As a sparsely populated country on the Arctic Circle, we can appreciate the rugged appeal of Finland (we’re Canadian, after all). The country is famous for something known as “Everyman’s Rights”, an unwritten code that gives people permission to freely roam Finland’s forests, fells, and water. Simply put, getting back to nature is serious business around here.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Languages: Finnish, Swedish
Population: 5.5 Million
LGBT Rights in Finland
Considering that we’re in Scandinavia, and that Tom of Finland – the apex of homoerotic art – hails from here, this nation is quite hip to the gays in both legal and social regard. Same-sex marriage and adoption are non-issues. That said, trans people that wish to undergo reassignment surgery must be sterilized, and receive a mental disorder diagnosis, before their legal gender can change. Finland is the only Nordic country with such a law but has growing support to strike it down.
Gay Activity: Legal
Lesbian Activity: Legal
Same-Sex Marriage: Legal
Right to Change Gender: Legal
Same-Sex Adoption: Legal
LGBT Discrimination: Illegal
Equal Age of Consent: Equal
Gay Finland Travel
Finland, like all of Scandinavia, is easy to visit as a gay traveller. Sexuality is virtually a non-issue, but Finland could be considered one of Scandinavia’s more conservative countries (and it’s still rather liberal). Pride brings annual celebrations to the capital of Helsinki, and the older town of Turku is also worth visiting for a taste of its gay LGBT culture.
Helsinki: Kallio quarter could be considered their gay village, but bars and businesses that cater to the LGBT community are found across the small, progressive city. For a good laugh, you *must* check out the Drag Bear Race, held at the Bear Park Café every Sunday.
Pride and Gay Events
Best Gay Bars
Best Lesbian Bars
There are no lesbian-centric establishments in Finland, but the many facets of the community mix it up at other bars given the small but robust scene.
Best Places to Visit in Finland
5. The Sauna
Finland and saunas are synonymous, and have been a traditional part of life as early as 7000 BC. Whether you’re in a fancy urban apartment or an off-the grid cottage, a Finnish sauna (not to be confused with bathhouses, Gentlemen) is never far away. Be sure to partake in this ancient custom.
The oldest city in Finland was also once its capital. Today it’s experiencing a resurgence of culture, and even boasts a small gay scene.
3. Åland Islands
This archipelago of 6700 islands lies between Finland and Sweden. From sailing to cooking to Christmas markets and crafts, there are many ways to discover the islands.
The country’s largest, least populated and northernmost province. Rovaniemi, the capital, is considered the traditional home to Father Christmas (a European take on Santa Claus). The land is famous for unbeatable views of the Northern Lights.
As the capital city, and the heart of Finland’s gay community, one in ten citizens call Helsinki home. Walkable, historic and design-savvy, it stands among the most livable cities in the world.
Relevant Blog Posts
- Podcast: Our Top 10 Gay Travel Experiences In Scandinavia
- Tom Of Finland: Get To Know The Artist Behind The Bulge
- Hotel Preview: Finland
Best Time to Visit: Summer, especially July, is a great time to experience Finland’s long, warm days and the festive Midsummer holiday. However, we head there in March to indulge in Finland’s world-class winter sports and the Northern Lights.
Electricity: F-type sockets
Time Zone: Eastern European Time (UTC +2)
Vaccinations: There are no required vaccinations for entry.
Visas: If your passport is from the USA, Canada, or Europe you can stay up to 90 days without a visa. There may be exceptions. Click here for more info.
*ALL INFORMATION IS CORRECT AS OF MAY 8, 2019