Summer in Finland = pure deceleration! It is the fascinating vastness of Finland’s landscape that is immediately grounding. Lakes and forests as far as the eye can see, a few reindeer in between and that’s pretty much it.
Yes, Finland is really isolated. So if you fancy a vacation far away from the crowds, you’re in good hands in Finland in the summer.
Our road trip took us to the north of Finland, to Finnish Lapland. In this blog article we provide you with all the necessary information and tips for your summer holiday in the far north.
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1. Finland in summer: First information at a glance
This is what awaits you on a road trip through Finland
- Untouched nature
Hardly anywhere else in Europe does the word “untouched” apply as well as in Finland. Finland really is the epitome of seclusion in many corners. So if you fancy a holiday close to nature, you will love Finland.
- Lakes & Forests
Related to the previous point: if we had to describe Finland’s nature in two words, it would be lakes & forests. Finland is not nicknamed the “land of a thousand lakes” for nothing. De facto there are not 1,000, but allegedly 188,000 lakes. Crazy, right?
- Midnight Sun
What a spectacle of light! In the north of Finland in summer you can experience how the sun still shines from the sky after midnight. The fact that it never really gets dark makes a holiday here in the far north very special. Activities are also possible, for example, in the middle of the night. A word of warning: your sleep schedule is almost certainly going to get a little messed up.
The not-so-cool part of summer in Finnish Lapland: mosquitoes. Yes, unfortunately it’s really true: In Finland (or in all of Scandinavia) there are a lot of mosquitoes. We will tell you later in this blog article what that means for you in concrete terms.
Summer in Finland: where to go?
Finland is almost as big as Germany. As you can probably imagine, there are travel destinations a dime a dozen. Our choice fell on the north of Finland, in Finnish Lapland. To be more precise, our road trip took us through the two regions of Ruka-Kuusamo and Suomussalmi. These are not far apart and can be easily combined with each other.
Since most flights to Finnish Lapland go via Helsinki, it is definitely worth planning a stopover there as well . Unlike winter, we found Helsinki really nice in summer. Here you can find our detailed blog article: Helsinki tips.
The best travel time: June, July or August?
Summer in the Far North is short. At the beginning of May there is still snow. In the course of June it will then become warmer. July is the warmest month and by the end of August at the latest, autumn is clearly noticeable. (The bright colors, as seen here in October, are called “Ruska” in Finland and can already be expected in the 2nd week of September.)
The ideal time to visit Finnish Lapland around midsummer (end of June) is to see the midnight sun. The further north, the longer the days. Then you can also experience “Juhannusta”, the midsummer night festival . The Finns usually celebrate this with family and friends, but in many villages there are also public celebrations including a bonfire.
This travel period has one disadvantage: the mosquitoes are in high season from the end of June and through July. If you want to avoid the little tormentors as much as possible, you should travel to Finland in August.
2. Activities & Highlights in Finland in Summer
During a holiday in Finnish Lapland, the experience of nature comes first. In this chapter we present you a few highlights that you can experience in Finland.
Swimming & Water Sports
Admittedly, it takes a bit of effort, as the lakes in Finnish Lapland are not exactly bathtub temperature. Nevertheless, they are wonderful for a refreshment.
If you fancy stand-up paddling or canoeing , Finland is also the place for you. One of our most beautiful experiences in Finland, for example, was our canoe tour on the beautiful Julma Ölkky Lake in the midnight sun.
Hundreds of hiking trails stretch across Finland for all fitness levels. From simple walks to multi-day routes, everything is included. Hiking in the national parks is particularly beautiful. There are over 40 of them in Finland.
For example, we were (among other things) in the fantastically beautiful Oulanka National Park. To be more precise, we hiked along the famous Little Bear Circuit (“Pieni Karhunkierros”). It combines countless scenic highlights over a distance of around 12 kilometers.
Experiencing the beauty of Finnish nature by bike is definitely recommended. Since it is relatively flat everywhere, it usually does not require that much effort. In hilly regions, however, you can often borrow e-bikes, for example.
Wow! Getting close to a bear in the wild is simply a magical experience. In Finnish Lapland, more precisely on the border with Russia, you can observe these huge animals.
We had the pleasure ourselves in Suomussalmi, more precisely on our evening tour with the Martinselkonen Wilds Centre. During the observation you stay in a safe hiding place, which is equipped with windows and hatches for photography. You can read more about this in our detailed blog article: Suomussalmi tips.
We can reveal this much: you will almost certainly see reindeer in Finnish Lapland. They love to be around or on the streets and like to block traffic.
If you want to know more about reindeer herding in Finnish Lapland, we recommend a visit to a reindeer farm. We ourselves were guests at the Kujala reindeer farm in Ruka-Kuusamo and were even able to pet baby reindeer. So adorable!
