To an outsider, the percipient and proud Finns can seem almost alarmingly pithy and withdrawn and at times downright odd: little value is put on exuberance, and you can have an entire conversation with a Finn without their making any discernible facial expression. Underneath this reserve, of course, Finnish people are as full of enthusiasm and affection as any other nation. This is a people whose aversion to small talk and affinity for the awkward moment is rivalled only by their remarkable ability to drink several times their body weight in grain alcohol in an evening’s sitting. Their underlying bonhomie does come out when there’s drink around, but alcohol abuse really has long been a noticeable problem here, and it’s wise to avoid trying to keep up with the Finnish capacity for drinking.

Tipping is rare in Finland, and buying rounds is unheard of. Service is usually included in restaurant bills although it’s common to round the bill up to the nearest convenient figure when paying in cash (the same applies for taxi fares).

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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Finland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In pictures: brushing shoulders with bears in Finland’s newest national park

In pictures: brushing shoulders with bears in Finland’s newest national park

In 2017, Hossa – an area of pristine wilderness with superb hiking near Finland’s eastern border – will become the country’s 40th national park. Photog…

19 Sep 2016 • George Turner insert_drive_file Article
Brave new world: the quirks of Finland’s saunas

Brave new world: the quirks of Finland’s saunas

To Finns, it is the most natural thing on the planet: disrobing, sweating it out naked in front of strangers in temperatures of 80°C, occasionally self-flagell…

11 Aug 2016 • Luke Waterson insert_drive_file Article
18 beautiful pictures of Finland

18 beautiful pictures of Finland

Professional travel photographer Tim Bird shares his love of photographing Finland.  "I’ve been based in the Finnish capital Helsinki for more than thirty…

12 May 2015 • Tim Bird insert_drive_file Article
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