An outdoor-lover’s guide to adventure travel in Finland

There is nothing quite like Finland’s great outdoors: with 40 national parks covering most of the country, its natural spaces make up an incredibly rich and varied landscape to suit all manner of travellers, no matter the time of year. Whether you’re looking for overwater pursuits across frozen seas, summertime escapades deep in dense forests, or a chance to unwind in nature after a day of thrills, we reveal the most unique ways to uncover Finland’s breathtaking wilderness.

Dog sledding in Finnish Lapland. Image: iStock/supermoose

High-level thrills across snowy landscapes

When visiting Finland in the snowy months (usually from November all the way into May), you’ll find nothing quite beats a full day of classic excursions: for wind-in-your-hair experiences unlike anywhere else in the world, don’t miss out on husky sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing or even a reindeer safari – all incredible modes of transport for whizzing about through breathtaking forests in the barren countryside. If you’d rather take it all in at a slower pace, why not join in on some ice fishing, a surprisingly refreshing arctic sauna and hot tub session, or perhaps even an eye-opening visit to a local zoo or mine.

Warm-weather adventures in stunning national parks

There’s more to Finland than its wintry scenes: in warmer weather, go off-grid with a fantastic land excursion across diverse national parks, which lose their blankets of snow to give way to characterful landscapes in beautiful palettes of green and brown. Whether your transport method of choice is a mountain bike, fatbike, all-terrain vehicle, walking boots or even a pair of climbing shoes, you’ll find a warm-weather activity to suit your mood: canoe along the river in magical Oulanka, gaze out at endless lake views in Saana Nature Reserve, admire dense forests for as far as the eye can see in Nuuksio, or stop mid-hike for a spot of fishing in the more rugged Vätsäri.

Saana Nature Reserve, Kilpisjärvi, Finland. Image: iStock/PetraKosonen

The ultimate cruise for high adrenaline-seekers

When in Finland, why do things half-way? Take to the frigid Arctic waters with a cruise of epic proportions aboard an icebreaker ship – in Finnish Lapland, the Polar Explorer and Sampo are two of the country’s most popular options, each offering a once-in-a-lifetime journey across open frozen seas. Donning a dry survival suit, the bravest of travellers could combine this experience with an icy water swimming session, and even the chance to walk on sea ice – altogether making for one bucket list-ticking experience.

One-of-a-kind Northern Light-spotting experiences

Everyone knows about and wants to chase the Northern Lights, but how many ways do you know of for seeking them out? Jeep, bus and boat tours into the heart of Finnish Lapland (home to the best destinations for Northern Light-spotting) are classic options, but why not choose to indulge all of your senses: book an evening of snowshoeing through the dramatic wilderness, stand on a frozen lake in sub-zero temperatures, or perhaps try your hand at night-time ice floating – all beneath the flittering of the elusive Aurora Borealis.

Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland. Image: iStock/MuYeeTing

Sleep under the stars: cool igloos, cosy cabins and more

No adventure journey in Finland would be complete without an overnight stay somewhere truly unique and unforgettable. Why not try an arctic igloo, immersed in a breathtaking snowy landscape, with nothing but a glass roof between you and the Northern Lights-filled sky? For something a little more out-there, sleep in a hotel carved almost entirely out of ice, and if you’re visiting during the warmer months, book a secluded lakeside cabin surrounded by gorgeous woodland – you’ll often find these wonderfully combine authenticity with modern Scandi style.