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Traveling to Finland? Handy Finnish Phrases to Help You Get Around

Heading to Finland? Learn useful Finnish phrases to navigate your journey with confidence!

Planning a trip to Finland? Get ready to plunge into a land of jaw-dropping landscapes, enchanting Northern Lights, and a quirky culture that will leave you utterly spellbound. But before you board that flight, let's be real – Finnish might not roll off your tongue as easily as you'd hope. No worries, brave traveler! We've got your back with a handy list of Finnish phrases that will help you navigate this captivating country like a true local.

From ordering mouthwatering reindeer pizza to decoding sauna etiquette, let's dive into the linguistic adventure that awaits you in Finland!

Why Learn Basic Finnish Phrases?

Learning basic Finnish phrases is highly beneficial when traveling to Finland. It enables better communication, enhances cultural understanding, and facilitates interaction with locals. Being able to greet locals, order food, ask for directions, and express gratitude in their native language can go a long way in creating positive experiences. It shows respect towards the local culture and people, which can lead to more authentic and meaningful connections.

Travel Phrases in Finnish

Greetings and Basic Politeness

Greetings and basic politeness are key when traveling in Finland. Finns value politeness and appreciate when visitors make an effort to use local phrases. A simple "Hei" (hello) or "Moi" (hi) is a good way to start a conversation. Remember to use "Kiitos" (thank you) when receiving help or a service, and "Päivää" (good day) when entering a shop or meeting someone for the first time.

It's also common to shake hands when greeting someone, although a nod and a smile is usually enough in more informal situations. Taking the time to learn these basic greetings can go a long way in making a good impression and connecting with locals.

How to Say Hello and Goodbye in Finnish

In Finland, saying hello is as simple as saying "Hei." Make sure to pronounce it as "hey" to avoid any misunderstandings. Similarly, when it's time to say goodbye, you can use "Näkemiin," which means "goodbye." It's always good to be polite, so adding "kiitos" (thank you) or "ole hyvä" (you're welcome) when appropriate can go a long way. Remember, a friendly smile and a respectful attitude are universally understood and appreciated.

Expressing Gratitude and Apology

Expressing gratitude and apology are key aspects of effective communication in Finnish travel situations. When receiving help or hospitality, it is customary to say "kiitos" (thank you) to show appreciation. A simple "anteeksi" (sorry) can be used to apologize for any inadvertent mistakes or wrongdoings. These phrases, accompanied by a friendly smile and respectful tone, go a long way in building positive connections with locals.

For instance, thanking a Finnish person for their recommendation at a local restaurant or apologizing for accidentally bumping into someone on a crowded bus are common practices. Remembering and utilizing these phrases can greatly enhance your travel experiences in Finland.

Navigating the City

Navigating the city in Finland is relatively straightforward due to its efficient public transportation system. The most common way to get around is by using buses, trams, and trains, which are easily accessible and cover most areas. In larger cities like Helsinki, there are also extensive bike sharing networks, making it ideal for exploring the city on two wheels.

Additionally, mobile apps and online maps are widely used to plan routes and find the nearest public transportation stops.

Asking for Directions

  • When in Finland, it can be helpful to know some basic travel phrases for asking for directions.
  • Start by politely greeting the person with "Hei" (Hello) or "Anteeksi" (Excuse me).
  • Use "Missä on" (Where is) followed by the place you are looking for, such as "rautatieasema" (train station) or "pysäkki" (bus stop).
  • To ask if something is nearby, say "Onko tämä lähellä?" (Is this close by?).
  • If you are lost, say "Olen eksyksissä" (I am lost) to seek assistance.
  • Remember to thank the person with "Kiitos" (Thank you) after receiving directions.
  • Practice these phrases to navigate and explore Finland with ease.

Taking Public Transportation

Taking public transportation in Finland is a common and convenient way to get around. Buses, trams, and trains are widely available in cities and towns, and they provide an efficient and affordable mode of transportation.

For example, the Helsinki Metro is a fast and reliable way to navigate the city. In addition, using public transportation helps reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions, promoting a more sustainable environment. It is important to familiarize yourself with the routes and schedules, and to purchase a valid ticket or card before boarding. By utilizing public transportation, you can easily explore Finland while minimizing your impact on the environment.

Ordering Food and Beverages

Ordering food and beverages in Finnish can be straightforward with a few key phrases. Start by saying "Anteeksi" (Excuse me) to get the server's attention. Then, ask for the menu by saying "Saisinko ruokalistan?" (Could I have the menu?). When ready to order, say "Haluan tilata..." (I would like to order...), followed by the dish or drink you want. To ask for recommendations, say "Mikä on suositeltavaa?" (What do you recommend?).

Finally, to pay, say "Saisinko laskun?" (Could I have the bill?). With these phrases, you can confidently enjoy the local cuisine in Finland.

Interacting with Locals

When traveling in Finland, it is important to interact with locals to get a true sense of the culture. Finns appreciate visitors who make an effort to learn a few basic phrases in their language. Simple greetings like "Hei" and "Kiitos" (Thank you) can go a long way in breaking the ice. Engaging in small talk about the weather or asking for recommendations can also help establish a connection.

