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10 Most Beautiful Cities in Finland to Visit

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Finland, a Nordic gem, is often celebrated for its breathtaking natural landscapes, but its cities are equally captivating, each offering a unique blend of charm, history, and modernity.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore the most beautiful cities in Finland that you should add to your travel bucket list.

I’ve traveled to Finland many times over the years, and it always has something unique and fun to explore. One of the reasons to visit Finland is the uniqueness of some of its cities.

From the vibrant capital of Helsinki, known for its stunning architecture and lively cultural scene, to the quaint and picturesque streets of Porvoo, each city tells a different story of Finnish heritage and contemporary lifestyle.

Let’s embark on this journey together to discover the hidden gems and spectacular highlights of Finland’s most beautiful cities!

Most beautiful cities in Finland to visit:

Helsinki

temple near the ocean during night
Helsinki is renowned for its design scene. The city was designated as the World Design Capital in 2012.

Helsinki, the capital of Finland, stands out as a must-visit destination in this Nordic country. Known for its harmonious blend of modern architecture and natural beauty, Helsinki offers a unique urban experience surrounded by an archipelago of islands and green spaces.

The city is famed for its design scene, notably showcased in the Design District, which is a hub for creativity and Finnish design. Visitors can explore a variety of shops, galleries, and museums, including the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.

Suomenlinna, a sea fortress spread across six islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a key attraction. It provides a historical journey as well as picturesque views, ideal for photography enthusiasts.

For those interested in experiencing local culture, Helsinki’s Market Square is a vibrant spot. Here, visitors can taste Finnish delicacies and browse through local crafts. The nearby Allas Sea Pool offers a unique chance to swim with views of the city skyline.

The city’s beauty is further accentuated by its public parks and waterfront areas, such as Esplanadi and Kaivopuisto, perfect for leisurely walks or picnics.

In winter, Helsinki transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering a different yet equally enchanting experience, with activities like ice skating and Christmas markets.

Rovaniemi

a cabin in the woods is lit up with christmas lights
The Santa Claus Village and Santa Park in Rovaniemi offer unique experiences like meeting Santa, crossing the Arctic Circle line, and enjoying various Christmas-themed activities and attractions.

Rovaniemi, located in Finland’s far north, is renowned as the official hometown of Santa Claus and a gateway to the Arctic. This city offers a magical blend of culture and wilderness, making it a unique destination.

One of the city’s most enchanting attractions is the Santa Claus Village, where visitors can meet Santa Claus any day of the year. This magical experience is complemented by the opportunity to cross the Arctic Circle line, which runs through the village.

For those interested in culture and history, the Arktikum Museum provides insightful exhibitions on Arctic life and the history of Finnish Lapland.

Rovaniemi is also a prime location for witnessing the spectacular Northern Lights. The phenomenon can be observed on clear nights from September to March, and there are numerous tours and excursions dedicated to this natural wonder.

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The city’s architecture is another highlight, with the Lappia Hall, designed by the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, standing as a notable example.

During summer, the midnight sun provides 24 hours of daylight, ideal for hiking and riverboat cruises. In winter, Rovaniemi transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering activities like husky sledding, snowmobiling, and reindeer safaris.

Turku

people walking near brown concrete building during daytime
Turku is Finland’s oldest city and its first capital. The city is home to the Turku Castle, which dates back to the 1280s, and the Turku Cathedral, established in the 1300s.

Turku, Finland’s oldest city, is a captivating blend of historical significance and contemporary culture, nestled on the southwest coast. Known as the former capital of Finland, Turku is steeped in history and Finnish heritage.

The city’s heart is the Turku Castle, a medieval building dating back to the 13th century. This historic fortress, along with the Turku Cathedral, which dates to the 1300s, offers visitors a glimpse into Finland’s past. These landmarks are not only historical but also architectural marvels, representing the city’s rich history.

