Finland is fast gaining popularity as the ultimate European destination amongst Indian travelers. Not only is it rich in culture and history but the country also offers a good mix for all age groups and gender. An 8 days trip is not enough to explore this beautiful country. But if you are short on time, then this is the guide you need.
When to go:
Finland is a year round destination. Different seasons have different feel to it. If winter sports are on your mind then December to April is a good time to be in Finland. May is spring followed by summer.
Centrally located, it wows the travelers with its brilliant architecture and attention to details. It can often get very crowded due to its popularity. An early morning visit is advised if you want to appreciate the real beauty of the church.
Enjoy cafes: The cafes of Helsinki are charming. Not only are they big on coffee, different varieties of teas are also quite popular. You can spend quality time café hopping. Option for vegetarians and vegans are available.
The vibrant harbor of Helsinki is perennially buzzing with activity. You can soak in the views, stroll lazily along the beautiful waterfront. In case you are a shopaholic, you can venture into the local shops.
There is no way you can miss visiting the largest orthodox church in Western Europe. It was built in late 19th century. Located near the market square, the church has 5 onion shaped domes. The domes are topped with 22 carat gold. It is a Russian church.
Located close to the waterfront, the Esplanade dazzles with its exquisite architecture. This area of Helsinki is known for its expensive boutiques, pricey cafes and restaurants, luxury hotels, the works. Even if you do not want to spend on luxury, a visit to this area is a must. A simple stroll never burned hole in the pocket, eh!
Not far away from the Esplanade and Uspenski Cathedral, the market square is an interesting open air market. Click selfies by the beautiful Havis Amanda fountain or pick souvenirs, buy local produce. There is never a dull moment here. It is even more exciting to visit it during Christmas time.
Old Market Hall:
A visit to the market hall will educate you about the local lifestyle. Different sections will vie for your attention as soon as you reach the Market hall. Whether it is ‘Farm to Table’ products, local produce or even local cuisine, you will be spoilt for choices here. It is close to the Market square. You can also buy traditional giftware or check out gourmet food boutiques.
Just 2 hours away from Helsinki by train, a visit to Turku is a must. It is the oldest city of Finland, known for its medieval castle and cathedral. The historical capital of Finland has a lot to offer.
Turku Castle: Built in the 1280s, it is already popular with tourists thanks to its grand architecture and age. It is well preserved
Turku Cathedral: Entry is free to this beautiful cathedral. You can join a guided tour.
Luostarinmäki is another historical place. You can visit the handicrafts museum here.
Kakolanmäki hill: The 19th century prison is very popular alongwith the superb views that the Kakolanmäki hill offers.
While Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art will acquaint you with the work of Finnish artist and sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen, the Sibelius Museum will educate you about Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and hundreds of years old musical instruments.
Suomenlinna is a sea fortress and also an UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in the mid 1700s by the Swedish, Suomenlinna is also known as the "Gibraltar of the North". You can board a HSL ferry from the Market square and make a day trip. The ferry takes only 15 minutes and runs every 30 minutes.
Kittila is 4hrs 15 minutes away from Helsinki by flight. It is a perfect destination for a skiing holiday. Even if you are not into skiing, you can still enjoy plenty of snow as its located north of Arctic Circle in the Lapland region famed for its gorgeous landscapes.
Keeping Kittila as base, visit LUVATTUMAA- Levi Ice Gallery. Built from frozen blocks, this 1,10,000 square feet structure is completely built of snow and houses hotel rooms, bar and even a chapel. Later visit the snow village. The temperature here can be as low as -22°C.
Rovaniemi and Oulanka National Park
Kittila to Rovaniemi is just 2 hours by car. Buses are also available. Rovaniemi is another snow paradise you will not want to leave. Set in the arctic wilderness, Rovaniemi will catch your fancy like no other place in Finland. Visit the Santa Claus Village on the first day.
Do visit the Oulanka National Park which is just 2 hours 30 minutes away from Rovaniemi. You will need an entire day to explore the beauty of this place. You can try snowshoeing , canoeing and Hiking here.
Marttiinin Wanha Tehdas is also a must visit place in Rovaniemi
About author- Abhinav Singh is a New Delhi based award winning travel blogger, writer, photographer and V Logger with 18 years of experience in writing. Abhinav has been listed as Top Travel Blogger from India 15 times. He has traveled to more than 200 destinations since last 10 years. He has contributed to BBC, National Geographic Traveler India, Lonely Planet, Mint, Jet Wings etc. He writes about his travels on his blogs and social media channels. You can follow Abhinav at-
Social media- Twitter - Facebook Page - Instagram - You Tube