Best time to travel
Best time to travel to Finland depends completely on your personal interests and what you would like to see and experience during your visit – differences between seasons are very distinctive and it´s almost like visiting a whole other country depending on when you travel. Sceneries and things to do vary a lot between summer and winter and the more north you go, the greater the difference between seasons. True winter in the northern parts lasts from early December to April and summer from late May to early September, but every year is different.
Weather & Climate
The climate of Finland has characteristics of both maritime and continental climate. The Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Eurasian continent to the east interact to modify the climate of the country. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift Current play a big role in the climate of Finland and if it weren’t for these currents the winters would be much colder. Westerly winds bring the warm air currents into the Baltic areas and to the country’s shores, moderating winter temperatures, especially in the south and southwest in cities like Helsinki and Turku where winter highs tend to be between 0 and 5 °C (32 and 41 °F) but much colder temperatures are possible. In the north the temperatures drop well below zero every winter and you need to be prepared for this if planning a winter visit. During summer time the day temperatures are normally somewhere between 10 and 25 Celsius (50 and 77 Fahrenheit).
Money & Costs
Finland is the eight most expensive country in Europe according to a Eurostat study of 2017, followed by Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and Luxembourg. Finland became a member of the European Union in 1995 and the currency is Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted, ATMs (bearing the name ‘Otto’) are prevalent and there are currency-exchange counters at all transport terminals. All service is normally included in bills, so there´s no need to tip unless you want to reward exceptional customer service for example.
Health & Safety
Finland is very safe to visit, and its capital, Helsinki, is ranked 9th on the list of safest cities in the world. Public transport runs smoothly and is reliable but the roads can get a bit dangerous during winter so be cautious if planning to drive a car at this time. As for natural disasters, Finland is threatened by occasional flooding during spring and heavy snowstorms in winter that can block roads etc but these are very rare. Public health care system is one of the best in the world and by using your common sense your trip should go smoothly.
Food & cuisine
Finnish cuisine is notable for generally combining traditional country fare with contemporary continental style cooking. Fish and meat (usually pork, beef, elk or reindeer) play a prominent role in traditional Finnish dishes and they are often served with potatoes and other seasonal vegetables. Before the introduction of potatoes in the 18th century, various turnips were very common in traditional cooking. Finnish foods often use whole-wheat products (rye, barley, oats) and berries (such as bilberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, and sea buckthorn). Milk and its derivatives like buttermilk are commonly used as food, drink or in various recipes.