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Moving to Finland: What Every Expat Should Know

When it comes to finding a place to live, what are you looking for? If you’re like most expats, you want a place that offers beauty, comfort, a high standard of living, and plenty of things to see and friendly locals to get to know. If you’re considering Finland, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Known around the world for its beauty, accessibility, and good jobs, Finland remains a wonderful place for expats to build a new life and enjoy everything that one of the most beautiful countries on earth has to offer. If you’re considering moving to Finland, here’s what you’ll need to know to make your transition as successful as possible.

Top 10 Reasons to Move to Finland

While there are dozens of wonderful reasons to move to Finland, these ten stand out as some of the best:

1. Finland offers free college tuition
If you’re looking for a place to study, Finland is an excellent option. Tuition is free for students attending university for a bachelor, masters, or doctoral degree. In addition to offering free tuition, Finland also has a high standard of education for its students and provides a wide variety of classes in which people can take part.

2. Finland is one of the most beautiful areas on earth
People have said it before and they’ll say it again, Finland is gorgeous. Filled with lush, verdant forests, crystal blue waters, and plenty of mountain vistas, Finland offers a wide selection of natural wonders, and plenty of outdoor opportunities for the recreation enthusiast. Regardless of whether you hike, bike, swim, or ski, Finland is the place to be.

3. Eating well in Finland is inexpensive
Food markets reign in Finland, and buying fresh produce is cheap and straightforward. At typical Food Markets, you’ll find beautiful stacks of mushrooms, fresh vegetables, flowers, and plenty of farm-fresh produce.

4. In Finland, people focus on family first
In Finland, it’s easy to find plenty of time to spend with the family. Finnish people prioritize their families over all else, and it’s not uncommon to hear of people taking long weekends to spend with the family at their rural cabin in the woods. This leads to better health for Fins, and happier and more stable family structures.

5. Finish people love their saunas
In Finland, taking a hot sauna will become part of your daily routine, if you’re lucky. In addition to all of the health benefits offered by a hot sauna, there’s the relaxation and community aspects of the practice to consider, as well.

6. Finland offers long, long days during the summer
During the summer months in Finland, you’ll enjoy abnormally long periods of daylight. In fact, it’s not uncommon for the sun to stay up until 3 am. This makes it easier to stay out and play until all hours of the evening.

7. Finland offers gorgeous northern lights
In areas like Inari, the aurora borealis are incredibly common in the winter months. People come from around the world to see them, and it’s not uncommon to be blessed by a natural light show several nights of the week in some regions of the country.

8. Finland offers some of the world’s best shopping
Don’t let all of the natural beauty fool you: Finland provides a huge level of shopping and luxury, as well. Parts of Finland like Helsinki’s Design District are famous for their world-class shopping opportunities, and people from around the globe flock to these neighborhoods to feel stylish, pampered, and involved in Finland’s diverse and vibrant culture.

9. Finland has some of the most stunning architecture in the world
Head to attractions like Helsinki’s Sibelius monument for some of the most stunning architecture you’ve ever seen. As shocking as these beautiful areas may be, that’s not even all of it. Finland is known for its architecture, and you’ll enjoy breathtaking churches, cathedrals, and homes on virtually every corner.

10. Finland offers many opportunities for sports enthusiasts
Do you love ski jumping? What about hockey? Finland offers both, and the skill and speed involved in each sport will leave you smiling for days at a time. While it’s beautiful and metropolitan, Finland is also a sports lover’s paradise.

Getting a Visa to Move to Finland

Once you’ve decided to move to Finland, you’ll need to get your paperwork in order to make the big move happen. Luckily, this is easier in Finland than it is in some other places. If you’re a native of the EU, you’ll only need to apply for a Finnish residence permit if you plan to stay in the country longer than 90 consecutive days. If you’re not an EU national, however, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit as soon as you start planning your move to Finland. If you’re curious about what you’ll need to secure your visa and residence permit for Finland, consult the country’s immigration website, which offers a whole host of information on the topic.Be sure to check the website frequently before you intend to immigrate, as residence requirements and standards can change quite quickly.

