Solo travel in Scandinavia comes into its own in Finland: a natural wonderland of lakes, islands and wilderness. Firm believers in jokamiehenoikeus (the freedom to roam) and the benefits of being in the forest, Finns are uniquely in tune with the great outdoors. Consistently ranked among the world’s happiest countries, it’s an ideal destination for adventure-loving solo travellers in search of solitude.
With the northern tip within the Arctic Circle, life in Suomi (the Finnish name for Finland) is dictated by the seasons. Summer days are so long the sun barely sets between May and August. Come winter, the landscape in the north transforms into a real life Narnia, with the show-stopping Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) dancing across the inky night sky.
Further south, the capital Helsinki is a culture-packed urban hub with innovative architecture, a cutting-edge design district, hip restaurants and bars and steamy waterside saunas.
With so much space and so few people, Finland is the ultimate place to get away from it all. But if you do want to share your experience with like-minded solo travellers, Flash Pack offers group solo trips with other adventurers in their 30s and 40s. Here’s everything you need to know about the nature-loving Nordic country before you go.
Finland travel facts
Wedged between Norway, Sweden and Russia, Finland is one of the most densely forested countries on earth, with around 75% of its landmass covered with pine, birch and fir trees. It also has one of the world’s biggest archipelagos with 75,000 islands (many of them small uninhabited specks, others scenic summer playgrounds), as well as Europe’s largest lake district and wilderness, home to elks, wolves and bears.
Around a quarter of the country lies within the Arctic Circle, where the Sámi, the EU’s only indigenous people, still live a semi-nomadic life that includes hunting, fishing and reindeer herding. Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland is the official home of Santa Claus and you can visit him all year round (if you’ve been good).
Is Finland good for solo travel?
With its laid-back culture, small cities and efficient transport system, Finland is an excellent choice for solo travellers. If you’re on your own, you’ll be in good company, as virtually everyone speaks English. It’s easy to meet local people in coffee houses and bars but, if you’re venturing out into the wilderness for the first time, it’s best to sign up for a group tour, such as scheduling a stay on Finland’s Secret Island.
Joining a Flash Pack group of solo travellers means you can get off the beaten track safely and easily, with all in-country travel organised for you, along with carefully curated activities and handpicked hotels that help immerse you in the local culture.
Best places to visit in Finland
What should you do on a solo trip to Finland? For history and culture, start in Helsinki with its stately buildings, quirky island restaurants and shoreside saunas. From the central Market Square, it’s easy to reach the fortress island of Suomenlinna and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. You can also take a day trip to the Porvoo Old Town with its colourful riverside warehouses.
Turku is the oldest city in Finland (founded in the 13th century) and gateway to Finland’s vast Åland Archipelago. Further north, Lakeland is where Finns come to recharge and reconnect with nature; the whole area is abundant with glassine lakes and bushy forests, perfect for canoeing, hiking and fishing.
In the far north, Rovaniemi also acts as the main gateway to Lapland and all the adventure activities of the Arctic. Think cross-country skiing, husky-sled rides and staying on your own private island. Flash Pack’s Secret Island trip offers luxury in the wilderness.
Where to stay as a solo traveller in Finland
What are hotels like in Finland? With its emphasis on style and design, you’ll find plenty of boutique stays in Helsinki. Beyond the city, there are some incredible places to hunker down, including luxury lake cabins, Arctic treehouses and an array of glass igloos, domes and adventure lodges where you can watch the aurora from the comfort of your bed. You can even stay in an ice hotel or a traditional Sámi lavvu (tipi), kept warm with reindeer blankets.
With Flash Pack’s group solo trip to Finland, you’ll have the unique opportunity of staying in a chic architect designed hotel set on a private island. Sharing a room helps to keep costs down. But if you’d rather have space to yourself, there’s an option to upgrade, too.
How to get to Finland
The easiest way to travel to Finland is by plane. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport is the country’s biggest airport, with regular international flights and connections to other parts of the country, including Rovaniemi Airport in Lapland. Ferries arrive from Tallinn in Estonia and Stockholm in Sweden. Or, there’s an overland route by train from St Petersburg in Russia.
