One of the most exciting things about studying abroad is the possibility of visiting new places and seeing new cities around the world. Below you will find some general information about how to get to Finland, how to travel around Finland and what cities we recommend you visit once you’re here.
After getting admitted to a university in Finland it is time to organise your trip to get there! We recommend that you start looking for flights well in advance, as this allows you to compare different options, and usually for a more affordable price.
Most international flights arrive to Helsinki-Vantaa airport, which is the main airport in Finland. Being a popular stop-over place, Helsinki-Vantaa has great international connections. Domestic flights bring you easily to other cities in Finland, or you can opt for bus or train, too.
There are international train links to Moscow and St. Petersburg, or you can arrive by the sea from Sweden, Estonia, and Germany. The main harbors in Finland are Helsinki and Turku.
- Hämeenlinna is located on a long, narrow lake called Vanajavesi. Its red brick castle is one of the noted landmarks along with Aulanko Park. You can visit a museum devoted to the national composer Sibelius, or even visit a Sibelius Park! Being an historically important place, the Hämeenlinna Historical Museum is also one of the city’s popular attractions.
- Tampere was founded in 1779, and is famous for its industrial architecture, active cultural life and lake sceneries. The Hämeensilta Bridge is decorated with four statues, made by Wäinö Aaltonen, of famed Finnish culture figures. The Lenin Museum and Doom Church are the biggest tourist attractions. Other museums worth a visit are Moomin Museum, Spy Museum and Mineral Museu, and old villages of Ruovesi and Virrat are definitely something to check out!
- Turku is Finland’s oldest city and the former capital. Two old sailing ships, “Suomen Joutsen” and “Sigyn” are moored and open to the public in the summer. The city’s castle, originating from the medieval times, currently houses the Turku Historical Museum. Since 1996, Turku has held an annual medieval market, where you can see people dressed in medieval clothes, listen to music, try old-fashioned foods and drinks, and admire medieval handcrafts and shows.
- Oulu combines nature and Northern hospitality and culture with modern technology. The Tietomaa Science Center is a popular tourist attraction. You can also visit the Botanic Garden, the Provincial Museum and the Municipal Library. The Market Square offers Finnish pastries, coffee with a pinch of local vibes. Oulu is not far from the best downhill skiing slopes in the country either!
- Jyväskylä was established in 1837 on the north side of the Jyväsjärvi lake, linked to lake Päijänne, Finland’s deepest lake. The town gets its peculiar character from a harmonious mixing of old wooden houses and modern stone buildings. The famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto designed the Municipal Theatre, Police Headquarters and Local Government Offices. Jyväskylä is famous for its trade fairs and especially the Jyväskylä International Arts Festival.
- Lapland, and its capital Rovaniemi, are very easy to visit by train or airplane. Rovaniemi has several unique museums and other attractions, such as Santa Claus Village and the science centre Arktikum. The possibilities for outdoor activities are countless. In the winter, you can choose between downhill skiing, cross country skiing, ice fishing and husky or reindeer ride. During the summer, rafting, canoeing, hiking, fishing, golfing, hunting and mountain biking are popular pastime. Tourist attractions such as Rauna Zoo and the amethyst mine are also worth the visit.
The above are only a few among many cities and towns to visit in Finland. Feel free to refer to our blog as well to find more places to experience!
- The Åland Islands are situated between Sweden and Finland, and while being a part of Finland, the main language is Swedish. The islands are famous for their unspoiled nature and beautiful landscapes. Visit the islands on midsummer’s eve and join the ancient celebration marking the longest day of the year!
- Stockholm, the Swedish capital, is built on 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges. The city offers world-class museums and attractions due to its rich cultural life and 750 years of history. Good places to visit are the Stockholm City Hall (from where you can enjoy a fantastic view), the Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral (situated in the Gamla Stan old town district) and the warship Vasa.
- Tallinn, the Estonian capital, has a beautiful old town with many interesting sights. When entering the old town, you will notice the magical atmosphere. The medieval town isn’t only famed for its sights and tourist attractions, but the whole area has a unique style of streets, buildings and shops.
- It is easy to visit Russia from Finland. In Moscow you can visit the Kremlin, Basils Cathedral and several museums. St. Petersburg has a many beautiful old buildings, churches, palaces and museums to visit. In some museums you have to show your ticket for several exhibitions and you cannot enter special exhibitions for a second time, so keep your ticket at least until leaving.
Helsinki-Vantaa airport is a popular stop-over, and has great connections to the rest of Europe, as well as to other continents. Usually you can travel without a visa on the Finnish student residence permit in the Schengen area.