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No matter if on my FinnTouch blog or here at Little Finland - we always receive questions from those interested in Finland, who would like to visit the land of a thousand lakes. Some questions are asked again and again. So we came up with the idea, just to make a contribution from it. Here are our Suomi FAQs - the most important questions and answers about your holiday in Finland!
About 88.7 percent of the population speak Finnish as their mother tongue, 5.3 percent are Swedish-speaking - Swedish is officially the second official language of the country. However, most Finns speak very good English and surprisingly many even German. So there should be no problems with communication on site.
Finland is part of the Eastern European time zone, which means that if it is 18:00 in Germany, for example, then the clocks in Finland start showing at 19:00.
No, your identity card is perfectly adequate as an identity document. As Finland is an EU member, you often do not even have to show it.
In addition to the direct ferry connection from Germany to Finland, several airlines from various airports in Central Europe are heading for Finnish airports, in particular Helsinki. An excellent alternative for those traveling by car is the Tallink Silja ferry. For example, you can use the modern ships to travel from the Swedish capital of Stockholm to Helsinki or Turku - or you can travel across the Via Baltica and book a ferry crossing from Tallinn to Helsinki.
Generally, there is not the best season. Both the summer with its bright nights and the winter with beautiful snowy landscapes, especially in Lapland, have their own special charm. So, you should experience both! A special experience is also a trip to Lapland in the fall, at the so-called “Ruska” time, when the leaves turn into the most beautiful colors of the world - Indian Summer in Finnish.
The summers in Finland can be much sunnier and warmer than you might think. Temperatures even over 30 degrees are not uncommon. However, it can also be much fresher and rainy, so you should be equipped for all weather conditions. The suitcase includes T-shirts and shorts as well as an outdoor jacket and a warm sweater. But you should not forget your bathing suit!
In earlier times, winters in Finland were characterized by freezing cold and freezing temperatures. It's often not that extreme these days, but you should be prepared for the fact that it can sometimes be -20 or even -30 degrees. So, you should definitely pack your ski suit, long pants, warm gloves, scarf and hat. Also, firm, warm footwear is advised.
If you've never been to Finland before, it's a good idea to start with the capital. Helsinki has a lot to offer, from the white dome, through the deep-blasted Temppeliaukio church, to the fortified island of Suomenlinna just outside the city. In summer, the East Finnish Lake District with its countless crystal-clear waters is a popular destination for active holidaymakers and those seeking relaxation.
In North Karelia, one of the most beautiful panoramic views in Finland awaits you from the summits of the Koli Mountains. And Lapland attracts with its wonderful peace and solitude - illuminated in the summer by the midnight sun and enlightened in winter by the breath-taking northern lights. In Lapland's capital, Rovaniemi, you can also visit Santa Claus in his village.
Classic hotels in Finland are usually in terms of comfort, amenities and cleanliness absolutely great - but the prices are a bit higher. Cheap alternatives can be found, for example, in the form of a "Maalaishotelli" (country hotel), cozy and usually rather simple but clean country cottages. In addition, there are of course numerous apartments throughout the country, which you can book on online portals.
If the Finns want to find relaxation in their own country, then they make their way to their "Mökki". This is the typical Finnish holiday home, which is almost always located on a lake, with its own pier and its own sauna. You can find many Mökkis on the see coasts.
That depends on which equipment you have booked. With many offers, you can book bed linen and towels today, so you do not have to carry these things with you. I would definitely recommend you to pack rubber boots, with which you can safely move in any weather in the forest and tall grass. You may need them also for a rowing boat which come with most Mökkis. Take something to read with you and board games, which can provide entertaining fun in a relaxed atmosphere in the evening. An anti-mosquito remedy is also a must.
There is one rule in the Finnish sauna: There are no rules! Basically, every sauna company decides for themselves how to bath in a sauna. In Finland, this usually happens in public saunas separated by gender. What you do at your Mökki sauna is, of course, left to you and your fellow travellers alone. Infusions are carried out in the Finnish sauna with clear water and a special Löyly trowel. Again, it is allowed, what pleases. There is no hourglass in Finnish saunas, but everyone stays in sauna so long as they want or can. In between, do not forget the refreshment in the cool lake water!
The Finnish every man’s right states that, throughout the country, everyone - whether local or tourist - can freely move about in the nature and pick mushrooms and berries. You just should not do this in the immediate vicinity of houses. You can also fish with one fishing rod anytime (more than one fishing rods requires a fishing permit) and set up your tent in nature.
