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Finland: the happiest country in the world

Difficulty

1213 miles/1952 km

Distance

8

Recom. Days

Adventure

Trip type

Europe trip
Anna Bujas

Anna has traveled to over 35 countries and is always looking for the next adventure for her and her dog.

Finland road trip

Finland road trip map picture

Google Maps

Finland is a Northern European nation bordering Norway, Sweden, and Russia. It’s famous for being the happiest country in the world, having the world’s greatest education system as well as its cleanest air. Known for its reindeers, saunas, and the Santa Claus Villiage, this European utopia is often called the Country of a Thousand Lakes (having 187,888 of them).

Visitors to Finland often feel as though they’ve stepped into a fairytale. From the epic Northern Lights to the pristine snowscapes, this country is renowned for its natural beauty. Which isn’t to say its cities are lacking – far from it! Its capital Helsinki is famous for its nightlife, attracting visitors from all around the globe to experience its arts and culture. Other cities like Savonlinna, Vaasa, and Rovaniemi bring their own sense of wonder to the scene, enticing visitors with beautiful architecture, epic restaurants, and world-class shopping.

Finland road trip picture

Driving an RV around Finland is a great way to experience the natural beauty and urban wonder of this amazing country. We’re going to take a look at one potential route you could take through this utopian landscape.

Without further ado, here’s our recommendation for a Finnish road trip.

Pick-up in
Helsinki Pick-up center
1

Stop One: Explore Helsinki on foot

Finland’s southern capital, Helsinki sits on a peninsula in the Gulf of Finland. It delights visitors with its diverse architecture, sea-facing landscape, Nordic cuisine, and world-famous design. The city is compact enough to explore on foot and features some world-class attractions that entertain people from all over the globe.

Among the city’s many sights are a UNESCO-listed fortress, beautifully unique churches, and traditional marketplaces that date back to the 19th century.

Helsinki’s nightlife scene is world-renowned, attracting alternative music fans with numerous live bars and concert halls hosting heavy metal gigs just about every night. The city hosts one of Europe’s largest annual music festivals, hosting famous metal bands from all over the globe.

Helsinki picture

Whether you’re into good food, picturesque sights, or heavy metal music, there’s something for you in Helsinki.

Visiting

Helsinki

2

Recom. Days

Main route

12 miles

from Helsinki Pick-up center

27 min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Suomenlinna

A giant maritime fortress spread across seven islands, Suomenlinna is great for both those who want to sightsee and those who want to learn about the history of the area. Entrance is free.

Helsinki Cathedral

This whitewashed neoclassical cathedral soars above the cityscape, offering awesome views of the area. Entrance is free.

Esplanadi

A finger of green space right in the middle of the city, this is a place where tourists and Helsinki residents come to take picnics, relax, and be entertained. Entrance is free.

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Parking

Eliel Parking

$$$

Located right in the city centre, this car park isn’t to be beaten on location.

EuroPark P-Eliel

$$$

Only a short walk to many amazing attractions, this car lot is clean and well-kept.

Aimo Park Helsinki Stockmann

$$

This multi-story car park is excellently located, modern, and clean.

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Eat at

Viking Restaurant Harald

$$

A Viking-themed restaurant with excellent food served in fun, kitsch surroundings.

Restaurant Pompier

$$

This French restaurant is renowned for its excellent food made from quality local ingredients.

Ravintola Spis

$$

An informal, brick-lined eatery with a menu featuring creative local dishes, unique desserts, and excellent wine.

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Stay at

Rastila Camping Helsinki

Located in Vuosaari, in eastern Helsinki on the seashore, this campground is just 18 minutes via train to the centre of Helsinki. Pricing requires you to enquire directly.

Lähilampi Caravan

Open year-round, this campground offers everything you might need for your stay. Prices start from 23 euros per night.

Sipoonkorpi National Park

Free

This awesome national park provides the best free overnight camping in the area. Explore the beautiful natural surrounds or drive a few minutes to Helsinki proper.

2

Stop Two: Get back to nature in Savonlinna

If you’re a nature-loving person, you’ll find plenty of things to occupy you in Savonlinna. Located just a stone’s throw from the Linnansaari and Kolovesi National Parks, its surroundings have to be seen to be believed. It’s also located in the centre of the biggest lake system in Finland and is home to some unique wildlife including the Saimaa Seals and the white-backed Corncrake.

Located on four islands between Haapvesi and Pihlajavesi lakes, Savonlinna is as delightful as its surroundings, remaining one of Finland’s top attractions for decades.

Each July the town hosts a world-renowned opera festival in one of Europe’s most beautiful medieval castles.

Savonlinna

If you’re a fan of nature or love a good opera, then Savonlinna is a destination that can’t be missed.

Visiting

Savonlinna

2

Recom. Days

Main route

200 miles

from Helsinki

3h52min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Olavinlinna Castle

Built in the 15th century, this castle is the oldest of its kind in the North of Finland. The entrance fee is 9.00 euros.

Savonlinna’s Old Town

Explore the old streets and buildings of yesteryear in Savonlinna’s Old Town. There are plenty of cafes and shops to keep you busy too.

Kerimäki Church

Kerimäki Church is the largest wooden church in the world measuring 45 meters long, 42 meters wide, and 27 meters high. Entrance is free.

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Parking

Parking Savonnlina Camping Car

Free

Great free parking that can accommodate vehicles of all sizes. Free.

