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10 BEST Places to Live in Finland [Feb 2020]

It might not be the first choice for a digital nomad, but Finland is a great mix of amazing landscapes and a distinctive sense of design that makes it a very cool option.

However, Finland is pretty pricey. It’s not like other obvious nomad haunts. So with that in mind, it might be difficult to figure out just where you’ll be able to settle down for a while.

But don’t you worry: we have selected the very best places to live in Finland so you can find somewhere cool and budget friendly that suits you the best.

Whether you want stunning nature or cultural centres, there’s a lot to choose from.

So let’s see what’s on offer!

Staying Safe in Finland

Thankfully for you, Finland is actually a pretty safe country to live in.

Nature can have a way of being dangerous in Finland. Winters are seriously cold with temperatures plummeting well below zero. The further north you go, the colder (and darker) it gets in winter.

There are some low levels of crime, in general, throughout the country. The obvious places where this will happen are urban centres, like Helsinki and other large cities. Remain aware of your surroundings and you’ll be fine.

But having said that, you ALWAYS need to have travel insurance when wandering abroad. Out favorite provider is World Nomads. They have quality rates, at affordable prices. Fill out the form below to get a quote!

Check out our ultimate guide to Digital Nomad Insurance!

#1 Helsinki

Helsinki

Full of interesting architecture and a whole smorgasbord of culture and things to do, Helsinki should be your first stop in Finland.

Monthly cost of living in Helsinki

$2332/ month 

cost of rent in Helsinki

$1164/month

The capital of Finland, Helsinki is the centre of everything – even though it’s on the southern coast. By far the biggest metropolitan area in Finland, Helsinki boasts an intriguing mix of Art Nouveau, Modernist and Scandinavian architecture combined with some utilitarian brutalism. 

In short: it’s an interesting-looking city. Helsinki’s coolest district to live in has got to be Kallio. This is where it’s at for cool kids in the city; not only is it more laid-back than the city centre, it’s cheaper too. 

Living here means being close to public transport, coffee shops, flea markets and nightlife. The traditionally working-class district of Vallila is fast becoming a youthful area, too.

Pros of Helsinki

  • Cool architecture going on
  • So many coworking spaces
  • Good transport connections

Cons of Helsinki

  • Super expensive
  • Could look ugly to some
  • Maybe you're not into big city life

The market square in Helsinki’s Old Town, around the port area, is where you can watch locals picking up fresh fish amongst stalls selling reindeer hides and a variety of handmade products: a fascinating sight in the middle of a modern city.

To learn more about the capital, you should make a beeline for the Helsinki City Museum. In the summer months, you can take a walk around the Helsinki University Botanical Gardens. 

Design lovers and shopping addicts will love the Design District, which is an amazing selection of distinctly Finnish galleries, workshops and boutiques.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

You’ll be spoilt for choice with coworking spaces. Microsoft Flux is free and features all sorts of cool machines and gadgets to use; Nokia has one called OUJA, which you can use 24/7; Maria 01 is huge and set in an old hospital. There’s loads more.

#2 Rovaniemi

For your very own slice of Lapland, nomads should head to the deep northern tundra of Rovaniemi.

Monthly cost of living in Rovaniemi

$1735/ month 

cost of rent in Rovaniemi

$723/month

Rovaniemi is the largest population hub near the Arctic Circle – even further north than the relatively big city of Oulu. Surprisingly, culture thrives in Rovaniemi. 

It’s got its own chamber orchestra, a population of 60,000 and a landscape that will take your breath away (quite literally when it’s winter).

Though Rovaniemi is comparatively small, there are actually a few decent neighbourhoods in which a nomad can base themselves. 

Ratantaus is a decent residential area that’s in walking distance to the centre of town, but far away enough that it feels like a little slice of peace of quiet. 

Pros of Rovaniemi

  • Mental place to say you've lived
  • Perfect if you like winter sports
  • Surprising culture and cafe scene

Cons of Rovaniemi

  • Winter lasts for ages
  • Too much Christmas
  • So far from anything

Once you’re done visiting Santa Claus and telling him just what you’ve always wanted for Christmas, you’ll want to hit up the astounding culture that actually inhabits this town. 

First stop: the Rovaniemi Art Museum. This is the northernmost regional art museum in Europe and a stunning structural masterpiece in itself.

There’s also the Pilke Science Centre, where you can learn all about the frozen, forested landscape surrounding Rovaniemi and sustainable living. 

You’ll also get the chance to try out some winter sports, seeing as the winter lasts for so long; the nearby resort of Ounasvaara is the perfect place to start.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

With a ton of cafes to choose from, Rovaniemi is a great choice for nomads. Some of the better ones are the cosy Coffee House Rovaniemi and also nearby Woodss Oy serves up some mean food and smoothies.

