Pristine forests, high-design architecture, lake shores home to rare seals and blissful sauna sessions — Finland has it all. And with summer’s midnight sun, there’s even more reason to hightail it here to experience Scandinavia at its best.
Hike with huskies
Dog sledding is an iconic Finnish wintertime activity. But even when the snow has melted in Finland you can still hang out with sled dogs. During the warmer months, from the beginning of May till late October, visit Erä-Susi husky farm in Lapland to go hiking with the resident huskies. The more than 200 sled dogs here include Alaskan and Siberian breeds. After an intro to your animal, you’ll be given a belt and a leash for the dog to set out for an energetic walk along nearby nature trails ranging from two to six hours, and include a stop by an open fire for a snack.
Experience a wellness cave
Famed for its sauna culture, Finland is full of wellness-minded ways to indulge your body and mind. One of the most atmospheric spas is along the shores of Lake Saimaa in eastern Finland at Järvisydän Resort in Rantasalmi. The hotel’s new Lake Spa is inside a cave built into rocks surrounding the lake and has five saunas as well as six decadent hot soaking pools with natural rock bottoms. Cracks in the rock let natural light from outside filter into the spa, and huge timbers that are over 500 years old complete the natural aesthetic. Soak in the saunas, dip in the pools and — if you’re feeling brave — finish off with a cold plunge in the lake, accessible right from the spa.
Tee off at midnight
If golfing is your passion, you’ll love the extended hours of play during the summer months in Finland, when the midnight sun lets your game linger on well into the white night. Since it never really gets dark during the Finnish summer, you can actually tee up at midnight at some of the country’s premier courses including Wiurila Golf & Country Club, Salo Golf and Meri-Teijo Golf.
Leave your bikini and board shorts back home when you dive into Finland’s windsurfing culture in Hanko, a small seaside town on a peninsula southwest of Helsinki that’s been called the Hamptons of Finland. And while you’ll definitely need a wetsuit to brave the waters here, the windsurfing and board-riding scene in Hanko is alive and kicking. Sign up for lessons at Surf Club Hanko or rent paddleboards, kiteboards and windsurfing boards if you already know what you’re doing.
Camp in a tree tent
Finns, for the most part, are all about getting outside and enjoying their country’s remarkable nature. So do as the locals do and spend a night camping in a tree in Nuuksio National Park, a forest and lake filled area northwest of Helsinki. Local outfitter Honkalintu provides your tree tent as well as sleeping bags, towels, firewood, bottled water and an eco toilet, so all you have to bring is yourself. Breakfast is even served the next morning — back on terra firma.
For the rest of the best ways to have fun in Finland this summer, like trying a smoke sauna and seal watching, visit Fodor’s.