The idea of visiting Finland might conjure up images of ice and snow, but this 10-day itinerary reveals the beauty of the Nordic country in the summertime. Spend time biking and walking around coastal Helsinki and Turku and explore the largest archipelago in the world. Then, take the train north to Rovaniemi in Lapland, and hike, canoe, and photograph your way through the unending days of summer in the Arctic Circle.


  • Tour Finland's capital city by bike
  • Follow the St. Olav Waterway across part of the Archipelago Sea
  • Take beautiful photos of the midnight sun in Rovaniemi
  • Canoe along the Ounasjoki and Kemijoki rivers

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Helsinki Helsinki
Day 2 Helsinki Bike Tour Helsinki
Day 3 Explore Porkkalanniemi Peninsula Helsinki
Day 4 Transfer to Turku & Take a Walking Tour Turku
Day 5 St. Olav Waterway Bike Tour Turku
Day 6 Cruise on the Aura River & Transfer to Rovaniemi Rovaniemi
Day 7 Rovaniemi Highlights Tour & Midnight Sun Photography Tour Rovaniemi
Day 8 Arctic Wilderness Hike Rovaniemi
Day 9 Rovaniemi River Cruise Rovaniemi
Day 10 Canoeing Tour & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Helsinki

View across the water of Helsinki during a clear day. Helsinki Cathedral and the Market Square are clearly visible.
Helsinki Cathedral is one of the iconic buildings along Helsinki's skyline

Welcome to Helsinki! The capital city of Finland sits on the coast of the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea. After checking into your hotel, spend the day exploring. To get a taste of the city's famously varied architecture, take a walk down the Mannerheimintie, the main street, and pass by the stripped classical Parliament House, the modern Kiasma art museum, the romantic National Museum, or the functionalist Helsinki Opera House. When night falls, check out the city's restaurants and thriving heavy metal scene.

Day 2: Helsinki Bike Tour

Old Town Helsinki, Finland
Pedestrians cross tram tracks in Old Town Helsinki

Explore Helsinki on a three-hour bike tour today. Pedal past attractions like the Uspenki Cathedral on your way to Market Square to check out the bustling outdoor markets. Since over a third of the city is covered in green space, there's plenty of natural scenery to enjoy, like the sculptures in Sibelius Park or views of the sea in Kaivopuisto. This tour will give you a chance to truly appreciate Helsinki's eclectic mix of architectural styles, from Art Nouveau to functionalism to neoclassical.

Day 3: Explore Porkkalanniemi Peninsula

View of the sunset from the rocky shore of Porkkalaniemi with a post holding an emergency float in the midground
See beautiful views of the Gulf of Finland from Prokkalanniemi

This morning, head 19 miles (36 km) southwest of Helsinki to Porkkalanniemi, a peninsula jutting into the Gulf of Finland and surrounded by countless tiny islands. Learn about this spot in the archipelago's ties to Finland's natural and military history on a hike through the forest before stopping for lunch with a beautiful view of the gulf. Afterward, a transfer takes you back to Helsinki, where you'll have the rest of the afternoon at your leisure.

Day 4: Transfer to Turku & Take a Walking Tour

Aerial view of Turku Castle
Aerial view of Turku Castle

Today you'll take the train to Turku, a coastal city about 2.5 hours west of Helsinki. A private transfer will pick you up from the train station and bring you to your accommodations in town.

Then, explore Finland's oldest city on a walking tour. Though much of the city was destroyed in the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, hints of its 800-year history can still be seen in the medieval Turku Castle. Learn about the city's legacy as a trading hub when you visit the Old Great Square. Walk along the banks of the Aura River as it flows through town to the Archipelago Sea, and take a break to enjoy the contemporary canteen and café culture that has earned the city the nickname the "Paris of Finland."
Plan your trip to Finland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: St. Olav Waterway Bike Tour

Evening view of Turku Archipelago, Finland
Aerial view of a few islands in the archipelago off of Turku

Turku provides easy access to the Archipelago Sea, home to the largest archipelago in the world by the number of islands. Get a taste of this immense area by eBike today on a tour of part of the St. Olav Waterway, a route pilgrims once took between Finland and Sweden on their way to Norway. Enjoy the power of both nature and local hospitality as you island hop, meet locals, and enjoy lunch by the sea. After riding about 40 miles (65 km), stretch out your legs and relax on a boat ride back to town.

