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Nine hot summer cities in Finland
3 minute read
two women laughing at Marina in Åland archipelago

Credits:: Visit Åland

These are nine Finnish cities not to miss during the summer

After a cold winter, Finns celebrate their summer passionately. And many Finnish towns particularly come to life from May through August. So, what's summer like in a Finnish city? Think festivals, saunas, kayaking, paddling, cruises, events and white nights.

Porvoo – A charming coastal town

Founded nearly 800 years ago, Porvoo is best known for its old wooden town, charming cafés and the ochre painted riverside warehouses. However, Porvoo in summer offers more than strolling around the cobblestoned streets or browsing in small boutiques. 

The city is full of art exhibitions and fairs; music festivals and flea markets; concerts and riverside attractions. While bustling with culture, Porvoo is still a countryside city, surrounded by natural landscapes and just a short bus ride from the seaside. 

Why not swim at Kokonniemi beach – a small, deep pond surrounded by white sand and grassy hills. Food lovers must try SMAKU – an award-winning food festival taking place for two weeks in late August. For those who crave music, there’s jazz music at Haikko Manor and Tirmo Blues festival in the Porvoo archipelago. The charming restaurants and idyllic B&Bs, boutique hotels, manors and home stays in the Old town will be memorable experiences in themselves. 

Just 50 km east from Helsinki, the city is easy to access by bus or by steamboat in the summer.

For more, go to visitporvoo.fi 

The Porvoo river with wooden houses
Porvoo’s river view is one of the most iconic sights in Finland. Porvoo Cathedral (in the background) dates to the 15th century.
Credits: Niko Laurila

Helsinki – Finland’s capital and summer city

There’s something going on in Helsinki every day of the year – but especially in the summer. People gather for picnics in green parks like Esplanadi, Kaivopuisto or Tokoinranta, and the terraces are filled with happy Finns enjoying their summer holiday. 

In recent years, New public saunas have opened in addition to the numerous traditional ones. There’s a lot to choose from, but if you’re looking for foolproof options, try Allas Sea Pool, Löyly, Lonnan sauna, Kulttuurisauna or Kotiharju sauna. There is no shortage of events either: Helsinki Day, multiple flea markets all around the city, Seurasaari Midsummer festivities, Tuska Open Air Metal Festival and Flow festival to name a few. 

Island hopping is a great way to spend a sunny day in Helsinki. From the Market Square it’s easy to reach the fortress island Suomenlinna, as well as the recently opened islands of Lonna and Vallisaari. Mustikkamaa, next to the Kalasatama district, is one of the most popular recreational areas in Helsinki.  

The eight-hectare Rhododendron Park in Haaga attracts many visitors around the middle of June when the rhododendrons explode into full blossom. Lauttasaari is another hot spot for nature with a delightful shoreline and views in all directions, just five minutes by metro from the city centre. 

For more, please see myhelsinki.fi 

Two people kayaking
Credits: : Mikko Huotari
An outdoor city swimming pool in Helsinki
Allas Sea Pool is located next to Helsinki Market Square and the Presidential Palace. There are two pools to choose from: a warm water pool and a (cool) sea water pool. In the summer, there’s also a kids pool.
Credits:: Eetu Ahanen

Savonlinna – Home of the Opera Festival

Savonlinna has become a mecca for opera-lovers thanks to the Savonlinna Opera Festival, hosted  in an ancient castle. But this idyllic little town set amid lakes, islands and forests has plenty to offer everyone: summer theatre, guided tours, concerts and exhibitions are combined with beautifully light summer nights. 

Located in the Finnish Lakeland, Savonlinna is a prime destination for kayaking, paddling and paddle boarding. Lake cruises are a big part of summer in Savonlinna and its surrounding areas; a cruise along Lake Saimaa on a nostalgic steamboat or a handy motorboat is a relaxing way to spend a sunny summer day while enjoying the scenery. 

Read more at visitsavonlinna.fi

Steam boat in front of a castle
Olavinlinna Castle is one of the most popular sights in Lakeland. It dates back to the 15th century when Finland was under the Swedish rule.

Naantali – the sunniest town in Finland

Naantali has many stories to tell and they’re best discovered on a guided walking tour or a boat cruise. Naantali is also the site of the President’s summer residence, Kultaranta, and guided tours in its beautiful garden are arranged for visitors during the summer months. 

On a beautiful island called Kailo, opposite Naantali’s old convent, lies Moomin world – a must-visit for families. Moomin world is an enchanting blend of archipelago nature and the magical creations of Tove Jansson, with activities, attractions and experiences to fill a day. 

The Sleepyhead Festival is the jolliest festival of the year, and it’s fun for the whole family. Over the centuries, the local tradition of throwing the Official Sleepyhead of the Year into the sea at 7am sharp has become a tourist attraction and an outdoor festival. The fun lasts from dawn till dusk all over town on 27th of July every year. 

