Family road trip in FInland

finland forest camping

FAMILY ROAD TRIP IN THE LAND OF A THOUSAND LAKES

Distance:
1500 km
Trip duration:
12 days

 

With a motorhome, you can enjoy the freedom of the road and choose any direction to head to during your next motorhome holiday trip! In this article, Touring Cars has thoroughly planned and developed a route that you can take for your next motorhome adventure in Finland.

Finland and its marvellous landmarks can be visited throughout the entire year, offering unique experiences and breathtaking views in each season of the year. However, you need to consider how unpredictable Finnish weather is and be ready to pack some warm clothes despite of the season you are travelling in. We recommend taking this route during warm months of the year, such as from late spring to yearly autumn, due to the closure of many tourist attractions for winter.

According to the Everyman’s Rights, that are valid in all Nordic countries, you are allowed to camp in the wild with a motorhome without prior permission. In addition to off road camping, you can pick fresh forest superfood such as berries and mushrooms, enjoy the purest natural water from 32 400 springs, go fishing or ice fishing and swimming in one of 187 888 lakes or 647 rivers, or just enjoy family holiday activities on beautiful coastal areas.

No matter if you are looking for an isolation travel or an active family holiday destination, Finland has it all to offer you an unforgettable and fulfilling motorhome adventure. Please, take a look at our road trip suggestions and pick the best spots for your journey through this Nordic paradise.

 

 

Day 1 

Arriving and exploring the capital of Finland

Before starting an adventurous motorhome holiday around Finland, perhaps you will be intrigued by the beauty and history of this country’s capital city - Helsinki. Therefore, we recommend arriving to Helsinki a few days prior to your first rental day to get properly familiarised with this Nordic city.

During a few days that you have before the beginning of your rental period, we recommend staying in a hotel. Transport connection between the Helsinki Airport and city centre is convenient and highly developed. You should be able to reach the city centre in under 30 minutes by taking a train I/P or a taxi. Upon your arrival to the hotel, we recommend you not to waste any minute and immerse yourself into Finnish culture by exploring this sustainable and wonderful city!

You might consider taking a late afternoon or evening walk in the downtown in search for a nice dining place. We recommend visiting restaurants such as Lappi Ravintola, Konstan Möljä, Ravintola Kolme Kruunuaand or Restaurant Salve that offer authentic Finnish local food.

After having a pleasant dinner, we suggest visiting Helsinki Cathedral, Esplanadi park, Market Square and Uspenski Cathedral located in the same area of the city. To sum up your first day, you might want to consider going into a Finnish sauna and taking a swim in the open swimming pool in Allas that overlooks the city. What an incredible opportunity it is to enjoy the city’s views right from the swimming pool, right?

Water is a vital element in Finland and part of the Finnish character. Did you know that Finland's tap water is among the highest quality waters in the world?

 

 

Day 2 

Exploring the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Are you intrigued by starting your day with exploring a Finnish cultural treasure that was owned by three different nations throughout three centuries?

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress is located 15-minute ferry ride from the Market Square, from which, if you are lucky enough, you will have a chance to purchase locally grown vegetables, fruits and berries to keep you going through the day! The construction of the UNESCO World Heritage Site began in the mid-18th century when Finland belonged to Sweden. However, after fortress construction was finished, it has been owned by Sweden, Russia, and Finland in three centuries. We recommend dedicating a few hours to get familiar with the history of this incredible place before continuing your day.

Note! They arrange also exciting adventure tours The treasure of King Gustav III for children during summer time. For more information on Suomenlinna, please visit https://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/

Upon your arrival back to the centre, we recommend visiting a landscaped park – Kaivopuisto, in which you can take a walk, choose the best landscape spot to enjoy picnic, or even spot Suomenlinna Sea Fortress from one of the lovely coastline cafes.

After spending morning at the historical site of the city, we suggest heading towards more modern and contemporary site and visit city’s Kamppi Chapel and Oodi library. Additionally, we highly recommend taking a walk by the Toolonlahti Bay, located just nearby Oodi library!

