10 sustainable travel tips for Finland – Are you planning a vacation in Finland but are concerned about the environmental impact of your trip? Yes, it’s true – we are off the beaten path. Finland is great with ecological travel options.
To get to Finland you usually have to travel by ship or plane – and that increases your carbon footprint.
But just read on: There are other ways you can make your trip greener and more sustainable.
Here are 10 effective tips that you can easily follow before and during your trip. Look forward to a (green) stay in Finland!
10 sustainable travel tips for Finland
1. Travel easier
Before traveling to Finland, you should take a look at the weather forecast.
We have four different seasons and regions, and temperatures can fluctuate a lot even in just a week.
In addition, the weather in southern Finland is often very different than in Lapland.
The distance between Helsinki and Inari is over 1100 km – almost the same distance as between Paris and Barcelona or Florence.
It is best to use the onion tactic and dress in layers. This allows you to carry a lot of things you already have, such as warm sweaters.
And when it gets warmer, just take off a layer. So you don’t have to buy a completely new wardrobe for a trip.
Before your flight, you should subject the contents of your suitcase to a critical examination.
Think about how you can avoid unnecessary ballast. Lighter baggage means that the plane uses less fuel – which is very important if you want to reduce carbon emissions.
Many tour operators in Finland offer high quality clothing and equipment that you can rent in winter – from snowshoes and skis to ice skates.
2. Travel out of high season and stay longer
Think outside the box – could you go on vacation outside of the main season and maybe stay a little longer if you’ve already made the long journey to Finland?
You have more space, more peace and quiet and more relaxation. One should think about it!
Lapland is a very popular destination in winter, but in other seasons it is just as beautiful – and usually fewer tourists.
If you want to see the northern lights, spring and summer are among the most beautiful times of the year.
Summer is the time of the white nights – a natural phenomenon that resembles the northern lights.
In the other parts of Finland, nature is at its best in summer, although all other seasons also have their advantages.
We recommend the soft green of spring, the radiant autumn colors or a warm sauna in frosty winter weather.
There is a lot to see in Finland all year round.
3. Use public transport
Great, you’ve arrived. Local public transport in Finland is reliable and inexpensive.
Most Finnish cities are closely linked by bus and train.
Finnish rail is operated by the state-owned VR, known for its iconic rock statues in front of Helsinki Central Station.
When you are in our capital, you should take our beautiful subway. We only have one line so you can’t get lost.
The wooden benches in the older subway stations were designed by Yrjö Kukkapuro in 1979.
Sustainable design par excellence! Helsinki also scores with an excellent tram network – perfect for a city tour! The city of Tampere will also soon have its first trams.
The trains in Finland and the Helsinki metro run on renewable energies – when you travel like this, you are actively protecting the environment.
Unknown cities can also be explored on foot, and of course there are sidewalks everywhere in Finland.
If you are traveling in the summer, you could also rent a bike or an e-scooter – and let the mild breeze blow through your hair!
After all, the Finnish air is one of the cleanest in the world!
4. Respect the country and its people
Actually superfluous, but we say it anyway: if you travel, you should treat the country and its people with tolerance and respect.
The easiest way to show this in Finland is to smile. We Finns are sometimes considered a bit reserved, but maybe we smile back. And if not, don’t worry – we’re still happy to see you are kind!
You can also collect plus points with the words “kiitos” for “thank you” and “moi” for “hello”.
And if you want to take photos of Finns – young or old – please remember to ask for permission first.
5. Get to know local food, design and handicrafts
Today we live in a world full of material things and in great abundance. When there is too much of something, it often becomes less important.
We recommend that you take two things to heart: “less is more” and “regional”. Think of food, design and handmade products.
These are more environmentally friendly and most of the time there is a heartwarming story behind the products.
There are many talented craftsmen in Finland who would be happy to show you authentic memorabilia from our country – e.g. handcrafted jewelry or wooden objects.
All over the country, especially in the Helsinki area, clothing is sold that has been designed or made in Finland.
If you want to take regional delicacies home with you as a souvenir, take a trip to a small Finnish winery – they produce fruit wine from berries or apples.
Or you can visit an ironworks village or a wooden town, where there is a variety of local delicacies to discover.
More sustainable travel tips for Finland
6. Everyone’s and every woman’s right and the associated responsibility
In Finland there is a very special right: the right of everyone (in Finnish “jokamiehen oikeudet”). This right is law, and it also involves a certain amount of responsibility.
You can e.g. pick berries and mushrooms in the forest for free.
You don’t need to ask anyone’s permission to do this. You can also spend the night in a tent somewhere in nature, ski or walk in the forest and swim in the lake and sea.
But don’t forget: After your visit, nature should be exactly as you found it. Clean, untouched and respected.
In national parks there are sometimes certain restrictions – so be sure to read the signs.
Make sure you don’t pitch your tent too close to private property or walk through private gardens and fields.
Don’t leave any litter behind – take everything back with you and throw it in a trash can. It goes without saying that you do not scare away animals or birds – it is absolutely forbidden.
In addition, you should not cause any damage to trees, mosses and lichen.
This is how our beautiful nature is preserved for everyone.
7. Recycle them as much as possible
Finns are obsessed with nature and an environmentally friendly lifestyle in a healthy way – and with recycling!
They want to have the best circular economy in the world, and many cities are preparing for a carbon neutral life to be implemented over the next 20 years.
How can you best recycle on your trip to Finland? If you’ve bought a plastic bottle and drunk it empty, please bring it back to a shop with a recycling machine.
The machine then spits out a receipt with a deposit amount – just like in Germany.
Most hotels have an environmentally friendly policy on the use of towels. You can also check with your hotel to see if hotel guest waste is being recycled.
Some may already be doing it, others are probably still thinking about it. Motivate them to finally act!
8. Drink tap water
During your trip to Finland you will probably hear at least once that we have the best tap water in the world.
It’s actually true, and it’s cleaner than the bottled water!
So we suggest the following: Do not use plastic bottles at all and bring your own drinking bottle with you to Finland.
This is more environmentally friendly and reduces your ecological footprint. And cold, clear water straight from the tap is really delicious – if you don’t already drink it, you should definitely try it.
A little tip: You can also order tap water in restaurants in Finland.
9. Try vegetarian food
The vegetarian food industry in Finland is booming! There are many ways to replace animal proteins with vegetarian ones.
If you can cook in your accommodation, almost every supermarket has vegetarian ingredients. Ask for “Härkis” (protein schnitzel made from broad beans) or “Nyhtökaura” (pulled oats).
Funny words and great products that can be used to replace meat – for example in a pasta sauce. If you want to do without cow’s milk in your coffee, you should try Kaslink’s oat milk.
Almost every restaurant in Finland offers vegetarian or even vegan options. If you go out to eat, dare to go for the greener option.
10. Enjoy life – like the Finns!
As you may have noticed, nature is very important to the Finns. Most of them spend time outdoors several times a week.
Water and green spaces are always nearby, even in the cities. This is one aspect that makes Finland the happiest nation in the world.
While you are here, let yourself be inspired by the Finnish lifestyle and find your way back to nature.
Put your phone on mute. Take a walk. Visit a park. Go to the woods. Hug a tree. Swim in a lake. Take a deep breath of fresh air and walk slowly and deliberately.
Listen to what nature wants to tell you. Forget everything else and try to feel like a Finn. Trust us.
It is good for body and soul.
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