#3 Oulu

With its mix of historic buildings, cultural events and extreme climate, Oulu is the perfect destination for the intrepid nomad.

Monthly cost of living in Oulu

$1232/ month 

cost of rent
in Oulu

$577/month

The northernmost large city in the world (ok – except for Murmansk in Russia, obviously), Oulu is certainly an interesting place to live. 

Founded in 1605, the city of Oulu is home to a decent amount of historic buildings and neoclassical architecture that make it a surprisingly grand European city.

For a place to live in this northern outpost, Raksila is a nice residential area to the west of the city centre: a mix of traditional wooden townhouses and high-rises. Pikisaari, on the other hand, is a historic district that’s now known as a place that’s popular with artists.

Pros of Oulu

  • Unique place to live
  • Culture and history to discover
  • Pretty looking city

Cons of Oulu

  • Can feel very far from anything
  • Not all that much to do
  • Winters are pretty brutal

The area of Rotuaari is home to the city’s pedestrianised zone, which is the place to go for all things shopping and entertainment. 

In a stroke of genius, in 2012 the city actually installed a heating system under the ground so that the area would be free of snow and ice during the winter. More walking!

Interestingly, Oulu is the home of an equal amounts bizarre and amazing festival: the Air Guitar World Championships, held every August. 

But more can be learnt at the city’s many museums, including the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum, which explores the culture of this deep northern region.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

There are coworking spaces in Oulu, but the best (and cutest) one is the cool Pikihubi. It’s a great place for freelancers to not just to work, but to also meet likeminded people.

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#4 Espoo

Espoo

If living right next door to Helsinki for a third of the cost sounds cool, then Espoo is definitely for you.“​

Monthly cost of living in Espoo

$1845/ month 

cost of rent
in Espoo

$974/month

Practically on the doorstep of Helsinki – and actually part of the Finnish capital itself – Espoo is basically a cheaper alternative to living in the middle of Helsinki. 

However, there’s still a lot going for this town itself, with a fair few museums, sights and general amenities that make living here pretty fun.

A good place for a nomad to base themselves in Espoo is Kauklahti; not only is it a good area near the centre of town, but there’s also evidence of humans inhabiting this area from as early as 4,000 BC! Kaunianen is another decent place to live in Espoo, complete with its own little commercial centre.

Pros of Espoo

  • Helsinki without the price tag
  • Cool architecture
  • Well connected

Cons of Espoo

  • A bit quiet
  • Not a vibrant social scene
  • Food and drink establishments lacking

The district of Tapiola is an interesting place to visit if you like architecture, with plenty of cool shaped buildings dating back to the 1950s; one of these buildings is the concrete wonder that is the. 

WeeGee Exhibition Centre. For other artistic endeavours, you should head to the Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA).

Elsewhere there is both history and nature in this Helsinki suburb; both the Nuuksio Wilderness Park and Laguuni Water Park are nearby, whilst back in town old manors like Espoon Kartano are now open to the general public for tours.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

In terms of coworking spaces, there’s a great one in Espoo called Startup Sauna. It’s got various workspaces around the large building, it’s super cool, it’s got a fully equipped kitchen and hang-out spots, plus loads of events going on.

#5 Turku

Turku

If you’re looking for somewhere with a whole lot of history amidst city living, Turku is the destination for you.

Monthly cost of living in Turku

$1616/ month 

cost of rent
in Turku

$693/month

Turku has a lot to offer. Set in southwest Finland, or Varsinais-Suomi, it’s the oldest city in Finland and the country’s first capital before it was moved to Helsinki in 1812. 

With hundreds of years of history as Finland’s most important city, that would explain why there are so many examples of that capital status throughout the city.

Close to the Aura River, but still not far from the centre, is Martti (or IV District) – the smallest and most densely populated area in the city; a good option for a nomad. 

For somewhere further from Turku’s central area, there’s Hirvensalo; though pricey, it’s considered a pretty cool, affluent area of town.

Pros of Turku

  • A whole lot of history
  • River boats make summer amazing
  • Cool restaurants, cafes and bars

Cons of Turku

  • Lots of ugly apartment blocks
  • City life might be too much for some
  • Might have trouble fitting in

History abounds in Turku. There’s the incredible Turku Cathedral, dating back to 1276; the grand 19th-century City Hall; the rustic Luostarinmäki open-air museum; Qwensel House (Turku’s oldest wooden house); quirky but impressive Turku Museum of Art; and 13th-century Turku Castle, the largest medieval building in Finland. Wow.

One cool thing about Turku is how committed to tradition this city seems to be. Stretching back all the way to the 13th century, the Declaration of Christmas Peace is something that is read out at the Old Great Square of Turku; it basically says that it’s the season of goodwill and everyone should behave accordingly. It’s Christmas!

