Should you visit Finland in winter?
Won’t it will be cold and dark and expensive!
I began to wonder why I had decided to visit Finland in winter as my plane landed at Tampere and all that I could see through the swirling snowflakes was a flat, grey and white landscape. I negotiated the stairs of the plane with warnings to hold on tightly to the handrail due to the thick coating of ice on the steps and I walked out into the biting cold.
It’s always cold in Finland!
Of course it’s cold in Finland in winter, but people dress accordingly and buildings are well insulated and toasty-warm inside. Go out for an evening in any city in Britain in the winter and you will always see people dashing between bars and clubs dressed in short sleeved tee-shirts, girls teetering around on spikey heels and nobody wears a jacket or a coat. In Finand there’s a no-nonsense approach to the cold. Layers, layers, hats, scarves and gloves and more layers are not only the sensible choice but the only choice if you want to avoid hypothermia or frostbite.
It’s always dark in Finland!
Of course, the further north that you go in the winter the hours of darkness are longer, but in Tampere in January we had daylight for at least six hours a day. Yes, often the daylight was a soft dove-grey as the falling snow curled over everything and it felt like peering through fogged up glasses but snow also reflects, so once it was dark, everything had a cool glow aobut it.
The Finnish language makes no sense to anybody: unless they are Finnish!
Yep! I can’t argue with this one BUT despite always apologising for their bad English, the majority of Finns that I met spoke impecable English. And Swedish. And sometimes Russian or another language or three. In my six days there I managed to learn two words – kiitos which is thank you and hei which is hello. And I have subsequently learnt that the Finns do not use all of the letters which are available to them in their alphabet.
If a sound is duplicated then they have dropped one of the letters and adopt the other – for example, in English the letter C sometimes makes the same sound as an S and sometimes makes the same sound as a K – the Finns don’t faff about with complications – they have all but dropped the C from their language. So at least if you are learning Finnish the alphabet is shorter.
Everything is expensive in Finland!
Costs are comparable to those in the UK – with winners and losers across the board. Granted I stayed in a hostel BUT the prices and the quality of accomodation were excellent. Check the lastest hostel prices at this link. There was also a hotel element to the hostel that I stayed in (The Dream Hostel) so you didn’t have to do the whole dorm experience and I managed to get a return flight to Tampere for £49 with a budget airline!!!! That’s an insane price and there was also a realistically priced bus transfer from the airport to the city too.
You can read more about staying in a hostel at this link to another of my articles here: Hostel tips and how not to behave in a hostel
If you still don’t fancy staying in a hostel (but please do check out the Dream Hostel first) then you can get the up to date prices for hotels at this link to Agoda
The Finns are a cold, silent people!
True – you will walk around the streets and people will not be smiley and enthusiastically greeting you, but whenever I stopped and looked a bit lost or I struggled over my map, somebody would usually check and ask if I needed any help.
Other ideas for Finland
I really want to return in the summer and see the stunning landscape without its cloak of snow and ice. Finland in winter was spectacular with a monochrome beauty but it must be drop-dead gorgeous with its many lakes and islands, andwith trees and flowers and colour in the summer.
If you don’t want the challenge of travelling solo, Explore do some fabulous sounding tours to Finland too. You can even go on a brown bear watching weekend!… Check out their latest tours here
And for the latest in flight offers I always use Skyscanner. Try searching with their monthly option for the best deals:
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