About Finland

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.

Tent and sunset during dog travel Finland

Dog-Attitude and Regulation in Finland

The Finns attitude towards dogs is great. Like Swedes , Finns love dogs and there are a lot of them in the country! Dog owners are expected to pick up after their dogs, and will get angry stares if they don’t.

In Finnish towns, dogs must be on a leash at all times. No dogs, leashed or not, are allowed on beaches, in squares during market-hours, playgrounds or in athletic arenas.

You must also pick up after your dog in Finnish towns. But no one reading this website would think to do otherwise, right?

Canoe in lake during dog travel Finland
lake in forest found during dog travel Finland

Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Finland

Your chanses of finding dog-friendly accommodation when on your trip to Finland is greater than any other place we have been to. You can even take your dog onto the comfortable and affordable cruise-ships between Sweden and Finland.
hotel room for two during dog travel Finland

Dog-Friendly Hotels in Finland

Finnish hotels and other accommodation providers are like their Swedish counterparts, generally quite accepting of dogs. No less than 43% of all accommodation listed on Booking.com has at least one room where dogs are welcome. Go Finland!

Generally speaking, the more stars the Finnish hotel has, the smaller the chance that your beloved dog will be welcome. But even so, of the 5-star hotels on Booking.com, 29% accepted dogs. Compare that to 1% of Cyptriot 5-star hotels and 15% of 5-star hotels in Malta!

Despite these great odds to find dog-friendly accommodation in Finland, we recommend that you call the hotels in advance and make sure you get one of the dog-friendly rooms. This is because as far as we can tell, the hotel booking-systems are not advanced enough to filter out available dog-friendly rooms in each hotel. Instead, they display hotels that have dog-friendly rooms. If you are out of luck, all the dog-friendly rooms may be occupied.

Chart showing dog-friendly hotels in Finland, by stars
Pie-chart showing dog-friendly hotels in Finland

Cruise-Ships between Finland and Sweden

The affordable cruise-ships Tallink Silja and Viking Line run many daily routes between Sweden and Finland. Taking one of the 24-hour cruise-ships is a relaxing and easy way to go between Sweden and Finland. Both cruise-ship operators accept dogs in certain cabins. The dog-friendly cabins are all on the same floor and don’t have fitted carpets. Dogs are invited to do their needs one of the decks where a few boxes covered in grass-like carpet attract dogs to relieve themselves.

Someone relaxing in front of round window on Finnish cruise ship

Finland – Where dogs are Welcome

Don’t count on bringing your dog along to many restaurants and shops in Finland. Luckily, though, dogs are welcome in the public transportation system.
Green fields and forest in Finland
Yellow historic wooden building and dog in Finland

Dogs and Restaurants in Finland

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 and Shops in Finland

In Finland, dogs are welcome in most shops except supermarkets.

Finns are orderly people, they don’t want any crazy situations with dogs hanging out in inappropriate spots outside stores. God forbid, who does?! So, in Finland, many stores have designated dog-parking-spots near the entrances. The dog-parking spots are usually located in good shaded places and are equipped with funny dog-parking signs and a convenient loop for attaching your dog. The Finns are comfortable leaving their loved ones like this, so visitors are probably fine to do the same.

 

Dogs and Public Transport in Finland

Finnish foods during dog travel Finland
Dog looking out the window on a bus in Finland

Dogs are welcome on buses and trains in Finland. However, like in Sweden, dogs are not welcome just anywhere inside the buses and trains, so look for the signs that indicate where dogs are allowed. No extra equipment (mouth-cages or travel-boxes) are needed for taking your dog on public transport in Finland.

On local trains in the Helsinki area (including the trains that run to and from the airport) dogs travel for free with their owners. On long-distance trains, the fare is 5 Euros per dog. You can pay the ticket online or via a mobile phone app.

Dog-Friendly Activities in Finland

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.
dog licking fish durig dog travel Finlnad
dog splashing in water during dog travel Finland

Swimming in Finland

We know what you are thinking. You think swimming in Finland is cold, right? Well, yes in fact you are right that the Baltic Sea surrounding most of Finland is cold most of the year. But it’s beautiful and refreshing. A good time for a swim is July and August as the temperatures are fairly high then.

In Finland, dogs are not allowed on public beaches. However, you can let your dog go for a swim in certain places dedicated for dog swimming. In Helsinki, the capital, dogs are allowed to swim in the locations indicated on this map.

If you want to see a video of Pompe and his splashy swimming-experience in Finland, there is a post about it on his blog.

Hiking in Finland

There are many well-marked and well-maintained hiking-trails in Finland. The Finnish nature is rather flat, and there is not much variation of scenery compered to some other places, like the French Alps.

Never the less, hiking is fun in Finland and the amenities for hikers is outstanding! There are lean-tos, fire-places and even out-houses dotted along the most famous hiking-trails.

 

Getting onto the Water in Finland

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.

Like most other cruises, they have spas, slot-machines, bars, nightclubs, cabarets, shops, sun-decks and restaurants. The companies who run the cruises are called Silja Line and Viking Line.

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.

Girl and dog lookig out over boarded swamp in Finland
Finnish flag on back of a boat. Beautiful weather, blue skies

Dog Amenities in Finland

Like the Swedes, the Finns have well-organized areas where dogs can run freely and socialize with other dogs. Most every town in Finland has a dog park. In Helsinki, the capital, there are no less than 80 dog parks and even different dog parks for different size dogs! This map of dog-parks shows all the Helsinki dog parks.

Dogs meeting eye to eye in Finland

We weren’t able to find any dog-sitting services in Finland, but according to a press release in 2016, DogBuddy has (had?) plans to expand to Finland. Hopefully they will offer their services in Finland soon as their services are quite handy and work well. We have tried DogBuddy in Sweden and in the French Alps.