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11 sustainable travel tips

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Credits:: Marjaana Tasala

Planning a trip to Finland but worried about the impact of your travel?

Yes, it’s true that we’re located off the beaten path – Finland is not the easiest location to reach. That’s why we’ve collected a few ways you can make more mindful choices when you reach us, so you know for sure the journey has been worth it. 

1. Stay longer

It’s better to do fewer, longer trips to curb your travel emissions. You don’t need to have fewer travel days – just think about how you use them. 

Credits: Julia Kivelä

2. Consider your travel options

Particularly if you embark from the Baltic sea region, think about if you could travel by boat or train – or a combination of both. In many cases, flying is the only option to reach Finland, but if you can, why not take the boat next time?  It’s definitely more of an experience.

The infrastructure in most Finnish cities is built around far-stretching walks and bikeways. Biking is fun, but it’s also a sustainable way to see a destination.
Credits: : Tern Bicycles
The train network is extensive and covers most of the country, from key cities to smaller towns and countryside villages. The trains are new, reliable and pleasant to travel with. The obvious choice!
Credits:: Juho Kuva
Cruises such as Viking Line and Tallink Silja Line offer children’s entertainment, great food, comfortable accommodation and a vibrant nightlife.
Credits:: Tallink-Silja

3. Make use of the many ways to move around the country

Make moving around the country a part of your travel experience with trips like a night train from Helsinki to Lapland. The Perille service details your options for getting from A to B, how long each option takes, the cost and the emissions. If you’re renting a car, consider choosing an electric vehicle – there is a network of charging stations listed on Latauskartta.fi.

With just two lines, Helsinki’s bright orange metro is reliable and easy to navigate. It’s also the northernmost metro in the world.
Credits: Jussi Hellstén / Visit Helsinki

4. Choose businesses with the Sustainable Travel Finland label

If you have two equally good options for accommodation, go for the one with the Sustainable Travel Finland label. This label indicates a company has certification and a transparent, long-term plan to mitigate any harmful impact they have on people, the planet and society. Learn more here.

5. Eat seasonal food

Eating seasonal produce that’s locally grown is better for the environment, but it’s also better for you. Fresh fish from Finnish lakes, foraged nutty mushrooms and tangy berries, or umami game of any kind are all sustainable choices that happen to taste great. Most restaurants in Finland have vegan and vegetarian options, many of them based on Finnish food innovations like pulled oats. Discover Finnish food culture.

Credits: Elina Manninen / Keksit

6. Buy things that you need and things that last

Before you pull your wallet out, consider if you need it. If you do, then choose something that will last. Finnish design is useful, beautiful and durable – a great choice. There are plenty of secondhand options for fashion and design, get yourself something that has a history.

Natural fibres sourced in Finland are a more sustainble choice.
Quality towels will save energy as they don’t have to be washed as often.

7. Recycle

The Finnish recycling system is world-class. When you sort waste correctly, the material can be reused to make new products. Paper and cardboard, glass, metal, plastic, mixed waste, hazardous waste, electrical equipment and batteries are all sorted separately. It’s not waste, it’s raw material for something else. Find out where you can take your trash.

Credits: Juho Kuva

8. Leave no trace in nature

Finnish nature is for everyone to enjoy, which is why we have a special thing called Everyman’s Rights. While they are called rights, they also include responsibilities. The ground rule is to leave no trace behind. Finland’s arctic nature, particularly in Lapland, is very fragile.

The governmental agency that maintains Finland’s national parks, Metsähallitus, sums it up best: “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.”
Credits: Markus Kiili

9. Drink tap water

Finnish tap water tastes great – just try it. Studies have show it’s even more pure than bottled water, so we suggest forgetting the single-use plastic bottles and filling your own straight from the tap. It’s clean, refreshing, cost-effective and easy. Restaurants also serve tap water, so be sure to order still.

Credits: Simo Tolvanen

10. Buy local

When you have an option, choose and support local businesses. Your choices can impact the wellbeing of local communities and how they thrive. And when they thrive, you’re likely to come back.

Independent accommodation offers a cosy place to relax in addition to great food prepared using locally sourced ingredients.
Credits: : Juho Kuva
Something local and handcrafted with love will always be the best gift or keepsake from a trip.
Credits:: Katja Hagelstam
Why buy something brand new when you can buy something with a story?

11. Treat people and their surrounding with respect

Get to know local customs while travelling. A smile will do wonders; using the word “kiitos”, which means thank you, and “moi”, which means hello, will also go a long way. If you want to take pictures of Finns, both young and old, please ask for permission first.

Credits: Emilia Hoisko

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