After a cold winter, Finns celebrate their summer passionately, and many Finnish towns come to life, particularly from May through August. So, what’s summer like in a Finnish city? Think festivals, saunas, kayaking, paddling, cruises, events, and white nights.
Porvoo — A charming coastal town
Founded nearly 800 years ago, Porvoo is best known for its old wooden town, charming cafés, and ochre-painted riverside warehouses. However, Porvoo in summer offers more than strolling around the cobblestoned streets or browsing in small boutiques.
The city is full of art exhibitions and fairs, music festivals and flea markets, concerts, and riverside attractions. While bustling with culture, Porvoo is still a city in the country, surrounded by the natural landscape and just a short bus ride from the seaside.
Helsinki — Finland’s capital and summer city
There’s something going on in Helsinki every day of the year and especially in the summer. People gather for picnics in green parks such as Esplanadi, Kaivopuisto, or Tokoinranta, and the terraces are filled with happy Finns enjoying their summer holiday.
New public saunas have opened in recent years in addition to the numerous traditional ones. There’s a lot to choose from, but if you’re looking for foolproof options, try Allas Sea Pool, Löyly, Lonnan sauna, Kulttuurisauna, or Kotiharju sauna. There is no shortage of events either: Helsinki Day, multiple flea markets all around the city, Seurasaari Midsummer festivities, Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, and Flow festival are just a few of them.
Sodankylä — Movies and the midnight sun
The village of Sodankylä sits in the heart of Finnish Lapland, about 120 km above the Arctic Circle, where the sun doesn’t set at all in the summertime. The Midnight Sun Film Festival is why crowds flock to this town in mid-June. The festival’s atmosphere is unique — not restrained by formality, the festival is best characterized by its pure love for cinema. Films are shown all day and night in four venues.
Turku — Events and Culture
During the summer, the riverbanks of Turku come to life when people gather to eat, drink, and listen to music. Old sailing ships dock along the riverside, and you can take cruises to the archipelago or to nearby Naantali. Cruise ships sail daily from Turku Harbor across the Baltic to Sweden.
Offering dining for all budgets, Turku has a great selection of restaurants and cafés, for example, Kakolan Ruusu, Kaskis, Mami, NOOA, Smör, and the vegetarian restaurant Kuori.
On a summer’s day, grab something tasty at the market hall and cycle to charming Ruissalo Island for a picnic, or just enjoy the sunshine on the Aura River next to the cathedral.