Home Travel Tips Guides IN-DEPTH Travel Guide: Backpacking Finland

IN-DEPTH Travel Guide: Backpacking Finland

IN-DEPTH Travel Guide: Backpacking Finland


Welcome to our in-depth travel guide for backpacking in Finland! If you’re an adventurous traveler looking to explore the stunning landscapes, rich culture, and unique experiences that Finland has to offer, you’ve come to the right place.

Located in Northern Europe, Finland is a country known for its pristine wilderness, picturesque lakes, and the spectacular phenomenon of the Northern Lights. From the vibrant capital city of Helsinki to the rugged beauty of Lapland, Finland has something for every backpacker.

In this guide, we will provide you with essential information and tips to make your backpacking journey through Finland unforgettable. You’ll learn about the best time to visit, visa requirements, safety tips, transportation options, budgeting, and much more.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or a culture buff interested in learning about Finnish traditions and history, Finland is sure to captivate you. From hiking, camping, and kayaking in the summertime to dog sledding, skiing, and chasing the Northern Lights in the winter, Finland offers an array of thrilling outdoor activities.

Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Finnish culture, visit architectural marvels, explore traditional saunas, and indulge in delicious local cuisine. From reindeer meatballs to freshly caught fish from the lakes, Finnish cuisine is a delight that will satisfy your taste buds.

So grab your backpack, put on your hiking boots, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Finland. Our comprehensive guide will help you plan your itinerary, provide you with practical advice, and ensure you make the most of your backpacking experience in Finland.


Getting to Know Finland

Before embarking on your backpacking adventure in Finland, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some key aspects of the country. Finland is a Nordic nation with a population of around 5.5 million people and is renowned for its high standard of living and natural beauty.

The official languages spoken in Finland are Finnish and Swedish, with Finnish being the most widely spoken. English is also widely spoken, especially in tourist areas and among younger generations.

Finland is known for its stunning landscapes, which include thousands of lakes, vast forests, and breathtaking national parks. The country experiences four distinct seasons, each offering its unique charm.

In terms of currency, Finland uses the euro (€). Credit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs can be easily found in major cities and towns. It’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller establishments or remote areas.

One important aspect to note is that Finland follows the Nordic model of social democracy, which means it places a strong emphasis on social equality, education, and welfare. This contributes to the overall safety and well-being of residents and visitors.

From a cultural standpoint, Finland has a rich heritage rooted in its ancient mythology and folklore. The country is also famous for its design, particularly in architecture, furniture, and fashion. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Finnish design museums and boutiques during your trip.

In terms of technology, Finland is known for being at the forefront of innovation. The country is home to many successful tech companies and has a strong digital infrastructure, making it easy to stay connected and access information during your travels.

Now that you have a basic understanding of Finland’s cultural and geographical landscape, let’s dive into the specifics of planning your journey, including the best time to visit, visa requirements, and safety tips for backpackers.


Best Time to Visit

When planning your backpacking trip to Finland, it’s essential to consider the best time to visit based on your preferences and the activities you want to experience. Finland has distinct seasons, each offering its unique charm and opportunities for exploration.

Summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season in Finland. The weather is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). This is an excellent time for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and kayaking. The famous midnight sun phenomenon can be witnessed in the northernmost parts of the country, where the sun never fully sets during these months.

Autumn (September to November) brings vibrant colors as the foliage changes, creating a picturesque landscape. The weather starts to cool down, and the number of tourists decreases compared to the summer months. It’s a great time to explore national parks, go mushroom picking, and witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights.

Winter (December to February) is a magical time to visit Finland, especially for those seeking winter sports and the enchantment of the Northern Lights. Temperatures can drop below freezing, but the snowy landscapes create a winter wonderland. Skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, and husky sledding are popular activities during this time. Remember to pack warm clothing to stay comfortable in the cold weather.

Spring (March to May) brings the return of longer daylight hours and the awakening of nature. The snow starts to melt, and the temperatures slowly rise. It’s a perfect time to witness the transition from winter to spring, go birdwatching, and experience the unique phenomenon of ice break-up in the northern rivers.

It’s important to note that the best time to visit Finland varies depending on the region and the specific activities you plan to engage in. Lapland, in the far north, is ideal for winter activities and witnessing the Northern Lights, while the coastal areas are popular during the summer for beachside relaxation and water sports.

