ETIAS - Traveling to Finland
U.S. citizens can travel to Finland using an ETIAS visa waiver
Country of Finland
- Euro (€)
- UTC+2 (EET)
- Finnish & Swedish
Emergency Finland Telephone Numbers
112 (112 is the equivalent to 911 in the US)
Finland is a country of stunning contrasts. The drama of winter darkness, the elation of summer’s midnight sun and the vast open spaces that define this place of cool stark beauty. It has a cultural heart, beautiful countryside, countless islands, inland lakes, and the famous Lapland region to the north which is home to dazzling displays of the northern lights. Even Santa Claus know Finland is special. Indeed, many people first think of Father Christmas when Finland is mentioned as it is widely known that he lives in the north in Lapland.
Finland is grand in winter. And although it is a spectacular winter wonderland and unlike any place most sojourners have seen before, there is also much to experience in all seasons. Nature, culture, mountains, lakes, architecture, and folk traditions are in abundance. Living sustainably and in harmony with the environment and leaving a low ecological footprint is important to the Finnish people.
Experiences, especially unusual ones, are what makes Finland so special. The Northern Lights, the midnight sun, numerous spas, eclectic local cuisine, folk art and music, collectively encapsulating the unusual energy of this special place. So special in fact that there are more visitors than locals! Finland has a population of 5.5 million and attracts more than 6 million tourists every year. Finland joined the Schengen agreement in 1996.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization, ETIAS, is coming in 2021. Authorization for the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program for US citizens allows for visa-free travel with a generous 90-day limit to Finland and Lapland to its north, as well as two dozen Schengen Area countries. So, your visions of the windswept beaches along the roughhewn Finnish coast, prancing reindeer, or glass igloos under a sky blazing in brightly colored lights, are closer to becoming reality.
Primary languages: Finnish, Swedish. English is widely spoken in most tourist areas.
Where to Go
Helsinki is the capital city and is full of vibrant color and vitality. There is so much to do, and you are never far away from nature here. Helsinki is home to many museums, cathedrals, an 18th century sea fortress and a high fashion design district. Local boutiques are where to find Finnish-designed Marimekko fabric, Iittala home goods and glassware, and other fine collectibles. Winter’s inky days are happily spent trekking wandering, guided by romantic city lights, indulging in a sauna experience, sipping perfectly chilled champagne, or dipping into to urban culture.
Tucked at the mouth of the Aura River is Turku, the oldest city in Finland. If you would like to immerse yourself in the Finnish culture, history and traditions than this is the town for you. Meander down cobbled lanes lined with local eateries, tour the Kolatun Juustola cheesemaker shop, make your way to Turku Castle, and visit the Old Great Square which is made magical during the winter holidays when a Christmas market feature food, dance, and music.
Wanha Raahe is in the old part of coastal Raahe, on the Bay of Bothnia and features a smorgasbord of time-loved yet beautifully preserved wooden houses dating back to the 19th century. Sea kayaking is a popular way to explore the craggy coastline from the water. Touring onto Porvoo, a mediaeval river town quite close to Helsinki, visitors can explore the traditional clapboard homes, many washed in brick red paint and shop for precious souvenirs in an old railway station-turned gift shop. This summer town is an idyllic bit of Finland’s past and is home to delightful eateries and cafés, artisan shops, and museums.
The Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights
Finland's place in the Arctic Circle means that it is perfectly situated to experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun. In summer there is 24-hour daylight for 70 glorious day. Golden light tinged with red and a feeling of peace surround as this glow with its elongated shadows allows for perfect photographs. Visitors can explore by camping, picnics, night swimming, boating, and reveling in nature during the days and nightless nights. Conversely, in the winter months there is also the phenomenon darkness for more than 2 months; in Finnish Lapland, the sun sets in November and rises again in mid-January. Winter is also the season of the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) that show off their almost fluorescent green and vivid blue lights slowly dancing in the sky. As color lights the inky sky the experience can best be described as magical. Rovaniemi is the capital of Lapland and is on the Arctic Circle. Winter adventures include ice fishing, dog sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, and snow shoeing. Imagine visiting a reindeer farm for a tour and sleigh ride or sipping cocktails at an ice bar or sleeping in an igloo hotel. Adventure is around every corner in Rovaniemi. Family-friendly attractions include the Santa Claus Village and Santa Park described as the home caverns of Santa Claus. Eclectic regional dining is a foodie’s quest. Reindeer, “the cattle of Lapland,” game birds, elk and bear served with root vegetables will be found on local restaurant menus. Fish like salmon, trout and char are local and quite popular. In summer, wild blueberries are abundant and sweet. Accommodations here include cozy guest houses, modern hotels, and glass igloos where travelers snuggle under heavy blankets in cozy warmth to watch the northern lights shimmer.
The coastline of Finland spans more than 600 miles from the its northern border with Sweden to its southern border with Russia. Those 600 miles are filled of lighthouses, windswept beaches, craggy coves ironwork villages, ancient towns with brightly hued homes, old stone churches, artisan craft shops and galleries, fishing hamlets, and the Baltic Sea Coastal National Park. The Archipelago Trail is a 125 miles of winding roads that can be traveled by cars, motorbikes and bicycles. Along the circular trail route which for many begins at Turku are 12 bridges, 9 ferries, and many charming Archipelago villages. Ferry connections start from the historic Turku Cathedral. Or perhaps stop to savor a village like Fiskars where in August and September you can celebrate the harvest with unique local fare. The Turku Archipelago is described as ‘a unique patchwork of thousands of islands.’ We think that sounds perfect.
Finland borders Sweden to the west across the water, Norway to the north, Russia to the east and Estonia to the south across the water. Except for Russia, all including Finland are members of the Schengen Area and will be eligible for visa-free travel with the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program for entry beginning in 2021.