5 Best Cities to Visit in Finland

A land of lakes and rivers, epic wilderness and endless forests, Finland is full of natural beauty – its delightful cities sit amidst some absolutely gorgeous settings. Lying on islands or surrounded by waterways, their picturesque streets are home to trendy boutiques and upmarket shops that highlight the best of Finnish design.

While its historic centers and old wooden buildings are marvelous to explore, the natural wonders that border the cities make them lovely bases from which to delve into the depths of Finland’s forests and lakes.

In the northern reaches of the country, the Arctic Circle beckons you ever onwards. There are some wonderful museums scattered around the best cities in Finland, highlighting its rich cultural heritage. Nearby Russia and Sweden only add to the intoxicating mix of influences that you find here.

1. Helsinki

Lying on the Baltic, Helsinki is a delightful city to visit, with lots of lovely architecture on offer highlighting Finland’s rich heritage. Whether it is modernism, art nouveau, or more traditional wooden buildings that you are after, everything seamlessly fits together.

Helsinki’s boulevards are lined with boutiques, shops and galleries that show off creative and innovative fashion, furniture and textile pieces – shopping here is a delight. On top of the cultural attractions, delicious, sustainable and healthy dining features heavily on restaurant menus, and there are some fantastic eateries here for foodies to explore.

Nature abounds in Helsinki – you can sail around the nearby islands before walking among the forests and exploring the lovely beaches. Whether it is summer or winter, Helsinki always warrants a visit.

2. Rovaniemi

Located in the far north of the country right next to the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland and the home of Santa Claus. As such, it is a popular tourist destination – though its functional and basic buildings are not the most attractive. This is because the city was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War.

The lovely Arktikum museum offers an interesting look at local traditions and history, as well as the culture of the Sami people. While Rovaniemi itself is relatively uninspiring, its nearby attractions in Santa Claus Village and the stunning rural surroundings make it a great city to stop by on your way to exploring the wilds of the north and the Arctic Circle.

3. Tampere

With two enormous lakes bordering it, Tampere is a laid back city that has a rich art and cultural scene for visitors to enjoy. A picturesque place, rapids run through the middle of town and its leafy streets lead on to various parks – as well as the pristine lakes themselves.

Once an industrial powerhouse, the old buildings have been repurposed, and museums, cinemas and galleries have now replaced the manufacturing businesses that used to be here. With sculptures dotted about town, some lovely art on show, and a packed cultural events schedule, Tampere is a popular city to visit.

4. Turku

The former capital of Finland is lovely to spend time in. As the second-largest city in Finland, there are so many things to see and do here. Dating all the way back to the 13th Century, its stunning castle and old cathedral are just two of the highlights on offer.

The ancient history contrasts beautifully with the youthful vibe. With a sizeable student population, there are lots of restaurants, bars and clubs, and a happening arts and music scene. In addition to the bustling streets, the Aurajoki River trundles beautifully through the city center. From here, you can easily explore the nearby Turku Archipelago. Many people arrive to Finland through Turku’s busy port.

5. Jyvaskyla

Lying between two lakes, Jyvaskyla is beautifully located and is the largest city in Finland’s Lakeland region. A vibrant place, there are some stunning architectural designs on show – its delightful setting next to the lakes only adds to the city’s scenic appearance.

The youthful population breathes energy and life into the streets, and there is some resulting great nightlife on offer, as well as some lovely arts venues to visit. In contrast to its peaceful appearance, Jyvaskyla hosts the World Rally Championships – visitors descend en-masse on the city when this event is in action.

In the summer, it is a fantastic place to visit – there are loads of lovely beaches and swimming spots dotted along the lakesides.