Finland has grown from one of the least-developed countries in Europe after World War II to one of the wealthiest countries in Europe. That is great for Finns, as unemployed people receive substantial benefits, which are much more than the travel budgets of many backpackers -- and it makes traveling in Finland very exciting, but also financially challenging.
The Finnish capital Helsinki is definitely on the top of the list of places that you need to visit. There is more than enough information about the Finnish capital online. You should remember that hostels in Helsinki could be very expensive at the weekend, so book accordingly in advance. Other interesting cities that are worth visiting are Turku and Tampere; both are located close to Helsinki. Both cities have many museums and Turku is the oldest city in the country. If you go to Turku and you have time and money to go to the islands, you should definitely do so. A very curious place is Åland -- an autonomous region where people speak Swedish and are very proud of their culture.
Finland is also one of the countries with lowest density in the world and it offers breath-taking panoramic views all year long and in many areas, nature is almost untouched by humans. You should definitely go hiking in the summer as there are countless treks throughout the country. However, do not try hiking in the winter. One of the most amazing things in Finland is its fjords. You can enjoy breathtaking views from many fjords. It might be a problem finding Finland hostels in the less-populated regions.
Of course, Finland -- and more precisely, Lapland -- is also the place from where Santa Claus originated and lives. The best time to visit the famous Finnish region is December, when you can see many things related to Santa Claus, such as Santa Claus villages, dances, sweets, markets, reindeer, and people dressed like elves or Santa Claus. Moreover, there are very interesting monuments of the Sami culture and there are still a few thousand people who speak the Sami language.
Finland is also famous for its outstanding ski resorts, especially for cross-country skiing, so if this interests you, you have come to the right country. Levi, Lahti (which is not far from Helsinki), Ruka, and Kuusamo are great alpine resorts with good traditions, outstanding slopes and impeccable service. However, these are famous and very expensive resorts. You can also try smaller and lesser-known winter resorts such as Pikku-Syöte, Myllymäki, and others, where prices are lower. Not all of these resorts have Finland hostels, and even if they do, prices are normally not low. So, if you interested in skiing and want to book a Finland hostel, it is a good idea to do that in advance.
A great advantage of Finland is the fact that literally everyone speaks English, which makes getting around in the whole country -- even in small villages -- very easy. Finns are generally reserved and rarely show openly their emotions. On the other side, they are quite helpful. Be very careful with physical contacts. Touching other people is a taboo for many Finns, and many locals get panic-stricken if foreigners from cultures with closer physical contacts start touching, hugging, and kissing them. If you feel like doing so, it is a good idea to warn them and ask if that is ok.
Hi, I'm George Traveller,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Finland hostels. Welcome.
I stayed for the first time in 1975 in this beautiful village near the lake Pielinen. In 1976 I spent three months in Vuonislahti. The people were very friendly, the nature too. In later times between 1979 and 1990 I visited Vuonislahti with groups, mostly young people, and showed them village, people, and nature. We …