sauna experiences you won't find elsewhere. Floating saunas, sauna ships, and possibly the most unique sauna in the world - a ski lift sauna in Lapland. Many saunas available for rent are attached to a restaurant, so food and drinks are available. If you rent a sauna, towels, soaps etc. are usually supplied. Take a swimming costume in case you want to hit an adjacent public beach!
VisitFinland articles about sauna life:
6 Steps to Do Sauna: Woodpecker Film explains Finnish sauna in this 2014 video!
Saunas Finland-wide: www.saunaonline.fi/saunat Over 150 saunas of all types available for rent, from city centres to the wilderness. Choose your location from the menu on the left. Site in Finnish only but simple and works well at Google Translate.
- Loppi: Floating sauna-house About 90km north of Helsinki is the floating sauna-house Jalo, on a serene private lake - it looks awesome! Very Nordic with a traditional wood-burning sauna, Jalo can accommodate up to 12 people, has a spacious living room and huge rooftop terrace and grill. Cook your own, or catering is available.
www.jalolautta.fi En, Fi
- Saunasaari: Island of Smoke Saunas Literally "Sauna Island", Saunasaari is located between Suomenlinna and Laajasalo about 20 minutes by water taxi from the Kauppatori market square. It has smoke saunas available for rent, for 5-40 people. Catering is available, serving uniquely Finnish dishes.
www.saunasaari.fi/english/ En, Fi
- M/S SaunaShip: Up to 12 passengers can tour the Helsinki Archipelago on M/S SaunaShip, with its wood-burning sauna, lounge area, open fire and barbecue. Swim in the sea and have a freshwater shower afterwards. Tailored and regular tours are available; see site for photo gallery, details and reservations.
www.saunaship.com > In English En, Fi
- Löyly: Opened in June 2016, the unique architecture of the Löyly sauna complex on the shores of Hernesaari has made it an 'instant landmark', inside and out. Facilities include a traditional smoke sauna and two wood-burning saunas, and restaurant with a huge terrace on the sea. Have a burn and go swimming!
www.loylyhelsinki.fi/en/ En, Fi
- Unioninkadun Juhlahuoneistot: Historic Sauna Part of Helsinki's Empire Centre, the 160 year old facilities include a sauna for up to 20, a swimming pool, and your own fireplace room. The sauna package can include catering in the adjacent Vaulted Cellar.
www.union.fi/en/ En, Fi 07.10.16 Site down - probably temporary error
- Restaurant Uunisaari: Island Sauna Situated on a small island near Kaivopuisto in Helsinki, 2 saunas for up to 15 people are available with drinks, food, Jacuzzi and a beach!
www.uunisaari.com En, Fi
- Ylläs: Sauna Gondola Unbelievable! A sauna in a ski lift gondola, taking up to 4 people to the top of the Ylläs fell in Lapland. Available for rent to groups of up to 12, who take turns in the gondola while friends enjoy the sauna, fireplace and Jacuzzi in the Cafe Gondola. Open during winter and from midsummer until end of September.
Travel article: A Sauna Like No Other En
Contacts: www.yllas.fi/en/activities/gondola.html En, De, Fi, Ru
- Ruka: Ice Sauna Winter only Built on frozen Lake Salonkijärvi, with room for up to 10 people. There is a hole in the ice for swimming next to the sauna. Drinks are served in the sauna and you can have a meal in the barbecue hut, by the open fire.
www.rukansalonki.fi/en/saunas-wellness/ice-sauna En, Fi, Ru
- Saunabus Wherever you're heading, take the sauna with you. Saunabus is for up to 8 passengers, with a comfortable cabin, fridge, TV, sound system and karaoke. Hot tub rental is also available. Seems to be popular for polttarit (bachelor parties).
http://www.saunabussi.net Finnish only Google Translate
- Parainen: Airisto Spa Just south of Turku, a beautiful retreat in the archipelago. Private sauna, smoke sauna, outdoor pool and hot tubs with beach access. Seasonal air, land, sea and ice activities are available, and a private restaurant with terrace.
www.airistospa.fi/en/ En, Fi, Ru, Sw
Winter: Officially December-February, but in practical terms include March
Temperatures: -30°C - 0°C
Snow: There may or may not be persistent snow on the ground in southern cities. In the North coverage is usually about 1 metre.
Everyday activities: You don't need a big budget to enjoy Finnish winter. Strolling on frozen lakes and harbours, tobogganing, cycling (with winter tyres) and ice fishing are daily pursuits all over Finland, and you don't need much gear. Cross-country skiing is very popular - but for downhill skiing, head North. It's also traditional to roll naked in the snow (usually during sauna) - Finns are experts at snow angels!
Helsinki Top Tip: Take the ferry across frozen waters to the historical island fortress Suomenlinna for a great value mini-adventure!