No holiday in Finland without a sauna! It doesn’t matter whether it’s summer or winter – taking a sauna is a must in Finland. It’s not for nothing that Finland’s sauna culture has been declared an intangible cultural asset by UNESCO.
In almost every accommodation in Finland you will have a sauna with you. But if you want to experience the sauna ritual in a special way, then we warmly recommend visiting Pohjolan Pirtti . You can read our detailed field report in this article: Ruka-Kuusamo tips.
3. Where to stay in Finland: tips for accommodation
The Finns love their “mökki”. This is the name of a holiday cabin, ideally located on a lake, and is something of a lifelong dream for many locals. Accommodations in Finland are often housed in such traditional huts .
In Finnish Lapland there are big regional differences in terms of accommodation supply. While regions that are well developed for tourism (e.g. Ruka-Kuusamo) often have countless, sometimes even very stylish hotels , there are often only a handful of traditional huts and campsites in more remote areas.
A few special places to stay in Finnish Lapland
- Magical Pond Nature Igloos : Modern glass igloos with a fantastic view of nature. Nothing for people who have trouble falling asleep in the light, but the location is a dream.
- Tree Tent Hossanportti : You can spend the night in a floating tent at this campsite right on a lake. Pretty shaky, but very close to nature!
- Martinselkonen Wilds Center : A cozy lodge close to the border with Russia with bear-watching departures.
4. Midnight Sun: Tips & Info
A natural phenomenon that is second to none: the midnight sun! As the name suggests, it means that the sun is still shining from the sky even at midnight. In Finnish Lapland you have the opportunity to experience this fascinating spectacle in summer.
The days are longest around midsummer, i.e. at the end of June. And: the further north you travel, the longer you can marvel at the midnight sun.
Even when the midnight sun is not visible (anymore), Finland has white nights in summer. This means that at night it gets twilight at most and never really gets dark.
Use the most beautiful light
Everyone who loves sunsets like us probably asks themselves how to ideally plan the day when the most beautiful light can only be seen around midnight.
Important to know: During the day the sun is very high. Only in the evening, depending on the region and season about 3 hours before sunset, does the light begin to soften and become warmer.
We have tried to plan scenic excursions in the evening whenever possible . As a result, we got to bed quite late most days (never before 2am) and slept a little longer. We got along well with that without having to completely shift our daily rhythm and our meal times.
Tips for better sleep during the midnight sun
You’re probably wondering how on earth you’re going to fall asleep when the sun is still shining from the sky. A legitimate question, because we admit: This is really a small challenge for sensitive people.
If you are very sensitive to light or have trouble falling asleep, we would definitely recommend booking accommodation that you can darken well . Glass igloos, for example, fall out.
What we also had with us and can highly recommend is a good sleeping mask. And by that we don’t mean the plastic things that you want to rip off immediately because they’re so uncomfortable. We got this model in advance and were very satisfied: Dagsmejan sleep mask .
Third tip: You can help with herbal remedies . We had this product with us and used it every day: Bears with Benefit Sleep . Did it bring anything? No idea, but if not, then at least a certain placebo effect was noticeable.
5. Mosquitoes: Helpful tips & things worth knowing
The question of all questions: How bad is the mosquito situation in Finland in summer? In this chapter, we shed some light and provide you with some self-tested tips for your vacation.
Mosquitoes in Finnish Lapland: What you should know
The bad news first: Yes, there is. And yes, there are many! The little tormentors can really get on your last nerve. It’s probably safe to say that if you’re traveling to Finnish Lapland in summer, you’ll have to be prepared for mosquitoes.
Sometimes there are hundreds of them buzzing around you and their humming creates an unpleasant background noise. (Experience of both of us, who were out and about in the absolute mosquito season!) The crazy thing about it: Sometimes you go 50 meters further and find yourself in an almost mosquito-free area.
In general, it can be said that mosquitoes are mainly found around standing water, swampy areas and also in the forest. (In other words, if you think about what Finland’s nature is like, almost everywhere.)
The later in the day, the more there will be. But you definitely can’t say that, for example, the morning is mosquito-free – unfortunately!
When is the best time of year to avoid mosquitoes as much as possible?
Now the good news: mosquito season doesn’t last forever. In Finnish Lapland it usually begins around midsummer, i.e. at the end of June. Then it usually gets warmer and, especially after rain, the number of mosquitoes literally explodes.
So if you are sensitive or even allergic to insect bites, you should avoid this period. An improvement in the mosquito situation is then often in sight just a few weeks later, around the end of July/beginning of August.
Even meaner than mosquitoes: black flies & horseflies
What we unfortunately also had to learn in a painful way: There are not only classic mosquitoes in Finnish Lapland. Even more troublesome are black flies and horseflies.
At first glance, black flies look like tiny, harmless flies – but they are not. Because they don’t sting, they bite. Commonly, you don’t feel the bite, you only feel it when it’s already too late. And: The bite can ignite comparatively easily. (Even tested on the eyelid for you – wasn’t that tingling and ended up at the doctor’s!)