Parkeringshus

$$

A well-positioned multi-story car park with great hourly pricing.

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Eat at

Muikkuterassi Savonlinna

$$

The best place in town for excellent seafood, served up in nautically themed surroundings.

Ravintola Majakka

$$

A nautical-themed restaurant offering casual meat and seafood plates.

Kiinalainen Ravintola Zhong Guo Long

$$

Delicious Chinese fare at extremely reasonable prices.

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Stay at

SaimaaHoliday Oravi Caravan

A serviceable RV campground with plenty of amenities. Prices start from 25 euros (~28$) per night.

Sun Camping

A wonderful campground next to a lake with all the amenities you might need. Pricing depends on your date of travel.

3

Stop Three: Visit Santa Claus in Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland, in northern Finland. While almost completely destroyed during World War II, today it’s a bustling metropolis known for being the “official” hometown of Santa Claus. As a result, it’s host to the Santa Clause Villiage at the Arctic Circle and SantaPark Arctic World, located 8 km from the city centre.

When people aren’t flocking to prove they’ve been nice this year, they’re looking upwards. Rovaniemi is one of the best places in the world to witness the awesome Northern Lights.

Rovaniemi

The city itself is no slouch either. Lappish design, fine dining, a world-class museum, and a student-fuelled nightlife are just a handful of the many highlights that make Rovaniemi a great stop on any Finnish road trip.

Visiting

Rovaniemi

2

Recom. Days

Main route

413 miles

from Rovaniemi

7h51min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Santa Claus Village

Just eight km north of Rovaniemi city is the Santa Claus Villiage, home to all things St. Nick. Entrance is free.

Korundi House of Culture

Made up of the Chamber Orchestra of Lapland and the Rovaniemi Art Museum, the Korundi House of Culture is located on the edge of the downtown core of Rovaniemi city.

Northern Lights

One of the most beautiful natural phenomena in the world, the Northern Lights are not to be missed when visiting Finland.

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Parking

Free 24h public parking

A free parking lot in the centre of the city. The lot is clean and well kept.

Ratakatu 3 Parking

$$

A functional, spacious parking yard that’s well-located in the centre of the city.

Europark P-Sampokeskus

$

Well priced and ideally located multi-story car park.

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Eat at

Nili Restaurant

$$$

A warm, family-owned eatery with traditional local decor serving specialities from Lapland and Finland.

Lapland Restaurant Kotahovi

$$

Great food with friendly staff and a rustic interior.

Roka Kitchen & Wine Bar

$$

Great, professional service with some of the best food in the area.

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Stay at

BestPark Rovaniemi Arctic Circle

Functional, quiet, and clean campervan park next to Santa's workshop village. Prices depend on your date of travel.

Napapiirin Saarituvat

Right on the bank of the Kemijoki river this campervan park has everything you need for a short or long stay. Prices depend on your date of travel.

Wanha Autti Camping ja Keskiaikaravintola Wanha Autti

A well-positioned campsite with plenty of amenities for guests. Prices depend on your date of travel.

4

Stop Four: Take in the rich history of Vaasa

Vaasa is located on the west coast of Finland, facing the Gulf of Bothnia. It’s renowned as a major university and college city and is one of the few in the area that’s bilingual – 69.8% of the population speak Finnish as their first language while 24.8% speak Swedish.

The centre of the Finnish Ostrobothia region, this gorgeous coastal city is a great destination to visit any time of the year. It’s bathed in colourful history and is rich in interesting sites to visit.

Vaasa

The 400-year-old town is both colourful and lively, perfect for art lovers, history buffs, and admirers of nature. Apart from its amazing sightseeing opportunities, Vaasa is also host to a number of renowned festivals including the Vaasa Festival, Night of the Arts, Korsholm Music Festival, and more.

Visiting

Vaasa

2

Recom. Days

Main route

333 miles

from Rovaniemi

6h37min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Vanhan Vaasa

An ancient part of Vaasa city, Vanhan Vaasa is a lesson in history. Explore these ruins by yourself to discover ancient wonders or take a guided tour to learn the history of the place.

Vaasan Kirkko

Constructed in 1862, this unique church has typical Neo-gothic architecture. Its beautiful interior is well worth a visit for those who appreciate old churches.

Bragen’s outdoor museum

A unique, open-air museum, this is a must-see for those who want to take in the culture of the area.

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Parking

ToriParkki

$$$

A spacious, underground parking lot that has plenty of parks and is well-located.

Parking Asema

$$

This multi-story car park is excellently located, clean, and secure.

Parkeringsplats (Vasa huvudbiblioteks personal)

One of the few free parking lots still located in the centre of the city.

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Eat at

Ravintola Gustav Wasa

$$$

An upscale Scandinavian restaurant with some of the best food in the city.

Illyrian's

$$

This informal Mediterranean restaurant features a menu of pizzas, kebabs, and salads.

Restaurant Bacchus - Svenska Klubben

$$$

A beautifully furnished restaurant with a cosy atmosphere with some of the best roast meals in the city.

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Stay at

Top Camping Vaasa

Plenty of RV parks with amazing views of the surrounding area. Pricing depends on your date of travel.

Åminnen Lomakylä

A well-positioned campground with all the amenities you might need. Prices depend on your date of travel.

Drop-off in
Helsinki Pick-up center

261.5 miles

from Vaasa

5h03min

drive