The first known written appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three rune-stones. Two were found in the Swedish province of Uppland and have the inscription finlonti. The third was found in Gotland, in the Baltic Sea. It has the inscription finlandi and dates from the 13th century. The name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, which is mentioned first known time AD 98. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Friends in Finland – The greatest gift of life is friendship and walking with friends in dark is better than walking alone in light. We want to create a friendly environment where we can develop friendship , hang out,gossip, play games,do outdoor activities, go for travelling, enjoy sightseeing, share stories and do lots of fun together. [meetup]

Helsinki Outdoors Meetup – A place to create or to find an event, related to any outdoor activity. In Helsinki and around. 365 days in a year. Feel free to create any suitable event with the description in Finnish or/and English. Events for the beginners are especially welcomed! [meetup]

Helsinki Startup Businesses Meetup – Join growing startup community of real entrepreneurs who build real products. No CVs, no VCs is our motto as we learn how to sell what you’re doing. Helping find right people in the team or be a part of a valuable company. Entrepreneurship is a hard lifestyle. So why not to enjoy it? Let’s party it together! [meetup]

Helsinki Tea Tasting – Sharing your tea tasting experience with others and maybe also learning something. [meetup]

Nordic Founders – Nordic Founders is a group for anyone interested in practical aspects of running a startup or a small business in Finland (registration, accounting, shareholders agreement, funding, taxation, insurances, etc.). [meetup]

OpenShift Finland – This is a meetup for DevOps people doing or wishing to do CI/CD software production the DevOps way. Also all container related users. We meet to share experiences and learn efficient way to develope and host software using containers on OpenShift Container Platform (OCP). [meetup]

OpenStack Finland User Group – OpenStack Finland User Group is for people who are interested in OpenStack and things around it. So, let’s meet up and discuss about current OpenStack issues, tools, trends etc. and share experiences and opinions. [meetup]

PMI Helsinki Meetup – PMI Helsinki meetup is created to facilitate knowledge exchange between PM professionals in the capital region. You can join if you are PMI member, plan to take PMP exam, or simply interested in project management. [meetup]

World Music School Helsinki Events – Students, teachers and lovers of folk music and dance, from all ages and minorities! [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date – Deitti was founded in 1997, making it Finland’s oldest dating website. Most of Deitti’s 270,000+ members are young and urban, with a full 50% under 30 years old. [visa hunter] – E-Kontakti is a dating site for residents of Finland only. It was launched in 2009 and has around 350,000 members. E-Kontakti’s search and communication features are pretty basic, but it has a clean, uncluttered website, great customer support (for Finnish speakers) and solid security features. [visa hunter] – Are you single in Helsinki and ready to plunge into the crazy world of dating? Join the best online dating site in Helsinki, Helsinki Dating and discover real love, romance, friendships and exciting relationships. [helsinki dating] – If you don’t have any luck at the site above, I would recommend giving Treffit a try. Treffit, Finnish slang for “date”, is the dating portion of Finland’s largest social media site, Suomi24. Suomi24 is also an email provider, a hub for job and used car postings, and host of a hugely popular forum. [visa hunter]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Green Cap Tours – We are travelers who appreciate the local knowledge on the road. This is our way to return all of the favors and wisdom offered, as well the sheer fun we’ve had participating in guided tours on our trips around the world. We know that you want to experience something fun and different, just like us. [green cap tours]

Happy Guide Helsinki – Happy Guide Helsinki is delighted to offer you the happiest high quality tour guide services that Helsinki can offer. [happy guide helsinki]

Tours By Locals – The Finns are proud of their heritage, and Helsinki is an excellent example of well-preserved Finnish culture – from its thoughtful museums to Art Nouveaux buildings and elegant, old world cafes. Take a Helsinki tour with a personal guide and let a local show you their favourite parts of this beautiful coastal city. [tours by locals]

U Tracks – Finland is a country of contrasts. From endless daylight in the summer to the still, wintry darkness of the polar night, the characteristics of Finland’s seasons shed insight into the Finns’ inclination to pursue the odd and extreme. [u tracks]

Upi Trek – Upitrek Ltd, founded in 2000, is a nature travel company and registered tour operator whose clientele is mostly made up of international travelers. The company specialises in guided week-long hut-to-hut trekkings and other activity holidays, in the Kainuu area of Eastern Finland. [upi trek]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Aland – The Åland Islands or Åland (Swedish pronunciation: Oland, Finnish: Ahvenanmaa) is an autonomous archipelago between Sweden and Finland. A predominantly Swedish-speaking province of Finland, Åland is comprised of a few large islands and nearly 10,000 smaller ones. Åland has a unique history. It was ceded to Russia by Sweden in 1809. In 1854, a combined British/French fleet took the islands, destroying the fortress. [planet ware]

Archipelago National Park – The Archipelago National Park (ANP) near Turku was established in 1983. These islands offer a very unique cultural mix of Finnish, Russian, and Swedish influences. Finland’s islands are also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Here, in the islands, the sky truly meets the sea, and visitors may feel as though they have reached the very edges of the earth. [planet ware]