Many believe that the deepest winter is the best season to observe northern lights. That is only partially true. The chances of seeing the unique spectacle of heaven are actually best in autumn and spring. So, you should book your trip to Finnish Lapland ideally in the months of September, October or March to go hunting for the Northern Lights.
In June and July, the sun north of the Arctic Circle does not go down for several months. The further north you travel, the longer you can enjoy the midnight sun. But even in the southern parts of the country the sun sinks only briefly in the summer behind the horizon and it is only a little bit dusky, not pitch black.
Reindeer can be found almost everywhere in the Finnish Lapland. However, that also means that you have to be especially careful while driving. For a herd is just so fast in the middle of the road and cannot see anything, immediately making space again.
You will encounter mosquitoes sooner or later in the Finnish summer. Especially, in the forest it can therefore make sense to spray already preventively with an anti-mosquito agent. Long-sleeved clothing can also help prevent the mosquito bites. In addition, you should avoid particularly humid areas or staying still.
The mosquitoes in Finland are not always as active as you might fear. It often depends on factors such as temperature, wind and the environment. At the beginning of August, for example, you have a good chance of encountering a few mosquitoes.
Be sure to try Karjalanpiirakka, the extremely delicious Karelian pierogi. These are traditionally rice-filled dumplings, which are warm and coated with egg butter, simply delicious taste. Salmon and small whitefish are among the fish specialties. Personally, I also love the Finnish potatoes, the sweet little strawberries and the Finnish rye bread. If you like liquorice and salmiak (salty liquorice), you will be in a paradise.
The Finnish ice cream is also exceptionally delicious. Also the unique cinnamon buns ("Korvapuusti") are just the thing with a coffee - which the Finns also love the most in the world. A Finnish cult drink is Lonkero (long drink), a mixed drink consisting of gin and grapefruit juice, which was developed for the 1952 Summer Olympics. Nowadays, there is also a vibrant craft beer scene in Finland with many exciting microbreweries.
Going out for dinner in the fine restaurants - especially in Helsinki - is a costly pleasure. If you do not need fine dining, but would like to dine well and cheaply, I warmly recommend you the so-called "Lounas" offers. This is a kind of "lunch" and accordingly, there are good offers at noon. They usually include meals from the buffet including salad, bread, water and coffee. On the way you can find restaurants at many petrol stations, where you can eat from buffets and get full.
Finland is a member of the EU and the currency is the euro. In many shops and even in bars or nightclubs, you can easily and simply pay with your credit card.
Finland is known for its world-class mobile network. Even in remote areas you usually have very good mobile phone connection.
Finland is considered one of the most child friendly countries in the world. The kids get generous perks everywhere or even get free admission. In addition, there are many modern and clean playgrounds. In the trains, you will find special family compartments and the supermarkets offer small shopping cart for the kids.
It is always very daring to say something like this about a whole people. But yes, I think that the Finns in general are more quiet and reserved than other peoples (exceptions confirm the rule as always). Nevertheless, they are usually extremely friendly when someone needs help, and after the first ice is broken, you will often find reliable friends for life in Finland.
It is not very popular in Finland when someone is queue-jumping in a line. Therefore, you have to wait your turn and quite often, for example in the post, your number. If you are invited to visit Finns at home, you should definitely take off your shoes right at the entrance. A personal space is important to the Finn, so it is good to keep a respectful distance when talking to a Finn.
Win a trip from Stockholm to Turku and back with Little Finland and Tallink Silja! The trip includes two ferry trips (Stockholm - Turku and Turku - Stockholm) for two persons (and optionally a car) on a daily crossing and 2 lunch buffets on board. Travel period is possible until 22.12.2019, except for the travel period 24.06.2019 - 10.08.2019.
You can participate via Little Finland Facebook post or Instagram page. Just answer to the following question: Would you book trips to Finland on our online shop. If yes, what kind of trips interest you. Participation in the raffle is possible until Fri 26.04.2019. The winner will be personally notified.
Text: René Schwarz
About the author:
René Schwarz grew up half Finn and bilingual. The self-employed copywriter and author regularly travels to his second home country and loves to share his passion for Suomi with others. He has been doing so since the beginning of 2016 on his blog FinnTouch, where you can expect numerous travel tips from Finland, interviews with Finnish artists and personal stories. Have a look at www.finntouch.de!
Prices are tax included