Regardless of the season you choose, Finland offers a range of experiences and natural wonders throughout the year. Just be sure to pack accordingly and plan your activities accordingly to make the most of your trip.


Visa and Entry Requirements

Before embarking on your backpacking adventure in Finland, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the visa and entry requirements to ensure a smooth and hassle-free entry into the country.

First and foremost, it’s important to determine whether or not you need a visa to enter Finland. The visa requirements vary depending on your nationality and the purpose and duration of your visit. Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) member states do not need a visa to enter Finland. Likewise, holders of Schengen visas can also travel to Finland without an additional visa.

If you are a citizen of a country that does not fall under the visa-exempt categories, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa in advance. The visa application should be submitted to the Finnish embassy or consulate in your home country. It’s advisable to start the visa application process well in advance to allow for any necessary documentation and processing time.

When applying for a visa, you will generally need to provide the following documents:

  • A completed visa application form
  • A valid passport with at least six months of validity
  • Proof of travel insurance that covers medical expenses
  • Proof of accommodation in Finland
  • Proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay
  • An itinerary of your planned activities in Finland

It’s important to note that these requirements may vary depending on your specific circumstances or the embassy’s discretion. It’s recommended to check the official website of the Finnish embassy or consulate in your home country for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Upon arrival in Finland, you will be required to present your passport and any supporting documents to the immigration authorities. Make sure you have all your travel documents easily accessible and keep them in a safe place throughout your trip.

It’s also important to note that Finland is part of the Schengen Area, which means that once you enter Finland, you can travel freely within the other Schengen countries without the need for additional visas or border controls.

By ensuring you have the necessary visas and documentation in order before your trip, you can focus on enjoying your backpacking adventure in Finland without any unnecessary interruptions or complications.


Safety Tips for Backpackers

When embarking on a backpacking adventure in Finland, it’s essential to prioritize safety to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Finland is generally considered a safe country with low crime rates, but it’s still important to take necessary precautions while exploring new surroundings.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Stay informed: Before your trip, research about the local customs, laws, and emergency contact numbers in Finland. Familiarize yourself with the local transportation system and any potential safety risks in the areas you plan to visit.
  2. Watch your belongings: Pickpocketing and petty theft can occur in crowded tourist areas. Keep your personal belongings secure, and be cautious while using public transportation or visiting tourist attractions. Use a money belt or a secure bag to keep your valuables safe.
  3. Stay connected: Make sure to have a reliable means of communication, such as a local SIM card or internet access, to stay in touch with your travel companions and in case of emergencies.
  4. Be mindful of nature: Finland’s nature is awe-inspiring, but it can also be unpredictable. If you plan on hiking or camping, make sure to check weather conditions and be prepared for changing circumstances. Take necessary precautions while engaging in outdoor activities and follow any safety guidelines provided by local authorities.
  5. Respect wildlife: Finland is home to diverse wildlife, including bears and reindeer. If you come across wildlife, maintain a safe distance and avoid any actions that may provoke them. Always follow the instructions of local wildlife experts or park rangers.
  6. Drink responsibly: If you choose to consume alcohol during your trip, do so responsibly. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid excessive drinking, especially if you’re alone or in unfamiliar areas.
  7. Be cautious with natural phenomena: Certain natural phenomena, such as frozen lakes or falling icicles, can pose risks in Finland during winter. Pay attention to warning signs and follow local safety guidelines to avoid accidents.
  8. Use common sense: Trust your instincts and use common sense while traveling. If a situation feels unsafe or uncomfortable, remove yourself from it. Stick to well-lit areas, especially at night, and be cautious when interacting with strangers.

By following these safety tips and using your best judgment, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable backpacking experience in Finland. Remember to purchase travel insurance and register with your embassy or consulate before your trip for added peace of mind. With proper preparation and vigilance, you can make the most of your adventure in this beautiful Nordic country.


Budget and Expenses

When planning a backpacking trip to Finland, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your budget and expected expenses. While Finland is known for its high standard of living, it is still possible to explore the country on a budget.

Accommodation in Finland can range from budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to upscale hotels and cozy cottages. Hostels are a popular option for backpackers as they offer affordable dormitory-style accommodations with shared facilities. Prices can vary depending on the location and season, so it’s advisable to book in advance to secure the best rates. If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider staying in a traditional Finnish sauna or camping in one of the many national parks.

