The Nordic country of Finland is a unique place with a fascinating history, culture, and language. It is known for its happy populace, beautiful wilderness, clean air, high-quality educational system, and high level of organization.
Travelers often overlook this country in favor of Norway or Sweden. As beautiful as those countries are, Finland is worth paying attention to.
When you visit, you may enjoy relaxing in a sauna, marveling at the Northern Lights, immersing yourself in nature, trying the local cuisine, and visiting Santa Claus’ hometown.
When traveling anywhere, it is essential to know how safe a country is. Each country, region, and city has safety concerns, and Finland is no exception. But is it safe to visit? Read on to find out!
Is Finland Safe to Visit?
Finland is a safe place to visit, especially compared to other parts of the world. Very few crimes occur in this country, especially those that affect tourists.
There are only a few dangerous animals, and the country does not experience many human rights variations. The biggest issue most visitors to Finland need to worry about is extreme winter weather and storms.
Violent crimes have declined since the 1990s, and today petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, are the primary type of crime. According to the U.S. Department of State, you only need to exercise standard precautions when you visit this country.
To avoid pickpocketing, keep your belongings hidden, hold your money in a money belt, and do not travel with anything too expensive. You should be extra aware of your surroundings when taking money out of a bank or ATM.
Be extra careful if you go out to clubs at night or take public transit by keeping an eye on your belongings. Some issues can arise after the clubs close for the night. Try to not look too much like a tourist and blend in as much as possible.
You may want to dress similarly to the Finns you see and avoid clothing that restricts your movement. Most violence within Finland does not happen between strangers. Usually, violence occurs from disputes between people who know each other.
Sometimes alcohol or drugs fuel those disagreements. There is not a robust drug trade within Finland. Regarding human rights practices, Finland is a safe place to visit.
There are no reports of politically-motivated killings, torture, disappearance on behalf of the government, human rights violations in prisons, denial of a fair public trial, and arbitrary arrest. The one issue in this area was the misuse of facial recognition software by the Police Board.
Crime in Finland
Crime in Finland has declined over the last few decades. In the 2020s in Finland, less than 5% of the population reported violent crimes. There are almost no reported crimes involving tourists.
According to the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, there were 482,593 offenses under the criminal code. Around half of those offenses were attributed to property-related crimes, and another quarter was related to traffic offenses.
The number of property crimes decreased by approximately eight percent from the previous year. A few more serious crimes include driving while intoxicated and intentional homicide, although the rates are rather low.
Driving While Intoxicated
Around 13% of those traffic offenses resulted from a person driving while intoxicated. The overall number of intoxicated driving crimes has been similar since 2012. On a positive note, the proportion of seriously intoxicated drivers decreased significantly.
Regarding intentional homicides, Finland experienced three or fewer homicides per 100,000 people yearly between 1990 and 2020.
With a population of 5.5 million, that means the country experienced less than 170 murders each year. In 2021, 94 violent offenses resulted in death.
Murders usually happen in private homes, and there is a strong correlation between the presence of alcohol and homicide. The Ministry of the Interior suggests that homicides usually occur “during disputes between socially excluded male alcoholics” and in private homes.
Avoiding Bad Areas
The cities of Finland are primarily safe, besides a few areas that experience some crime. Within Helsinki, the least safe areas are near the railway station, including Kluuvi and Kamppi. UUsimaa experienced a higher level of theft crimes than the rest of the country.
While Finland is fairly safe, you may want to seek out the safest places possible. The safest areas in Finland include Aland, Helsinki, Oulu, Lappeenranta, Espoo, Turku, Hameenlinna, Kuopio, and Rovaniemi. All these areas experience low crime rates.
Food Safety in Finland
Food safety is another essential area to consider when traveling. The food in Finland is usually safe to eat thanks to strict food processing rules. According to a national report, there is only a low amount of food poison bacteria or hazardous chemicals in food in Finland.
In 2020 the country added a fight against crime in the food chain to its overall national strategy against economic crime. As part of Finland’s overall monitoring of the country’s operations, the Finnish Food Authority oversees several elements of the country’s food system.
Essential areas of monitoring include, meat inspection, monitoring fraud, combating fraud, reducing pathogens in vegetables, and ensuring food has proper nutritional levels.
Natural World Safety
Finland is not prone to natural disasters, such as typhoons, earthquakes, tornados, and tsunamis. Instead, visitors to Finland may experience winter storms and blizzards. When visiting in the winter, always take all necessary safety precautions for snow and wind.
In addition to using snow tires if you drive, it is also essential to dress appropriately and familiarize yourself with seasonal hazards. Bring a winter coat, several mid-layers, thermal base layers, plenty of warm socks, gloves, a hat, and a scarf.
