Where to stay in Finland
Most of the hotels in Finland belong to large national and international chains and rooms tend to be functional rather than luxurious or charming. Business travellers are the hotels' primary customers and room rates are significantly cheaper at weekends, as well as in late June and July. Rates generally include a shared sauna and a breakfast buffet. Hotels are graded from 1 to 5 stars and prices are significantly higher in Helsinki and in Lapland.
Bed and breakfast
Cheaper accommodation is available at guest houses known as matkakoti in towns and cities. These budget lodgings range from doss-houses for travelling workers, with basic rooms and shared bathrooms, to cosy family homes that rent en-suite rooms to paying guests. Prices vary widely according to facilities and location, but a simple breakfast is nearly always included.
Bed and breakfast accommodation is widely available in the countryside in family homes or farmhouses. These cosy lodgings provide an excellent opportunity to experience the rural way of life and you can take full advantage of the surrounding countryside for walks and other outdoor activities. Most bed and breakfasts have a sauna and many offer lunch and dinner or facilities for self-catering. Unless you speak Finnish, it is wise to book via the Finnish Tourist Board, the local tourist office or the organisation Lomarengas (www.lomarengas.fi). Graded from 1 to 5 stars.
There are about 200 campsites in Finland and some are graded on a similar star system to bed and breakfasts. Most have sites for tents and caravans and cabins or cottages for rent (see Cabins) as well as shops, cooking facilities and a cafe. Camping outside official campsites is permitted as long as no damage is caused to crops or private property and the camp is at least 150m (492ft) from human habitations.
,Every self-respecting Finn has a summer cottage in the countryside and these holiday homes are sometimes rented out to tourists when not in use by the owners. Some cottages are unpowered and heated only by a wood-stove, while others have all mod cons, including electricity, hot and cold running water, fully equipped kitchens and a sauna. A minimum stay of three days to a week may apply in peak season. Enquire at tourist offices for details or browse the listings at Lomarengas (www.lomarengas.fi). Classified from 1 to 5 stars.
Finland has an extensive network of youth hostels, but many only open from June to August. They are normally modern and clean and most offer family rooms as well as dormitory accommodation. Some hostels also offer single and double rooms. Snacks are often available and some have self-catering kitchens. Although most guests are students, there are no age restrictions. Sheets are not included in the room rates but can be hired for a nominal fee. There is a discount for Hostelling International members - visit the website of Hostelling International Finland (www.hostellit.fi) for more information. Hostels are classified into four categories according to their facilities.
In summer (June to August), when the universities are closed, student accommodation is rented out to tourists, offering a cheaper alternative to hotel accommodation. Rooms at these 'summer hostels' are modern and clean and the university campus locations are often convenient for exploring Finland's cities. You generally share a bathroom and kitchen with one other room.