For citizens of the European Union countries, as well as those adhered to the Schengen treaty, a visa is not necessary. For the rest of citizenships, we recommend to check the visa requierements with the appropriate consulate or embassy in your home country or country of origin. Some countries have extremely detailed and complicated entry/departure laws, and treat visits of a week or two very differently from longer stays.
Schengen member states are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The European Commission is the organism responsible maintaining the table of travel documents accepted by the Schengen member states, which entitle the holder to cross the external borders and which may need to be endorsed with a visa. You can check the Schengen, Borders & Visas table by European Commission here.
Even if you did not need a visa to visit Finland, you need to be in possession a passport or some other travel document accepted by Finland, valid for at least ninety days after your departure date from the Schengen area. In addition, the passport or other travel document must have been issued no later than ten years ago.
In case you do not need a visa, you can stay in Finland for a maximum of ninety days in any 180-day period.
Upon arrival in Finland, you must meet the general entry requirements of not constituting a danger to public order and security, national health, or Finland’s international relations.
The currency used in Finland is the Euro (€). Finland adopted the common UE currency in 2002. Euro notes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 denominations and coins in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 euros. The one- and two-cent coins used in other European countries are not accepted in Finland. Prices are rounded up or down in case of necessity when paying by cash. Rounding is not used when paying by card.
In general, most credit and debit cards are accepted in Finland (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner’s Club). In fact, the use of plastic, contactless and electronic ways of payment is widely spread and accepted, even in street markets and for very small purchases. The use of cash is less and less common.
Finland is in general more pricey than other European countries. In fact, according to a Eurostat study of 2017, Finland is the eighth most expensive country in Europe followed by Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, and Luxembourg. However, prices vary enormously depending on the area, with the capital region being the most expensive of all. If you’re traveling to one specific location, check the cost of living there. If it’s high you’ll probably want to budget more carefully and save some money before leaving. The lower the cost of living the less you’ll have to save, but be sure to have a back up reserve in emergency cases.
Safety and emergencies
Finland is a very safe place to visit, in general, and it has been named the safest country in the world according to a 2017 biennial report from the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. In the Southern Region, the capital, Helsinki, has also been ranked ranked 9th on the list of safest cities in the world. However, the use of common sense is recommendable. Travellers must be aware that Helsinki has its share of petty thieves during the busy summer travel season. Beware of pickpockets and scammers, keep an eye on your belongings, and your trip should go smoothly.
Rural areas and smaller towns are even safer than the capital. Crime rates are practically nonexistent and general safety issues are mostly related to car accidents involving a moose crossing the road.
If you are in need of assistance or an emergency happen, you can contact the local authorities by dealing the European Emergency number 112. You will be immediately assisted in English and help will be sent your way. Expect to wait a little longer for emergency services to arrive if you are in a rural, remote region.
Talk to other people who have done a similar trip. Read everything you can about the area.
If you don’t know anyone personally, you are lucky: we got you covered with dozens of first-person advice and articles covering every possible type of trip in the Lake Region.
Plan big, but leave gaps in your schedule.
There might be sights and attractions you didn’t know about in advance. A rough outline of your trip might have three or four big target points and a variety of gaps between them that will leave you time to enjoy the unexpected discoveries.
You don’t want to find out that the weather isn’t what you thought, after committing to 6 days in a specific spot.
Some trips will allow you more leeway than others. Travel plans in summer can often be made day-by-day while winter travel should be organized at least a few weeks ahead, unless you’re prepared to hunt around for a coffee shop where to shelter from the cold.
Set up a pre-trip time-line so you don’t end up with a full todo list your last week of work or school.
Things to consider are doctor’s visits for a check up, and prescription refills; purchasing plane tickets; renewing passports and obtaining visas and other necessary documents.
Check your travel insurance coverage in advance and purchase additional insurance if needed.
Check the average weather in the season and pack accordingly, but always leave room for a few extra clothes.
Check the weather and stick to the absolute basics. Do your research and know what you can and cannot buy at your destination(s) in case of emergency. If you are visiting Finland during the cold months (November to March), try to arrange it so you wear several layers of warm clothing, preferably wool and down-filled jackets. If you live in a warm country and don’t own many winter clothes, you can purchase sweaters and long underpants once in Finland.
A good rule of thumb is to bring one outfit for the hottest day you’re likely to encounter, one for an average day, and one for the coldest.
Make sure everything goes with everything else (if that’s important to you), and remember that layers are always best.
Be prepared for uncomfortable trips – especially long plane trips.
If you are travelling from far away and want to arrive at Finland refreshed and able to enjoy the sights, try to get a good quality travel pillow to support your head, some ear plugs to block out the screaming babies, and an eye cover to block out the sun or cabin lights.
Just avoid those cheap U-shaped pillows – your head will drop forward and you wake up with a stiff neck.
Make contact with the locals before you go.
Maybe you have a friend-of-a-friend or a foreign exchange student from high school you remember, or just found a friend through a travel web site; almost everyone in Finland is happy to welcome a foreign visitor to their home town. This might be as elaborate as a home-stay for a few weeks, or just coffee in their home town or dinner at a locals’ restaurant.
Finns might seem shy in the beginning, but they are really warm and welcoming, and love to show foreigners their beloved homeland.