Food expenses in Finland can also vary depending on your preferences and dining choices. Eating out at restaurants can be quite expensive, especially in major cities. To save money, consider self-catering by shopping at grocery stores and cooking your meals. Traditional Finnish dishes like reindeer meatballs, salmon, and rye bread are worth trying and can be found at affordable prices in local markets and street food stalls.

Transportation is another factor to consider when budgeting for your trip. Finland has an efficient public transportation system, including trains, buses, and ferries. The cost of transportation will vary depending on the distance traveled and the mode of transport. Consider purchasing a travel pass or card if you plan to use public transportation frequently.

Entrance fees for attractions and activities should also be factored into your budget. Finland offers a range of experiences, from visiting museums and historical sites to participating in outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and wildlife safaris. Research the entry fees for the places you plan to visit and consider any additional costs for equipment or guided tours.

Overall, a daily budget of around €50-€100 should be sufficient to cover basic expenses such as accommodation, food, and local transportation. However, it’s important to note that everyone’s travel style and spending habits differ, so creating a personalized budget based on your specific needs is essential.

Lastly, it’s advisable to have some extra cash or a backup card for emergencies. While Finland is mostly cashless, it’s always good to have some cash on hand, especially in remote areas or when dealing with small businesses that may not accept cards. Check with your bank regarding foreign transaction fees and inform them about your travel plans to avoid any issues while using your cards abroad.

By having a realistic budget and keeping track of your expenses, you can ensure a financially stress-free backpacking experience in Finland, allowing you to fully enjoy the wonders this country has to offer.


Transportation in Finland

When exploring Finland as a backpacker, having a good understanding of the transportation options available is key to a seamless and efficient journey. Finland has a well-developed transportation system that allows travelers to navigate the country with ease.

Trains: Trains are a popular mode of transportation in Finland, connecting major cities and towns. The Finnish rail network is known for its punctuality and comfort. VR, the national railway company, operates a comprehensive network of trains, including high-speed intercity trains and slower regional trains. Train tickets can be purchased online or at train stations, and it’s advisable to book in advance during peak travel seasons.

Buses: Buses are another convenient and cost-effective option for getting around Finland. Several bus companies operate both domestic and international routes, connecting various cities and towns. Matkahuolto is one of the major bus operators in Finland. Bus tickets can be purchased online, at bus stations, or directly from the bus driver. Buses are a great choice for reaching more remote locations or exploring the countryside.

Flights: Finland has several airports, with Helsinki Airport being the largest and busiest. Domestic flights are available to connect different parts of the country, especially the more distant areas of Lapland. Finnair and other regional airlines operate domestic flights within Finland. While flying is generally more expensive compared to trains and buses, it can be a time-saving option for long distances.

Ferries: Finland is known for its archipelagos and the presence of numerous lakes, making ferries a common means of transportation for reaching islands or crossing water bodies. There are a variety of ferry services available, ranging from larger passenger ferries to smaller boats that cater to specific routes. Ferries are particularly popular in the coastal regions and the Åland Islands. It’s advisable to check the ferry schedules in advance, especially during the summer season when demand is high.

Local Transportation: Once you arrive at your destination, public transportation within cities and towns is reliable and convenient. Local buses, trams, and metros operate in major urban centers. Helsinki, in particular, has an extensive public transportation network, including trams, buses, and the metro system. Regional buses also provide connectivity to surrounding areas. It’s worth getting a travel card or day pass for unlimited travel within a designated area or city.

When planning your itinerary, consider the distances between destinations and the travel time associated with each mode of transportation. It’s always a good idea to check schedules and book tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons or for popular routes.

Overall, with its efficient transport system and well-connected networks, getting around Finland as a backpacker is relatively easy. Embrace the diverse transportation options available and enjoy the scenic beauty of this amazing country as you explore its many wonders.


Accommodation Options

When embarking on a backpacking adventure in Finland, it’s important to consider the various accommodation options available to suit your budget, preferences, and travel style. Finland offers a range of choices that cater to different needs.

Hostels: Hostels are a popular choice for backpackers as they provide budget-friendly accommodations with a social atmosphere. Hostels in Finland offer dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities such as bathrooms and common areas. They are a great option for meeting fellow travelers and exchanging tips and stories. Helsinki, Turku, and Rovaniemi are among the cities with a good selection of hostels.