To end your second day, you can visit Helsinki Olympic Stadium, located nearby the Toolonlahti Bay. Afterwards, include a visit to the Sibelius Park, where you will be able to enjoy the stunning beauty of the artistic Sibelius Monument as well as enjoy a cup of Finnish coffee with a cinnamon bun at the Regatta cafe.

 

Day 3 - (Approx. 40 km)

It’s time to hit the road!

After spending a few days in the Helsinki city, it is time for you to pack your belongings and head for a motorhome adventure! From the city centre you can take train P and in under 20 minutes you will arrive to the Vantaankoski train station, from which our customer service representative will greet you and provide a transfer directly to our rental station. At the rental station, our professional personnel will provide personal orientation with a motorhome. After the familiarisation process, you will be ready to start an adventurous journey and get to know Finland at its best!

Experience the wilderness inside the city limits

After you receive keys from your premium rental motorhome, it is time to accommodate your belongings inside the camper and start your road trip around the Finnish natural beauty!

The first destination of your road trip would be Nuuksio National Park, which is less than an hour-drive from our Helsinki rental station. Nuuksio National Park is one of the 40 National Parks located in Finland! We advise you to spend at least three hours exploring this magical place as you might lose track of time by immersing yourself in the spaciousness and beauty of Finnish nature!

This place offers diverse hiking and cycling routes, you can pick fresh superfood from forest, take a swim in the lakes and ponds with no restrictions. Additionally, you can explore this National Park by canoeing on Lake Haukkalampi or Lake Nuuksion Pitkäjärvi.

Note! Nuuksio is home to threatened species such as the Siberian flying squirrel and wood lark. When you visit this area, make sure you keep an eye out for them.

Spend an evening like a Finn

After a long and exciting day with introduction to Finnish nature, you can camp by the fire and grill sausages or even book a slot for sauna (in advance) located by the lake. Sauna is an essential part of the Nordic culture, so make sure you pay a visit to a traditional Finnish sauna, which is on UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage List, when you travel around this beautiful Nordic country! For more information on booking reservation, camping information and much more, please visit this page.

 

 

Day 4 (Approx. 140 km)

Explore the oldest Finland’s city

On your next day you will be heading to Turku – the oldest Finland’s city and former capital of Finland, which is located 2-hour drive from Nuuksio National Park.

If you know any Swedish, this is the time for you to practice this language as Turku is an officially bilingual city, where both Finnish and Swedish are used daily.

Note! Did you know that both Finnish and Swedish are official languages in Finland due to the history with Sweden?

You can park your rental vehicle on a parking ground or a camping site and get ready to stretch your legs by taking a daily walk around former capital and medieval city of Turku. We recommend visiting Turku Cathedral, The Old Great Square and The Old Market Hall located in the heart of the city. Afterwards, you can grab a cup of coffee from the nearby coffee shop and buy some lovely Finnish pastries such as Riisipiirakka or Karjalanpiirakka.

What could be better than spending an afternoon by strolling along the river, while sunshine gently touches your skin? Aura River goes through the entire city of Turku and discharges into the Archipelago Sea. After an afternoon cup of coffee, you might be delighted to stroll along the riverbanks and approach one of the oldest castles in Finland – a 13th century Turku Castle.

Trip to a Finnish Disneyland

After a fulfilling day of exploring this medieval town, it is time to hit the road again towards a Finnish Disneyland - Moomin World! Moomin World is located just a 30-minute drive from Turku.

You might have heard about interesting fairy tale characters – Moomins that resemble hippopotamuses, but are actually trolls that are mentioned in books and television series. Tove Jansson is a Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator who initially created these cute characters that found world fame years later. So, visiting a theme park that depictures Moomin characters will be an unforgettable experience for your little kids to get to know Finnish original fairy-tale characters and buy a toy of your favourite Moomin for the future! For more information on this family activity place, please visit https://www.moominworld.fi/.

If you travel without junior adventurers, we recommend that you end the day with a visit to the professional golf court at Aurinko Golf Oy, play miniature golf indoors in Hohtogolf West Coast or take a boat cruise around Turku. You can find a camping ground or drive to the nearby uncrowded destination to park your premium motorhome and spend a relaxing night before your continuing your journey.