Turku is also celebrated for its vibrant cultural scene. The Turku Art Museum and the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova Museum provide a deep dive into both contemporary art and ancient history.

The Aura River flows through Turku, providing a picturesque setting. The riverbanks are lined with restaurants and cafes, making it a perfect spot for leisurely walks and dining with scenic views.

During the summer, the city comes alive with the Turku Music Festival and the Medieval Market, offering visitors a taste of local culture and entertainment.

For nature enthusiasts, the nearby archipelago offers stunning natural beauty and is easily accessible for day trips.

Tampere

buildings and body of water during day
Tampere was at the forefront of Finland’s industrial revolution in the 19th century, with its textile mills often drawing comparisons to Manchester in the UK.

Tampere is a dynamic city known for its industrial heritage and vibrant cultural scene. It’s Finland’s third-largest city and is often referred to as the “Manchester of Finland” due to its historical role in the country’s industrialization.

A key attraction in Tampere is the Tampere Cathedral, famous for its unique frescoes. The city’s industrial past is showcased at the Finnish Labour Museum Werstas, housed in a former cotton mill, and the Vapriikki Museum Centre, offering various exhibitions on history, technology, and natural sciences.

For nature lovers, the Pyynikki Observation Tower offers breathtaking views of the surrounding lakes and forests. The adjacent Pyynikki Park is perfect for leisurely walks or picnics.

Tampere is also known for its vibrant theater scene, with the Tampere Theatre being one of the oldest in Finland.

The city’s culinary scene is another highlight, with the local specialty being mustamakkara, a black sausage usually enjoyed with lingonberry sauce.

Oulu

aurora lights
Oulu is known as a technology hub, often referred to as the “Silicon Valley of Finland.” The city hosts a vibrant community of tech companies, startups, and a highly regarded university that specializes in technology and science.

Oulu, located in Northern Finland, is known for its innovative spirit and beautiful natural surroundings. It’s a city where modern technology and nature coexist, often referred to as the technology capital of Finland due to its thriving tech industry and the presence of a highly respected university.

A standout feature of Oulu is the Hupisaaret Islands City Park, a picturesque area with streams, bridges, and green spaces, perfect for leisurely walks or picnics. The park also hosts the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum and the Oulu Museum of Art, offering cultural insights into the region.

The city’s market square, Kauppatori, and the adjacent Market Hall are vibrant spots where visitors can taste local Finnish delicacies and shop for crafts. The square is also home to the iconic Policeman Statue, a beloved local landmark.

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In winter, Oulu offers a magical snowy landscape with opportunities for cross-country skiing and ice skating. During summer, the city’s waterfront and numerous beaches, like Nallikari Beach, become popular spots for relaxation and recreation.

Porvoo

brown and white concrete building during night time
Porvoo Old Town, known as Vanha Porvoo (Old Porvoo), dates back to the Middle Ages and is a picturesque example of traditional Finnish architecture.

Porvoo, one of Finland’s oldest and most picturesque towns, is renowned for its well-preserved 18th and 19th-century buildings and its charming cobblestone streets. Located just a short drive from Helsinki, it offers a perfect blend of historical ambiance and contemporary culture.

The town’s most iconic sight is the Old Town, characterized by its colorful wooden houses. This area, with its narrow lanes and quaint buildings, transports visitors back in time and is a photographer’s delight.

A significant landmark is the Porvoo Cathedral, dating back to the 15th century, which has played a pivotal role in the town’s history. The cathedral, along with the town’s historic center, reflects the rich cultural heritage of Porvoo.

Art and culture enthusiasts will appreciate the Porvoo Art Factory, a hub for arts, crafts, and theater. The town is also known for its vibrant art scene, with numerous galleries and artisan shops.

For culinary experiences, Porvoo’s riverside restaurants and cafes offer a range of local and international cuisines, often in idyllic settings.

Saariselkä

a person riding a snow bike on a snowy surface
Saariselkä’s sparse population and minimal light pollution make it an ideal spot for observing the stunning Northern Light displays in the night sky.

