Julie Van Praet
BEST winter activities in Finland
Finland might sound counterintuitive as a winter escape, but it’s the perfect place to make the most of it. Whereas other nations shy away from the cold, Finland embraces it with high-end ski resorts, sweaty saunas, and cosy Christmas markets.
From high-adrenaline sports to opening up your pores, these activities are sure to put the fun in Finland. Let The Walking Parrot give you a rundown!
Discover with us:
Skiing & Snowboarding
Although Finnish skiing culture is a lot more laid-back than the one in the Alps, adventurous adrenaline junkies will surely find a slope to get their blood pumping.
Finland holds over 388 km of slopes and about 350 ski lifts to reach its peaks. The largest ski resort even has a combined length of 53 km of slopes.
The Nordics see skiing more as a relaxing getaway than a yearly must. Be aware though, they are operating at a much higher skill level, than Dutch tourists in Switzerland do.
If you prefer to take in your surroundings at a much slower pace give Cross Country skiing a try. Where you get to move across snowy landscapes at a more relaxing rhythm.
If you belong to our third group of adrenaline junkies check out Finland’s apres-ski chalets. Finland has a reputation as a great party nation and their apres-ski huts reflect that sentiment quite nicely.
You can expect a rundown of the best ski resorts in the coming days!
Dog & Kick sledding
Unbridled Finnish fun is found on a sled. A great way to have some wintery fun with the whole family is by going kick sledding or even giving dogsledding a go.
Kick sledding in Finland isn’t anything like your grandma’s sled in the garage. In Finnish sports shops, you will find all kinds of high-quality sleds that ensure the safety of all.
Thinking about heading to Lapland? We definitely recommend giving dog sledding a try. Dog sledding is one of the most authentic ways to explore Finnish nature. You will find multiple organizations offering a wild run behind a group of determined huskies. Do remember rule number one of dog sledding: don’t let go of the sled.
Ice Breaker boat & Ice Fishing
By continuing our journey up north you will find the one-of-a-kind opportunity to take a trip on an icebreaker boat. Here you get to explore arctic waters on a polar cruise. These cruises offer a guided chance to learn more about the environment and give ice water swimming a try. Most importantly the hull of the ship is nice and toasty with a great view.
While you’re out there breaking the ice, try breaking your patience by giving ice fishing a go. Ice fishing is winter sport at its most traditional. With almost one-tenth of the country covered in lakes, you will surely find a spot to drill a hole. Ice fishing is free to all, as you don’t need a license, but we do advise you to bring a Finnish friend along to help you navigate icy lakes and have a cup of coffee with.
Snowshoeing is one of the easier sports activities on our list. It’s a brilliant way to get to explore the vastness of Finland’s forests. Finland essentially turns into a brand new country over the wintertime, with lakes that weren’t previously accessible covered in icy snow and tree tops gleaming white. Once you get the hang of snowshoeing you are guaranteed to have a good time.
We do want to emphasize to always be well prepared for Finland in wintertime. When heading out dress appropriately and be prepared for the unpredictable.
While Hygge might be a Danish term, Finland has applied that sense of warm comfort in its unique forms of accommodation. With 5-star hotels turning the Arctic luxurious and quaint cabins to warm your toes in.
In the fascinating city of Rovaniemi (more about that later), you can find the Arctic SnowHotel and Glass Igloos to have a night’s stay in. There you get to marvel at a 360° view of Lapland’s beauty. Don’t fret, you will remain snug on a soft bed in an even comfier sleeping bag with hot berry juice to keep your insides warm.
Marvel at the Northern Lights
The best time to see the Northern Lights in Finland is from December to March. With the Aurora Lights shining every night in Lapland from September till March. There are multiple guided tours offering an informative view and many unique ways to spend the night as stated previously.
With more than 3 million saunas dedicated to a population of 5 million, Finland knows how to sauna. Even companies and state institutions join in on the fun with their own professional steam baths. Traditional saunas are heated with wood, as smoke saunas are the authentic Finnish way of sweating.
Keep Finnish sauna etiquette in mind when visiting. Take a shower beforehand and don’t be shy.
Mine for amethyst
Every winter season the people of Lampivaara open their doors to visitors wanting to participate in a truly unique activity. In ancient mountains, you will get to mine for the violet gem of amethyst. Not only do you get to dig up your very own jewel, but you also get to admire the beautiful landscape and history of the fascinating stone.
The weather has you down? Finland’s got you covered. Like many Nordic countries, Finland isn’t necessarily considered a bargain for shopping, but it ranks up top as one of the best countries for quality goods. The country, and especially Helsinki, is renowned in the field of design. Boasting gorgeous glassware, homeware, ceramics, and furniture. Finland also has beautiful traditional handicrafts stemming from Sami culture, with handwoven Ryijy rugs considered an art form.
Visit Santa Claus and his reindeer
The most hardworking man in Finland resides in the magical town of Rovaniemi. Santa Claus spends his time year-round at the Arctic Circle providing sustainable tourism for all.
Here you get to give Rudolph a wave and meet all of Santa’s jolly helpers. With activities for all ages ranging from exciting dogsled rides to fine dining.
A one-of-a-kind experience spreading the Christmas spirit around the globe from the southernmost latitude where the sun either doesn’t come up or never sets.
If the cold never bothered you anyway, check out our guides on Helsinki and Oulu. Follow us on Instagram @thewalkingparrot to stay notified of new content!