Finland might be a northern European country, but it has some great, sandy beaches that are perfect for a relaxing summer vacation by the water—especially after a long, hard winter. You'll find beaches perfect for sunbathing, playing volleyball, and surfing across the country. Summer beach vacations are as Finnish as saunas in the winter! Temperatures in southern Finland can easily reach the upper 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and there's no better way to cool down than a refreshing dip at the beach.
01 of 07
Hietaniemi Beach (Hietsu) in Helsinki
Hietaniemi Beach is the most popular beach in the Finnish capital Helsinki, located in the Töölö district. Called "Hietsu" by the locals, it has a wide stretch of sand and is lined with beach cafés. It's a popular place to play beach volleyball and even hosts an annual tournament.
Fun fact: This isn't a naturally occurring beach. The area used to be a landfill, then it was used for storing sand that was hauled in by barges. Not all of the sand was used, and tons of it remained on the lot—eventually, people began using it as a beach.
To get there, take bus line 55A from Kamppi.
02 of 07
Suomenlinna Beaches Near Helsinki
Suomenlinna is a fortress on an island of the same name that boasts several beaches. This location is great to spend a day swimming, eating, and sightseeing.
The Suomenlinna fortress (which translates to "Castle of Finland") is a UNESCO World Heritage site, originally built in 1748 to protect Sweden against Russia. Today, it's a popular tourist destination (though locals love it, too) and a great place to picnic. It can, however, get pretty crowded in the summertime.
You can get to the island using a 15-minute ferry from Helsinki. Simply walk around the island until you've found the best spot for hanging out.
03 of 07
Yyteri Beach in West Finland
Yyteri Beach is a beautiful stretch of sand in a resort area on Finland's west coast. Here, you can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and volleyball. There's also a section that's a nude beach for all-over tanning.
The white sands are very clean, and the water is warm and shallow in many parts, making it a great spot for families. There are convenient amenities here, like public toilets, a restaurant, and snack shacks. If you want to extend your trip overnight, there's lodging nearby, too, including the well-known Yyteri Hotel & Spa, rentable cottages, and a beachside camping area. There's also an 18-hole golf course in town, plus plenty of hiking trails.
The beach is located just outside the town of Pori, and there's a direct bus from the city center to the beach. You'll find the town 90 minutes east from Tampere or two hours north of Turku.
04 of 07
Nallikari Beach in Oulu
This beach is a popular summer vacation destination, offering plenty of amenities such as snack kiosks, restaurants, water sports rentals, a hotel and even little cottages for rent. There's also a pier you can walk out onto and take in the beautiful view.
Though most visitors come in summer, there's fun to be had in the winter, too. When the sea freezes over, you can take an adventurous walk on the water—just make sure with the locals that it's safe to do so. You may even see people ice skating right on the sea.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Tennisranta (Plagen) Beach in Hanko
The port town of Hanko in southern Finland gets tons of sunlight in the summer, so it's a popular resort destination with numerous beaches. Tennisranta, also called Plagen, is one of the most popular beaches in town. It's noted for its "water carousel," from which kids and adults alike can swing from ropes into the shallow water.
At the beach, you'll find amenities like a café, bathrooms, volleyball courts, a playground, and beach huts.
06 of 07
Bellevue Beach in Hanko
Another great Hanko beach is Bellevue, which is not often as crowded as Tennisrata. It has fewer amenities—just bathrooms and a few beach huts—but the sand is fine and the waters are shallow. The beach is surrounded by pine trees, making it feel very secluded. It's a great spot for quiet sunbathing or swimming.
07 of 07
Rauhaniemi Beach in Tampere
Not all of Finland's beaches are on the sea. Rauhaniemi Beach in Tampere, some two hours north of Helsinki, is a small but beautiful stretch of sand on Näsijärvi Lake. Though the area is more famous for its public sauna, you'll find sunbathers and swimmers on the beach in the summertime. And when the weather is nice, there's also a beachside café.