The small nation of Finland only has 5.5 Million inhabitants and consists mostly of vast forests, beautiful lakes and a largely undeveloped coastline on the Baltic Sea.
Finland is located far north in Europe and borders on Russia to the east and to the Baltic Sea in the West. Although Finland is part of Scandinavia, and the culture is similar to the other Scandinavian countries, the Finnish language is totally different from it’s neighbors’ languages.
Helsinki, the capital, draws some tourism but there is not that much to see in terms of national monuments and the such. A large part of tourists visit Finland as part of a cruise, such as the popular and inexpensive cruises to and from Stockholm.
There is not doubt that the best time to visit Finland is during the summer as all other seasons are quite cold. Like all Scandinavian countries, the summer season is short, and most visitors arrive in July or August. These are the warmest months of the year when temperatures climb to a staggering 21 degrees Celsius on a good day, but usually stop at about 17 degrees.
General Attitude and Regulation
The Scandinavians are a law-obeying bunch (at least when the chance of getting caught is high). Dog owners are expected to pick up after their dogs, and will get angry stares if they don’t.
Less attention is placed on having your dog on a leash. If your dog is well behaved and doesn’t bother other people in the area, it’s ok to take your dog off-leash.
Where Dogs are Welcome
Don’t count on bringing your dog along to many places in Finland, such as restaurants and shops. Luckily, though, dogs are welcome in the public transportation system.
Dogs are usually not welcome in restaurants in Finland, but they are welcome in outdoor-seating areas of restaurants and sidewalk cafés.
Now bear in mind that it is too cold to eat outdoor on most days in Finland. The warm summer-season is short, and even then it is probably colder than you might have thought. It is recommended to bring an extra sweater so you don’t freeze when eating outside.
Dogs are welcome in most shops except supermarkets. The Finnish people usually tie their dogs to poles outside the shops when they need to pick up some groceries. There doesn’t seem to be a problem with leaving dogs unattended in this way. Finland doesn’t seem to be full of dog thieves, so visitors are probably fine to do the same.
As Finland isn’t jammed with pompous historic buildings and the such, most people go there to enjoy the stunning Finnish nature, the vast pine-forests, the long coastline to the Baltic and the many lakes that the country is famous for. Needless to say, your dog will be equally excited about the Finnish nature as you will be.
One way to get onto the water is to take one of the many overnight cruises from Helsinki or Åbo to Stockholm, Sweden. These popular and inexpensive cruises go through beautiful archipelagos with thousands of islands, in both Finland and Sweden.
Both companies have A- and B-class cabins where dogs are allowed (but no C-class cabins). You can bring your dog to most places on the ship except the restaurants, and there is a designated area on one of the out-door decks for dogs to take care of their needs.
Most days of the year you can get tickets for these cruises very cheaply. The prices start at 550 SEK (56 Euro) for a 3-person cabin, including the ticket for your dog.