Dogs pulling sleigh

Explore: Finland

Finland is ideal for outdoor adventure holidays: if you have a passion for hiking, kayaking or wildlife-watching, you’ll be positively spoiled for choice.

Holidays to Finland

That said, the best journeys here start in the capital: Helsinki. With its 18th-century sea fortress, pretty market squares and abundant shops and museums, this harbourside city is always vibrant – whatever the weather.

Outside the capital, there is wonderful wilderness to explore. All across the country, nearly 200,000 beautiful blue lakes, set amid emerald green forests, are the perfect backdrop to a plethora of national parks. The wildlife is varied and plentiful, too: wolves, bears, eagles and reindeer all call this fascinating land home.

All across the country, nearly 200,000 beautiful blue lakes, set amid emerald green forests, are the perfect backdrop to a plethora of national parks

Where to go

To soak up the very best of the country’s culture, begin in Helsinki. Here the Suomenlinna sea fort, neoclassical cathedral and funky Design District are the big draws, while the unusual local cuisine – such as Baltic herring – is a must-try.

But Finland is the ultimate place to get lost amid forests and lakes, and Inari is the best place to begin. You can ski, hike and learn all about Sami history in this traditionally Finnish village, which sits on the banks of Lapland’s biggest lake – as well as having Lemmenjoki National Park and the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve on its doorstep.

And, speaking of Lapland, no visit to Finland is complete without visiting Ivalo – a beautiful spot for chasing the Northern Lights, and best-known for being the home of Santa Claus.

When to go

Finland is beautiful year-round. Those seeking aurora borealis sightings should visit between September and March, while wildlife aficionados can hope to spot the Eurasian brown bear from April to September.

For some festive cheer, visit Helsinki in December for the Christmas markets – before heading to the Arctic north for Lapland.

Read more about Finland

Aurora Borealis, Bergsbotn, Senja, Norway
How to see the Northern Lights
Want to see nature’s greatest light show for yourself? Here’s how and where to look for the aurora borealis
Incredible Aurora Borealis activity above the coast in Norway
18 facts about the Northern Lights
For some people, they're 'proof' that the earth is flat. For others, they're fearsome ghosts. How much do you know about the Northern Lights?
Vanha Kirkko Church in Helsinki, Finland. St. John's Church (Johanneksen Kirkko) far left, Protestant church far right.
Which European cities are best in winter?
With their frozen landscapes, cosy nooks, and lashings of festive cheer, these European cities are at their most spectacular in winter
The Milford Sound fiord. Fiordland national park, New Zealand
11 of the best holidays in the great outdoors
From cherry blossom tours of Japan to epic Northern Lights cruises, our exclusive holidays reveal the great outdoors at its most spectacular
Aurora Display
10 of the world’s most unforgettable trips
Looking a trip you'll never forget? Times Expert Traveller offers some of the world's most incredible experiences...
The Milford Sound fiord. Fiordland national park, New Zealand
Adventure cruise holidays: Latest offers
Save money on adventure cruise holidays with these latest offers – exclusive to Times Expert Traveller and our preferred travel partners
Fontaine des Trois Graces
Best non-beach holidays in Europe
From cruising through the finest French vineyards to chasing the magical Northern Lights, these are our pick of the best Europe getaways
Intihuatana in Machu Picchu, Peru
13 of the world’s best escorted tours
A local expert can bring out the best of a destination in a way no guide book can. Get straight to the heart of the matter on one of our exclusive guided tours.