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Finnish cities for international students that will perfectly suit your personality!

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Let us introduce you to the top Finnish cities for international students!

Finland is indeed quickly becoming a popular destination for international students. Known for its high-quality education, affordable living costs, stunning natural beauty, and other fantastic reasons to live and study in the country, it’s no wonder that many are choosing to learn higher education in Finnish cities.

But with so many cities to choose from, it can be overwhelming to pick which one is right for you.

Today, let us help you decide!

We listed the top 11 Finnish cities for international students featuring their unique charm. Also included are the leading universities plus must-see places for a study-life balance.

All hail Helsinki!

1. Helsinki

Current population: 650,000

Top universities in Helsinki: Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Hanken School of Economics, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and University of Helsinki

Best for global learners who appreciate a beautiful, multi-awarded, and inviting metropolis

As the capital city of Finland, Helsinki indeed ranks first among the most famous Finnish cities for international students.

It is a vibrant metropolis that surely offers a wide range of attractions for both tourists and global learners. The city has something for everyone, from stunning beaches and refreshing parks to well-designed structures and a lively cultural scene!

Additionally, for art and history enthusiasts, Helsinki is certainly blessed with numerous galleries, museums, and theaters.

Finland surely offers one of the best public transportation globally. With this, you can generally expect smooth access to anywhere in the city.

Helsinki is undoubtedly a great place to call home during your higher education in the country!

Must-see places to visit:

  • Ateneum Art Museum
  • Helsinki Music Centre
  • Suomenlinna fortress
  • Helsinki Cathedral
Tampere is a modern city with natural beauty!

2. Tampere

Current population: 250,000

Top university in Tampere: Tampere University of Applied Sciences

Best for international learners who want to enjoy a technology-based and advanced city

Tampere is one of the top Finnish cities for international students. It is in the country’s Pirkanmaa region and is known for its innovative technology and technology companies.

International students who want to pursue successful careers in science and innovation will certainly learn from and enjoy this city. It is one of the best and most modern universities, concentrating on technology, health, and society.

Tampere is generally an excellent place where physical activities are enjoyable during school breaks. You are encouraged to bike around, hike to see beautiful scenery, and enjoy other fun adventures in numerous parks and lakes.

Must-see places to visit:

  • Tampere Cathedral
  • Pyynikki Observation Tower
  • Tampere Art Museum
Every corner in Turku is picturesque!

3. Turku

Current population: 175,645

Top universities in Turku: Turku University of Applied Sciences, Novia University of Applied Sciences

Best for students who are fascinated with history and beautiful architecture

Turku also takes the spot as one of the top Finnish cities for international students. It is located on the country’s southwestern coast, and learners will surely appreciate its culturally rich and historical background.

It is the oldest city in the country, generally acclaimed for its intricate and stunning medieval architecture, a detailed Gothic cathedral, and an essential harbor with a rich background in seafaring.

Turku is also a popular student destination. You can certainly meet new friends and enjoy a lively social scene in the area. During summer, you can picnic at Ruissalo or enjoy camping at Saaronniemi.

Are you looking for a dreamy, well-preserved medieval town? Head to Naantali, where you can also shop for handicraft items and enjoy coffee afterward.

Must-see places to visit:

  • Turku Castle
  • Market Square
  • Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art
  • Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Museum

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Aerial view of the city of Oulu

4. Oulu

Current population: 133,541

Top university in Oulu: University of Oulu

Best for global learners who adore scenic spots to recharge

Students who want to stay in a sanctuary with beautiful natural surroundings will surely appreciate Oulu. It is in the northern part of Finland and has plenty of parks, forests, and lakes to cool off in.

Oulu is a great place for people who love the outdoors and want to go hiking, fishing, or camping. Also, with its lively student community and multiple dining and entertainment choices, Oulu is certainly one of the top Finnish cities for international students that you can call home during your studies in Finland.

Must-see places to visit:

  • Oulu Museum of Art
  • Tietomaa Science Centre
  • Hupisaaret Park
You will definitely enjoy watching various sport activities in Lahti!

5. Lahti

Current population: 100,095

Top university in Lahti: LAB University of Applied Sciences

Best for physically-active students who enjoy working out outdoors

Lahti is one of the top Finnish cities for international students who are outdoor and sports enthusiasts. It is just 80 kilometers from Helsinki and offers numerous sports facilities, including the Lahti Sports Center and the Ski Jumping Hill.

Additionally, Lahti is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy nature. The city was specifically named the European Green Capital of 2021 by the European Commission due to its long-term and commendable effort in environmental sustainability. 

Furthermore, with its numerous sports facilities, including the Lahti Sports Centre and the Ski Jumping Hill, Lahti is certainly a great place for International students interested in pursuing a career in athletics.

Must-see places to visit:

  • Lahti Art Museum
  • Sibelius Hall
  • Lahti History Museum
finnish cities for intenational students
Stroll and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze in the city of Kuopio!

6. Kuopio

Current population: 91,989

Top university in Kuopio: Savonia University of Applied Sciences

Best for art-loving international learners

Kuopio is indeed a charming destination with a vibrant arts and culture scene, located in the eastern region of Finland. Kuopio is usually smaller than other Finnish cities for international students, but it has a lot of fun things to do.

You can stroll and relax at the Kuopio harbor and enjoy fresh catches from the sea. Need some adrenaline rush? Experience it and more at the Puijo ski jumping hills! Additionally, if you are a music lover, you can hear soothing songs at the Savonlinna Opera Festival.