It is therefore very important: Do not scratch and disinfect the wound if possible. You can also use a Sting Healer (more on that in a moment) to try to neutralize the poison.
Protection against mosquitoes: Our tips
In our opinion, the most important protection is suitable clothing. What we can recommend:
- Long clothing that is not too thin and ideally not close to the skin. (These things easily pierce through leggings! Tested for you.)
- You may also be able to wear special (mosquito-proof) clothing or alternatively waterproof your clothing.
- If you wear a head covering (such as a hat or a hair towel that goes over your ears), mosquitoes have less of a chance of biting you. During the high mosquito season, you can even see hikers in the woods wearing special mosquito hats.
In addition to clothing, we definitely recommend a suitable mosquito repellent. We ourselves had Autan with us – with moderately good success, to be honest. It was not uncommon for us to get bitten anyway. Next time we would try NoBite .
If you do get caught (and you will – trust us), then we have an emergency tip: a Sting Healer. The brief but intense heating is intended to kill the mosquito poison. We decided on this one and always had it with us (on every hike and excursion): Beurer BR 60 insect bite healer .
6. Packing list for summer holidays in Finland
If you’re wondering what special things you shouldn’t be without in your luggage for a Finland road trip, here are some of our tips. Important: This packing list is not complete (cosmetics items are largely missing, for example), but is only intended as a small support.
- Long/short pants
- Long/short t-shirts
- Possibly a dress
- Warmer Fleecepullover
- underwear & socks
- rain jacket
- Bonnet (Cap) & Gloves
- walking boots
- Bikini/swim trunks
- Hand towel
- Insect Bite Healer
- Ointment for mosquito bites (e.g. Fenistil)
- sleep mask
- drinking bottle
7. Travel costs Finland: That’s how much a road trip costs
A trip to Finland doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being cheap. But we can reassure you: Of course, the price level is a bit higher than here. But you can certainly save quite a bit – for example on flights and accommodation.
Currency and payment in Finland
Conveniently, payment is made in euros, preferably by card. However, we recommend that you also have some cash with you – it’s safer than ever.
Price examples: How much does Finnish Lapland cost…?
- Flight to Kuusamo (from Vienna): approx. 400 to 500 euros per person
- Rental car for one week: approx. 500 euros (excluding tank)
- Overnight stay in a cozy double room: approx. 100 euros per night (ie 50 euros per person)
- Main course in a restaurant: around 20 euros
- Large beer (0.4l) in a restaurant: approx. 7 euros
- Rent an e-bike for 3 hours: 50 euros per bike
- Canoe tour 3 hours: 90 euros per person
8. Arrival & transport in Finland: car rental information & tips
Arrival to Finland
There are direct flights to Helsinki from many regions in the German-speaking region, including Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg.
Finnair will then continue north from Helsinki. Depending on the region in which you are planning your summer vacation, there are different airports to consider, such as Kuusamo, Rovaniemi or Ivalo. The flight time from Helsinki is usually only about 1 or 1.5 hours.
You can check for cheap flights here: Skyscanner
Book a rental car: information & experiences
In order to be as flexible as possible on site in Finnish Lapland, we recommend a rental car. You can easily book this online. We like to use Sunny Cars . Sunny Cars is a comparison platform that compares cheap offers from local rental car companies (e.g. Hertz, Avis).
This means: You book with Sunny Cars and then simply pick up your car from the local rental car company. The advantage of Sunny Cars is that fully comprehensive insurance is already included. In the event of damage, you pay a deductible, but this will be reimbursed by Sunny Cars. If you book on another website, make sure you have appropriate insurance coverage.
Car rentals are located in Finnish Lapland at all airports – for example in Kuusamo or Rovaniemi. Since the airports are tiny, the rental process is usually very quick.
Here you can search for cheap rental cars: Sunny Cars
Tips for driving on Finland’s roads
The most important tip we can give: always watch out for reindeer! It may sound like a quaint legend, but reindeer really are everywhere. They often block the road, making it slower for cars to pass. It is not uncommon for them to jump onto the road without warning or potentially appear out of nowhere around every bend!
It is also good to know that petrol stations are few and far between in some regions of Finland. (This applies, for example, to the region around the Hossa National Park, where we were also.) So we recommend not delaying refueling for too long and refueling when the tank is still half full.
The roads are generally very well developed and the volume of traffic is negligible – so little that sometimes not a single car comes your way for many kilometers. Some destinations can only be reached via gravel roads. So a dirty car is somehow part of a Finnish Lapland holiday.
Transparency: Advertising & Affiliate Links
Our trip to Finnish Lapland and this blog article were created in cooperation with Ruka-Kuusamo and Suomussalmi and are part of the #getlappi campaign . Thank you very much for this wonderful trip! Of course we are free to report. This cooperation has no influence on our honest opinion.
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!