After Christmas, the Finns save energy for the last night of the year, which promises to be a bit wild. While some people ring in the New Year in front of the TV with the President's speech and vintage movies, many also gather for gala dinners, live concerts, dance parties, and fireworks and usually drink lots of alcohol. Others prefer to end the year in nature, on the skis, and possibly with Northern Lights on the horizon. Anyways, if you're looking for the best events and activities for a New Year's break in Finland, we've got you covered here.
National NYE in Helsinki
The main national celebration traditionally takes place in Helsinki, the capital and largest city in Finland. Usually, the official festivities hit Senate Square next to Helsinki Cathedral, or Kansalaistori (Citizens' Square), nestled between the Oodi Library and the Music Centre. Besides live entertainment, the official part of the program features a speech by the city mayor, a national anthem, and other patriotic songs. All wraps up with the grand fireworks spectacle at midnight. Later, folks often move to the harbor for a more frivolous bash, which can continue into early morning hours.
Tampere's Firework Show
Famous as the second-largest urban area, Tampere also offers a bunch of glitzy events to wave goodbye to the past year. These include bar bashes, nightclub raves, rooftop parties, and surely fireworks. The main celebration in the city is Tampere's New Year Firework Show, held at the Ratina stream pool area. Unlike other midnight fireworks, this pyrotechnic extravaganza starts in the evening at around 9:50 pm and runs for approximately 5 minutes. So make sure to arrive in time and reserve a convenient spot for the best views and snapshots. Also, better get there on foot, as traffic is likely to be heavy.
A double NYE in Tornio
If your taste is for something really extraordinary, consider a double NYE countdown on the Finnish-Swedish border by the Torne river. Head to Tornio on the Finnish side to welcome new year with live performances and splendid fireworks display over the river. Then, take a 5-minute drive across the bridge to Haparanda in Sweden and enjoy another round of New Year fireworks just an hour later.
Winter fun in Finnish Lapland
You may want to escape traditional dancing and drinking and enjoy a fairytale Scandinavian winter with ample snow. Bundle up and set off further north to Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, the most magical site across Finnish Lapland. Enjoy the outdoors while snowmobiling, dog sledding, Arctic wildlife watching, or chasing Northern Lights, which are more than impressive at this area. Save Finnish Sauna for the evening relaxation. As midnight approaches, you can arrange a private celebration for yourself and light some firecrackers. The only timeframe when you can legally set off fireworks in Finland is 6 pm on December 31 to 2 am on January 1.
Ski holiday in Ruka
Lastly, why not ski into the new year? Choose a ski resort to ride the slopes by the day and party with fireworks at night. Ruka is the most popular pick, as it's not that far north, like the other skiing locations. With 200 days of snow, 35 slopes, 22 lifts, and nearly 100 miles (160 km) of cross-country skiing trails, Ruka caters to all kinds of skiers and snowboarders.
The ultimate thing to say, plan ahead and book your stay in advance, as hotels fill up quickly during the season. See the map below for accommodations nearby. Also, check the official websites listed in our External Resources to find the latest announcements. And remember to toast the new year as the locals do with a "Hyvää uutta vuotta!," meaning "Happy New Year!"