The 5 Best Cities and Towns in Finland

Lumilinna Snow Hotel in Kemi, Finland
Lumilinna Snow Hotel in Kemi, Finland. Tony Ho / Visit Finland

Finland is where you can find the home of Santa, the Northern Lights, ice castles with beautiful rooms made of ice and snow, wide rivers and natural beauty of lush green islands, and so much more! But if you're looking to decide which city you should visit, here are the best cities to visit in Finland.

Rovaniemi, Finland

Ever wonder where Santa Claus makes those gifts to make everyone happy for Christmas? Rovaniemi, Finland is the official address of Santa. He lives in Santa Claus Village and that village open all year round. We know that you’ve been asking for his mail address ever since you first learned about him in your childhood. Now you know! And you can contact him there, even. Santa actually does receive and give out letters from the Arctic Circle Post Office in this Finnish town. But if you’re feeling all-out and you’re tired of waiting to finally catch him sneaking in your chimney, you’re welcome to visit him and his crew in Rovamieni. Not in the mood for Christmas? Aside from the Santa Claus village, people can also enjoy skiing, kayaking, river cruising, and so much more exciting activities around here

Rauma, Finland

Imagine old, traditionally built wooden houses lining a historic street, each painted with a rich color and carrying a past that is often longer than the life that you lived. That’s pretty much the romantic and historic town of Rauma in words. This old city in the western part of Finland allows its visitors to take a breather from the busy and fast-paced life that we’ve learned to adapt to. 

If you’re all about visiting and relishing rich history in old but beautifully preserved infrastructures, then the old town district named Old Rauma is for you. Here, you can go back to as far as the 17th century as you make your first steps in this town. It is recognized worldwide as a UNESCO world heritage site for its colorful and old wooden houses. About 600 of these houses are well preserved and can be found here, making it the largest group of wooden infrastructures in all of Scandinavia. 

Saariselka, Finland

This is a northern city where skiing, igloos, and Northern Lights are the most famous local attractions. Saariselka is a village that lies in the mountainous area of northern Finland. This area is covered with lush green forests, valleys, and waterfalls in the nearby in the Urho Kekkonen National Park. Saariselka may be cold, but its beauty and people are warm and welcoming. Saariselka village offers relaxation to visitors through spas and resorts, but sports and other exciting activities like skiing and hiking can be done here, too. Interestingly, with its beautiful winter landscape, a lot of people are interested in holding “white weddings” here.  

This city is also where the Kakslauttanen Igloo Village can be found. It’s a unique hotel resort composed of igloos that have windows for roofing, allowing guests in their igloos an unobstructed view of the beautiful northern lights before going to sleep. Talk about an ideal winter holiday, where you could be one with nature! I’m not sure leaving this town is an easy task for the ordinary person.

Kemi, Finland

This town is all about ice and if you love fancy snow castles it surely is one of the best places to visit. It is located by the Bothnian bay and is known for the huge snow castle that is erected every year. The Lumilinna snow castle has been built here every year since 1996. Every year, as it is rebuilt, a chapel, restaurant, and hotel are created inside, complete with ice tables, rooms, a bar, beds, and reindeer fur for seat covers. Staying in this castle is like spending a fancy vacation in the largest snow building in the world, and there’s a lot of reason behind it having a world class reputation. Here, you can book a room in the hotel, where each is decorated by local designers with the use of local materials. Dine at the restaurant too, and enjoy the luxury of eating at ice tables with seats covered in, as said, reindeer fur. Dinner served here is delicious and consists of local, authentic Finnish food. The view is simply magnificent. The downside? You can only come during the winter months.

This town also has a gemstone gallery that houses a model of the crown of Finland, of which an original version was never made. This gemstone house also houses other pieces like the imperial state crown of Britain and Sceptre of Czar in Russia, 

Savonlinna, Finland

Prepare your heart as you get to know Savonlinna, a beautiful Finnish city that proves the existence of love at first sight. Any person will surely fall in love with this city’s good mix of beautiful historical structures, a lake, and lush greens all around during most of the year. This is a city in the Southeast part of Finland, in the middle of Saimaa Lake. Being enclosed by a lake, and with all the beauty that surrounds it, visiting this city feels like going to a different time and dimension. Savonlinna is the setting for your fairy tale dreams when you were a child. 

One of the most important and well-known places here –that is definitely a must-see- is the Olavinlinna Castle, a small but elegant castle that sits atop a rocky island. It is made of solid stone that is gray most of the day, but becomes warm under the sun’s rays in the late afternoon. This building dates back to the 15th century and is best visited during the annual international Opera Festival that is held here every summer, in addition to other annual events

There are many more beautiful cities in Finland, of course, depending on the kind of experience and scenery that you’re after. These are only one of the few. Finland’s geographic location and history makes it an interesting and unique place to visit, not to mention the lovely people. As the country where Santa originally came from, this country fosters and upholds a culture of giving. I have found that visiting Finland is a delight for any type of traveler. 

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