Finding Housing in Finland

The second step, after securing your Finnish paperwork, is to ensure you’ve secured housing in Finland. Luckily, this is easier in Finland than it is in many other countries around the world. While it’s true that people purchase property more often than they rent it in Finland, good rental homes available and anyone who is interested in renting before they buy will have a simple enough time locating a home they love. Keep in mind that, as is true in all large and populated countries, renters who want to live in busy urban areas, like Helsinki, will have a more difficult time finding vacancies and securing something they can afford. When you’ve decided you’re ready to locate a rental in Finland, you’ll have a few choices for getting started. One is that you can simply go your house search alone, using resources like the internet to find openings and set up your own showings. Unfortunately, this may be difficult for expats who have just landed in Finland, and is often excessively stressful. In light of this, many expats go an alternate way and choose to work with a qualified Finnish real estate agent to locate a home in the country. In addition to the fact that local real estate agents will have a broad knowledge of which homes are available in your area of interest, they can also help you find a home within your budget and will streamline the home search process drastically.

The 5 Best Places to Live in Finland

Finland has dozens of beautiful cities, neighborhoods, and towns to choose from, but these five stand out as some of the best:

1. Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital of Finland, and rightfully so. In addition to being beautiful, the city is diverse, vibrant, and fluid, changing on a near-daily basis. Dotted with bays, islands, rivers, and streams, Helsinki is a water lover's paradise and offers no shortage of relaxing, water-rich vistas, trails, and walks for residents and visitors alike. Once you get past its gorgeous landscape, you’ll notice that Helsinki also has its fair share of cultural attractions. The city is known as the capital of art and music in Finland, and offers one of the foremost design scenes in the entire world. Beyond that, the city is also an embarrassment of riches when it comes to fine dining, delicious pubs, artisanal cocktails, and unique, local menus.Don’t let its modern, glitzy façade fool you, though, Helsinki has its roots in history, and anyone who lives here will fall in love with the way unique, art-nouveau buildings blend seamlessly with modern sculptures and a young population. While Helsinki is more expensive to live in than other areas of the country, it’s the center of art, culture, and history in this gorgeous country.

2. Turku
Turku is one of the largest cities in Finland, and is known for offering many of the attractions and amenities of Helsinki without all of the added cost. Located on the banks of the Aura River, Turku is a historic, beautiful city that offers a laid-back pace of life, creative bars, delicious restaurants, and plenty of ancient architecture and attractions to keep the history buff happy. A great place to raise a family, start a business, or work remotely, Turku is a gem of Finland.

3. Lappeenranta
Located on the shores of Finland’s Lake Saimma, which is also the single largest lake in Europe, Lappeenranta is a tourist city that’s known throughout the country for its intense natural beauty. Boasting a beautiful downtown area, gorgeous shorelines and beaches to swim at, and plenty of unique attractions, Lappeenranta is a great place for expats who want to work in the tourism industry, or those who simply love the quiet pace of life on a large body of water.

4. Savonlinna
A little-known city in Finland, Savonlinna was established in 1639, and got its start around the ancient Olavinlinna castle, which still takes visitors.  Dotted with multiple lakes, rivers and streams, Savonlinna offers a water-dense culture that loves to boat, swim, and fish. The quaint little town is also home to the world’s biggest wooden church and the scintillating World Championships of Mobile Phone Throwing.

5. Mariehamn
Located in Aland, Finland’s Swedish-speaking territory, Mariehamn is a quaint little city that still features the wooden houses of yesteryear. Once a bustling port city, Mariehamn is a laid-back, seafaring town that offers expat opportunities in tourism and more!

The Pros and Cons of Moving to Finland

Like any place, Finland has its fair share of pros and cons. People who choose to live in this beautiful area will enjoy many benefits but will experience some disadvantages, as well.

Pros

Cons

The Case for Moving to Finland

Regardless of where you come from and what you’re looking to find, Finland has it. A beautiful, friendly country with a history of accepting expats with open arms, Finland is the perfect place to settle down and start a new life. Whether you choose to live in bustling Helsinki or one of the quieter, less known rural areas, Finland promises to be the country that welcomes you and exposes you to a whole new world of business, social, and outdoor opportunities.