If you are visiting Finland during the summer
Remember to pack enough clothes because Finnish summer is unpredictable and temperature in Finland can vary between five to twenty-five degrees Celsius. Another important thing about Finnish summer is that the sun doesn’t really set at all. So if you have troubles falling asleep while it’s still bright, remember to pack your sleeping mask.
If you are visiting Finland during the winter
The same tip applies to winter as for the summer, remember to pack enough clothes. In winter the temperature can be as low as -30 degrees Celsius and if you are going to Lapland you should prepare for as low as -40 degrees Celsius. If you are traveling from a warm country you might have to buy appropriate winter clothes from Finland. Some places in Lapland let you rent jackets and overalls so you don’t have to buy them for a short period of time.
Language barrier in Finland
Most of the young Finns understand English pretty well as it is taught to us starting from the third grade. Older Finns might have more problems with speaking English and some can’t speak English at all. In Helsinki, it’s easy to function in English but if you are traveling to the countryside it is harder to find service in English. Usually, in Lapland, the people that work with tourists have to be able to speak English and some of them can speak Russian, German and even Chinese.
The Finnish language and manners differ from English quite a lot so don’t get pissed off if someone says “what?” to you instead of “pardon”. Finns don’t really do small talk so don’t be afraid of those “awkward silences”, that Finns are really used to.
Small laws in Finland
In Finland there are some laws that might feel weird for foreigners, depending on your home country. Most of these have something to do with alcohol. In Finland, you can buy alcoholic beverages only between 9 am and 9 pm. In the evening you can buy alcohol from bars and restaurants, but shops won’t sell any after 9 pm. Also if you want to buy some beverages that have over 4,7% alcohol (wine, boost, etc.), you need to go to Alko. Alko is a government owned company that has the “hard liquor monopoly” in Finland.
One habit that I feel is really important to Finnish people, is waiting in line. You should avoid cutting lines in Finnish grocery stores. Another thing to keep in mind before traveling to Finland would be that Finnish people usually have a huge personal space and it should be respected.
These tips are written by a Finnish resident, so please let me know if there is something else that you are wondering about traveling to Finland.