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Table of Contents
We decided to collect some basic information what you should keep in your mind when planning to travel to Nordic countries. As we are based in Finland we suggest you to choose Finland. However, there are not many differences between Nordic countries. Denmark is maybe the least "Nordic" since it is close to Germany and Iceland may be the most exotic with its volcanic environment. But all these countries are great choices to visit. Maybe you should combine a few of them for a single journey?
In this article we don't concentrate on travel document issues. All Nordic countries are members of Schengen so if you have free access or visa to Schengen area entering any Nordic country should not cause problem.
Let us assume you have chosen to make your trip to Finland. The first thing to decide is whether to visit during summer or winter. In the summer one of the best thing is to experience bright nights. The summer is also great time to explore nature, do hiking or see one of 300 000 lakes and enjoy moderately warm but not hot weather. In the contrast winter is the time to feel real arctic climate. Much snow, short days and cold nights are part of it.
If winter is your choice be prepared with warm clothes. Absolutely during the winter, we recommend you to head to the north of Finland, to the area called Lapland. It is almost sure that there is plenty of snow, fresh (=cold) air and real arctic atmosphere. A good starting point in Lapland is Rovaniemi which is Lapland's most populated city but still quite small. Even though its small size there are cool things to experience: meet the real Santa Claus (yes the real!), stay in an ice hotel, explore arctic culture in museums or take a husky ride. Rovaniemi is probably the easiest tourist destination in Lapland for a first time visitor. If you feel more adventurous just continue to really north. In Ivalo or Kittilä there are less tourists attractions but you can feel the pure arctic winter or lifestyle there. Especially in Kittilä you can do winter sports.
We will publish more about Lapland later in separate articles. Probably you are already asking when and where to see northern lights so be prepared for the answers.
Summer is totally different experience in Finland. During the summer we would recommend exploring cities in the south or in the middle of Finland. The weather is nice(however raining now and then) and cities are more lively. The day length in the south is about 18 hours and in Lapland there are no nights at all. That means you can see the midnight sun. Popular summer activities are enjoying midsummer sauna, swimming in a lake, taking an inexpensive cruise to Sweden or Estonia or just enjoying Finnish culture. Helsinki is really lively during the summer.
Interesting other summer cities are for example Turku, Kuopio or Utsjoki. Turku is the oldest city in Finland and there are many historical sightseeing spots. A river divides the city and with its restaurant boats the area becomes really lively. Kuopio is a great destination to experience numerous beautiful lakes and to take a cruise on them. If you feel really extreme just continue to Utsjoki, the north border of Finland. There are not much to see there but cross the border to Norway and soon you will reach Arctic Sea.
Whenever you do your trip to Finland we suggest you to arrive via Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Helsinki Airport is well connected to the world and exploring the capital is absolutely recommended before continuing.
The last basic question is when to come? Having a winter trip the best months are from December to March. Keep in mind that weather in Helsinki varies a lot and if you are unlucky Helsinki is snow less. So going to Lapland is absolutely recommended because there is usually much of snow. If you plan a summer trip don't come before May. Springs are cold. The best months are from June to August. September could be nice because autumns tend to be quite warm and colorful.
We will be writing more details later. For example, where to stay, how does Finnish public transport work or how to travel inexpensively here. We are going to open an Instagram account to collect all article photos there. So far, we would be absolutely happy if you share this article and like our Facebook page. So far, please see our article about Dubai.