Day 6: Cruise on the Aura River & Transfer to Rovaniemi

Aura river and the tower of Turku Cathedral in autumn in Turku, Finland
The tower of the Turku Cathedral above the trees along the banks of the Aura River

Hop aboard a riverboat for a trip down the Aura River! Munch on snacks from a local bakery as the river winds its way through Turku, passing under bridges and gliding past churches, trees, and other river boats on its way toward the sea. A guide will point out important sites while regaling you with stories from the river's long history—after all, its first inhabitants settled here at least 6,000 years ago.

This evening, catch a ride on an overnight sleeper train for the 14-hour trip to Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland. Not only is a night on a sleeper train a unique experience, but it also affords you more time to explore Lapland, the northernmost province in Finland. There's no better place to start that journey than in Rovaniemi, known as the official hometown of Santa Claus. A private transfer will take you from the station to your accommodation.

Day 7: Rovaniemi Highlights Tour & Midnight Sun Photography Tour

scene of several reindeer grazing with a sunset in the background
Reindeer graze under the midnight sun in Lapland

Take a guided tour of Rovaniemi today and learn how history influenced its unique architecture. After most of the town was destroyed in World War II, Finnish architect Alvar Aalto redrew the city's footprint to look like a reindeer's head. Other Christmas references abound in town; visit Santa Claus' Office and send a letter from Santa Claus' Main Post Office. While touring Santa Claus Village, cross the Arctic Circle—it runs just 4 miles (6 km) above the city center—and earn an official certificate.

Since the city lies so far north, during June and July, Rovaniemi experiences an almost magical phenomenon: the midnight sun. In the summer, the sun stays above the horizon all day long. Take a tour across the city today to find the best spots to photograph the changing colors or just enjoy the view as the sun travels across the sky.

Day 8: Arctic Wilderness Hike

Arctic Wilderness Hike (Summer)
A hiker walking through the forest near Rovaniemi

Take advantage of Rovaniemi's proximity to the arctic on a guided hike today. Learn about the subarctic climate of Lapland from an outdoor guide. They'll also teach you about survival in the Finnish wilderness, demonstrating how to identify animal footprints, edible berries, useful plants and mushrooms, and even how to build a fire. Speaking of, take a break around the campfire to enjoy a hot beverage and a grilled snack before heading back along the trail to the city.

Day 9: Rovaniemi River Cruise

View of the Ounasjoki River from the shore. Small rapids flow past with pine trees on either side
Pass by pine forests and wilderness on your trip along the river

Visiting Rovaniemi in the summer means you can hop aboard a boat or swim in its rivers, the Ounasjoki and Kemijoki. Take a ride today in an electric rubber boat and float past pastures full of horses or sheep and forests full of wild birds like ospreys and eagles. Enjoy a picnic snack aboard the boat or while sitting on a hidden beach along the shores of one of the rivers. If the weather is especially nice, consider taking a dip!

Day 10: Canoeing Tour & Depart

View of Lumberjack's Candle Bridge in Rovaniemi, Finland. A boat is docked near the shore on the left
Pass by the famous Lumberjack's Candle Bridge on your canoe trip today

Take a guided canoe tour along both rivers today and see the city from a new angle. Float past the plants in the Arktikum Arboretum near the Arkitukum science museum before paddling beneath the cable of the Lumberjack's Candle Bridge. Your guide will point out other sites viewable from the water, like the local church. Once back on shore, visit the Local Heritage Museum housed inside a 19th-century farmhouse to learn about life in the area over a century ago.

As your Lapland adventure comes to an end, your driver will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Great Finland Itineraries

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Map of Active Finland Summer Adventure: Helsinki, Turku & Rovaniemi - 10 Days
Map of Active Finland Summer Adventure: Helsinki, Turku & Rovaniemi - 10 Days