Health and safety in Finland

5 minute read

Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Finland is a safe travel destination

Finland isn’t just the happiest place in the world; it’s also one of the safest countries to live or travel in. Comparatively, crime rates are low. Although you might find yourself in the midst of a storm or blizzard, major natural disasters such as tornados, typhoons and earthquakes are practically non-existent.

Everyone is welcome in Finland, and visitors can largely roam this Nordic country without hassle. With that said, it’s always smart to have a plan – just in case.

Credits : Harri Tarvainen
Credits: Mikko Nikkinen

Call 112 in an emergency

Finland’s emergency phone number is 112. If your life, health, property, or environment are in danger, don’t hesitate. Dial this number immediately to reach medics, firefighters, and police.

It is also recommended that you download the 112 Suomi app to your phone, and make an emergency call through it. Your location information will ensure you receive help in the right location. In addition, you may receive public safety alerts on your phone based on your whereabouts. 

Credits: Eeva Anundi

Watch out for these animals and insects

Be careful when driving in Finland, especially if you see a warning sign about moose, deer or reindeer. Animals are most active during dusk and dawn, but they can cross the road unexpectedly at any time of the day. If you see a warning sign, adjust your speed and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Finland has one venomous snake, the viper, or kyy in Finnish. If you’re outdoors during the warmer months, watch your step and wear boots that cover your ankles. If you plan to spend a good bit of time in nature, visit a local pharmacy and buy a first aid kit (kyypakkaus). And if you’re bitten by a snake, call 112 and head to a hospital or doctor’s office immediately. 

Mosquitoes are a nuisance during the summer. Ticks are found throughout the country, except the most northern parts of Finnish Lapland, and they can spread TBE and Borrelia. Wear long-sleeved shirts, clothes that cover your skin and bug repellent. Your highest risk of encountering ticks is on the coast and in the archipelago area. Statistically, though, the risk of contracting a tick-borne disease is low.

Credits: Julia Kivelä

Share your plans with friends and family

It’s always a good idea to let loved ones know about your travel plans, especially if you’ll be out in nature. Dress appropriately for the season and check the weather forecast before you go. Consider your (and the rest of your group’s) experience, comfort, and skill level. We recommend taking a guided tour to ensure you stay safe. 

Remember to also take a fully charged mobile phone with you. A portable power bank comes in handy during the cold months when your phone may run out of battery quicker than usual. Don’t count on digital devices alone – you should also carry a paper map and compass with you and ensure you know how to use them. 

Credits: Harri Tarvainen

Drive carefully, especially in winter

Finland is a pleasant destination to explore by car. Finnish roads are in good condition and most people abide by traffic rules. Traffic jams are rare. In the winter, cars must have special winter tyres. Even with winter tyres, slippery road surfaces and frequent snowfall mean you must be careful and adjust your speed according to conditions.

One more thing: In Finland, the blood-alcohol limit for drunk driving is 0.05%. Please don’t drink and drive.

Credits: Jani Seppänen

If you’re not sure what it is, don’t eat it

This is common sense but bears repeating: While there are many delicious mushrooms and berries in Finland, never eat anything you aren’t 100 percent sure is edible. For instance, there are about 50 mushroom species in the wilderness that are toxic, and at least five of them are dangerously poisonous. Some of the species even look very similar to the edible ones, so it's better to be safe than sorry!

If you’d like to forage and learn more about the treasures of the Finnish boreal forests, please take a local guide along.

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