So you’re looking to travel to Finland, but don’t know where in the country to spend your time?
Well you’ve come to the right place!
Following my fabulous trip to this country, I’m now bringing you my ultimate Finland itinerary with all the info you need to have an amazing week in this country.
From where to go, what to see and do while you’re there, through to how to travel between destinations and where to stay, this is the full lowdown on the ideal 1 week Finland itinerary…
- What Is It Like Staying in a Glass Igloo?
- 15 Things to Know Before You Travel Finland
- How to Plan the Best Christmas Trip to Lapland
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Intro to this Finland Itinerary
Needless to say, you could easily spend a lot longer in Finland than a week and, with so much to see in this country, there’s no question you’d have a wonderful time doing just that.
However given the price of travelling in Finland, which it must be said is not unsubstantial! – you can learn more in this post I wrote about the costs of a week-long trip here – there’s not many travellers that tend to spend much longer in this country… even if they’d like to.
For a week really is a great time to get a wonderful flavour for Finland and to balance this against the costs of travelling here.
A week is also enough if visiting Finland as part of a longer Scandinavian trip – because there’s so much to see in this gorgeous region of Europe, that spending longer in one part will deny you the chance to see other amazing areas.
And so, once again it’s a question of balance.
With all this in mind, I thought a 1 week itinerary would be the best timeframe for a destination guide to this amazing country, although I have made suggestions for if you have longer too.
And on that note, here’s the ultimate 1 week Finland itinerary…
It’s arrival day, the day when you fly into Helsinki, so depending what time you get there will depend how much of the city you can see on day 1.
When it comes to arriving into Helsinki you’re probably going to get there by flying – arriving into the international airport (IATA code: HEL), which is a short distance from the capital’s centre.
Both Finnair, British Airways and a host of other airlines arrive into HEL and you can get the best prices by checking Skyscanner.
Once you arrive into Helsinki airport, it’s easy to catch public transport into the city centre and your accommodation.
Once again, depending what time you arrive, it might be nice to stroll around the area near your accommodation, before cracking on with a full day of sightseeing the next day.
Otherwise, with a longer amount of your time up your sleeve, you can begin ticking some of the top Helsinki attractions off your list – head to my day 2 tips to see what these are…
This is the day to tick some major sightseeing in Finland’s capital, Helsinki, off your list.
Thankfully, Helsinki has a very small city centre (home to just over half a million people) and is easy to navigate and enjoy on foot as part of a long jampacked day.
When it comes to museums, the top ones to see in this city are the National Museum, the Design Museum, the HAM Art Museum and the Amos Rex.
Following this, you should certainly head to see some of Helsinki’s iconic buildings including the Finlandia Hall, the National Theatre, the Central Library, the Government building and the Senate Square.
Many of these you can enter and explore, or else you can carry on to explore some of the city’s religious buildings including the Rock Church, the Chapel of Silence, the Helsinki Cathedral, the impressive St John’s and the Russian-influenced Uspenski Cathedral.
Don’t miss the statues of Havis Amanda and Marshal Mannerheim too while you’re at it!
For a refresher and some different after all the sightseeing, why not head to one of Helsinki’s main shopping streets, including Aleksanterinkatu, where you can visit the classic Finnish café, Fazer, and enjoy an elegant coffee and lots of chocolate!
Or, if you want something more substantial, then the Green Hippo group of cafes are a great veggie / vegan friendly option in Helsinki, as well as Fafa’s – something of a Finnish healthy-eating institution.
In the afternoon, it’s then all about heading out on a ferry into the bay of Helsinki to explore the UNESCO-listed fortress on the island of Suomenlinna.
On your way to the ferry (you can buy tickets there or use your public transport card), wander through the lovely Market Square and marvel at the bathers dipping in the ice-cold water (during winter at least) at Allas Sea Pool.
Then spend the rest of the day exploring the island of Suomenlinna, including the 2km walking trail around the island, which gives some stunning coastal views.
Head back to Helsinki and the trendy district of Punavuori for a casual dinner at local favourite Skiffer, followed by some drinks.
On day 3 of your Finland itinerary, it’s time to take a day trip out of the capital to see some of the beautiful areas around Helsinki.
And top of this day trip list is to Porvoo.
Thought to be the oldest town in Finland, dating back to the Medieval times, it’s the painted traditional buildings which are most famous here.
A fairytale spot, with old houses, cobbled streets, a historic cathedral and some charming small museums, taking a walking tour is a great way to explore this quintessential destination.
Otherwise, Porvoo offers some adventures in the natural world too.
With forests, rivers, parks, the sea and a number of islands all easily accessible from Porvoo, there’s loads of nature trails, not to mention kayaking opps, cycling possibilities and river cruises to enjoy in and around the town too.
From Helsinki, it takes around an hour to get to Porvoo either via the bus or by driving.
Alternatively, you can also take a guided tour here, which is probably the easiest and least stress-free option. Check out this half-day activity, which includes a full tour of the Old Town there.