Showing respect for Finnish customs and traditions is highly valued, so being polite and considerate is essential. By interacting with locals, travelers can gain valuable insights and create meaningful connections during their time in Finland.

Common Phrases for Small Talk

When traveling in Finland, mastering a few small talk phrases can go a long way in connecting with the locals. Start your conversations on the right foot by greeting people with a hearty "Hei!" ("Hello!") or "Moi!" ("Hi!"). To ask someone how they are doing, you can use the phrase "Kuinka menee?" ("How's it going?"). It's polite to thank others with a simple "Kiitos" ("Thank you") or say "Paljon kiitoksia!" ("Thank you very much!") to show extra gratitude.

If you want to wish someone a good day, say "Hyvää päivänjatkoa!" ("Have a nice day!"). These small talk phrases can make your interactions in Finland much more enjoyable and pleasant.

Shopping and Bargaining

When shopping and bargaining in Finland, it's helpful to know some key phrases to navigate the process smoothly:

  1. Starting a conversation: Begin with a polite greeting, such as "Hei" or "Moi," followed by "Anteeksi" (excuse me) when approaching a salesperson.
  2. Asking for assistance: Use "Voisitteko auttaa minua?" (Could you help me?) to seek guidance or recommendations.
  3. Inquiring about price: To ask "How much is this?" say "Paljonko tämä maksaa?".
  4. Negotiating: While bargaining is not common in Finland, you can politely ask, "Olisiko mahdollista saada alennusta?" (Is it possible to get a discount?).
  5. Expressing satisfaction: To thank the salesperson, say "Kiitos" (thank you) or "Olen tyytyväinen" (I am satisfied) if making a purchase.

Remember, being courteous and respectful goes a long way in Finnish shopping experiences.

Emergency Situations

Emergency situations can happen when traveling, and it's important to know how to handle them in Finnish. One phrase that can be useful is "Apua!" which means "Help!" This can be used in a variety of situations, such as when you're lost, injured, or in danger. Another useful phrase is "Soita ambulanssi!" which means "Call an ambulance!" This can be used if someone is in need of urgent medical attention.

Knowing these emergency phrases can help you communicate your needs and get the necessary help in a potentially stressful situation.

Sightseeing and Leisure

  • Finnish cities offer a wide range of attractions for sightseeing, such as historical landmarks, cultural sites, and stunning natural landscapes.
  • Don't miss the opportunity to visit popular tourist spots like Helsinki's bustling market square or the renowned Suomenlinna fortress.
  • Take a leisurely stroll through enchanting forests, picturesque parks, or alongside Finland's numerous lakes.
  • Enjoy Finnish saunas, a beloved leisure activity, which can be found in many hotels, spas, and public facilities.
  • Embrace Finnish traditions by trying winter activities like ice skating, skiing, or snowshoeing.
  • Experience Finnish cuisine by trying local delicacies such as reindeer stew and Karelian pastries.
  • Engage with locals and learn about Finnish culture through festivals, concerts, or art exhibitions.

Expressing Interest and Appreciation

Expressing interest and appreciation is an important aspect of interacting with locals in Finland. A simple "kiitos" (thank you) goes a long way in showing gratitude for someone's help or service. Complimenting the beauty of the Finnish landscapes or the unique culture can also create a positive connection.

For example, saying "Suomi on todella kaunis maa" (Finland is a really beautiful country) can convey admiration. Remember, sincere gestures of appreciation can make a difference in building relationships while traveling in Finland.

Booking Tickets and Guided Tours

When traveling in Finland, knowing how to book tickets and guided tours is essential. This will make your trip more convenient and ensure that you don't miss out on popular attractions. You can book tickets for trains, buses, and ferries online or at designated ticket offices. Guided tours can be arranged through travel agencies or directly with tour operators. By booking in advance, you can secure your spot and avoid last-minute hassles.

Additionally, researching and comparing prices and reviews can help you find the best deals and reputable tour providers.

Asking for Recommendations

When traveling in Finland, it can be helpful to ask for recommendations from locals. Here are some tips for asking for recommendations in Finnish:

  • Use polite phrases such as "Voisitteko suositella jotain hyvää ravintolaa?" (Could you recommend a good restaurant?) or "Onko teillä suositusta nähtävyyksistä tässä kaupungissa?" (Do you have any recommendations for sights in this city?)
  • Be specific about what you're looking for, whether it's a restaurant, activity, or place to visit.
  • Listen carefully to the recommendations and ask follow-up questions if needed.
  • Consider asking for recommendations from multiple people to get a variety of options.
  • Remember to thank the person for their help and let them know if you enjoy their recommendation.


Planning a trip to Finland? This article provides a handful of useful Finnish phrases to assist you while exploring the country. Whether you need to ask for directions, order food, or simply engage in basic conversation, these handy phrases will come in handy. So, before your trip, make sure to familiarize yourself with these essential Finnish words and expressions to help you get around more smoothly and enjoy your time in Finland to the fullest.

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