A young couple at Helsinki's Flow Festival in Summer

Discover the Magic of Finland: Top 10 Summer Activities

What do you think about having a happy summer vacation in the world’s happiest country? If you say Yes!, start dreaming of a trip to Finland. Since 2018, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world by the annual United Nations World Happiness Report.

Summer in Finland is a season of enchantment, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and endless outdoor activities. With pleasantly warm temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F), Finland’s summer is milder than many parts of Europe, making it perfect for those who prefer a refreshing climate.

From the vibrant streets of Helsinki to the serene landscapes of Lapland, the country transforms into a magical wonderland during the warmer months. Visitors are drawn to the country’s pristine lakes, lush forests, and the captivating Northern Lights that can be glimpsed even in summer.

Helsinki Airport is situated 20 kilometers away from the city center, and there is a direct train connection. Travelers can also arrive in Helsinki by daily ferry services from Estonia, Sweden, and Germany.

Let’s find out the 10 best summer activities to do in Finland.

1. Explore Helsinki on Foot

Helsinki is the perfect city for a summer stroll. It’s relaxed, friendly, and incredibly safe, inviting you to wander its varied terrain. The best part? Everything is within walking distance and you can rent a bicycle to see the city as well.

National Museum of Finland in Helsinki and a cyclist and tram

You’ll find an abundance of hotels, restaurants, bars, and cultural attractions right in the city center. From historic landmarks to trendy boutiques, there’s always something to catch your eye. And if you get tired of walking, Helsinki’s efficient public transport system – with buses, trams, metros, trains, and ferries – makes it easy to get around.

Plus, the city’s natural beauty and proximity to the sea add an extra layer of charm to your explorations.

Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, or just someone who loves to explore, Helsinki has something special waiting for you.

2. Discover Helsinki’s Contrasts

One of the coolest things about Helsinki is how it seamlessly blends fast-paced urban life with peaceful natural landscapes. You can be admiring modern architectural gems one minute and then find yourself in a lush green park the next.

The city is full of surprises, from its bustling markets and lively cultural scene to its tranquil seaside views and serene islands. Visiting Helsinki’s Old Market Hall is one of the top attractions on TripAdvisor.

Exterior of Helsinki's brick Old Market Hall in summer with tourists entering the market

And let’s not forget about those endless summer days – the sunlit evenings in Helsinki are something truly magical.

This mix of old and new, busy and calm, makes Helsinki a fascinating place to explore. Whether you’re catching a concert in a cutting-edge venue or enjoying a quiet moment by the water, Helsinki’s contrasts will keep you captivated all summer long.

3. Experience the Northern Lights in Summer

Yes, you read that right! While the Northern Lights are more commonly associated with the winter months, you can still catch glimpses of this mesmerizing phenomenon during summer in Lapland.

Imagine the thrill of witnessing the Aurora Borealis dancing across the twilight skies – it’s an experience that will stay with you forever.

Northern Lights at night over lake
Northern Lights at Nanguniemi Lake Inari, Lapland. Photo credit: Pertti Turunen / Visit Finland

Summer viewing conditions are a bit trickier due to the extended daylight, but the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights against the backdrop of the Midnight Sun creates a surreal, almost magical ambiance.

Head to remote areas away from light pollution for your best chance at seeing this natural wonder. Trust us, it’s worth the effort!

4. Find Lapland’s Hidden Secrets

Lapland in the summer is like stepping into a fairy tale. This region is often overlooked during the warmer months, but it’s full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Picture yourself hiking through lush forests, where the only sounds are the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves.

Explore pristine nature reserves, and maybe even spot some local wildlife like reindeer or Arctic foxes.

Finland's reindeer in nature
Reindeer, Lapland Photo credit: Julia Kivelä / Visit Finland

Lapland offers unique cultural experiences too, such as visiting traditional Sami villages and learning about their way of life. Whether you’re seeking adventure or tranquility, Lapland’s untouched beauty and rich cultural heritage make it a perfect summer destination.

5. Enjoy Finland’s Lakes and Water Activities

When it comes to lakes, Finland is in a league of its own. With over 188,000 lakes, there’s no shortage of water activities to dive into. Spend a day boating on the crystal-clear waters, fishing for the evening’s dinner, or simply swimming and basking in the summer sun.

Many lakeside resorts and cabins offer the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding – it’s a fantastic way to explore the serene waterways at your own pace.

Summer boating in a lake in Finland
Boating. Photo credit: Emilia Hoisko / Visit Finland

The Finnish lakes are not just about the water; the surrounding landscapes are equally breathtaking, making it an idyllic escape for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

6. Adventure in Finnish Forests

Finland’s forests are nothing short of enchanting, especially during the summer. These lush, green expanses are incredibly inviting and easily accessible, making them perfect for a day of adventure. Whether you’re into hiking, foraging for wild berries and mushrooms, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet, there’s something for everyone.