Since Finland has so much natural space, it also has plenty of animals you should know about. Only a few of those animals are dangerous to humans.
There is only one venomous viper that can be dangerous if you are in the wild. When hiking outside, always look out for beige and brown snakes. Its bites are usually not fatal for adults, but they can be very painful.
Risky insects include ticks and mosquitos. Avoid these pests by wearing long sleeves, conducting regular tick checks, and using plenty of bug repellent.
The other animals you will need to look out for are large animals, such as reindeer, while driving. Many animals, including deer and moose, are active at dawn and dusk in less populous areas.
How to Stay Safe in Finland
While Finland is one of the safest places in the world, it is still essential to take safety measures when navigating this country, especially if you are a tourist. Planning will keep you safe and help you have a more enjoyable time.
There are plenty of safe ways you can get around Finland. Trains and buses will take you through the cities and countryside. You can also drive or cycle. If you choose one of those options, always look out for animals and ensure your car has winter tires if snow is in the forecast.
If you feel unsafe or are in an emergency, call the Finnish emergency number: 112. You can also install the 112 apps on your phone and use them to make any necessary emergency calls.
The app also sends your location information to emergency services when you call, and it will send you any relevant public safety alerts.
On that note, always ensure you have a fully charged mobile phone as you travel around the country. As a backup, you should bring a portable recharging bank. It is also wise to have a hard copy of a map with you.
Especially when venturing into the wilder parts of Finland, it is an excellent idea to let someone know about your plans and when you expect to return from your adventures.
When making your plans, consider the experience level of your whole group. Always plan according to the person with the lowest ability level. Being careful is of the utmost importance when engaging in any outdoor or wilderness activity.
Things to Consider
- Much of Finland is forest, and nature is important to the Finns.
- The capital of Helsinki is the most populous area, with the larger metropolitan area containing around 1.3 million people. The whole country has a population of 5.6 million.
- Finns drink more coffee than anyone in the world. They drink around three times as much as Americans.
- Finland is the home of over 10,000 Sami people today. The Samis are the indigenous people of the area. You can learn about this group at the Sami Museum and Nature Center Siida in Inari.
- To avoid issues, it is good to know that the Finnish people are fairly reserved.
- Saunas are a big part of Finnish culture. Be sure to follow all needed safety rules. Nudity is largely accepted in Finnish culture.
- If you want to buy hard alcohol, you must get it from the state shop, Alko. The shop is closed on Sundays and only open on Saturdays until six pm.
- Finland can be an expensive place to visit. Both taxes and incomes are high there.
- Finnish is a language isolate, meaning it does not have any strong connection to other modern languages.
- To visit Finland, you will need a national passport or equivalent document. In some cases, you may also need a visa.
- Since Finland is so far north, there are a few places where the sun never sets during the summer.
Frequently Asked Questions
When traveling, it is essential to ask plenty of questions. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions by travelers before they go to Finland.
What languages are spoken in Finland?
The official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Other common languages include Finnish Sign Language, Swedish Sign Language, Sami, Finnish Kalo, and Karelian. The majority of the country speaks Finnish, while there are a few coastal areas that primarily speak Swedish or Sami. Finns widely speak English, especially in larger cities.
What should I wear in Finland?
Finland is known for its cold winters, but the weather can be cool all year round. As a result, it is a good idea always to pack plenty of warm layers. It is also essential to have sunglasses, sunscreen, and a waterproof jacket.
While the weather is cool, there can still be plenty of sun. If you visit during the winter, you will need to pack even heavier clothing, including a warm jacket and some sturdy boots.
When is the best time of year to visit Finland?
The best time to visit Finland depends on what you want to get out of your time in the country. If you want nicer weather, try visiting in the summer. That time of year is also when there are the most activities available for tourists.
If you want to save money, try visiting Finland during the shoulder seasons, fall and spring. While winter is harsh, this season is beautiful, especially if you visit Lapland.
What is Finland most famous for?
Finland is known as the happiest country in the world and one of the safest places you can be. It is also known for its capital, Helsinki, which has robust culture and architecture. The biggest industries in Finland include electronics, machinery, forestry, and chemical.
What can I eat in Finland?
Unfortunately, Finland has a reputation for food that visitors do not like. However, if you enter the country with an open mind, you may discover this country has some delicious gems. Finland is known for a few dishes, including salty licorice, rye bread, Karelian pie, cinnamon rolls, pickled herring, bread cheese, reindeer, salmon, meat pies, and potatoes with dill.
So, Is Finland Safe to Visit?
Finland is known as one of the safest places in the world. Like anywhere, it is essential to take some basic precautions, such as keeping track of your belongings and being aware of your surroundings.
The only unsafe conditions in the country involve weather. With so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip to Finland today!