More Time for Helsinki?
Why not extend this Finland itinerary by exploring more parts of the capital, including the local districts of Kallio and Vallila (home to some gorgeous and historic painted wooden houses), which both lie just outside the centre of the city.
Presuming you do only have a week in Finland and need to motor on, it’s time to head to your next destination on day 4 of your Finland itinerary. A destination which is in the iconic north of the country… it is, of course, the fabled spot of Lapland!
Situated pretty far away, I’ve written a full post about how to travel from Helsinki to Lapland here, which I recommend you check out for the full lowdown.
After reading that post, you’ll also have decide where exactly in Lapland you want to head, as this region is huge and pretty spread out, with a number of different resorts and towns to pick from.
If you need any more help deciding, check out this post I wrote about how to holiday in Lapland for less, or check out my fav spot of Ranua.
Off the beaten track, Ranua is a great spot to get away from the tourist crowds and really will allow you to experience a truly authentic Finnish town, whilst still enjoying all the wonderful activities Lapland has to offer.
Anyway, once you do decide which part of Lapland you’re heading for, you can either take a long train journey (either during the day or overnight) to get there, or hop on a domestic flight up there.
Even the domestic flights, which are operated by Finnair, take an hour, so once you add in the check-in time, travel time to the airport and luggage collection, this is still a fairly sizeable travel day.
What this means is that even if you leave Helsinki in the morning, you’re not likely to arrive into Lapland until the afternoon, when you then have to settle into your new accommodation and this very different part of Finland.
Check out these top-rated accommodation options in Rovaniemi if you’d rather stay near the official Santa Claus Village.
If you’re travelling during winter and hiring snow gear in Lapland, then you’ll likely want to get this sorted following your arrival too.
And, if you still have some time left in the day, and the forecast is looking favourable, you may want to undertake a Northern Lights tour during your first evening in Lapland too!
Only possible during the winter months, just make sure you check the local Aurora app first – many parts of Lapland have their own free apps and this is a great way to ensure you undertake (and pay for) a Northern Lights tour, when you actually have the best chance of seeing them!
Day 5 & 6:
You now have 2 full days in Lapland stretching ahead of you and it pays to know that the time of year you’re visiting will hugely influence what sort of activities you get to enjoy.
For more details, check out my list of the top 10 things to do in Lapland, which details all my fav ones plus some of the iconic others, that take place during the winter months, which is when most people travel to Finland.
If you’re tight on a budget, then keeping your activities to a minimum is a great way to avoid costs spiralling out of control, so it really does pay to do your research and make your selections ahead of time.
As a base, 2-3 activities a day is plenty, as don’t forget enjoying a sauna, rolling in the snow or generally taking in the beauty of the landscape is delightful in and of itself.
Although that said, husky sledding or snowmobiling is hard to top!
Check out these top picks for more ideas…
- Ranua Wildlife Park Guided Tour
- Apukka Husky Adventure from Rovaniemi
- Northern Lights Wilderness Tour with Camera
Thankfully, seeing Santa can be done at his official home in Rovaniemi for free.
Otherwise, if you undertake this Finland itinerary during the summer months, there’s lots of great hiking, lake swimming, boating and cycling to enjoy in the never-ending daylight you get this far north during May through July.
And finally, on your last day in Finland, it’s time to wrap up your Lapland activities and sadly head home.
If you’ve booked return flights, then you can head back to Helsinki and continue your adventures from there.
Otherwise, there are some international flights straight out of Lapland to some major European destinations, including London, which means if you’re heading home from Lapland and ending your Finland itinerary, this might be a better option for you.
More Time for Finland?
You can either explore more of Lapland, including the ski resorts further north or return to Helsinki and head out of the city to explore the middle lake regions of Finland, which have some stunning scenery and delightful walking opps.
Mini Travel Guide to Finland
When to Visit Finland?
In my opinion, the best time to enjoy your Finland Itinerary is definitely during the winter months between December and February, this is when you’ll see the most beautiful snow coverage and get this winter wonderland at its most scenic.
Visit Finland during December for the full festive experience, or consider January or February for cheaper winter rates, albeit with lower temperatures.
How to Travel to Finland?
Direct flights with Finnair from Helsinki arrive at all the Lapland airports – yes there’s more than one. Learn more in this article I wrote.
Otherwise, you can also fly direct to Lapland’s main airport from London and a few other major European cities.
From the best deals on all flights, I highly suggest checking out Skyscanner.
5 Essential Packing Items for a Finland Winter Trip
Learn more in this article I wrote all about what to pack for a winter trip to Finland.
Travel Insurance for Finland
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
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So there it is, my ultimate Finland itinerary for 1 week travelling in this country.
Hopefully, it will help you enjoy an amazing trip to this country like I did.
Have you got any suggestions to add to the itinerary?
Don’t hesitate to drop them into the comments below… I’d love to hear them!