What can you do with 48 hours in Finland? Quite a lot, it turns out.
Two days is enough to experience a bit of both sides of the country: the beautiful nature with its serene lakes, vast forests and stunning archipelago, and the burgeoning urban culture with its vibrant nightlife and up-and-coming arts and culinary scenes.
Nuuksio National Park has assigned fireplaces for visitors.
Finland’s geographic and demographic make-up guarantees that a getaway to nature is never more than a short journey away, even if you have just set your feet on the streets of one of its largest cities. Helsinki, for example, is located only a 30-minute bus ride away from the undulating hills and picturesque villages of Nuuksio National Park.
Travelling is also as carefree as possible in Finland. The country has been named the safest travel destination on the planet for several years in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel and Tourism Report.
Finland is guaranteed to impress especially if you prefer your scenery with a splash of water: It is regularly called the land of a thousand lakes, and fittingly so, as it has over 55,000 lakes larger than one hectare and an additional 135,000 bodies of water larger than 500 square metres. It could just as well be known as the land of a thousand islands, as its borders contain some 76,000 islands larger than 5,000 square metres.
In and around Helsinki
Water is ever-present also in its capital, Helsinki, the heart of which is nestled between two bays of the Baltic Sea.
The city boasts roughly 130 kilometres of public waterfront that is punctuated by charming houses and cottages, delightful cafés and restaurants, and public saunas – perfect for washing off the dust after a day of pedalling some of the 1,200 kilometres of cycleways criss-crossing the city.
Ferries departing from the Market Square – famed for seasonal treats such as blueberries, chanterelles and smoked vendace – take visitors to Vallisaari, a former military island known for its hiking trails, and Suomenlinna, a bohemian district consisting of eight islands that houses a sea fortress designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
A little further away from the capital you find two idyllic towns: Porvoo and Fiskars.
Porvoonjoki flows through the Porvoo city.
Porvoo, the second oldest town in the country after Turku, is located less than a one-hour bus ride north-east of Helsinki. Its main attraction is undeniably the charming old town that is full of idyllic houses, boutiques and restaurants, and that hosts a growing number of concerts and art exhibitions.
Artisan workshops in Fiskars.
Fiskars, in turn, is located a little over an hour’s drive away along the scenic southern coast to the west. The village is famous not only for its namesake consumer products manufacturer but also its vibrant artisan economy – with the products ranging from craft beer to ceramics, sculptures and skateboards – and the surrounding verdant nature.
With this much to do, two days will fly by. Even in the summer, when the days extend well into the night. And especially this summer, as Finland commemorates the centenary of its independence with a host of exciting events.
Regardless of whether you are here for business or pleasure, welcome!