finland family vacations guide
Thousands of lakes, vast forests and some of the freshest air in Europe – Finland’s natural wonders are the healthy backdrop to a family vacation. The country is also home to Father Christmas and the Moomins, plus Europe’s only indigenous people, the Sámi. There is abundant wildlife, including bears and wolves, and on family itineraries, children can touch and feed the reindeer and huskies that live and work here.
The Finnish flag features the blue of lakes and the white of snow – just two of the ingredients that make it fantastic for a family vacation.
Life in Finland is shaped by the drastically different seasons – from summer days when the sun barely sets, to polar nights above the Arctic circle which can drop below -30°C. Warmer weather sees the Finns flocking to lakeside summer homes, but for visiting families it’s a great time for a self drive vacation. In winter, tailor made and small group trips whisk families to Finnish Lapland for an active and fascinating taste of Arctic life and, hopefully, a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Find out more in our Finland family vacations travel guide.
Finland family vacations are…
wild fun that’s wildly different, too, depending on where and when you travel.
Finland family vacations aren’t…
just about Santa. Its gorgeous landscapes and friendly cities are open year round.
Our Finland family Vacations
WHAT WE RATE & WHAT WE DON'T
Food, shopping & people
Eating & drinking
Eating & drinking
Karelian pasty – or Karjalanpiirakka – is a pastry crust filled with rice porridge. Hot butter is spread over it before eating. Finland does great cinnamon buns. Called korvapuusti, which means “slapped ears”, kids can skip the coffee these are usually eaten with.
Finnish children are raised on grillimakkara, fat sausages that are cooked round the campfire in winter or barbecued in summer. Salmiakki is a kind of salty liquorice that Finns grow up with, but which can prove too strong for western palattes. It’s fun to try, though.
People & language
People & language
Finnish and Swedish are the two main official languages of Finland (Swedish is only spoken by 5.3% of the population). There are several official minority languages, with Sámi the mother tongue of about 1,900 people. Finnish belongs to the Uralic family of languages, so has more in common with Hungarian and Estonian than Swedish or Norwegian. Without Germanic or Latin influence, Finnish vocabulary is completely alien to English speakers and its grammar is notoriously complex.
Sauna rhymes with downer; something very hot may be called “Kuuma kuin saunassa” meaning “Hot like a sauna”, of course. “Hei” or “moi” is hi; “hei hei” and “moi moi” are bye. “Kittos paljon” is thanks very much. If you’re sledding and hear “Varo!” be careful – it means watch out!
The Finns are one of the world’s largest consumers of ice cream per capita, and glug more coffee than any other European nation.
If you'd like to chat about Finland family or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.
Gifts & shopping
In Lapland, the ‘Sámi Duodji’ label shows that souvenirs have been made by local Sámi craftspeople. Sámi weaving is a beautiful, colourful tradition. We particularly love the belts, handwoven on traditional looms.
Cosy Finnish knitted mittens and reindeer skin slippers may encourage warm clothing averse kids to wrap up once home. The Moomins crop up in their original book format, but also on ceramics by Iittala and fabrics by Ekelund.
Along with “sisu” (the Finnish combination of guts and perseverance), “sauna” is one of the words most closely connected with the essence of Finnishness.
How much does it cost?
How much does it cost?
Ticket to travel on the Helsinki Transport Network: £2.50 or £1.30 child 7-16 years Loaf of bread: £1.70 Bottle of wine from Alko store: From £9 Visit a husky farm in summer: £18 family entry
More about Finland family
School vacations and Finland go together well, with deep winter and August two of the best times to travel for a memorable family escape.
Our Finland family map and highlights page takes a close look at the national parks, super chilled cities and remote winter destinations that are worth including in a family vacation – just click on the blue dots to find out more.
Finland family vacation activities vary with the seasons, from winter breaks that offer a pick and mix of exciting outdoor activities, to self drive summer vacations, exploring forests, lakes and family attractions.
Finland’s high standard of living, relaxed and safe cities and quiet roads make it a welcoming and approachable destination for a family vacation, but any parent planning a trip here will still have questions.
Like hidden veg in a child friendly spaghetti Bolognese, the unique lessons and learning that come with a family vacation to Finland are tucked in stealthily amongst all the fun and exploration.
Our Finland family travel advice includes recommendations and insights from our specialist Finland vacation companies, plus tips from travelers who have already taken their kids there.
Photo credits: [Page banner: Visit Lakeland] [lake cabin: iphoto] [The south in winter - snowshoeing : Visit Lakeland] [Sámi culture: Eero Kemilä / Visit Finland] [Escaping to the wild - kids in image in snow : Visit Lakeland] [Arctic Climate - snow/sun/lake : Carlos "Grury" Santos] [family with husky puppy: Timo Newton-Syms ] [Helsinki - Fortress of suomenlinna : Maalismaa ] [Reindeer farms: Timo Newton-Syms ] [Northern Lights: Steve K] [Santa day trips - santa: istock ] [Zoos - Ähtäri Zoo: Ninara ] [Downhill skiing - one person : Hansenit] [Synthetic snow gear : iphoto] [Eating & drinking - korvapuusti: Alexandra E Rust ] [Salmiakki liquorice: Tiia Monto] [ people talking and dancing : Visit Lakeland] [coffee : Nick Webb] [Gifts & shopping - Hats and belts : Zouavman Le Zouave] [Sauna: Santeri Viinamaki] [Costs - Money Euros : Karlis Dambrans ]Back to the top