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

HUB Turku is a coworking space set in a historic building in the charming streets of Old Turku; needless to say it’s a pretty cool place run by enthusiastic people. 

#6 Tampere

Tampere

Set between two lakes, the inland city of Tampere is a good option if you want a compact city packed with culture and things to see.

Monthly cost of living in Tampere

$2627/ month 

cost of rent in Tampere

$739/month

Located in Pirkanmaa, a region of southern Finland, Tampere is the country’s second city and is, in fact, the largest inland city in any of the Nordic countries. 

Aside from this claim to fame, Helsinki can be reached in just an hour and a half via the high-speed rail service, Pendolino, making it a convenient place to base yourself.

The area of Hervanta isn’t the prettiest neighbourhood of Tampere, but it has some cheap housing options and some newer developments that are turning it into a pretty nice (and safe) place to live. 

For somewhere a little more pricey, but much more picturesque, Pyynikki – west of the city centre – is a leafy area complete with nature park and beach.

Pros of Tampere

  • Nice small city feeling
  • Easy to get out into nature
  • Loads of stuff to do

Cons of Tampere

  • More pricey than some Finnish cities
  • Gets very cold in winter
  • Maybe too small for some

There’s a lot of culture in Tampere – not least in its thriving food scene, where mustamakkara (blood sausage) is a local delicacy. 

There’s also the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, one of only two in the country, plenty of theatres, as well as summer festivals, including a film festival and the family-friendly Tampere Flora Festival.

Tampere has a few interesting sights, too. There’s the city’s cathedral, which is a pretty cool early 20th-century building; inside, however, there are some very leftfield frescoes painted Hugo Simberg, a symbolist artist. One of these is called Garden of Death and features skeleton monks watering a garden.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

For a coworking space, head to Crazy Town a place for “community-driven coworking and business acceleration” –  a good option for enterprising nomads. Otherwise, there’s the very cool Inbot & Kiuas for your all your work needs.

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#7 Jyväskylä

Jyväskylä

Jyväskylä, with its lakes and cultural establishments, is an out-of-the-way location for nomads looking for peace and quiet in a city environment.

Monthly cost of living in Jyväskylä

$2564/ month 

cost of rent in Jyväskylä

$639/month

Located in the western part of Finnish Lakeland – also known as Finland’s lake district – the city of Jyväskylä is known for its high-quality education and for its beautiful natural setting. Both are pretty famous in Finland. 

Aside from its snowy winters, Jyväskylä becomes a veritable paradise in summer, when the sun almost never sets.

Basing yourself in the city’s Downtown district, right near the main train station, is a good idea if you feel like being connected with the outside world – and having amenities on the doorstep. 

On the lake shore, the other side of the station, is Lutakko, which boasts relatively affordable modern high-rises with great views.

Pros of Jyväskylä

  • Beautiful natural surroundings
  • Peaceful city to live
  • Summers are lovely here

Cons of Jyväskylä

  • Not very lively
  • Can feel quite remote
  • Winter = very short days, freezing, lots of snow

Jyväskylä doesn’t come absolutely packed to the rafters with things to do, but it does have a few aces up its sleeve for your benefit. 

There’s the Craft Museum, which is a cool place to learn about all things crafty and Finnish, as well as a decent Natural History Museum where you can get educated on how this region has been shaped.

Elsewhere the Alvar Aalto Museum specialises in all things architecture and design, for all you aesthetic-lovers out there. 

For more aesthetics, head to the hills for winter sports whilst it’s still snowy, or prepare for row-boating on Palokkajärvi – a nearby lake – in summer.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

To get a spot of work done, we would recommend that you head to Crazy Town. With locations in a few different cities (as you’ve seen in Tampere), this is a well organised and pretty cool place for you to further your projects.

#8 Vantaa

Vantaa

A twenty-minute train ride from Helsinki, but much less expensive, Vantaa is a well-located option for budget-minded nomads.

Monthly cost of living in Vantaa

$1890/ month 

cost of rent
in Vantaa

$792/month

With Helsinki a stone’s throw to the south, and the capital’s airport practically next door, Vantaa is a cheaper, out-of-town alternative to the Finnish capital. 

But Vantaa is a city in its own right, with plenty of restaurants serving up everything from pizza to sushi, and a few cool bars and eateries thrown in for good measure.

When choosing a place to base yourself in Vantaa, we would recommend going for the area at the centre of town – Tikkurila. 

Here you will have plenty of choice when it comes to eating out; plus Vantaa’s train station is smack in the middle of this area, meaning trips to Helsinki are easily done.

