From the striking modern architecture of Helsinki to the rural charms of Lapland, Finland offers a diverse experience of a country's progress coupled with a strong cultural connection to its forested landscape.

Small Group Tours

Scandinavian Discovery

A stunning journey through Scandinavia, including Finland and northernmost Norway.

Airfares included

Days 21
From (Per person / Twin share) $13,595

Finland Facts & Tips

Capital
Capital — Helsinki
Population
Population — 5.5 million
Language
Language — Finnish
Religion
Religion — Lutheran Church of Finland
Time Zone
Time Zone — 8 hours behind AEST
Currency
Currency — Euro
  • Finland, like Iceland, is Nordic rather than Scandinavian.
  • Finland was the first country in Europe to have both a female president and female prime minister serving at the same time.
  • The country has been judged to be the world’s least corrupt.
  • Finland is heavily forested, in fact 86% of the country’s land area is covered, making it the largest forested area in Europe. There are thousands of lakes, rivers and extensive areas of marshland.
  • The country’s relatively flat landscape is due to the long-lasting glaciers of the Ice Age.
  • The Sami people were the first inhabitants of Finland, moving further northwards around 1000BC as the Finns entered.
  • The country took advantage of the Russian Revolution in 1917 to declare its independence.
  • Finland embraces the concept of ‘Everyman's Rights’. It means that you have permission to roam freely and enjoy the countryside, picking local produce and taking in your surrounds. Note though – you can pick wild berries but not produce that obviously belongs to someone else!

Australian passport holders travelling to Finland do not need a visa at this time.

We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.

Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.

The Australian Embassy in Sweden is responsible for Finland:

Klarabergsviadukten 63, 8th Floor
111 64 Stockholm
Ph. +46 0 8 613 2900
Fax. +46 0 8 613 2982

The Australian Honorary Consulate in Finland:

Museokatu 25 B 23
00100 Helsinki
Ph. +358 10 420 4492
Fax. +358 9 492 225

The official currency of Finland is the Euro. Notes come in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. The recommended currency to take to Finland is the Euro. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.

Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.

Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.

If you don’t have Euros with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.

Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.

  • The price of a cappuccino in Helsinki is approximately €4
  • The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately €12
  • The price of dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately €35
  • The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately €7

Finnish cuisine is known for its simple but fresh ingredients and is similar to Swedish cuisine. Traditional dishes were generally slow-cooked meals of very simple ingredients. Today, more contemporary continental-style practices are employed with fish and meat providing the most substance to the dishes. Finnish foods often use rye, barley and oats along with berries – think blueberries, lingonberries and cloudberries. Turnips were historically one of the staple foods for Finnish people, but the potato replaced these when introduced. Some dishes you may wish to try when in Finland include the Karelian pasty (karjalanpiirakka), a traditional dish made from a thin pastry crust filled with rice and served with munavoi (egg butter) spread over the top; fried vendace - the fish are fried, accompanied with a garlic sauce and eaten whole. For something sweet why not try pulla, a sweet, cardamom-spiced bread which is perfect with coffee. Speaking of which, Finland is purported to have the highest coffee consumption per capita in the world! It is drunk nearly continuously throughout the day.

Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.

If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.

 

Finland has a temperate climate in the south, which gets colder the further north you go. The summer months see the Finns out in force soaking up as much sunshine as they can, before heading in to the darker months of winter. Generally, the best time to visit is during summer with July being the warmest month. It is also possible during this time to experience the Midnight Sun on and around the summer solstice. Winter, autumn and spring each hold their own charms with early spring a popular time for skiing and winter sports.

Want to get out and explore on your own?

Finnish taxis, known as taksis, are widely regarded as some of the best in Europe, but as such are a tad expensive. They can be identified by their yellow taksi sign. The best way to get a taksi is to go to one of the many taxi ranks or order by phone.

Once you've arrived, take your time. You can get around by train, bus, car, steamship, cruise ship, bicycle, skis or sleigh. Relax and enjoy it.

When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.

So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Finland…

Finland is well known for its high-quality hides, skins, furs, yarns and fabrics. Traditional items you may wish to invest in can be expensive, but they are certainly unique including Finnish puukko knives and handwoven ryijy rugs. To be sure you are buying Lappish handicrafts, look for the ‘Sámi Duodji’ label that certifies it as authentic. For modern day Finnish items, you can’t go past Marimekko clothing for contemporary Finnish design, Iittala glass and Arabia ceramics. Moomin characters can be found throughout souvenir shops and are great gifts for children.

  • Finland, like Iceland, is Nordic rather than Scandinavian.
  • Finland was the first country in Europe to have both a female president and female prime minister serving at the same time.
  • The country has been judged to be the world’s least corrupt.
  • Finland is heavily forested, in fact 86% of the country’s land area is covered, making it the largest forested area in Europe. There are thousands of lakes, rivers and extensive areas of marshland.
  • The country’s relatively flat landscape is due to the long-lasting glaciers of the Ice Age.
  • The Sami people were the first inhabitants of Finland, moving further northwards around 1000BC as the Finns entered.
  • The country took advantage of the Russian Revolution in 1917 to declare its independence.
  • Finland embraces the concept of ‘Everyman's Rights’. It means that you have permission to roam freely and enjoy the countryside, picking local produce and taking in your surrounds. Note though – you can pick wild berries but not produce that obviously belongs to someone else!
  • Finns are very modest and downplay their own accomplishments. They view being humble and modest as virtues. Finns believe there is a proper way to act in any circumstance and always expect courteous behaviour.
  • Serial conversation is the rule - i.e. listen to the speaker, wait for them to finish and then reply. Interrupting is rude.
  • Bread and shrimp are the only foods eaten by hand. Even fruit is eaten with utensils.
  • Finns still harbour a fair amount of animosity toward Russia due to the long history of invasion and occupation of Finland by Russia. This occurred as recently as WWII.