Turku Archipelago

If you have a few extra days, we recommend visiting Turku Archipelago by boat or ferry, which consists of over 20,000 islands and offers spectacular views over the Baltic Sea! During your exploration of Turku Archipelago, you can leave a motorhome for a day in the city, and enjoy kayaking, cycling and island hopping for that extra day!

 

 

Day 5 (Approx. 170 km)

Where history meets the present

After a refreshing morning start, a visit to the historical wooden town that is a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site is waiting for you!

Old Rauma – a fairy tale looking town is known for its long tradition in bobbin lace-making and well-preserved colourful wooden building in the town. This magical place will be your next stop in a road trip around Finland, which is located 1.5-hour drive from Turku.

If you are thinking to step back in time, Old Rauma is a place for you to do so. Cobblestoned centre of the town includes a few cafes, restaurants, and panoramic views – all in retro style. You can even try to find the narrowest street of Finland – Kitukränn, which is located in this picturesque town. Why not spend a few hours in this historic Finnish town and enjoy the still existing beauty of the past?

If you are travelling at the end of July, you will be able to spot and attend the Lace Week that happens on a yearly basis in Rauma. Additionally, you will be able to buy a hand-made lace decoration for you to take back home as a present, attend lace exhibitions and even follow a lace-making process live!

Visit the longest Finland’s beach!

Located just an hour drive from Rauma, Yyteri beach is considered to be the longest Finland’s beach.

Yyteri beach stretches to approximately 7 km on the western Baltic shore. This landmark is a popular touristic destination among local and international tourists, so make sure you pass by the sand dunes and spend a few exciting hours at the beach area, where you can surf, paddleboard, play golf and volleyball or visit traditional Finnish sauna and spa.

If you visit Finland during July, you will have an amazing opportunity to visit an annual international jazz festival “Pori Jazz” in the coastal city of Pori. So, make sure to buy tickets in advance, if you are a music fan!

Finnish Lakeland

After a few relaxing days of exploring the western part of Finland, it is time to head towards the Finnish Lakeland district, where you can slow down and feel the nature.

As your initial stopover, we suggest you keep navigation set to Nokia - town which is located 1.5-hour drive from Pori. In Nokia you will have a chance to try a local delicacy kumma koira (Finnish hot dog) for dinner, before continuing your journey to Tampere. Tampere is a 20-minute drive from Nokia, so you should be able to reach this city before sunset and spend a night at the camping ground of your choice.

 

 

Day 6 (Approx. 130 km)

Manchester of the North

After a goodnight sleep in one of our premium rental motorhomes, it is time to explore Finland’s former industrial centre – Tampere, known as the “Manchester of the North” due to city’s past as a hub of the textile industry.

To help you navigate through this city, you might consider visiting Pyynikki Observation Tower first, from which you will be able to see the entire city and choose your own itinerary direction! Additionally, you must try legendary and delicious doughnuts baked with a secret recipe that you can try at the cafeteria located at the observation tower.

We recommend that you pay a visit to the Finlayson area (Tampere’s old town), which is an industrial hub, surrounded by red-brick factory buildings reflecting both modern and historic aspects. At the same time, you can visit Finnish Labour Museum Werstas that has free admission or the world’s first Spy Museum to test your spy skills. After familiarisation with Tampere’s past, you can take a walk in the city centre along the river Tammerkoski, where you will be able to visit Tampere Market Hall that sells local delicacy – mustamakkara, which is a blood sausage served with a lingonberry jam and cold milk.

If you travel with your kids, we suggest visiting Hatanpää arboretum (greenery vast park) and Särkänniemi (amusement park).

 

 

Finland’s sauna capital

Did you know that Finnish sauna culture is a part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list? So why not visit authentic sauna of your choice in Finland’s sauna capital city?