OK thrillseekers... the bit you were looking for! Most 'extreme' winter activities and adventures take place in Lapland. These companies are established and experienced, and offer tours, adventure packages, and activities:
- Adventure Apes: Adventure company based in Tampere, specialising in custom small-group adventures. Wilderness excursions, adventure-based activities, hiking and skiing tours, fishing trips and more. The Lapland Winter Adventure can include, amongst other activities, snowmobile and husky safaris, ski school, ice swimming, winter fishing, winter camping and survival skills, staying in a snow hotel or glass igloo... or building your own! En
- Hetta Huskies: Fancy mushing through the Arctic wilderness? Hetta Huskies offers short and multi-day sled-dog safaris from their farm base 300km inside the Arctic Circle in Lapland. Most safaris meander through the boreal (Taiga) forests, though some multi-day safaris venture onto the high plateaus of the Arctic tundra. Overnight accommodations are usually in reindeer herders' shelters and cabins. Hetta's 'Leave No Trace' policy helped them become a Gold Award Winner, World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015. En, De, Fi, Fr, Ru
- Kemi: The city of Kemi has two very Finnish attractions, the first of which is definitely adventurous. The Sampo is a former Finnish government icebreaker, now offering a variety of cruises including an evening cruise in search of the Northern Lights. Snowmobile safaris to the Sampo can also be arranged. The adventurous part is the opportunity to swim in the frozen sea wearing a water impermeable survival suit. For a limited season, January-April, Kemi is also home to the Snow Castle which incorporates a hotel, restaurant and chapel En, Ch, Fi
- Lapland Safaris: A wide variety of activities, safaris and overnight adventures, some 'conventional', some more adventurous such as seeking the Northern Lights by snowmobile and staying in wilderness cabins or a snow village. En, De, Fi, Fr, It, Sp
- Nellim Wilderness Lodges & Safaris: Nellim has three very different wilderness destinations. Wilderness Hotel Nellim is a rustic, cosy hotel in the small village of Nellim. Wilderness Lodge Muotka, deep in taiga forest near Urho Kekkonen National Park, is further afield but also looks very comfortable. Sarmi Wilderness Camp is for the more adventurous lover of the outdoors. Situated on the shore of Lake Sarmi, 9 km along a trail from the Wilderness Hotel, it's a chance to spend the night in nature. Candlelit at night, with limited electricity and no running water (warm water for washing is available), this must be an incredible place to view the Arctic sky - and if the Northern Lights put on a show, simply extraordinary.
There are over 70 ski resorts in Finland, with 250+ lifts transporting guests on more than 300 km of slopes. The highest altitude ski resort is Pallas, at 780 m. Popular northern resorts with long seasons are Levi, Pyhä (and nearby Luosto), Ylläs, and Ruka. Himos is popular in central Finland, and Ukko-Koli in southern Finland. Vihti Ski Center is the largest ski resort in the capital region. Find out more at:
- Ski.fi: All about skiing in Finland, including a directory of ski resorts with information on opening dates, lifts, trails, and current conditions
- VisitFinland.com: Articles about skiing in Finland, each with links to related sites and information. Search skiing
- Nationalparks.fi: Nationalparks.fi is a brilliant resource where you can search destinations for the outdoors activity of your choice
- MotorSpace Event Centre
MotorSpace, in Tampere, will put you in the driver's seat of a rally car on their 800 metre Rallycross track. They have winter and summer events, as well as other activities like ATV safaris and karting on ice! The site is in Finnish only but works well in Google Translate. Check the video; it looks pretty cool!
- Rally Promotion Finland
One-day Introduction to Rally courses through to longer personal, intensive rally coaching programs. Summer and winter programs, using Subaru Impreza WRX rally cars. Co-piloting Experience also available - take the ride of your life on a forest rally road! Tracks include Saukkola forest rally stage, 1 hour from Helsinki airport and 25 minutes from nearest hotel. Service can include pick-up from Helsinki Airport.
- Juha Kankkunen Driving Academy
Sport Driving and Rally School with 4-time rally world champion Juha Kankkunen and his team at the 6.5 km Kuusamo race track next to Ruka ski resort. Winter only - programs on ice and snow covered tracks. All driving programs are tailored, for both beginners and advanced drivers.
- BMW Winter Driving Experience 2017
15 minutes from Rovaniemi airport. Key elements include driving with limited friction, steering technique, emergency braking and avoiding, and drifting exercises. At the end of the session participants can compete against each other. The 2017 program will be held in March; 4th-5th, 11th-12th, 16th-19th. Vehicles are BMW xDrive 1- series, 3- series and 4-series. models.
- Finnish Travel Guides: VisitFinland's travel guides let you plan your holiday by destination, season or even your favourite activity!
- Finnish Travel Agencies: Full-service, online, and activity travel agencies in Finland
- Accommodation: Cabins & cottages, Bed & breakfasts, Holiday houses and apartments, Hotels, Hostels, Camping & camp sites
- Cruises & Ferries: Cruise to Stockholm and see Åland and the archipelago, or visit Tallinn and St.Petersburg!
- Flights & Airports: Domestic airlines, schedules, bookings and airport information
- Long Distance Buses & Trains: Bus / coach and train information in Finland.
- Local Public Transport: Public transport, city by city, Finland-wide
- Car Hire / Rental & Sharing: Agencies and brokers. Car, van, mini-bus, 4WD, motor home and limo rentals. Car sharing