Hotels: If you prefer a bit more privacy and comfort, Finland has a variety of hotels to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury establishments. You’ll find hotels in major cities and tourist destinations, offering amenities such as private rooms, en-suite bathrooms, and onsite dining facilities. Helsinki, Rovaniemi, and Tampere are known for their wide range of hotel options.

Camping: Finland’s abundant nature provides ample camping opportunities. From well-equipped campsites to wilderness camping, outdoor enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the stunning Finnish landscapes. Many national parks and outdoor recreational areas offer designated camping areas with facilities such as cooking shelters, toilets, and fire pits. If you enjoy the freedom of camping, don’t miss the experience of spending a night under the stars in the Finnish wilderness.

Guesthouses and B&Bs: In rural areas and smaller towns, you’ll find guesthouses and bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodations. These establishments often provide cozy rooms with a personal touch. Staying at a guesthouse or B&B allows you to experience the warmth and hospitality of the Finnish locals while enjoying a comfortable and homely atmosphere.

Saunas: For a unique and authentic Finnish experience, consider staying in a traditional Finnish sauna. Saunas are an integral part of Finnish culture, and some establishments offer accommodations that include private sauna access. It’s a great way to relax and unwind while immersing yourself in the Finnish way of life.

When booking accommodation, it’s advisable to plan in advance, especially during peak travel seasons or in popular tourist destinations. Explore a range of booking platforms and compare prices to find the best deals. Additionally, consider the location and accessibility of your chosen accommodation, particularly if you plan to explore specific regions or participate in certain activities.

Overall, Finland offers diverse accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you choose a hostel for the social atmosphere, a hotel for comfort, a campground for a closer connection with nature, or a guesthouse for an authentic experience, your accommodation choice in Finland will contribute to an unforgettable backpacking journey.


Must-Visit Destinations in Finland

Finland is a country brimming with natural beauty, vibrant cities, and unique cultural experiences. When backpacking through Finland, be sure to add these must-visit destinations to your itinerary:

Helsinki: The capital city of Finland, Helsinki, is a vibrant blend of modernity and history. Explore the iconic Helsinki Cathedral, visit the famous Suomenlinna sea fortress, and stroll through the bustling market square. Don’t miss out on experiencing the sauna culture in Helsinki, as the city offers numerous traditional saunas for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Rovaniemi: Known as the official hometown of Santa Claus, Rovaniemi is a magical destination in Finnish Lapland. Visit Santa Claus Village, where you can meet Santa himself, cross over the Arctic Circle, and experience the enchanting Northern Lights. Explore the Arctic wilderness by joining husky sledding or reindeer sleigh rides.

Tampere: Tampere, the third-largest city in Finland, has a rich industrial past and vibrant cultural scene. Visit the charming Särkänniemi amusement park, stroll along the picturesque Näsinneula Observation Tower, and explore stunning nature spots, such as Pyynikki Park and Tampere Cathedral.

Turku: Turku, the oldest city in Finland, is a treasure trove of historical and cultural landmarks. Discover Turku Castle, explore the Turku Archipelago, and immerse yourself in Finnish maritime history at the Forum Marinum museum. Don’t miss the Turku Food and Handicraft Market for a taste of local delicacies.

Lake Saimaa: For a serene and picturesque experience, head to Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland. Enjoy the stunning lake scenery, go fishing or kayaking, and visit unique attractions such as the famous Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna. Explore lakeside towns and villages, and embrace the tranquility of this beautiful region.

Äkäslompolo: If you crave the true Arctic experience, make your way to Äkäslompolo in Finnish Lapland. This winter wonderland offers opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Join a reindeer sleigh ride, witness the breathtaking Northern Lights, and enjoy the cozy atmosphere of a traditional log cabin.

Lapland: No trip to Finland is complete without a visit to Lapland, the northernmost region known for its stunning natural landscapes, reindeer herders, and Santa Claus Village. Experience the magical winter wonderland, ride a snowmobile through the snowy forests, try ice fishing, and indulge in traditional Sami culture.

These are just a few of the must-visit destinations in Finland that offer a diverse range of experiences and attractions. Each region has its own charm, from the bustling city life to the tranquil nature of the Arctic wilderness. Add these destinations to your itinerary to create an unforgettable backpacking adventure in Finland.