Arranging your own trip can be time-consuming and costly. When you book with Flash Pack, you’ll fly directly to Rovaniemi and receive a complimentary airport transfer. Being met at the airport and whisked directly to your private island hotel makes for a relaxing start to your trip.
How to get around Finland
Finland has a wide network of trains and buses with regular connections to all parts of the country. Sleeper trains are a good option for solo travellers looking to cover larger distances. Alternatively, if you’re short on time, you can hop on a domestic flight to over 20 regional airports. Even remote areas, such as Lapland, have good transport options. Conditions in the Arctic north can be perilously icy in winter. Driving is possible but 4x4s and winter tyres are obligatory. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for the local reindeer or moose straying onto the road.
Travelling as part of a solo group takes the stress out of your adventure. All the internal travel is included in Flash Pack’s Secret Island adventure, so you don’t have to worry about buying tickets or getting from A to B.
Best time to visit Finland
Your experience of Finland will depend on the month you visit, but every season has its attractions. In the summer months of June to August, the days are long and sunny with temperatures averaging over 20°C. This is the time for hiking, camping and fishing in the lush green forests. In winter, temperatures can drop as low as -30°C. At this time, much of the country transforms into a snowy winter wonderland perfect for activities, like ice fishing, cross-country skiing and husky sled rides. If you’re hoping to catch the Northern Lights, the best time is when darkness prevails between September and March. The Midnight Sun is visible in the north from mid-May until late July.
Finland travel itineraries
Flash Pack’s Secret Island adventure is the perfect winter itinerary. From the comfort of your hotel on a remote Arctic island, you’ll be fully immersed in the wilderness. By day, you’ll explore the majesty of winter Finland on cross-country skis and cross the icy tundra by husky sleigh like a real Sámi herder. By night, you’ll chase down the Northern Lights on a snowmobile safari before huddling around a warm campfire with hot chocolate and a hearty meal. For the ultimate invigorating wellness experience, you’ll cut a hole in a frozen lake and take an icy dip, before warming up in a steamy wood-fired sauna in true Finnish style.
What to pack for solo travel in Finland
Your packing list for Finland will vary massively depending on the season – the weather can change frequently within a single day. In summer, lightweight, breathable layers are ideal for outdoor activities. Bring some warmer tops for the evening, as well as a light jacket so that you’re prepared for any showers. If you’re travelling in June or July, the mosquitoes will be out in force so be sure to bring long sleeves and plenty of insect repellent.
In winter, temperatures drop below freezing and you’ll need to wrap up with good quality winter gear. When you travel with Flash Pack, you’ll be provided with a thick snowsuit, boots and gloves able to withstand the elements and keep you toasty and warm during outdoor activities.
Solo travel advice for Finland
With its vibrant cities and wild landscapes, Finland offers great opportunities for the solo traveller. If you’re into outdoor activities, you’ll be in your element with hiking, fishing, skiing, canoeing and more. If it’s a digital detox you need, or you’re looking to de-stress from work, Finland’s wilderness will replenish your energy and reconnect you with nature. Don’t feel like travelling alone? Joining a Flash Pack adventure means you can enjoy all your experiences with a group of like-minded solo travellers. Sharing those amazing moments – like cold-water therapy and spotting the Northern Lights – will create memories to last a lifetime.
Is it safe to travel solo in Finland?
Thousands of visitors travel to Finland every year and most trips are trouble free. However, do check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US) or your country’s local government guidelines for the latest advice before travelling.
Finland is considered one of the safest countries in the world. According to a social experiment, 11 out of 12 lost wallets in Helsinki were returned to their owners. With its forward-thinking and open-minded culture, male, female and LGBTQ+ travellers will feel equally at ease. Solo travellers might prefer the safety and security of travelling with a Flash Pack group.
Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel in Finland with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety of a group.
A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveller or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.
Images: Flash Pack and Unsplash