Hameenlinna – ämeenlinna (Swedish name Tavastehus), is attractively situated on a long, narrow lake, the Vanajavesi. The Hattelmala hills are a boundary to the south of Hämeenlinna. The town was founded by the Swedish governor, Per Brahe, in 1639 on a site to the north of the 13th-century Tavastehus Castle, which he enlarged and strengthened. The red brick castle is one of the noted landmarks along with Aulanko Park. The town of Hämeenlinna was moved to its present site in 1777. Its economy depends primarily on timber-processing, with some metalworking. [planet ware]

Helsinki – Helsinki (Swedish Helsingfors) is the capital of Finland and chief town of the province of Uusimaa (Nyland). The city offers a variety of cultural opportunities such as the National Museum of Finland; the Helsinki City Museum; the Finnish Art Gallery, featuring classical to modern art exhibits; and three major theaters. Around the city itself, various suburbs grew up from 1950 onwards, most of them outside the city limits in the province of Uusimaa. [planet ware]

Jyväskylä – Jyväskylä was founded by Tsar Nicholas I in 1837. The small city is located on the north side of the Jyväsjärvi lake, which is linked by a narrow strait, the Aijälänsalmi, with Lake Päijänne, Finland’s second largest lake and its deepest, to the south. Jyväskylä is an important traffic junction, the administrative and cultural hub of central Finland and an industrial town (woodworking, metalworking), which is also noted for its trade fairs. [planet ware]

Lake Saimaa and Savonlinna – The entire eastern portion of Finland is more sea than land. With literally tens of thousands of lakes, rivers, marshes, and ponds, eastern Finland is a fabulous aquatic playground. The dominant lake of the region is massive Lake Saimaa, the “lake of a thousand islands.” Lake Saimaa itself has an area of some 1,300 square kilometers – excluding its numerous islands. The whole lake system is drained by the river Vuoksi, which leaves Lake Saimaa to the north of the town of Imatra and flows into Lake Ladoga in Russia. [planet ware]

Lemmenjoki National Park – Anyone seeking an Arctic wilderness experience will love Lemmenjoki National Park. The 70-year-old tract over boreal forest is the largest park in Finland and one of the most extensive chunks of wildlands in all of Europe, covering more than 1,000 square miles. For the trekker, there are hundreds of miles of marked trails as well as free and open wilderness huts and more sophisticated rental huts with sauna and campfire places. [planet ware]

Northern Lights – For most people, seeing the Northern Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime treat. Finland is perhaps the top country in the world for seeing these blazing curtains of light drape across the sky. Although, at times, the lights can be seen even in the southern most regions of the nation, the best place to see them is in Lapland. In the north, between September and March, visitors are almost guaranteed a show if the sky is clear. A wide range of hotels in the north cater specifically to people wanting to see the lights. [planet ware]

Oulu – Sweet little Oulu (Swedish Uleåborg) lies near the north end of the Gulf of Bothnia, at the mouth of the Oulu river. Its university was founded in 1959. In spring, there are numerous sporting events such as skiing competitions in the Oulu area. Towards the end of the 16th century, King John III of Sweden built a castle on the island of Linnansaari at the mouth of the Oulu river, and the town grew up on this island, receiving its municipal charter in 1610. In 1822, it was almost completely destroyed by fire. [planet ware]

Tampere – Tampere (Swedish: Tammerfors) is one of the loveliest towns in all of Finland. It was founded in 1779 as an industrial settlement and is now Finland’s third largest town (the largest inland town in Scandinavia) and the country’s leading industrial city. It lies between two lakes, Näsijärvi, to the north, and Pyhäjärvi, to the south, which are linked by the Tammerkoski, a stretch of rapids about 900 meters long. Tampere is noted for its active cultural life with an open-air theater, numerous festivals, and popular sports teams. After Finland came under Russian control in 1809, the development of the town was promoted by the Tsars; thus between 1821 and 1906 its exports to Russia were exempted from customs duties. [planet ware]

Turku – The southwestern Finnish town of Turku (Swedish Åbo), the country’s oldest town and once its capital, lies on the Gulf of Bothnia, at the mouth of the Aurajoki. About 5 percent of the population is Swedish-speaking, and the town attracts many visitors from neighboring Sweden. Turku lies in the area where the successors to the Swedish Vikings landed in the 12th century and set out to conquer what is now Finland. In 1525, the town received its municipal charter from Gustavus Vasa. In 1810, the seat of government was transferred to Helsinki. [planet ware]

Vaasa – Established in the 1300s, Vaasa was an important town in the time that Sweden ruled Finland. The original town burned down in 1852 and was relocated six kilometers northwest near a better harbor. The ruins of the old city are now a giant park (Vanha Vaasa, Gamla Vasa) that is well worth the visit. The town is about 34 percent Swedish-speaking and retains many ties to Sweden. Surrounded by a wide range of cafés, restaurants, and shops, the large market place is the center of city life. This peaceful town offers plenty of attractions. [planet ware]