Any movie buff will love the Midnight Sun Film Festival held in Sodankylä during the second week of June. For five days straight, international and national films run around the clock without breaks, due to the fact that during this time there is no night and the sun can always be seen. A tradition around most of Europe, Finland also celebrate May Day, or Vappu. Coinciding with International Labour Day, most Finns however take the two days to commemorate the start of spring with music, dancing and eating a delicious vappu doughnut. The day includes a crane lifting a group of university students, to place a graduation cap upon the head of the famous statue of Havis Amanda in Helsinki. Expect to see an abundance of students donning their graduation caps too!

Other national public holidays to be aware of include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Epiphany (January 6th)
  • Good Friday and Easter Monday
  • May Day (May 1st)
  • Ascension Day (40th day of Easter)
  • Midsummer Eve (Friday before Midsummer)
  • Midsummer (Saturday between June 20th & 26th)
  • All Saints’ Day (Saturday between October 31 & November 6)
  • Independence Day (December 6th)
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

Finland Highlights

Europe Destinations

Armenia

Walk along Sharambeyan street in Dilijan, marvel at some of the oldest Greek, Persian and Arabic manuscripts in Yerevan, and witness the historic cave monastery of Geghard.

Austria

From the spectacular snow-covered Alps and picture-perfect panoramas, to the quintessential elegance of its larger cities, Austria is a fascinating country to explore

Azerbaijan

A relatively untouched country, there is so much to see in Azerbaijan including the Baku Fire Temple, Burning Mountain and the Palace of Shirvanshahs.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Discover intriguing history at the old city centre of Sarajevo, Baščaršija and the Museum of Sarajevo and experience the world-famous Stari Most bridge.

Croatia

With its magnificent coastline, 1,185 islands, islets and reefs, Roman ruins and picturesque medieval villages, Croatia is alluring for lovers of fun, sun and fascinating history.

Denmark

From its picturesque capital, Copenhagen, to its windswept coastline and everything in between, Denmark will lure you in with its warmth and welcoming hospitality.

France

A popular destination with all travellers, you can soak up the glamour of the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles or sip on a coffee and watch the world go by.

Georgia

Positioned between Europe and Asia, the country of Georgia has one of the most unique cultures in the world.

Germany

Infused with a rich history, Germany offers a fascinating mix of picture-perfect towns, lively festivals, modern, urban cities and beautiful rolling countryside.

Greece

Discover ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Agora in Athens, Delphi on the Greek mainland and delicious Greek cuisine in the glamorous Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.

Hungary

Hungary’s location in the centre of Europe, along with its hospitable attitude, makes it an inviting destination, proudly upholding its Magyar traditions, culture and arts whilst incorporating a fascinating mix of history and the present-day.

Italy

Land of la dolce vita, it is little wonder that Italy is one of the world’s most-loved destinations with two-thirds of the world’s historical, artistic heritage coming from Italy.

Malta

Otherwise known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, Malta is an island located off the Italian coast packed with stunning scenery and a rich culture.

Monaco

Experience jaw-dropping coastal views of the Mediterranean Sea, try your luck at the Casino Monte-Carlo or explore the botanical world of Jardin Exotique.

Montenegro

Discover surreal views and charming villages across the Bay of Kotor, explore the old town of Kotor surrounded with ancient medieval architecture and enjoy some local Montenegrin cuisine.

Morocco

Morocco’s dazzling mosaic of Arab and Berber cultures, with a dash of African and European influence, is at once strange and romantic, alluring and surprising.

Netherlands

From fields of colourful tulips and beautiful canal-lined cities to historic architecture and iconic windmills, the Netherlands is a wonderland for any kind of traveller.

Norway

Known as ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’ Norway is ideal for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy stunning scenery, while history buffs can immerse themselves in Norway's rich cultural heritage.

Portugal

Portugal has it all; the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve, exclusive golf resorts, medieval hilltop towns, colourful fishing villages, a cosmopolitan capital, the vine-filled valley of the Douro and wild remote mountains.

Slovenia

Slovenia is packed with unusual and often unique experiences, from primeval forests, Karst limestone caves and thermal springs to the lively and architecturally beautiful city of Ljubljana.

Spain

Fall in love with Spain’s intriguing history, marvel at the architectural wonders of Barcelona, enjoy a traditional Spanish tapas dinner and people-watch at a terrace café in Madrid.

Sweden

Snowbound winters, meatballs, herring, Vikings and Volvos, IKEA, ABBA and the Hives - whatever your pre-existing notions about Sweden, a visit to this multifaceted country is bound to both confirm and confound them.

Switzerland

With its snow-capped Alps, emerald green forests, fairy-tale castles and shimmering lakes, it’s easy to see why Switzerland has been one of the world’s top tourist destinations for the past two centuries.

Turkey

With its covered bazaars, whirling dervishes, sultans’ treasures and Byzantine mosaics, Turkey is both a cosmopolitan and exotic destination.

Vatican City

Vatican City is the world’s smallest, fully independent city-state and country in the world, surrounded entirely by Rome.

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