Pros of Vantaa

  • Close to Helsinki (minus the price)
  • Nicely sized town
  • A lot of decent eateries to try out

Cons of Vantaa

  • Not loads of stuff to do
  • Some areas are a little run-down
  • It's not Helsinki

Located in Vantaa’s Tikkuria district is the pretty cool Heureka Science Center, complete with interactive exhibitions and experiments; there’s also a planetarium here, which is fun, and even the building in which the whole thing is located in is pretty cool, we have to say.

Also in Tikkurila is the area’s old train station, a pretty old building that’s now a museum where you can learn about the Finnish railway. This district is also full of shops, like at Martintorni (incidentally Vantaa’s tallest building).

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Here’s a crazy curve ball: commute to Helsinki (20 mins by train) for your remote working needs! There are plenty of cafes in the capital with wi-fi. Otherwise, near Helsinki station, there’s Village Works, an airy coworking space.

#9 Savonlinna

Savonlinna

With its peaceful atmosphere and laid-back living, Savonlinna is the Finnish town where nomads can escape the bustle of city life.

Monthly cost of living in Savonlinna

$2087/ month 

cost of rent in Savonlinna

$592/month

Set in the very heart of Finland’s southeastern lake district – not far from Saimaa, the country’s largest freshwater lake – Savonlinna is a picturesque place to base yourself as a digital nomad. 

Here you will have access to sparkling waters, stunning natural scenery – all of it pretty darn beautiful when summer rolls around.

When it comes to somewhere to live in Savonlinna, well, it’s a small place but there are a few neighbourhoods to choose from. 

You could opt to base yourself near Savonlinna train station, in the area of Suvisranta, or for something wildly pretty you could look for somewhere by the shore in the Miekkoniemi district.

Pros of Savonlinna

  • Very pretty place to live
  • Plenty of outdoorsy stuff to do
  • Affordable compared to many other places

Cons of Savonlinna

  • Could get boring
  • Not much to do except lake-related stuff
  • Pretty bleak in winter (it's all about summer)

Built on islands, living in Savonlinna means access to constant nature. There’s the nearby Kolovesi National Park to explore, with its dramatic and jagged rocky shores, whilst Linnansaari National Park is also pretty close; more water and countless islands to explore. It’s a water lover’s heaven, that’s for sure.

It’s not all nature in Savonlinna. There are some history and culture here too, with the medieval splendour of Olavinlinna castle; in the summer the Savonlinna Opera Festival takes place here and makes for a magical evening of midnight sun and music.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

If you want a spot to do a spot of work – with a view – then head to Lettukahvila Kalliolinna. This cafe does amazing crepes and is surrounded by woodland and lake vistas; there are certainly worse places to work!

#10 Rauma

Rauma

Rauma lets nomads live a life by the sea in a charming town – what more could you want?

Monthly cost of living in Rauma

$1960/ month 

cost of rent
in Rauma

$608/month

Rauma is a small town on Finland’s west coast. Small it may be, but it’s possibly one of the most charming towns in the whole country. 

For one thing, it’s got the largest wooden old town in any of the Nordic countries (a UNESCO-designated one, at that), where rows of pastel coloured houses with neat ornamentation line cobbled streets. Nice.

One of the best places to find a place to live in Rauma is the neighbourhood of Tarvonsaari, it’s sort of midway between the Old Town and Rauma Las train station; there are plenty of eateries and amenities nearby. 

Other than that, living nearer the centre of the Old Town means charming streets on your doorstep.

Pros of Rauma

  • Utterly charming old town
  • Quiet life by the sea
  • Lots of history to learn about

Cons of Rauma

  • Could feel isolating
  • Really not a lot going on
  • No coworking spaces

In Rauma it’s not just about the history of wooden houses; the history actually goes back a lot further than that. Here you will find another UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Samallahdenmäki burial site. 

These may be piles of rocks (36 of them), but they’re around 3,000 years old – when Samallahdenmäki, now inland, was located on the coast.

Head back to the living museum of Rauma’s wooden old town and you’ll have plenty to explore – from quaint little shops and famous lacework to marvel at, to homely restaurants where you can chow down on local dishes.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

No coworking spaces, but cafes. One particularly good cafe to work at is Wanhan Rauman KaffeBar, located in Old Rauma: work in the aroma of coffee, eat tasty subs and soak up the friendly atmosphere. Cafe Sali is another nice one.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to live in all of Finland

So, those were the very best places to live in Finland.

What did you think? Some of the cities in this Scandinavian country are super interesting, with a ton of history and culture awaiting any curious mind and a whole lot of dramatic nature besides. We love it!

You could head for the lakes of the picturesque Savonlinna, go for one of the northernmost cities in the world at Oulu, or base yourself in Tampere for the food alone! And don’t forget: Helsinki’s always an option – if you’ve got the budget to spare, that is.

Go and enjoy this cool country!

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Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -