The 5 ultimate reasons to travel to the happiest country in the world


Press release, Helsinki, 2022

Visit Finland reveals five reasons why Finland should be on every traveller's wish list in 2022.

Inspiration, recreation, and rest close to nature in Finland

Finland, four times voted the happiest country in the world with the lowest population density in the entire European Union promises one thing above all: inspiration, recreation, and rest close to nature. Europe’s most densely forested country is a place where one can find saunas in any constellation or location; where one can hike through more than 41 national parks while breathing in the world’s cleanest air; where one can cycle under the Midnight Sun, and enjoy world-class art, design events and undisturbed island hopping.

Reconnect with yourself in the forest – New National Park “Salla”

Reduced anxiety and negative feelings, increase of antioxidants and endorphins – the benefits of spending time in nature seem innumerable. In Finland, you can experience the great outdoors safely in all of the country’s 41 national parks across the whole country. The newest member of the national park family is Salla, situated in one of the last European wildernesses in the southeastern part of Lapland.

With the recent designation of the Sallatunturi Protected Area as a new Salla national park, the Finnish Parliament is sending another important signal. Salla National Park is linked to other nearby protected areas on both sides of Finnish and Russian borders, improving the ecological connection with Russia’s national park network. Along the Russian border, from Oulanka National Park in the south, through Salla municipality, to the Tuntsa wilderness area in the far north, about 3,300 inhabitants and more than 10,000 reindeer breathe in the world’s cleanest air on every day. Not far from Ruka-Kuusamo, the famous ski resort, the natural wonders of Northern Finland reveal themselves to visitors. The never-ending days of the midnight sun, the polar night shrouded in several weeks of darkness, the Northern Lights – all to be observed on biking, snowshoe hikes, cross country skiing and hiking in the marked trails throughout the national park. Salla’s nature is characterized by old-growth forests, eskers, and ravines. From the top of Iso Pyhätunturi fell, one can admire the wide-open landscapes and the fells on the Russian side. Finland's 41st national park provides wonderful moments in pristine nature for the visitor and important opportunities for sustainable nature tourism.  

Enjoy the many islands of Åland – 100 years of Åland islands

Experiencing the idyllic city life in Mariehamn, the serene beauty of Kökar Islands, luxurious recreation at HavsVidden or the many culinary highlights, which are influenced by Swedish, Finnish and other food cultures – all of the many facets of Åland Islands can be experienced throughout this year’s anniversary.  

The autonomous Finnish region, located in the Baltic Sea, at the Southern end of the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden, inhabits just over 30,000 people spread over more than 6,700 islands and skerries. Notwithstanding the fact that Swedish is the sole official language, it has its own postage stamps and own flag.  

As a tourist destination, Åland Islands are anything but monotonous: from adventurous island-hopping to boating, fishing, golfing to canoeing or kayaking all day without encountering another soul. As it is easy to get from one island to another, thanks to the many bridges and ferries, multi-day bicycle tours, destination riding or day rides and urban cycling can take you someplace new. Maybe to one of the many restaurants and bars, where you can enjoy authentic food that is produced locally. Cheese and other dairy products, beer, cider, juice and lemonades, chocolate, and bonbons, to only name a few of the many delicacies from Åland.  

As the year 2022 marks the one hundredth anniversary of extensive political autonomy for the Åland Islands, participants can look forward to theatre performances, operas, seminars, light festivals, concerts and the grand anniversary celebration from 9 to 12 June 2022. The succeeding Åland Harvest Festival will take place from September 16-18. As the island can be easily reached from the Finnish mainland, such as by a ferry from Finland’s oldest city and former capital Turku or Helsinki, Aland invites the whole world to take part. 

Embrace the many facets of Finnish design – Helsinki, Finland’s design capital

Artek, Marimekko, Fiskars, Ittala and Aalto – falling in love with Finland means falling in love with Finnish design. As it can be found in whole Finland, there is one city that is entwined with design like no other: Helsinki. In the World Design Capital of 2012, design has earned a permanent place in the city’s core functions. Architectural milestones built throughout the last years strengthened Helsinki’s role as an internationally exciting City of Design and made design a topic of social interest. The biggest Design Festival in the Nordics, the Helsinki Design Week, held from 8 to 18 September 2022, the 2022 Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale and the opening of the Paimio Sanatorium highlight this interest, respectively. 

The year 2022 will further strengthen Helsinki's national and international position as a city of exciting events and remarkable cultural institutions. Several new first-class venues will open their doors in the city and new cultural policies will create the conditions for a wide range of leisure activities. The opening of Pikku Finlandia (Little Finland) will be the first of these. A temporary venue over the period of Finlandia Hall's renovation in January, the Jaakko Torvinen-designed building will be a refuge for lovers of sophisticated design. The Tanssin Talo – the House of Dance – which will open in February, represents an architectural non-conformism that is not unusual in Finland. As a landmark for dance, as a platform for the community of dancers, it plays with the illusion of lightness and heaviness, combining the new building designed by JKMM Architects with the old factory building renovated by ILO Architects.  

The 2022 Fiskars Village Art & Design Biennale is one of the many exciting design events that awaits visitors from all over the world. Organized in the old foundry and the Raseborg region, it seeks new ideas and experiences at the ever-redefining intersections of art and design. Held from 22 May to 4 September 2022, the Biennale will host three main exhibitions: 

Knots & Knits, a part of the U-JOINTS design research project by Anniina Koivu and Andrea Caputo; House by an Architect, a collection of eight wooden mini houses built on a meadow by an oak forest; and HIDDEN – “Forms of the Senses” by the Onoma artist cooperative, which explores multisensory experiences through arts, crafts and design. The Biennale also includes an Open Call for content to ensure a versatile parallel programme.

