What to do in Finland in autumn – 10 tips
I am writing this post from the Lakeland perspective in Eastern Finland lake area, but most things I write about apply to all of Finland. Following tips are all about going outdoors and enjoying your stay in Finland, whatever the season. You will find many things that donot cost anything and that you can do almost anywhere. Sometimes though, you will be better off on a paid tour, as a tour-guide will help you in getting all-out-of your holiday… In case a guide is needed, you might like my Adventure-bus-tours. Hope you will enjoy my tips, and have a great time in Finland in August-October, which is the Finnish autumn.
1. Go pick berries
Nordic berries are clean, bio, superfood and good for eating. Gathering blueberries, lingonberries and other tastefull goodies in the forest has been a pastime for families through generations. Finnish wild berries are praised by gourmet chefs, and available to everyone with Everymans rights. Wild berries have like a million health-improving-qualities, and in this world of processed food berries will give you plenty of natural antioxidants and wellbeing. You should go to the nearby forest to have a taste… eat as you go or take a basket with you if you will pick more. You will get a free forest-health-care-experience for free at the same time. Start with the basic berries and avoid berries that you donot know, for safety…
Some tips for berries:
- Blue berries or bilberries (Vaccimium myrtillus) grow in all types of forests, and is one of the first berries to mature. Often they get ready for picking end of July, and the season goes on for two months, August being the most abundant month. Blueberry-pie is on of finnish favourites in august-coffee-table..
- Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). In September, Finnish forests turn red with lingonberries. It is called the red gold of the nordic forests, because is so incredilbly nutritious and abundant. Most finns gather them to make lingonberry puree, which is delicious with many meals and easy to conserve…
2. Go pick mushrooms
Mushroom seasons starts in May with some species, but really gets on in August, which is the high-season for most species. Finland is mushroom picker´s paradise. From late July onto November you will easily find a basket-full of seasonal mushrooms, including Boletes, Brittlegills, Milkcaps, Chanterelles and many others. Word of advice here also: only pick mushrooms that you recognize as edible !
Some tips for mushrooms:
- Get your hands on a mushrooms-guide-book, and get to know well 1-5 common species. Start with these, and in the next years get to know one or two new species every year. Before you know it, you will become a mushrooms specialist…
- In August I would recommend Chanterelles and various Boletes
- Starting from September I would look for Tube Chanterelles and Black Horns, but many others can be still found
- Best forest for mushrooms is a finnish ”mixed forest” where many species of trees grow. They offer the biggest selection of mushrooms too..
3. Try local Gourmet food
Traditionally finnish farmers and folks harvested fields and forests by late August, and the autumn was an abundant season with all food available and plentifull. Food was conserved for the long winter-time using various methods. Big markets take place end August with all natures offerings for sale, and you should visit a marketplace to see everything Finland has to offer. The best restaurants use finnish wildfood in their gourmet-menus. It is worth trying a mushrooms dish or wild game and fish dishes. They are delicious ! You should also try to prepare a Gourmet dish after a forest-gathering-session and use hand-picked mushrooms and berries in the kitchen…
4. Go see the colours
By september, the nature changes colour in Finland. This spectacular phenomen paints leaves in trees in tones of yellow, orange, blue, green and red in all forests. In Lapland this happens earlier than in southern Finland and lasts only a few weeks. You will not want to miss this if you are in Finland during autumn..
5. See sunset by the lakes
The daylight time during summer is very long in Finland, and it might be impossible to stay awake to see the sunset after midnight. This will rapidly change in autumn, when sunset time gets earlier and earlier in autumn. Yo out and witness the great sunsets by lake shores. You will not regret it …
6. Visit a national park
There are 40 national parks in Finland, and they are all natural treasures with beatiful landscapes and the basic infrastructure for camping. The high-season and ”rush-hour” in the parks is in July-august with most travellers visiting parks in summer. Those visiting national parks in autumn will often have all the beauty to themselves, as there are really not many visitors in september and after. Rent a canoe for a few days, take good camping equipment and some food along and go to the wild ! Pick-up berries and mushrooms to make gourmet dinners in national parks camping sites and enjoy nature
7. Must do…SAUNA
Sauna is the traditional hot bathing room of finns. If there was only one thing you could do in finland, that would be sauna. Sauna is as finnish as it gets. Go to sauna every day if you can. More you do sauna, more you grow to like it.
Some tips for sauna:
- Best sauna is heated by wood. Electric sauna can be good too, but do not overheat it
- Best sauna is located by lake shore, so that you can dip in the lake in between visiting the ”hot room”. If there is no lake, I recommend to go out and breath fresh air in between hot sessions
- Do not overheat sauna. Most comfortable heat has lots of moisture and temperature remains between 60-80C
- First time start slowly with 2-3 short visits in the hot-room. Listen to your body, and stay as long as it feels comfortable
- 8. Go cultural
There are many events in Finland in the summer. Last events like rural markets take place end August. Check-out the times and visit these events. Later in the autumn, go visit museums and exhibitions that you can find in the region
9. Canoieng until October
Canoe season in eastern Finland is from early April untill late October. Autumn canoe in September and later is great sports and you can really have a feeling to be all alone in the wild, as only few people do this. You can expect that all camping sites will be available, forests offer plenty of food, mushrooms and berries, and fishing is good. However, you must be well equipped, because the first snow can arrive as early as end October.
10. Early winter or not ??
First snow is allways a surprise. You wake up in the morning and notice that land is white, so what? It is beautiful and reminds of the winter. Very seldom the first snow remains however. Most often it is gone by the end of the day and comes back and melts many times before the temperatures go so low that snow remains. Going outdoors in the wild during first snow is fun. You should however have good water resistant boots and clothing to keep you dry and warm.