Visit The Happiest Country In The World: What To Do In Finland With Kids
We may not be able to answer what makes Finland the happiest country in the world, but we’ll explain why you should visit Finland with your kids. In this Go With Nugget episode, we talk to Cat Holladay, a mom of two, who moved her family from sunny Florida to Finland and fell in love with this Nordic country. Cat shares with us why Finland truly offers something for everyone: from pristine nature to unique wildlife encounters, to tasty food and stylish design. Have a listen and read on to get the insider scoop on everything you need to know for your perfect Finland family vacation.
Finland isn't always at the top of people's destination lists,
but it should be.
— CAT HOLLADAY
WHAT TO DO IN FINLAND WITH KIDS: EXPLORE ONE OF FINLAND’S MANY ISLANDS
Summer is the best time to enjoy the beauty of the Åland Islands.
If you are visiting in the summer, Turku is also the gateway to the stunning Turku archipelago. A cluster of over 20,000 rocky islands, the archipelago is arguably one of Finland’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Cat recommends that your family rent a traditional self-catering cabin and enjoy a few days of complete seclusion.
Even further into the Baltic Sea, between Sweden and Finland, you’ll find another archipelago worth exploring with kids, the Åland Islands. Only 60 of the 6,500 islands are inhabited, but they are a popular summer retreat for Finns and Swedes alike.
KIDS WILL LOVE
Kayaking, experiencing the midnight sun, splashing in the water
PARENTS WILL LOVE
Outstanding seafood, island-hopping, pristine nature
SUGGESTED NUMBER OF DAYS
Cat suggests 3 days for each of the archipelagos to get a feel for the unique island culture.
GOOD TO KNOW
If you are short on time, there are ferries from Helsinki directly to the Åland Islands.
WHAT TO DO IN FINLAND WITH KIDS: VISIT RAUMA
Beautiful wooden houses in Rauma. Photo: Cat Holladay
Rauma is home to some of the best-preserved wooden homes in Finland. Founded in the 14th century, its Old Town is now a UNESCO heritage site that still feels off the beaten path. The pastel-colored homes also make for an Instagram-worthy backdrop. So, get your camera ready and explore with your kids.
KIDS WILL LOVE
Tasty local pastries, bright colorful wooden houses
PARENTS WILL LOVE
Beautiful photo opportunities, wandering through the cobblestone streets, Saturday’s farmers market
NUGGET’S ADVICE FOR TRAVELING TO FINLAND WITH KIDS
Finland is one of the most family-friendly countries in Europe, but the weather can make it tricky when visiting with kids — especially in the winter months. Here are a few tips from local parents on how to enjoy Finland with kids, rain or shine.
drive careful in the winter
Roads in Finland are pristine and easy to navigate, but be careful during the winter. If you aren’t experienced in driving in (a lot of) snow and ice, it might be better to opt for public transit during the colder months. If you do decide to drive, be extra careful and go slow. The same advice applies to walking. Many towns will have (partially) heated sidewalks, but you still want to be extra careful when walking on snow and ice.
invest in proper clothing for a winter visit
Finland can be magical in the winter, and you’ll find Finnish kids playing outside all year round. For your family to find equal joy in the colder months, be sure to invest in proper clothing, including moisture-wicking, long thermal underwear and a durable outer shell. A pair of warm, waterproof snow boots are also a must.
consider taking the train
The train system in Finland is superb. You can easily explore all major cities by train, especially in the southern part of the county. For a special treat your kids will never forget, take them on the overnight Santa Claus Express train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi.
This won’t be an issue in the summer, but if you are visiting in the winter you may only have 5 to 6 hours of daylight. Use those hours to explore outside, and once the sun sets head indoors. Maybe try a sauna for the first time. 🙂
MORE EPISODES FOR KIDS AND PARENTS
We’re here to make family travel planning easier. Listen to our trailer and discover what’s possible together — near and far.
Does your family dream of an African safari? Discover why Namibia is the perfect place for a family-friendly safari, and get the inside scoop on how to plan your own trip.
Meet 9-year-old Yindali and discover what it’s like to be a kid in Tropical North Queensland, Australia, living where the rainforest meets the sea.