You can enjoy a fun yet budget-friendly weekend in Finland as the country has many free and affordable things to do. Just avoid expensive hotels, tours and taxis – almost everything else can be found on the cheap. Natural attractions and most of its landmarks won’t cost you a penny while most museums, galleries and the like rarely charge more than a modest fee to enter.

    However, it's vital that you plan your trip well. To help you do just that, we’ve put together a collection of short guides that provide essential info on some of Finland’s most popular budget destinations. 



    Check out old industry structures and beautiful lake views

    Tampere in southern Finland is the biggest inland city in the Nordic countries. Compact and picturesque, it offers plenty for anyone on a budget. If you’re only passing through, check out the old industrial buildings around the Tammerkoski Rapids and eat well at one of the city’s cheap restaurants. 

    A longer stay in Tampere should include a long walk or cycling trip around the nearby Nasijarvi and Pyhajarvi lakes, as well as visits to local landmarks like Kaleva Church. During summer, you can enjoy a plethora of outdoor events, many of which are free. The city centre is easy to explore on foot or a rented bicycle, but there's a cheap and highly reliable public bus system. 



    Beautiful scenery and historic sights in Finland’s oldest city

    Turku is a very affordable place to visit in Finland. The city centre is split in half by the Aurajoki River, and you’ll find many memorable sights along both sides. Standouts include Turku Cathedral, Luostarinmaki Handicrafts Museum, and Turku Castle. Budget-friendly eats can be found in the historic Turku Market Hall or at Asian and Middle Eastern restaurants, some of which are within a short walk of the river. When you need some peace, visit one of the city’s beautiful parks, such as the scenic Luostarivuori.

    Turku also serves as a gateway to the islands of the Archipelago Sea. The nearest islets, like Ruissalo, are just a quick bus or bicycle ride away. Those looking for an unforgettable experience should consider a comprehensive tour via the famous Archipelago Trail, which can be done cheaply if you travel by bus or bicycle and sleep in a tent. 



    Relax, see the sights, or stock up in unique gifts

    Oulu has a compact city centre with a wide range of beautiful landmarks, such as Oulu Cathedral, the neoclassical Oulu City Hall, and Toripolliisi Statue, which you can explore for free. There are numerous museums and galleries which, though not free, definitely won’t break your budget. From late spring to early fall, you can spend a day on Nallikari Beach or have a picnic in Ainola Park. 

    Those looking for something truly unique should consider taking a bus to the island of Hailuoto. If you plan to move from Oulu to other parts of Northern Finland, bear in mind that many of the services and shops found here won’t be available anywhere else. So even – or especially – if you’re on a budget, remember to stock up on some unique gifts.



    Alvar Aalto’s architecture, soothing lake views and a full calendar of events

    Jyvaskyla offers beautiful scenery, Alvar Aalto’s architecture, and lively events year-round. You can visit nearby lakes from spring to autumn, while wintertime is great for basking in lights provided by the city’s famous light installations. Jyvaskyla has strong links to with Finland’s most famous architect, Alvar Aalto. The city was where he went to school, started a family, and began his illustrious career. You can check out 16 buildings designed by Aalto and learn about his life at the Alvar Aalto Museum. 

    Natural wonders aren’t far away from Jyvaskyla either. The nearest nature trail is just a few blocks from the city centre, on the banks of the Tourujoki River. You can walk further west to enjoy a swim at Viitaniemi Beach. Visit the city in winter to enjoy its annual Christmas fair and the famous urban lights festival, the City of Light. Thanks to its central location, Jyvaskyla is easy to reach by public transport.



    Relax on a budget in Finland’s beautiful lake district

    Kuopio is a historic city with plenty of things to see, especially for those on a budget. Start by checking out the main sights, such as Kuopio Marketplace and Market Hall, Kuopio Cathedral, and city’s numerous art galleries. When you need a break, head to one of the city’s cheap restaurants for a large plate of Finnish, Middle Eastern or Chinese fare. 