Kuopio offers a more intimate and welcoming atmosphere for international students.

Must-see places to visit:

  • Puijo Tower
  • Kuopio Art Museum
  • Monastery of Valamo
Finnish cities for international students
You can stroll in the beautiful Ahvensaari beach in Vaasa during school breaks

7. Vaasa

Current population: 58,020

Top universities in Vaasa: Hanken School of Economics, Novia University of Applied Sciences, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences

Best for learners who enjoy fun and relaxing activities under the sun

Vaasa is one of the well-known, top Finnish cities for international students. It is a coastal area generally known as the sunniest city in the country.

There are a lot of fun activities in Vaasa! During the summer, you can hike the mesmerizing coastlines and stroll on marked trails.

Additionally, you can also attend social and cultural events such as the international nature film festival Wildlife, the Vaasa Littfest, and the Night of the Arts.

Music lovers will also love the Vaasa Choir Festival, the Korshol Music Festival, and performances at the Vaasa Opera.

In winter, you can learn exciting sports like skiing and skating on solid sea ice.

Must-see places to visit:

  • The Rajavuori Observation Tower
  • Kuntsi Museum of Modern Arts
  • Museum of Old Vaasa

8. Lappeenranta

Current population: 59,683

Top universities in Lappeenranta: LAB University of Applied Sciences, LUT University

Best for global students that like to participate in festive social events

Lappeenranta surely offers the most breathtaking summers in the country. One of the best cities in Finland for international students has beautiful views of lakes and clean, fresh air that never runs out.

Additionally, there are hundreds of social and cultural events in Lappeenranta. You will certainly enjoy concerts, festivals, street activities, and more in the city up to the shores of Lake Saimaa.

Furthermore, after enjoying all the festivities, you will specifically adore going to the Holiday Club Saimaa, the most extensive spa in all Nordic countries.

Global learners will undoubtedly love this city’s festive yet relaxing atmosphere.

Must-see places to visit:

  • The Living Fortress
  • Lappeenranta City Theater
  • Angry Birds Activity Park
  • Saimaa Kanal Museum

Stay comfortable inside warm cabins in Rovaniemi

9. Rovaniemi

Current population: 58,206

Top university in Rovaniemi: Lapland University of Applied Sciences

Best for global students who want to reminisce about their childhood Christmas fascinations

Aside from being the capital of Finnish Lapland, Rovaniemi is the official hometown of Santa Claus. Tourists from all over the world usually go to this well-known place to remember happy times from their childhood.

Additionally, other fun activities will surely introduce you to one of the most enchanting Finnish cities for international students. You can visit Bearhill Husky and experience an ethical ride from strong-bodied huskies. You may also interact with a group of reindeer or explore the Laampivaara Amethyst Mine.

International students will certainly appreciate Rovaniemi and its rich local culture. Presently, more and more global learners go to this city and other parts of Finland to experience the wonderful advantages of studying in the country!

Must-see places to visit:

  • Santa Claus Village
  • Korundi House of Culture
  • Ounasvaara Ski Resort

10. Seinäjoki

Current population: 57,746

Top university in Seinäjoki: Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences

Best for international learners who enjoy social events and interaction

Seinäjoki is indeed one of the high-spirited Finnish cities for international students. Over time, it has established itself as a significant area where various events occur.

Thousands of people participate in annual activities such as the Tangomarkkinat tango festival, the Provinssi rock festival, and the Vayhtiajot race. Furthermore, there are other outdoor and indoor happenings where you can surely learn more about the rich culture of Finland.

International students can certainly benefit from the mentioned events as they can provide internship positions and work. In addition, you will meet new friends and make your study in Finland generally fun and memorable!

Must-see places to visit:

  • Regional Museum of South Ostrobothnia
  • Varikki Gallery
  • The Seinäjoki Art Hall
Finnish cities for international students
Top view of the dynamic city of Espoo

11. Espoo

Current population: 292,796

Top university in Espoo: Aalto University

Best for those who want to learn and live in a technology-based area

Espoo is the second biggest city in the country. It is an important place where initiatives certainly helped the area move toward a local economy that is both sustainable and technology-based.

Additionally, it has had a strong start-up community for more than 15 years, which generally helps traditional companies in the area become more digital.

Furthermore, Espoo is considered one of the most dynamic Finnish cities for international students. Once there, you will certainly feel the energy of commitment toward digitalization and innovation.

So, global learners will definitely pick up on the region’s ideas to keep improving the lives of its people and keep it as the top hub for modernization.

Must-see places to visit:

  • Espoo Museum of Modern Art
  • Serena Water Park
  • Laajalahti Nature Reserve

Read more:


Enjoy the magnificent display of lights during your study in Finland!

In a nutshell

With its high-quality education, affordable living costs, and stunning natural beauty, Finland is indeed an excellent destination for international students.

Whether you’re interested in the bustling metropolis of Helsinki, the tech hub of Tampere, the historic charm of Turku, the outdoor beauty of Oulu; or other exciting Finnish cities for international students, there is certainly a perfect spot to live, study, and work!

Furthermore, to surely help with your cost of living in Finland, you may work 30 hours a week and earn eight to 12 EUR per hour! Let us assist you in finding a part-time job. To apply, click here.

Book a counseling session now, and we will help your journey to the best Finnish cities for international students!

About the writer

Mark has been a professional content writer for four years. He is indeed an expert in creating articles about education and studying abroad. His writings don’t only inform; he also wants to establish emotional connections with readers.

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