Outdoor Activities and Adventures

Finland is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of thrilling activities and adventures. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping experiences or a chance to reconnect with nature, Finland has something to offer for everyone. Here are some exciting outdoor activities to consider during your backpacking journey:

Hiking and Camping: Finland boasts picturesque national parks and vast wilderness areas perfect for hiking and camping. The trails cater to different skill levels, from easy walks to challenging multi-day treks. Consider exploring the stunning trails of Urho Kekkonen National Park, Oulanka National Park, or Nuuksio National Park. Camping in the Finnish wilderness allows you to immerse yourself in nature and experience the tranquility and beauty of the surroundings.

Canoeing and Kayaking: With thousands of lakes and waterways, Finland is a dream destination for canoeing and kayaking. Rent a canoe or a kayak and paddle through serene lakes, calm rivers, and enchanting archipelagos. The Lakeland region, including Lake Saimaa and the Finnish Lakeland, offers remarkable opportunities for water-based adventures.

Skiing and Snowboarding: During the winter months, Finland transforms into a snowy wonderland, providing excellent conditions for skiing and snowboarding. The Finnish Lapland region, with its well-maintained ski resorts, offers a range of slopes suitable for all levels of experience. Levi, Ylläs, and Ruka are popular ski resorts that provide ample opportunities for hitting the slopes.

Husky Sledding: Experience the thrill of gliding through the winter landscapes with a husky sled ride. Let a team of enthusiastic huskies pull you across the snowy trails while you enjoy the scenic beauty of Finnish Lapland. Many tour operators offer husky sledding experiences, allowing you to interact with the dogs and learn about this traditional form of transportation.

Northern Lights Hunting: Finland is known for its spectacular displays of the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. The best time to witness this natural phenomenon is during the winter months in the northern parts of the country. Take a guided tour into the wilderness, away from the city lights, and have the opportunity to see the dancing lights in the starry sky.

Fishing: Finland’s lakes and rivers teem with fish, making it an ideal destination for fishing enthusiasts. Grab your fishing gear and try your hand at this popular pastime. From casting off from a lakeshore to ice fishing on frozen lakes during winter, there are plenty of opportunities to reel in some prized catches.

These are just a few examples of the outdoor activities and adventures that await you in Finland. Whether you’re trekking through national parks, gliding across frozen landscapes, or witnessing the magic of the Northern Lights, Finland offers boundless opportunities for unforgettable outdoor experiences.


Cultural Experiences

Immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Finland is an essential part of any backpacking adventure in this Nordic nation. Finland is known for its unique traditions, fascinating history, and vibrant arts scene. Here are some cultural experiences to add to your itinerary:

Sauna Culture: Saunas hold a special place in Finnish culture, and experiencing a traditional Finnish sauna is a must. Whether it’s in a public sauna or as part of your accommodation, the sauna offers an opportunity to relax, cleanse the body, and connect with the Finnish way of life. Visit a smoke sauna for a truly authentic and unforgettable experience.

Visit Traditional Villages: Explore the picturesque traditional villages scattered across the Finnish countryside. Places like Porvoo, Naantali, and Rauma offer charming cobblestone streets, well-preserved wooden houses, and a glimpse into Finland’s past. Explore local shops, taste traditional treats, and soak in the traditional atmosphere.

Experience Finnish Design: Finland is renowned for its design heritage, and you can witness it firsthand. Visit design museums in Helsinki and other major cities to explore the history and innovation of Finnish design. Don’t miss the chance to shop for unique Finnish design items, from Marimekko textiles to Iittala glassware.

Explore Local Markets: Finnish markets are vibrant and offer a glimpse into the local lifestyle. Visit Helsinki’s Market Square, Turku’s Market Hall, or Tampere’s Central Market for fresh produce, local handicrafts, and traditional Finnish delicacies. Try reindeer meat, salmon soup, cloudberry jam, and other traditional Finnish treats.

Attend Cultural Festivals: Finland hosts numerous cultural festivals throughout the year, showcasing music, dance, and traditional arts. Experience the Sibelius Festival in Lahti, the Savonlinna Opera Festival, or the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä. These festivals provide a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in Finnish culture and witness local talent.

Learn about Sami Culture: Explore the unique heritage of the indigenous Sami people, who inhabit the northernmost parts of Finland. Visit the Siida Sami Museum in Inari to learn about their traditions, history, and way of life. Consider joining a reindeer herding experience or a Sami cultural workshop to gain firsthand insight into this ancient culture.

