Finland: beautiful land of endless winter nights, northern lights, lakes, and ancient pine forests. It’s the most sparsely-populated country in the EU, as well as one of the least-visited. However, things seem to be changing.
Admittedly, it’s commonplace that visitors struggle with the language, which has been ranked as one of the most difficult to learn in the world, yet with all the merits to visiting this picturesque country, tourists are swarming. This is evidenced by the fact that, prior to 2020, tourist numbers to Finland had been rising exponentially, with travellers being drawn to the location by the allure of beautiful, unspoiled nature and the growing reputation of Finland’s hip capital, Helsinki.
In fact, Finland’s cultural cachet has grown so much that last year, when the 90 Day Finn visa programme was launched to attract talented tech workers, the application system almost broke down because so many people applied. If you’re preparing for your first trip to Finland, you’ll want to make the right impression. With that in mind, here are some top tips for living like a local in Finland.
Sauna is sacred
This is probably the most important thing you need to know. Finland has an estimated two million saunas, around one for every two people in the whole country. Many Finns go to the sauna every single day, with the belief that the health benefits are unparalleled. Also, the sauna is very much a social activity and you can even find saunas in bars, pubs, and nightclubs across Helsinki.
Get your caffeine buzz
Finns drink by far the most coffee per capita out of any other country in the entire world, averaging ten kilos of coffee per person every single year. As such, you’ll find an incredibly vibrant coffee culture in Finnish cities, with some of the top coffee houses in Helsinki even winning international awards for their blends.
Try a little snus
Alongside Sweden, Finland is a major consumer of snus, the small, scented tobacco pouches that are a sort of Nordic alternative to cigarettes. Nicotine pouches remain popular as a way of keeping the practice alive and are also a slightly healthier alternative to conventional cigarettes. If you want to try it out before you go, there are authentic snus products you can ship to most countries for a very low cost – we found them here.
Connect with nature
The majority of all Finnish people live less than two kilometres away from a forest, a statistic that is unrivalled virtually anywhere else in the world. Connection to nature is incredibly important to Finnish people, which is why living like a local often means strolling through the forest at all times of the day and at any time of year, even during the January evenings when the mercury regularly dips below minus 30 degrees. Live like a local by keeping nature in your routine.
If you follow these simple traditions, you’ll be indistinguishable from a local Finn in no time.