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Discover Europe’s most sparsely populated country…

The 'land of the midnight sun' (and home of Father Christmas!) is wonderfully refreshing, with swathes of pristine forests and many sparkling lakes. Cool, calm and collected, Finland has a vast wilderness to the north, but in the south, circling the Baltic Sea, there are also vibrant cities to explore.

Helsinki, known as the 'White City of the North', is a compact and elegant place, ideal for a combined walking and boat city tour visiting such sites as the Suomenlinna Fortress, Temppeliaukio Church and the Sibelius Monument. As well as cutting edge design and a thriving restaurant scene, you’ll find sublime art-nouveau architecture in Helsinki. Then there are the museums - tour the unique Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, the Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum or the National Museum of Finland.

 

Top holidays in Finland

Culture and history

Finns are said to be cool but they are actually warm and friendly. More than 80% belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In Finland, it is tradition to follow Christmas dinner not with a snooze, but with a sauna. There are an incredible 200 newspapers printed in this country, and along with the Japanese, the Finns spend the most time in the world reading.

Finnish cuisine is generally simple, fresh and healthy, often featuring fish, while in Lapland, reindeer is often on the menu.

Finland has a thriving heavy metal music scene epitomised by the band Lordi who won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with a record 292 points.

Formula One is hugely popular and the country has produced three world champions: Keke Rosberg (1982), Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999) and Kimi Raikkonen (2007).

Shifting borders have given the region we now know as Finland a rich, intriguing history. It was mostly part of the Kingdom of Sweden until 1809, when the Finnish-speaking land was ceded to the Russians. In 1917 it gained independence, and during the Second World War fought against the Soviet Union. 1995 saw the country enter the European Union.

Things to do

Our Scandinavian cruises are an incredible way of exploring this endlessly fascinating part of the world. On Saga's tours you can travel to Finland's neighbours, Russia and Sweden, drinking in the great cities and landscapes of the North.

Fly over the Arctic Circle to Ivalo and meet the indigenous Sami people, wander the streets of the medieval town of Porvoo or step over the icy threshold of the biggest snow castle in the world in Kemi on the Gulf of Bothnia. Wherever you travel on your Scandinavia holiday, be sure to keep your eyes on the night sky, because if you're lucky, the Northern Lights might just put on a show for you.

Flight time

It takes just three hours to fly from London to Helsinki.

Currency

Euro -

The euro is the official currency in Finland.

Finns are reputed to use less physical cash in their transactions than any other nation. As such, most major credit cards are accepted and ATMs (signed OTTO) are widespread.

Passports and visas

It’s a good idea to carry a photocopy of your passport with you. You will not require a visa.

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.

Phrases

Finnish is a very hard language to learn but here are a few words to wrestle with…

Yes - joo

No - el

Hello - hei

Goodbye - nakemiin

Thank you - klitos

Do you speak English? - Puhutteko englantia?

Where is the toilet please? - Anteeksi, missa on WC?

Timezone

Finland is two hours ahead of GMT.

Electricity

Mains voltage in Finland is 220 volts AC (50 cycles) and all sockets take small, round two-pin plugs. You’ll therefore need an adaptor to use British appliances but we suggest you bring one with you as they are rather hard to find.

Language

Finnish,Swedish -

Finland has two official languages; Finnish and Swedish.

English is widely spoken in Finland where it is taught as the first foreign language.

Tipping

Tips are not expected in Finland and are even declined, as they can imply that the person only helped for financial reward rather than to assist a foreigner.

Climate

In Helsinki, warm to hot summer days can drop to below freezing in winter. In summer, when there is daylight for up to 20 hours a day, temperatures can rise to 23ºC.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

With just five-and-a-half million inhabitants, Finland is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union.

The eighth largest country in Europe, Finland is just under one-and-a-half times the size of the UK.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in all public places.



Climate