These cultural experiences provide a deeper understanding of the Finnish way of life, allowing you to connect with the country’s rich traditions and history. Embrace the opportunity to learn from locals, witness traditional performances, and engage in the vibrant arts scene to make your backpacking journey in Finland truly unforgettable.


Finnish Cuisine

Exploring Finnish cuisine is a delightful part of any backpacking journey in Finland. Finnish cuisine is often characterized by its simplicity, use of local ingredients, and a strong connection to nature. Here are some traditional Finnish dishes and culinary experiences to tickle your taste buds:

Smoked Salmon (Lohi): Finland’s pristine lakes and rivers provide an abundance of fresh salmon. Smoked salmon is a staple in Finnish cuisine, often enjoyed on rye bread with butter, dill, and a squeeze of lemon. Sample this iconic dish in local markets, restaurants, or even indulge in a picnic by the lakeside.

Reindeer Meat (Poronkäristys): Reindeer meat is a delicacy in Finnish cuisine. Savory and tender, it is often served with mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam, and pickles. Look out for it on menus, especially in Lapland, where reindeer herding is an integral part of the Sami culture.

Karelian Pies (Karjalanpiirakka): These traditional Finnish pastries consist of a thin rye crust filled with a rice or potato filling. Karelian pies are a popular snack, often enjoyed with a spread of butter on top. You can find them in bakeries or markets, or even try your hand at making them with locals during cooking workshops.

Mämmi: Mämmi is a traditional Finnish Easter dessert made from rye flour, malt, and water. It has a distinct dark color and is typically served cold with a sprinkle of sugar and a dollop of whipped cream. Give this unique dessert a try if you visit Finland during the Easter season.

Lingonberry Jam (Puolukkahillo): Lingonberries are tiny and tart berries that grow abundantly in Finnish forests. Lingonberry jam is a popular accompaniment to various dishes, including meatballs, cheese, and porridge. Enjoy the vibrant color and tangy flavor of this classic Finnish condiment.

Mustikkapiirakka: Mustikkapiirakka, or blueberry pie, is a traditional Finnish dessert made with sweet, juicy blueberries and a buttery crust. Enjoy a slice of this delicious pie with a cup of coffee as a delightful treat during your backpacking journey.

Korvapuusti: Korvapuusti, meaning “slapped ears,” is the Finnish version of a cinnamon roll. These soft and aromatic pastries are sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar before being gently baked to perfection. Enjoy them fresh from a bakery with a steaming cup of coffee, just as the Finns do during fika, their traditional coffee break.

During your backpacking adventure in Finland, don’t hesitate to try these classic dishes and explore the local food scene. Sample the unique flavors, embrace the simplicity of Finnish cuisine, and indulge in the fresh, local ingredients that make it truly special.


Packing Essentials for Backpacking in Finland

When preparing for a backpacking adventure in Finland, it’s important to pack wisely to ensure you have everything you need to stay comfortable and enjoy your trip to the fullest. Here is a list of essential items to consider packing:

Layered Clothing: Finland’s weather can be unpredictable, so pack clothing that can be easily layered. Include thermal base layers, lightweight and breathable shirts, warm sweaters or fleeces, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer. Don’t forget to pack a hat, gloves, and a scarf for added warmth during the colder months.

Sturdy Footwear: Finland is a country with diverse terrains, so having sturdy and comfortable footwear is essential. Pack a pair of waterproof hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes that will provide support and protection during outdoor activities. Make sure to break them in before your trip to avoid blisters.

Backpack: Choose a durable backpack with sufficient capacity to carry your essentials. Look for a backpack with adjustable straps and plenty of compartments for organization. A rain cover for your backpack is also recommended to protect your belongings from unexpected rain showers.

Outdoor Gear: Depending on the season, pack essential outdoor gear such as a reliable tent and sleeping bag for camping, a headlamp or flashlight, a camping stove and cookware for self-catering, and a water bottle or hydration system to stay hydrated during your hikes and adventures.

All-Weather Gear: Finland experiences all seasons, so pack for both warm and cold weather. Include sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat for protection against the sun during the summer months. For the colder months, pack thermal layers, a warm hat, gloves, and a scarf, as well as a good quality winter jacket, waterproof pants, and insulated boots.