Saariselkä, located in the heart of Finnish Lapland, is not so much a city as it is a serene village known for its stunning Arctic landscapes and outdoor activities. It’s a premier destination for those seeking an escape into nature and a taste of the Arctic wilderness.

A major draw to Saariselkä is its status as a prime location for viewing the Northern Lights. The aurora borealis can be observed here during the winter months, offering a breathtaking natural light show.

The village is surrounded by the Urho Kekkonen National Park, one of Finland’s largest protected areas. This park provides excellent opportunities for hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the pristine beauty of the Lapland wilderness.

For a unique experience, visitors can embark on a husky or reindeer safari, exploring the snowy landscapes in a traditional, yet exhilarating way.

Saariselkä is also home to the Kaunispää Hill, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Arctic scenery, and is a popular spot for downhill skiing.

Jyväskylä

a body of water filled with lots of boats
Jyväskylä is often referred to as the “City of Alvar Aalto.” This Finnish city is renowned for its collection of buildings designed by the world-famous architect Alvar Aalto, one of the pioneers of modernist architecture.

Jyväskylä, situated in Central Finland, is known as the city of education and culture, and notably, for its architecture by the world-renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. This vibrant city, nestled between lakes and hills, offers natural beauty and urban culture.

A key highlight is the Alvar Aalto Museum, dedicated to the architect’s work and design. Aalto’s influence is evident throughout Jyväskylä, making the city a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts.

The city is also the home of the University of Jyväskylä, contributing to its lively atmosphere with a bustling student population. This educational hub is surrounded by nature, offering a harmonious blend of urban and natural landscapes.

For outdoor activities, the surrounding lakes and forests provide ample opportunities for hiking, cycling, and boating in the summer, and skiing and ice skating in the winter.

Jyväskylä’s cultural scene is vibrant, with numerous events like the Jyväskylä Arts Festival and the Neste Rally Finland.

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Naantali

body of water and islands
Naantali is known for its picturesque old town, beautiful archipelago views, and as a summer residence of the President of Finland.

Naantali, located on the southwest coast of Finland, is renowned for its idyllic archipelago scenery and historical significance. This small seaside town, with its charming old town, marina, and sun-drenched streets, is often considered one of Finland’s most picturesque destinations.

A major attraction in Naantali is the Moomin World theme park, based on the famous Finnish Moomin books by Tove Jansson. This family-friendly park offers a magical experience, especially for younger visitors.

The town’s history is showcased in the Naantali Old Town, where narrow lanes and wooden houses create a storybook atmosphere. The Naantali Church, dating back to the 15th century, is a notable historical landmark.

Naantali’s waterfront is lined with cafes and restaurants, offering a perfect spot to enjoy local Finnish cuisine while taking in the views of the archipelago.

During the summer, the town hosts several events, including the Naantali Music Festival, adding to its vibrant atmosphere.

Hanko

white concrete building near body of water during daytime
Hanko is known as the “Riviera of Finland.” This charming seaside town boasts the highest number of sunny days in Finland.

Hanko, Finland’s southernmost town, is a unique blend of stunning seaside landscapes and rich history. Known for its beautiful beaches and status as a popular summer resort, Hanko offers a picturesque setting with a distinctly maritime feel.

The town’s history as a major port is evident in its charming old wooden villas, which date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These historic buildings add a touch of elegance and nostalgia to the town’s atmosphere.

Hanko’s coastline is dotted with sandy beaches and rocky outcrops, making it a perfect destination for sunbathing, swimming, and various water sports. The Tulliniemi Nature Path offers a scenic route for walkers, leading to the southernmost point of mainland Finland.

For history enthusiasts, the Hanko Front Museum provides insights into the town’s role in World War II.

The town also hosts the annual Hanko Regatta, a major sailing event that adds to its vibrant summer atmosphere.


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