  • Wooden Sauna - Traditional wooden heated Finnish Sauna is the most common sauna type that can be found in cottages and houses. A wooden sauna can be heated up to 80-110°C by burning wood in the stove and throwing water on the rocks. Sometimes these saunas are located nearby a lake/river, so you can freshen up by jumping in the water and return to a heated sauna. Repeat this procedure a few times, and you will feel more relaxed and happier just as an ordinary Finn!
  • Electric Sauna - Traditional electric heated saunas can be found in apartments and homes. This is the easiest and the most convenient way to enjoy a relaxing time in sauna. It takes approximately 20-30 minutes for a sauna to get heated up by switching it on and throwing water on the rocks. Most often these saunas have a shower room nearby that is equivalent to a lake/river experience. So, you can repeat the procedure of freshening up by taking a cold shower and returning to a heated electric sauna.
  • Smoke Sauna - Nowadays the smoke saunas are the oldest types of saunas in Finland and are highly appreciated by Finnish people. This sauna type does not have a chimney which makes the smoke stay inside and creates a pleasant smoky aroma. In Kalevala, the national epic of Finland which had a significant role in the development of the Finnish language and national identity, the smoke sauna was described as a source of human power and a cure & treatment.
  • Infrared Sauna - Infrared sauna is a modern way to enjoy relaxation or refreshing that provides a health nourishing affect. Unlike all other sauna types, infrared sauna does not heat the air around you, but instead, designed infrared lamps heat your body directly. Thus, heat penetrates more deeply into your skin, causing an excess sweat at lower temperatures such as 50-60°C.
  • Steam Sauna - Steam sauna is similar to a traditional sauna but instead of using a dry heat to heat up the body, steam sauna is heated by the generator filled with boiling water. Steam sauna can be heated up to 40-50°C with a humidity level of 100%. Steam sauna might remind you of Turkish hammam. So, if you prefer relaxing in a less heated environment, you can choose a steam sauna for your next visit!

Note! Suomen Saunaseura Ry announced that currently there might be almost 3,2 million saunas in Finland including all types of sauna in cabins or city apartments, public saunas and all those peculiar mobile sauna models built on wheels, in wood barrel or as a floating boat.

Slow down – feel the nature

After a short exploration of an industrial town, it is time to dive into the eminent beauty of Finland’s nature. Your next destination will be a UNESCO World Heritage Site - Struve Geodetic Arc, Oravivuori Triangulation Tower located 2-hour drive from Tampere. This cultural heritage is situated on a hill and offers incredible views over the Finnish nature and lake Päijänne. You can take an Oravivuori trail that leads to the top of Oravivuori hill.

To end your day, you can park a motorhome in the nature surroundings, put a camping set outside and grill some sausages on the fire and enjoy the silence of Finnish nature and pure air which is the cleanest in the world according to statistics from the World Health Organisation.

 

Day 7 (Approx. 60 km) 

Exploration of the Jyväskylä region  

By waking up in the surroundings of nature with a possibility to make breakfast on the fire or take a swim in the nearest lake, you will feel refreshed and ready to continue your motorhome adventure. This time you will set your navigator towards the city of Jyväskylä, which is located an hour ride from the Oravivuori Triangulation Tower.  

If you are keen on architecture and design, Jyväskylä is a place for you. Located in the heart of Finland, this place includes 29 significant landmarks designed by the internationally recognised architect and designer Alvar Aalto. Aalto’s contribution to Finnish architecture made an incredible recognition and brings tourists from all over the world to admire its peculiar style. While wandering through the streets of this town, you might want to consider visiting Aalto’s significant building works, such as Alvar Aalto Museum, the Muuratsalo Experimental House and the Säynätsalo Town Hall.  

Jyväskylä is a place that has a fine balance between a busy city life and a calming nature. To explore this unordinary place, we recommend taking a stroll by the Jyväsjärvi with a starting point in the Jyväskylä Harbour. You can, of course, cycle through the city. Did you know that bikes can be attached to the motorhome on a bike rack? If you are travelling with a bike or you are interested in renting one at our rental station, make sure to inform our sales office of your preferences.  

View from the top  

For wonderful views, we recommend heading to the Laajavuori. You will be able to hike to the hilltop, enjoy breeze of nature, play frisbee golf and enjoy the city views. If you are travelling at wintertime, you can spend an extra day sliding down the ski slopes here. Laaajavuori is great for winter outdoor enthusiasts as it offers 5 ski jumps!  