Helsinki Festival – Beginning in mid-August, international artists come to Helsinki to perform chamber music and recitals, or to present visual arts exhibits, dance programs, film screenings, and theatrical performances, as well as opera, jazz, pop, and rock concerts. [frommers]

Kuopio Dance Festival (Kuopio) – This is Scandinavia’s oldest drama festival, held in mid to late June; distinguished performers and troupes from all over the world come to participate. There’s a different theme each year. [frommers]

Midnight Sun Film Festival (Sodankylä) – Held each June, this is the world’s northernmost film festival, featuring works by well-known directors as well as new names in the industry. [frommers]

Savonlinna Opera Festival (Savonlinna) – Every year from early July to early August, this festival stages three or four of its own productions and hosts visiting opera companies from abroad. [frommers]

Tar Skiing Race (Oulu) – This cross-country ski race was established more than a century ago and has been held almost every year since then. In March, hundreds of participants from around the world show up to compete on the 76km (47-mile) racecourse. [frommers]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Boat – Finland’s ferry authority is called Finferries. There are over 40 routes in Finland. Most services are conducted by cable ferries yet the bigger vessels freely navigate throughout Finland. Keep in mind that the ferries only operate during the summer due to the climate in the winter. [just landed]

Bus – Buses are a good way to travel as they cover nearly 90% of Finland. Its network is considered to be one of the best in Europe, as most buses run hourly every Monday to Friday. Only during the summer, when there is no school, buses are dramatically reduced. There are two market leaders when it comes to buses; Matkahuoltoand and ExpressBus. [just landed]

Metro – Once again, Helsinki is the only city in Finland which offers an underground subway system. It only has one line, though this splits up in the east. The metro operates until 11.30pm, but it is recommended you stick to using it during the day. Even though Finnish public transport is known for its safety, the metro sometimes isn’t that safe. The government has appointed security in the metro to combat this problem. [just landed]

Train – Finnish trains are operated by VR, formerly known as Valtion Rautatiet. Finnish trains are a great option when you have to travel long distances. Long-distance trains (or a so called Pendolino) have restaurants and toilets on board, and also Internet facilities. These trains are usually punctual and delays of more than 10 to 15 minutes are rare. A long distance train journey of about 200km costs around €25. Where possible always try and book long distance journeys in advance. [just landed]

Tram – The only place where you can find trams is Helsinki. As mentioned above, trams require tram tickets and no other tickets are allowed (unless you have a travel card). There are nine lines in total, reaching every spot in the vast city. Trams are operational until 1am. The tram line 3T is great for seeing some of the main sights of the city. [just landed]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Docker Helsinki – Meet other developers and ops engineers using Docker in Helsinki. Docker is an open-source engine for building and deploying cloud applications as standalone containers which can run on any server – from the VM on your laptop to the largest EC2 compute instance, and everything in between. [meetup]

Finland Startup Founder 101 – At Startup Founder 101, aspiring and early-stage startup founders meet once a month to hear candid talks by successful local entrepreneurs. Learn the best practices, strategies, and mistakes to avoid from those who have been there, done that. [meetup]

Frontend Finland – Front-end developers need to master a number of things to be at the top of their game, such as: HTML5, usability, mobile support, cross-browser testing, WebGL, Javascript, CSS frameworks, A/B Testing, analytics and fonts on the web. [meetup]

GDG Helsinki – Google Developer Group Helsinki is a community for developers, designers and related who are interested in Google’s developer technology; everything from the Android, Google Cloud, and Google Chrome platforms, to product APIs like the Maps API, YouTube API and Google Calendar API. [meetup]

Helsinki Node js – This groups is for all who are using or considering to use Node.js or similar JavaScript/V8 based platforms as their server side technology. We’ll discuss Node’s use as a platform for both front-end and backend servers, use as application platform and even special use cases e.g. in embedded world. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Expat Finland – Made in Finland since 2004. Making moving to, living in & working in Finland easier. [expat-finland]

Your Expat Community in Finland – Hei ja tervetuloa, or hello and welcome, to the InterNations expat communities in Finland! As an outstanding and truly global platform for expatriates all over the globe to meet, connect, and help each other out, there really is no better way for you to ensure you have a smooth relocation to Finland than joining InterNations today. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

EGOW Helsinki – English Speaking Gay Organization for Women – EGOW started as a Brussels based non-political social group for LBTQ women of different nationalities, ages and backgrounds, to come together in a friendly atmosphere to meet and socialise. Now let’s bring some of that to Helsinki 🙂 [meetup]

Queer International – Active since 2012, Queer International is an english speaking group organized through HeSeta. The group meets on the first monday of every month from 18.00 to 20:30. The group boasts members from many countries, including some from Finland, and gives foreigners a chance to meet and mingle with each other as well as local people in the LGBT community. [meetup]



Places in Finland

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Living the Travel Lifestyle

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