Camping in Finland – the hidden gem of the Nordics
Imagine the first steps of a hike into an emerald green spruce forest. A cup of coffee by a blue lake when the sun rises. A kayak’s paddle softly touching the ever so gentle waves of the Baltic Sea. Coming across a herd of reindeer in a Lappish fell. This is camping in Finland.
Nature is an essential part of any camping experience in Finland. The country’s four regions offer plenty of sights and sounds to explore by foot, bike or caravan. Sleep under the midnight sun – or under the Northern Lights, if you are venturesome enough to go camping in the wintertime! – try a cottage or have sweet dreams in a tent. Finland has a smorgasbord of options for hikers and camping enthusiasts.
Planning a camping trip to Finland?
Here’s where to start.
Full of interesting contrasts, such as the four seasons, the Midnight Sun and winter darkness, urban and rural, East and West.
Camping is one the best ways to explore a country. If you are in no rush – which is the best way to camp – we suggest exploring some of Finland’s most scenic routes and locations.
For an iconic lake view, head to the Puumala Archipelago Route in the heart of the Lakeland region in Eastern Finland. The 60-km route circulates through some of the most breath-taking islands, bridges and eskers in the Saimaa region.
The Coast and Archipelago region is the place to go if you are looking for a more ruggedly beautiful, nautical feel and want to try water activities at the sea, like kayaking. Try Åland or a lighthouse island for a truly unique experience.
Lapland is a hiker’s paradise and the home of many Instagram-worthy shots: long and winding roads, like E75 north of Saariselkä, mesmerizing marshlands, and endless treetops. On the road, remember to watch out for the reindeer as they often feed close to roads (and won’t budge).
Finland has dozens and dozens of well-maintained camping sites from the very south all the way to northern tips of Lapland.
Camping sites in Finland offer many services for campers from little shops and kiosks to waste management, and even saunas. In fact, camping sites with saunas are a Finnish specialty and there are more than a 100 of them spread across the country. Finnish camping sites are also often located near water so many of them have beaches for swimming.
Visit Camping.fi to read more about camping in Finland and find camping sites.
There are 40 national parks in Finland, all maintained and developed by state-owned Metsähallitus. The smallest national park, Petkeljärvi in Eastern Finland, is 6 sq. km, and the largest one, Lemmenjoki in Lapland, is over 2 850 sq. km.
Hiking in Lapland is a quintessential camping experience, popular also with Finns. If you are up for a true hiking challenge, head to Halti – the highest peak in Finland. At the top, you will find a truly Lappish view: a tranquil fell landscape as far the eye can see and only the sound of the wind in your hair.
Only have a day or two to camp? The Helsinki region also has plenty of options. A hiking trip to either Nuuksio or Sipoonkorpi National Park will re-connect you with nature, both less than an hour away from the Helsinki city center. Or try a night in a tree (literally!) with a Tentsile experience. Tentsile experiences are available in other regions of Finland as well.
If sleeping in a tent is too extreme, choose a cottage. There are plenty to choose from: rentals, day trip cabins and open wilderness huts.
The rental option will give you the freedom to choose a cottage with the amenities you prefer, from the very basic cabin with no electricity or running water to a luxury option.
Day trip cabins are meant for short breaks during a hike in case of, for example, bad weather. As the name suggest, they are not meant for staying overnight.
Wilderness huts are free-of-charge but they are meant for only one-night stays. They are open for everyone so especially during poor weather in popular hiking routes, they might fill up quickly. The wilderness huts are located in the northern and eastern parts of Finland. There are also reservable huts that are locked, and a fee is charged for staying. By using reservable huts, the hiker can be sure to have somewhere to stay overnight.
Don’t forget about Everyman’s Rights – the right (and responsibility) to roam
In Finland, nature is not only wild, it’s free for everyone to enjoy, respectfully. The general public’s right allows an access to anyone living in or visiting Finland the freedom to roam the countryside.
We call this “The Everyman’s Rights”, Jokamiehen oikeudet.
Please remember, however, that with such rights, come responsibility. Finland’s arctic nature, particularly in Lapland, is very fragile. Tread carefully, leave no trace, don’t go near someone’s private property and keep out of restricted areas which are there to protect vulnerable environments and wildlife such as nesting birds. Otherwise, enjoy! Finland’s beautiful nature is for everyone to explore.
Sustainability is woven into the fabric of daily life in Finland - it is an integral element in everything from food and energy consumption to design and travel and the well-being of local communities.
Even though many people associate the aurora with cold and snowy winter scenery, the most active seasons are actually autumn and spring when the earth’s orientation towards the sun maximises the probability of solar flares interacting with the planet’s magnetic field to generate this phenomenon.