A photo of Helsinki in Finland taken from the water.

10 reasons why Finland should be on everyone’s bucket list

Exploring Finland is like stepping inside the pages of your favourite magical story from childhood. There are snowy landscapes, fresh air, Moomins, scenic lakes, Santa Claus, reindeers, sunlight at midnight, and – during winter – the sky dazzles with green and red tones.

It’s probably why Finland consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world. It’s also why visitors fall in love with Finland and speak about the country with shiny, wide-eyes when they return home. Still not convinced about Finland’s fairy-tale charm? Here are 10 reasons why Finland should be on everyone’s bucket list.      

1. It’s home to more forest and water than anywhere else in Europe

Blue lake in Finland punctuated by evergreen trees during the daytime.

You may have heard that Finland is the “Land of a Thousand Lakes”. The 188,000 lakes of Finland are so vast that Finland has the most water in relation to land mass of all the countries in the world. Also, over 70% of Finland is taken over by beautiful forest – that’s more than any other European country.

2. There’s a Freedom to Roam law

A woman standing on a rock overlooking a lake in Finland

A Finnish term “Everyman’s right” (Jokamiehen Oikeus) means you can walk freely in the nature, anywhere you want. Perfect for exploring the beautiful Finnish countryside!

3. You can meet Santa Claus

Lapland in Finland at night

Finland is the only place in the world where you can meet the real Santa Claus. Although originally from Korvatunturi, the man in red now resides in Rovaniemi, Lapland, where he greets visitors all year round.

4. There’s a 6 month skiing season

Someone in skiwear overlooking the start of a slope in Finland

There are hundreds and hundreds of kilometres worth of ski tracks in Finnish Lapland. For example, Ylläs’ 330km of tracks are more than any one place has to offer in Europe.

5. There are 3 million saunas

A sauna hut on the bands of a sauna in Finland

Which is more than one sauna for every other citizen.

6. You can see the sun at midnight

A lake in Finland with the midnight sun looking over it

Up in the northern landmass of Finland, the sun stays in the sky for two consecutive months. The Finns see this as a time to celebrate and watch movies, with the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä, Lapland being one of the country’s most popular festivals.  

7. It’s the home of the Moomins

The Moomin house in Finland

Created by the talented Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson, the Moomins’ presence can be felt and seen in places such as the Naantali Moomin World or the Tampere Moomin Museum.

8. The rarest seal in the world

The Saimaa ringed seal is one of the few living freshwater seals in the world. This endangered seal has a total population of only about 310 individuals and they can only be found in Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland.

9. It’s home to some of the world’s biggest heavy metal bands

Apocalyptica, HIM, Nightwish, and Amorphis all hail from Finland. And who can forget Lordi? The only metal band to have ever won the Eurovision Song Contest. There’s even a square named after them (yes, it’s called Lordi Square) in the singer’s hometown of Rovaniemi.

10. It’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights

A couple lying back in bed looking up at the northern lights in Finland through a domed roof.

The Aurora Borealis can appear more than 200 nights a year in Finnish Lapland. That’s pretty much every winter night. What better way to finish off a break in this dreamlike country?

A banner that says "Find Your Finland"

Morag Lee

Morag is the resident blog writer at Barrhead Travel. Can usually be found exploring a cruise ship or on a city break.