Researching the cities in Finland? Whether you’re researching your next city break destination or you just want to learn more about Finland, you’ve come to the right place!
I loved visiting Espoo and Helsinki in February, and it opened my eyes to the other destinations Finland has to offer!
Finland, a Nordic gem tucked between Sweden and Russia, is a land of thousands of lakes, lush forests, and vibrant cities.
While it’s renowned for its enchanting natural landscapes and phenomena like the Northern Lights, Finland’s cities are equally captivating.
These Finland cities are where the country’s rich history, cultural heritage, technological prowess, and love for nature come alive.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
How Many Cities Does Finland Have?
Finland boasts a total of 27 cities. While some are among the largest cities in the country, others are small but charming. Get ready to dive into Finnish culture, history, and natural beauty!
List of Cities in Finland – Largest Cities by Population – Smallest
Let’s first glance at the list of cities in Finland, ranked from the largest city to the smaller ones in terms of population. Keep reading for an in-depth look at each city!
Map of Cities in Finland
A Closer Look at the Cities in Finland
From Helsinki’s bustling streets to Kuopio’s serene lakeshores, every city offers a unique experience. Here’s a closer look at the cities in Finland.
Helsinki, Finland’s largest city and capital, is the country’s most populated city. It’s a global gateway, with Helsinki Airport as an important hub for international travel to Asia, Europe and beyond. The city centre is brimming with historical sites, modern art galleries, and chic shops.
During your visit, you can opt for sightseeing tours that cover iconic landmarks like the Helsinki Cathedral and the Sibelius Monument.
Make sure you take a ferry to the sea fortress of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I highly recommend you try some Finnish delicacies at one of the many trendy restaurants during your visit!
Top Stays in Helsinki:
2. Espoo – A Mix of Modernity and Nature
Population: 303 191
Right next to Helsinki lies Espoo, the second-largest city in Finland. It’s a unique blend of cutting-edge technology hubs and serene nature, which draws many nature-loving tech enthusiasts.
Espoo’s archipelago is a hidden gem, with charming small islands perfect for a day trip. Nuuksio National Park is a must-visit for hiking and picnics, especially during the summer months. It’s one of the best national parks in Europe, and I enjoyed visiting. Make sure you visit the reindeer sanctuary and the Espoo Museum!
Espoo is also home to the innovative Aalto University and numerous tech companies.
3. Tampere – The City of Lakes
Population: 250 353
Tampere is nestled between two lakes, Lake Näsijärvi and Lake Pyhäjärvi, and offers a myriad of outdoor activities. It’s natural beauty and industrial heritage make it a charming city with a rich history.
When you visit Tampere, make sure you city centre, where the Vapriikki Museum showcases exhibits on Tampere’s history and culture. For nature lovers, the Pyynikki observation tower offers stunning views of the surrounding lakes. In the summer, the city comes alive with festivals and events.
4. Vantaa – Gateway to Finland
Vantaa, home to Helsinki Airport, is often the first city tourists unknowingly set foot in. However, it’s more than just a gateway; Vantaa offers lush forests, beautiful waterways, and fascinating cultural sites like the Finnish Aviation Museum.
Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre, is also located in Vantaa and is a popular destination for families. For those looking to relax, the Flamingo Spa, located near the airport, is one of the largest spa complexes in the Nordic countries.
2023 Population: 212,127
Oulu, one of the larger cities in northern Finland, is known for its technology industry and is often considered Finland’s technology capital.
The city hosts a vibrant start-up scene alongside lovely parks and islands perfect for relaxation and leisure.
Explore Oulu’s Market Square and stroll along the Oulu River’s riverbanks.
During the winter, the city becomes a hub for winter sports. And throughout the year, the Tietomaa science centre is an excellent spot for families.
Turku, the former capital of Finland, is situated by the Aura River, the country’s oldest city. Its history is well-preserved in landmarks such as the medieval Turku Castle and Turku Cathedral.
Turku’s riverbanks are lined with old wooden ships that now serve as restaurants and cafes. It’s also a cultural hotspot with events like the Turku Music Festival. Be sure to explore the archipelago, easily accessible from the city.
Population 2023: 145,962
Jyväskylä, with its large student population, is an energetic city in Finland’s Lakeland region. This lively and youthful city is surrounded by Lake Jyväsjärvi and is known for its numerous buildings designed by Alvar Aalto.
Hop on a scenic boat tour to explore the surrounding lakes or visit the Alvar Aalto Museum to appreciate modernist architecture. The city also hosts various events and festivals, making it a vibrant spot year-round.
8. Kuopio – A City of Lakes and Hills
Population 2023: 122,615
In Finland’s Lakeland region, Kuopio is surrounded by Lake Kallavesi. This delightful city offers plenty of outdoor activities, especially during summer, and is famous for its savoury fish pastries called Kalakukko.
One of Kuopio’s highlights is the Puijo Tower, which offers a panoramic view of the surrounding lakes and forests. The city’s harbour area is vibrant with restaurants and events, and the Kuopio Market Hall is a must-visit for local produce.
9. Lahti – A Winter Sports Haven
Lahti, located close to Helsinki, is famed for its winter sports facilities, particularly ski jumping. The Lahti Ski Games draw athletes and spectators from around the world.
In addition to sports, Lahti is known for its vibrant cultural scene, with several museums and theatres. The Sibelius Hall is an architectural masterpiece and an excellent place to enjoy concerts. Also, don’t miss the town’s delightful cafes and restaurants.