To end your day with, we recommend heading back to the city centre to enjoy Jyväskylä city lights from the Harju observation tower. Additionally, you can visit Nero stairs – another tourist attraction in this city.  

Annual event - “City of Light”  

If you are interested in the light show and you are travelling with your loved ones, Jyväskylä holds an annual “City of Light” event that takes place the last week of September. In a time span of 3 days, approximately 100,000 tourists gather to enjoy 80-90 light installations located throughout the entire city! The purpose of this light project is to utilize the latest lighting technology in the city infrastructure while creating a comfortable environment for visitors of Jyväskylä. So, next time you are travelling around Finland at autumntime, make sure to pay a visit to this city to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere while exploring peculiar art installations around the city of Jyväskylä!  

 

Day 8 

In harmony with nature

After spending an incredible day in the heart of Finland, it is time to dive into the wild and stay in harmony with nature. Jyväskylä region is a home to four marvellous National Parks: Leivonmäki, Southern Konnevesi, Pyhä-Häkki and Salamajärvi.  

You can decide which National Park suits you best, as each offers a wide range of interesting outdoor opportunities that you can experience, such as hiking, canoeing, birdwatching, biking, diving, and snorkelling and for true romantic enthusiasts even horse riding! Perhaps, if you have more time, you can visit two or more national parks during your motorhome holiday!  

For more information and description of each National Park, please visit this page.

 

 

 

Day 9 (Approx. 150 km) 

The heart of the Finnish Lakeland 

After spending an energising day in the surroundings of nature, you can take a dip in the nearest lake and collect nature treasures: lingonberries and blueberries, as an addition to your nutritious breakfast. After a refreshing start of the day, you should set your navigation to Kuopio. Kuopio is located a 2-hour drive from Jyväskylä.  

In Kuopio city centre you can visit local stores and the legendary market square where you can purchase additional food and local traditional delights. Stop by the Hanna Partanen bakery which is the oldest Kalakukko bakery in Finland. In addition to this local delicious combination of bread and local fish, you can purchase there all traditional Finnish pastries and mouth-watering sugar donuts. Later that evening you can park your motorhome in the Kuopio surroundings, make dinner and play a Finnish throwing game Mölkky until the sun goes down.  

 

 

Day 10 (Approx. 230 km)

A marriage of nature and culture

After spending a relaxing morning in the heart of the Finnish Lakeland, you will be able to continue your journey towards one of the best Finland’s National Parks. Koli National Park is located 2-hour drive from

Kuopio, so we recommend you waking up early, to be able to spend a fascinating day in one of the Finland’s most magnificent natural scenes!

Koli National Park’s highest hill - Ukko-Koli offers incredible views over lake Pielinen. The view opening from this hill is one of the most famous national landscapes of Finland! So, get ready to climb and hike a lot when you visit this national treasure of Finland.

The same sceneries have inspired many legendary artists in Finnish history such as composer Jean Sibelius, painter Eero Järnefelt and the first professional author Juhani Aho who was nominated for the Nobel prize in literature twelve times.

We suggest paying a visit for the Tarhapuro Waterfall, Räsävaara observation tower, Uhrihalkeama, Koli’s Devil's Church and Koli Nature Centre Ukko. You will be able to do the following activities during warm months of the year: canoeing and rowing, hiking and climbing, cycling and mountain biking, swimming and even birdwatching.

We highly recommend dedicating a full time for exploring a beautiful scenery that this site has to offer for all the local and international travellers. For more information on trails that you can take in Koli National Park, please visit this page.

Road trip to Joensuu

After an exciting hiking day, you can get ready for short ride to another Finnish town located in the Eastern Finland - Joensuu. In Joensuu you will be able to take a rest at one of the camping grounds of your choice before continuing your journey around the Finnish Lakeland. If you are an outdoor enthusiast heading to Joensuu, we suggest visiting Petkelijärvi, the hidden Gem among national parks in Finland.