Alvar Aalto’s two masterpieces meet in Paimio Sanatorium

Paimio Sanatorium, Aino and Alvar Aalto’s iconic breakthrough design of 1933, close to Turku, opens its doors to visitors for the first time in its history. Enclosed in a forest of tall pine trees, the building has returned to the spotlight offering the same medicine it always did – light, sun and air. In parallel to the Rooms of the Sanatorium exhibition, which sheds light on life in the tuberculosis sanatorium, Paimio Sanatorium will showcase Alvar Aalto’s other masterpiece this summer: Maison Louis Carré, a private residence completed in 1959 in Bazoches-sur-Guyonne near Paris. The exhibition mainly presents Les Femmes de Maison Carré by internationally acclaimed Finnish photographer, Elina Brotherus. Through the suggestive animation of MLC’s historical interior and exterior spaces that Brotherus accomplishes by populating them with credible character, her photographs open a unique portal to experiencing the plain, mundane reality of life lived in Aalto’s two constructions, through which alone their delicate orchestration of site, space and detailing unfolds.

Maison Louis Carré was opened to the public in 2007. Today the house is owned by Association Alvar Aalto en France. The exhibition is produced by the Friends of Maison Carré association.

Cycle under Midnight Sun – the Saimaa Cycle Tour 2022

Finns have always loved their bikes as cycling is everyday business in Finland. Biking is not only fun but also a sustainable way to see a destination in the countryside. Why not experience the Finnish lake district responsibly by participating in the Saimaa Cycle Tour 2022, one of the most prestigious cycling events in all of Europe. Where else in the world can you enjoy a wooden-heated sauna by one of the biggest lakes in Europe after the ride?

Lake Saimaa is a very special place to both visitors and locals alike. Situated in the heart of Europe’s largest lake district, Saimaa offers great opportunities for activities of all kinds. The Saimaa Cycle Tour 2022 is only one of them. Not far from the Imantrankoski Rapids in the southeastern town of Imatra, one of the most beautiful cycle tours in Europe starts: the Saimaa Cycle Tour 2022. On asphalted routes throughout, it will take experienced and inexperienced cyclists through forested areas, sections surrounded by lakes, over high bridges and deep valleys. Listed by Epic Road Rides as one of the most prestigious cycling events in all of Europe, the more than 1,000 registered participants from 15 countries so far can admire the midnight sun lingering over the horizon. This exceptional event, which is now taking place for the second time, is not designed as a competition: Each of the expected 2,500 participants will set his or her own challenge on three different routes, varying in difficulty: the Ruokolahti Tour (38 km), the Jaakko Hänninen Tour (85 km) and the all-inclusive Saimaa Cycle Tour (300 km). The shortest ones are designed for e-bikes. Lake Saimaa, which is also home to Saimaa Ringed Seal, the only seal in the world living the lake can be spotted by the luckiest ones. The Saimaa Cycle Tour offers local food specialities at the aid stations, the salmon comes from a local salmon fisher. After a great effort it’s time to relax and there is no better place to relax than a sauna and take a swim in Lake Saimaa. As there are plenty of different accommodations to choose from, the Finnish way is to rent a summer cottage.

Sweat and relax – in the Finnish sauna in many different locations

The sauna is the temple of well-being for Finns. It is the perfect place to relax, rest, cherish health, and engage in social interaction. The public sauna boom is taking over the country and saunas can be found literally everywhere. Like in Tampere, the sauna Capital of the world, where there are more than 43 public saunas to visit. The new ice sauna is a must for winter season – but only for the bravest.  

With over 3.3 million saunas in a country of 5.5 million inhabitants, the importance of the restful practice, which was included in UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2020, seems unquestionable: on rooftops of tall buildings or on private islands far from bustling cities. Saunas can be found in every hotel and swimming pool in every Finnish city.  As Finns love to spend time in their summer cottages, the most popular activity is sauna bathing. The healing power of nature is the core of Finnish sauna. With around 75% of Finland covered in forest and more than 188 000 lakes, the most authentic way to have a sauna bathe is in a shore of a lake or the Baltic Sea. The constant rise of public interest in public saunas has brought a wide variety of choices to choose from.  

One of them is the ice sauna, which is made of ice blocks from the local lake Pyhäjärvi. This year, the extraordinary ice sauna can be tested on the territory of Rauhaniemi sauna, one of the oldest public saunas in Finland located by the lake Näsijärvi. In addition to the ice sauna, the sauna park consists of a peat sauna, a hemp sauna, and a log sauna. These saunas are built from wood, and electricity is supplied from the main sauna building.

On the rooftop of Tampere’s newest hotel Lapland Hotels Arena one can enjoy a whole sauna terrace overviewing the city. The terrace with a modern Nordic atmosphere is located on the 12th floor of the hotel and is designed to fit 300 people. Three saunas, a hot tub, bars and kitchens bosting panoramic views are aimed to serve as a sauna living room for the locals, the hotel guests, visitors of the new Nokia Arena and everyone else. 

Local entrepreneurs willingly embrace the sauna spirit of the city. This spring, one of the most fashionable restaurants in Tampere, Periscope by Arto Rastas, will open its own 350 square meters sauna terrace on the restaurant’s rooftop. Visitors will be able to enjoy the steam of two public saunas and three jacuzzis, a warm glass house that fits up to 25 people, sofas and lounge areas. All accompanied by the breathtaking panoramic views over the city and the surrounding lakes – a sauna heaven on earth.

Media contacts

Visit our contact page.

About Visit Finland

Visit Finland, a unit of Business Finland, is a national authority on tourism and an active force in promoting international travel to Finland. Its main goal is to develop Finland’s international image as a destination. Visit Finland supports the travel industry through research and helps businesses and groups develop products and services for the international market. For more information, please visit