For more, please go to visitnaantali.fi 

Old wooden town of Naantali
Credits: Kultaranta resort

Hanko – Endless beaches at the southern tip of Finland

Hanko, the southernmost part of Finland, is a summer paradise for those who love sandy beaches and secret little nooks. The atmosphere of this historic spa city makes it a great day-trip destination. For a small town, Hanko also has an impressive number of restaurants as well as events like Hanko Regatta, Poker Run and Seahorse Week. 

Hanko has 30 km of sandy beaches and 130 km of coastline. The water tower in the centre grants visitors 360-degree views over the coast and the beautiful old wooden villas. From Hanko, you can take a day trip to the beautiful Bengtskär lighthouse, or even attend a seal-spotting safari. Cycling is a great way to get around the area, and riding to the town Tammisaari is a great option for activity enthusiasts. 

Read more, see visithanko.fi

A large white wooden buiding know as the Casino at Hanko
Credits: Mariia Kauppi

Mariehamn – summer city packed with restaurants, hotels and culture

Åland is an autonomous and monolingual Swedish region of Finland that consists of more than 6,500 islands. The capital, Mariehamn, is a cute village-like town with a strong maritime and shipping heritage – and the only city in the unspoiled, ruggedly beautiful archipelago. The town centre has a lot to offer within a small area; you are always near shopping, restaurants, culture and experiences – most of them located in the Torggatan pedestrian precinct in central Mariehamn. 

It’s easy to discover the harbour and shipping town of Mariehamn on foot, by bicycle or by bus. The ferries arrive in Västerhamn, which is where the four-masted barque and sailing vessel Pommern is situated below Åland’s Maritime Museum by the Badhusparken. 

If you want to experience the Åland archipelago from a boat, there are day excursions to the old pilot station Kobba Klintar and to the little island Rödhamn. 

Read more: visitaland.com

an idyllic red wooden house in Åland
Credits: : Rebecka Eriksson
People enjoying their time in a Marina in the Åland archipelago
Credits:: Rebecka Eriksson

Sodankylä – Movies and the midnight sun 

The village of Sodankylä is located in the heart of Finnish Lapland, around 120 km above the Arctic Circle where the sun doesn’t set at all in the summertime. The Midnight Sun Film Festival is why crowds flock to this town in mid-June. The festival’s atmosphere is unique – without any formal restraints, the festival is best characterised by its pure love for cinema. Films are shown all day and night across four venues.

Sodankylä is located between two national parks, Urho Kekkonen national park and Pyhä-Luosto national park, making it a great destination for hiking and trekking. Trails like Paavon polku, Pappilanniemen rantareitti and Ilmakkiaapa are suitable for everyone, while routes like Kaarestunturi and Pittiövaara are only recommended for experienced trekkers. 

In Sodankylä, you can relax in the wild fells, explore northern art and enjoy the peace of Lapland. 

Read more: visitsodankyla.fi

People on a pier in the midnight sun
The river views that surround Sodankylä create a magical backdrop for the Midnight Sun.
Credits: Antti Yrjönen

Turku – Events and culture 

During the summer, the riverbanks of Turku come to life when people gather to eat, drink and listen to music. Old sailing ships dock along the riverside, and you can take cruises to the archipelago or to nearby Naantali. Cruise ships sail daily from Turku Harbor across the Baltic to Sweden. 

For dining for all budgets, Turku has a great selection of restaurants and cafés, like Kakolan Ruusu, Kaskis, Mami, NOOA, Smör or the vegetarian restaurant Kuori. 

On a summer’s day, grab something tasty from the market hall and cycle to the charming Ruissalo island for a picnic, or just enjoy the sunshine along the Aura River next to the cathedral. 

During June and July, there’s no shortage of events in this city: Turku Food & Wine festival, Ruisrock festival, Paavo Nurmi Marathon, Down by the Laituri festival and Medieval Market are great places to start. 

Read more kissmyturku.com

People on restaurant boat on the Aura River in Turku
Credits: Seilo & Ristimaki - Iloinen Liftari Oy

Rauma – A UNESCO’s World Heritage Site

The town of Rauma was founded in 1442, making it the third oldest town in the country. It’s known for its colourful regional dialect, its long tradition in bobbin lace-making and the well-preserved wooden buildings of Old Rauma – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The 70-acre area contains 600 buildings. Walking around Old Rauma is like stepping into a fairy tale: the colourful wooden houses, decorative gates, cobble stone streets and beautiful public buildings appear as if straight from the past. 

Rauma boasts many interior design shops and craft boutiques, cafés, and restaurants; all within walking distance from one another. Rauma Lace Week combines traditional lace making with a modern festival atmosphere across 9 lace-filled days.  

Read more: visitrauma.fi 

an old car on a cobblestone road in front of a magnificent old building
Credits: Jussi Hellstén