Note! For a closer exploration of this region known for Finnish Kalevala epic story mythologies and traditional folklore, we recommend driving along legendary Via Karelia road. Take a look at different themed road suggestions at the official Via Karelia web site. https://viakarelia.fi/en/

 

 

Day 11 (Approx. 320 km)

Savonlinna

Savonlinna - a small town with rich cultural life, which is located in picturesque surroundings, where you will spend your next day. This destination is reachable in a 2-hour drive from Joensuu, so make sure you wake up earlier to fully enjoy the beauty of this place!

Your first stop in this rustic, yet intriguing city will be Olavinlinna Castle build in the 15th century, that lays between two waterways. Olavinlinna Castle holds popular festivals throughout the entire year, including an annual Savonlinna Opera Festival that takes place in July. So, make sure you pay a visit to this historical beautiful place before continuing your journey.

Lake Saimaa

Lake Saimaa is Finland’s largest lake, which surrounds Savonlinna town. You can find a perfect activity that will be suitable for you and your family members to experience the waters of Saimaa lake. A wide range of activities that this place offers include canoeing, kayaking, and paddling. If you are an outdoor sport enthusiast, then this vast open lake will be a cherry on top in your motorhome holiday around Finland!

Endangered ringed seal

In case you prefer a more relaxed way of exploring the waters of Saimaa lake, we recommend booking a safari trip to watch an endangered seal species that you cannot find anywhere else in the world, but here! There are approximately 400 ringed seals (in Finland known as Saimaan Norppa) in the Saimaa region, and you can be lucky to spot a unique animal, known to live in these waters. The best time of the year to spot mammals will be May and June, when the ice melts and seals warm themselves on the rocks.

See the recorded Livestream of ringed seal from WWF Wildlife: https://youtu.be/aC67jGV6cvM?t=18

The world’s biggest wooden church

After a short introduction to the Saimaa lake, it is time to dive back in Finland’s history. Your next stop will be a short trip to the world’s biggest wooden church located in a proximity to Savonlinna. The Kerimäki church is a miracle of its own time with impressive design that is worth a short visit of every tourist.

Punkaharju

Afterwards, keep your navigation set to scenic road and Punkaharju, which is 30 km away from the Kerimäki church. In Punkaharju area you will be able to stretch your legs and enjoy the silence and beauty of nature either by hiking, cycling or rowing. Additionally, we suggest renting equipment for a frisbee golf, which is widely popular outdoor activity among Finns. You will be able to find many special playing courts for a frisbee golf round located around the Punkaharju area to enjoy nice and relaxing summer afternoon in the open air with your loved ones.

After a fulfilling day with your family, you can hit the road towards Lappeenranta, which you can reach in 1.5 hour driving from Punkaharju. The application park4night will help you choose a nearby camping ground, where you can spend a night before your final day of the road trip.

 

 

Day 12

Saimaa archipelago (Approx. 240 km)

On your final day of a motorhome holiday, you will familiarise yourself with the Finland’s largest lake by taking a sightseeing cruise trip in a ship, steamboat or motorboat. What could be better than starting a day by admiring the unique views of Saimaa Canal and the archipelago? Standard canal cruise takes approximately 2-3 hours, so you can spend an entire morning cruising before continuing your journey.

After a relaxing cruise around Saimaa lake and its archipelago, you can set navigation to Porvoo, which is 2-hour drive from Lappeenranta.

Porvoo

After a relaxing morning in Lappeenranta, you will hit the road again and make a stop for a few hours in a charming city of Porvoo. Porvoo is a medieval town, which is a popular tourist destination due to its close location to Finland’s capital city. This is a town of colours that draws its charm from a combination of red barns located by the river and cobblestoned streets of an Old Town that offers great places to have lunch or even purchase antique products from the store as a souvenir for your relatives and friends.

Helsinki

After a laid-back exploration of Porvoo, it is time to finish your journey by heading to our Helsinki rental station, located just an hour drive from Porvoo.

Upon your arrival to the rental station, our company representative will greet you at the scheduled drop-off time. We will check a vehicle’s condition, while you will be enjoying your cup of freshly brewed Finnish coffee. After finalising your rental, we will provide you with a VIP transfer directly to the Helsinki Airport,

from which you will take a flight back home. During your flight, you might be going through the earlier taken pictures of your motorhome holiday in Finland and start dreaming of your next motorhome holiday adventure with us!