Imagine wandering through serene woods, the scent of pine in the air, and the soft crunch of leaves underfoot. You might even spot some wildlife, like deer or birds, as you explore.

two hikers at Finland's Etelä-Konnevesi National Park
Etelä-Konnevesi National Park in Finnish Lakeland/Jyväskylä Region. Photo by Julia Kivelä

Many trails are well-marked, catering to all levels of hikers, from beginners to seasoned trekkers. Finland’s forests are a natural playground where you can reconnect with nature and find your own little slice of paradise.

7. Discover Finland’s Rich Cultural Heritage

Finland’s cultural scene is as vibrant and diverse as its natural landscapes. Summer is the perfect time to dive into the country’s rich heritage. Start with the many museums and galleries showcasing everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary art.

Historic Turku Castle
Turku Castle. Photo by Julia Kivelä / Visit Finland

Visit historical landmarks like medieval castles and old churches that tell stories of Finland’s past. Don’t miss out on the lively festivals that pop up all over the country, celebrating everything from music and theater to food and crafts.

Each event offers a unique glimpse into Finnish traditions and modern innovations. Whether you’re exploring the charming cobblestone streets of small towns or the bustling cultural hubs in the cities, Finland’s heritage will captivate and inspire you.

8. Relax in Finnish Saunas

No trip to Finland is complete without experiencing a traditional Finnish sauna. It’s more than just a way to relax; it’s a deeply ingrained part of Finnish culture.

Women enjoy sauna in Lehmonkarki during summer
Sauna in Lahti Region. Photo by Julia Kivelä

Many saunas are located in picturesque settings, offering stunning views of forests or lakes. Some are even floating saunas, combining the tranquility of the water with the soothing heat.

Sauna boats in Finland
Saunaboats. Photo by Julia Kivelä / Visit Finland

Whether you choose a public sauna in the city or a private one in a remote cabin, this quintessential Finnish experience is sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated and at peace.

9. Savor Finnish Cuisine

Summer in Finland is a feast for the senses, especially when it comes to food. Finnish food culture is known for its pure flavours and minimalistic aesthetics and the sophistication in fine dining is unpaired.

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in seasonal delicacies like new potatoes, fresh fish, and wild berries. Visit local markets to sample everything from smoked salmon to sweet pastries, or dine at one of the many restaurants offering farm-to-table experiences.

Table and city view from Helsinki's Palace Restaurant
Palace Restaurant – Helsinki

Dine in the top restaurants awarded by Michelin Guide and let them take you on an unforgettable culinary expedition by using local ingredients in the most creative and mouth-watering ways. According to Michelin Guide, Palace is the restaurant to have the top-notch dining experience in Finland. Since its establishment in 1952, it has been a trailblazer in Finnish gastronomy. In 1987, it became the first restaurant in Finland to earn a Michelin star. Today, this two-starred restaurant continues to surpass the expectations of discerning diners who seek extraordinary culinary experiences.

Finland's famous Karelian pies
Finland’s famous Karelian pies. Photo by Visit Finland

Don’t miss out on trying some classic Finnish dishes like “lohikeitto” (salmon soup) or “karjalanpiirakka” (Karelian pasty) with egg butter. Lohikeitto is a comforting and creamy soup made with fresh salmon, potatoes, leeks, and dill, offering a perfect balance of flavors that warms the soul. Karjalanpiirakka, on the other hand, is a traditional pastry from the Karelia region, featuring a thin rye crust filled with rice porridge and often topped with a dollop of rich, savory egg butter.

Pair your meal with a refreshing Finnish beer or a glass of berry juice for a true taste of the region.

10. Participate in Unique Finnish Summer Festivals

Finnish summer is synonymous with festivals, and there’s something for everyone. These vibrant events celebrate everything from music and dance to food and art, offering a fantastic way to experience Finnish culture up close.

Imagine dancing under the midnight sun at a music festival, sampling gourmet treats at a food fair, or marveling at stunning artworks at a local exhibition.

Some of the must-visit festivals include the Pori Jazz Festival, held from July 12-20, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious jazz events, featuring an eclectic mix of artists like Pet Shop Boys and Jason Derulo.

The Solstice Festival, from June 20-22 at Rukatunturi, offers a unique experience with its perpetual daylight, combining music, art, and stunning Arctic views. The festival site, Rukatunturi, is an arctic fjeld that rises half a kilometer above sea level, giving people picturesque views over pine trees and lakes.

Ruisrock Rock festival near water and stage where crowd is heading to
Ruisrock. Photo by Riikka Vaahtera

Other notable festivals are the Savonlinna Opera Festival, set in a medieval castle from July 5 to August 4, and the Finland’s oldest rock festival – Ruisrock Festival in Turku from July 5-7, featuring international stars like The Chainsmokers and Stormzy.

Each festival has its own unique charm and draws crowds from all over the world. So, grab your calendar and make sure to include a few of these unforgettable experiences in your summer itinerary.

Finland’s summer offers an enchanting mix of natural beauty, cultural richness, and unique experiences that promise an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re exploring Helsinki, marveling at the Northern Lights, or savoring local cuisine, Finland is the perfect summer destination to create lasting memories.

Main Photo credit: Lauri Rotko / Visit Helsinki

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