    If the weather permits, a good option is to head south to enjoy Vainolanniemi's pristine beach. You can even catch a bus to explore the nature trails of Korkeakoski, Pisa or Tahko. Before leaving Kuopio, don’t forget to visit the famous Puijo Tower for panoramic views of the city and ocean.



    Visit museums, nature trails and the scenic Vantaankoski Rapids

    Vantaa has a popular science centre, scenic nature trails, and historic sights from different eras. The city’s top attraction is Heureka, a long-serving science centre but those on a budget should also check out the city’s lesser-known natural and historical landmarks. In just one day, you can visit the beautiful Vantaankoski Rapids and the nature trails of Kuusijarvi, or the vast Sipoonkorpi National Park. 

    History, meanwhile, can be found at the Vantaa City Museum, the Finnish Aviation Museum, and the city’s free hidden gem, the Fortifications of Lansimaki. Besides its world-famous airport, Vantaa is easy to reach by just about every possible means of transport. 



    Relax and see the sights in Santa’s hometown

    Lapland’s biggest city, Rovaniemi, offers many interesting sights, a wide range of shops and restaurants, and quick access to Lapland’s wilderness. Though the city centre is urban, peace and quiet is never far away – you only need to cross the Kemijoki River and head for the hiking trails of Ounasvaara. 

    Rovaniemi has many buildings designed by Alvar Alto, as well as the impressive Jatkankynttila Bridge. Local food can be relatively expensive, so visit a Chinese or Middle Eastern restaurant for budget-friendly meals.  Rovaniemi is Lapland’s transport hub, so it’s relatively easy to catch a bus to further destinations, such as Inari and the region's many ski resorts



    War-time history, natural wonders and the glorious Saimaa

    Mikkeli is a great destination for nature lovers and anyone interested in Finnish history. Though it’s best visited in summer, you can enjoy plenty of fun during the colder seasons. Besides tours and certain activities, everything else is inexpensive, so you’ll have no problems even on a tight budget. During WWII, Mikkeli hosts the Finnish army's headquarters which means most of the city’s landmarks and sights have something to do with the military. These include the Infantry Museum, the Headquarters Museum, and Mannerheim’s Saloon Car. 

    Scenic landscapes can be found on the islands of Saimaa, the rugged Repovesi National Park, Neitvuori, and the shores of Astuvansalmi (you can also admire prehistoric rock paintings). You can catch a glimpse of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal on the waters of Puumala – opt for a rented boat for an affordable option. 



    Lapland in all its glory all year round

    For those on a budget, Kittila offers incredible fell scenery, huge national parks, and a broad range of affordable activities. The Levi ski resort is very popular during the winter months, while spring and autumn draw outdoor lovers to the Pallas-Yllas and Lemmenjoki National Parks.

    Budget-friendly options in Kittila include various scenic trails, regular and mountain biking, frisbee golf, skiing and swimming, just to name a few. Many are happy just enjoying the incredible peace and quiet, evenings in the sauna and/or the northern lights. You should book a flight to Kittilä Airport if you want to get to the city quickly and with minimum effort. If you want to save on transport, you can catch a bus from Rovaniemi.



    Explore fells, national parks and unique sights

    Lapland is Finland's vast and northernmost region, offering a number of sights and activities year-round. If you’re on a tight budget, just about everything else can be experienced on the cheap, apart from the ski resorts. Explore untouched fells and huge national parks, discover the area’s unique Saami culture, and stay in quaint towns. 

    You can visit many of Lapland's attractions on a budget, including Pilke Science Park and Santa Claus Village (both in Rovaniemi), the Snow Castle of Kemi, the Gold Museum (Saariselka), Ranua Wildlife Park (Ranua), and the Luosto Amethyst Mine (Luosto). That said, Lapland’s primary draws will always be the peace and quiet, its uniquely beautiful scenery, and the ethereal northern lights. 


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