Insect Repellent: Finland’s forests and lakes can be teeming with mosquitoes and other insects during the summer months. Pack a reliable insect repellent to protect yourself from pesky bites, especially if you plan on spending time outdoors or camping.

Travel Adapter: Finland uses the Europlug, so make sure to pack a travel adapter that fits the standard outlets to charge your electronic devices.

First Aid Kit: It’s always wise to have a basic first aid kit on hand for any minor injuries or ailments. Include items such as bandages, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, and any prescription medications you may require.

Travel Documents: Don’t forget to pack your passport, travel insurance documents, and any necessary visas or permits. It’s also a good idea to make photocopies of your important documents and store them separately as a backup.

Reusable Water Bottle and Snacks: Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, as tap water in Finland is safe to drink. Additionally, pack some energy-boosting snacks such as nuts, granola bars, or dried fruits to keep you fueled during your adventures.

Remember to pack according to your specific needs and activities planned for your backpacking trip in Finland. As the weather can vary significantly, it’s always a good idea to check weather forecasts before your trip and adjust your packing accordingly. With the right essentials, you’ll be prepared to make the most of your memorable journey through the stunning landscapes of Finland.


Useful Phrases in Finnish

Learning a few basic phrases in Finnish can go a long way in enhancing your backpacking experience in Finland. While many Finns speak English, making an effort to communicate in the local language can be greatly appreciated. Here are some useful phrases to help you navigate your way through Finland:

Greetings and Basic Phrases:

  • Terve! – Hello!
  • Kiitos! – Thank you!
  • Ole hyvä. – You’re welcome.
  • Kyllä / Ei – Yes / No
  • Anteeksi. – Excuse me / I’m sorry.
  • Hyvää huomenta. – Good morning.
  • Hyvää päivää. – Good day / Good afternoon.
  • Hyvää iltaa. – Good evening.
  • Näkemiin. – Goodbye.

Getting Around:

  • Mitä tää maksaa? – How much does this cost?
  • Mihin suuntaan? – Which direction?
  • Vasemmalle / Oikealle – Left / Right
  • Missä on…? – Where is…?
  • Juna / Bussi – Train / Bus
  • Taksi – Taxi
  • Tarvitsen apua. – I need help.

Dining and Food:

  • Ruokalistalta kiitos. – The menu, please.
  • Tilaan… – I’d like to order…
  • Vesi – Water
  • Olut – Beer
  • Lasku kiitos. – The bill, please.
  • Voisitteko suositella paikallista ruokaa? – Could you recommend a local dish?

Common Courtesies:

  • Hyvää matkaa. – Have a good trip.
  • Olen eksyksissä. – I’m lost.
  • Auttakaa! – Help!
  • Puhutteko englantia? – Do you speak English?
  • Voisitko auttaa minua? – Could you help me?
  • Ymmärrän. – I understand.
  • En ymmärrä. – I don’t understand.

Remember to use these phrases with a friendly attitude, and don’t be afraid to ask locals for guidance or clarification. Finns appreciate the effort to learn and speak their language, even if it’s just a few simple phrases. With these handy phrases, you’ll be able to navigate your way around Finland and connect with the local culture more deeply during your backpacking adventure.



Congratulations! You are now equipped with a comprehensive guide to backpacking in Finland. From the stunning natural landscapes to the vibrant cities, Finland offers a wealth of experiences for adventurous travelers like yourself. Whether you’re hiking through national parks, witnessing the enchanting Northern Lights, or immersing yourself in Finnish cultural traditions, this Nordic country has something for everyone.

Remember to plan your trip according to the best time to visit, consider visa requirements, and prioritize safety during your backpacking adventure. Pack the essentials, including layered clothing, sturdy footwear, and outdoor gear suitable for the Finnish weather. Immerse yourself in Finnish culture by experiencing traditional saunas, exploring local markets, and trying authentic Finnish cuisine.

As you explore Finland, be sure to engage with the friendly locals, learn a few basic phrases in Finnish, and respect the natural surroundings. Venture beyond the popular tourist spots and discover hidden gems that will make your journey truly unforgettable.

Whether you’re hiking through the breathtaking national parks, traversing the snowy landscapes of Lapland, or savoring the flavors of Finnish cuisine, Finland is sure to captivate you with its natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality.

So, grab your backpack and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime in Finland. Immerse yourself in stunning landscapes, embrace unique cultural experiences, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy backpacking!


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