10. Pori – A City of Jazz and Pristine Beaches
Pori is renowned for its rich culture, history, and nature. One of the city’s premier events is the Pori Jazz Festival, which attracts jazz enthusiasts from all over. Pori’s architectural heritage is also noteworthy, with beautiful buildings and museums.
But perhaps the city’s crowning glory is Yyteri Beach, one of the longest and most beautiful in the Nordic countries. With its golden sands and dunes, Yyteri is a popular tourist destination, especially in the summer.
11. Kouvola – A Mix of History and Nature
Population 2023: 79,309
Kouvola, a UNESCO World Heritage Site best known for the Verla Groundwood and Board Mill, is also the gateway to the Repovesi National Park. The old mill is a window into Finland’s paper industry’s history.
The Repovesi National Park is a treasure trove for nature lovers with its forests, lakes, and hiking trails. You can enjoy cultural events, theatres, and vibrant nightlife in the city.
12. Joensuu – Culture and Nature Combined
Population: 77, 480
Joensuu, located by Lake Pyhäselkä and the Pielisjoki River, is a city where culture meets nature. The city is known for hosting various music festivals and has a thriving art scene.
Nature enthusiasts can explore the beautiful lake and river or take a leisurely walk in the Botania Botanic Garden. Joensuu’s marketplace is lively, with cafes and shops offering local delicacies.
Lappeenranta, situated on the shores of Lake Saimaa, is an inviting city with a rich history. The Lappeenranta Fortress is a must-see, offering a glimpse into the city’s past, while the lively harbour area is perfect for a stroll or boat trip.
Beyond history, Lappeenranta is also a hub for outdoor activities. The enchanting Saimaa archipelago is accessible from the city, and the surrounding forests and lakes are perfect for hiking and exploring.
Vaasa, located on Finland’s west coast, is a vibrant city with a diverse cultural scene. This predominantly Swedish-speaking area boasts a rich history, museums, and theatres and plays host to various events and festivals throughout the year.
The Kvarken Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located just off the coast and must-see for nature enthusiasts. The Old Vaasa ruins are an intriguing glimpse into the city’s past.
Hämeenlinna is known for its medieval castle, Häme Castle. Surrounded by two lakes, Vanajavesi and Pyhäjärvi, the city offers beautiful parks and opportunities for outdoor activities.
Visit the Aulanko Nature Reserve for breathtaking views and explore the city’s historical sites, including the Hämeenlinna Art Museum. The city’s vibrant culture, rich history, and surrounding nature make it a destination worth exploring.
Seinäjoki stands out for its modernist architecture, particularly the buildings designed by Alvar Aalto, including the city hall and library. It’s also famous for hosting various events, such as the Tango Festival, which attracts visitors from around the globe.
Apart from architectural wonders, the city has a lively cultural scene with theatres and concerts. The surrounding nature, including the Lakeuden Puisto Park, designed by Aalto, contrasts the modern cityscape pleasantly.
17. Rovaniemi – Land of Santa Claus and the Northern Lights
Located within the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is not just the official hometown of Santa Claus but also a popular destination for winter sports and witnessing the Northern Lights. The Santa Claus Village is a must-visit for families, where you can meet Santa, cross the Arctic Circle, and send postcards with a unique Arctic Circle stamp.
Beyond the festive attractions, Rovaniemi offers a wealth of outdoor activities. There’s no shortage of adventure, from snowmobiling and dog sledging in winter to river cruises and hiking in summer. Additionally, the Arktikum Museum provides insights into the Arctic region and Finnish Lapland.
Nestled by Lake Saimaa, Mikkeli offers a perfect mix of history, nature, and culture. The city played a significant role during World War II, and the Infantry Museum provides insights into its military past.
Nature lovers can explore the lake through cruises and water sports. The city’s old wooden buildings and churches offer architectural delight, and the Mikkeli Market Place is a vibrant spot to taste local Finnish delicacies.
Kotka, situated on the coast, is best known for its lush parks and gardens, including the Sapokka Water Garden. Maritime enthusiasts should visit the Maritime Centre Vellamo, with its exhibits on Finnish naval heritage, and the large aquarium, Maretarium.
The nearby island of Varissaari and the historical sea fortress of Fort Elizabeth are also worth visiting. The annual Kotka Maritime Festival highlights tall ships, concerts, and maritime-themed events.
Once the headquarters of Nokia, Salo has a deep-rooted connection with the electronics industry. The city boasts a blend of modern living and beautiful natural surroundings.
Its location close to Turku and the archipelago makes it an ideal base for exploring Western Finland. Salo also offers cultural experiences with theatres, museums, and events celebrating its industrial heritage.
FAQs: Cities in Finland
Helsinki, the capital city, is the most visited city in Finland. It is a tourist favourite with its rich history, vibrant culture, and many attractions, such as the Helsinki Cathedral, Suomenlinna Fortress, and numerous museums and galleries.
Helsinki is Finland’s largest city in terms of population and size. It is located in the southern part of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland.
While “delightful” is subjective, many travellers find Porvoo one of Finland’s most delightful cities. With its well-preserved old town, charming wooden houses, cobblestone streets, and vibrant riverside, Porvoo offers a picturesque setting that appeals to many.
Helsinki is the capital city of Finland. It is the country’s political, economic, educational, and cultural centre.
The six largest cities in Finland by population are:
There are many cities in Finland, but here are five notable ones:
The major cities of Finland, usually considered for their size, economic activity, and cultural significance, are:
Discover the Cities of Europe
More on Finland
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.