Flying a drone in Finland – what to know

Private drones (the ones people have to take pictures and play) are already a very common element in the backpack of a tourist or traveler, and the truth is that the photos and videos they make are extremely cool. Because of that, I began investigating the topic. So here is all the information you need if you want to fly a drone in Finland.

But first, the video with a drone that inspired this post. @enriquemt upload travel photos often, and they are always pretty cool. Follow him too if you want! (and you can follow the best instagrammers of Finland too)

Flying a drone in Finland

What are the rules for piloting a drone in Finland? That’s the question we’re going to answer here.

In general, flying a drone in Finland is allowed almost everywhere. There are even several clubs and areas designated for this hobby all over the country’s geography.

But of course there are also areas where flying is forbidden. These zones include nuclear power plants, oil refineries and areas used by the government. It is also forbidden to fly them within 1 km of an airport, and if you want to do so you have to ask permission from a control tower (if you are interested, these are the steps). Between 1 and 3 km from an airport a drone can be flown just at the height of the objects you fly over, but not higher.

In general, when go to Finland to fly your drone and to do it well, you should download the Droneinfo app (for Android and iOS), which is also in English so there is no excuse not to follow the rules. The App is developed by the Finnish Transport Security Agency, so it is always up to date.

Safe areas for Flying a drone in Finland
Screenshot from the Droneinfo app.

Things to know to fly your drone in Finland

Here is a list of things to know:

  • Flying over inhabited areas is permitted if the drone weighs less than 3 kg.
  • You don’t need permission from the people you record if you do it in a public place like a market.
  • Do not spy or post photos of people in their private environment.
  • Flying a drone over a crowd is not allowed. The minimum safety distance is 50 m.
  • The maximum flight altitude is 150 meters.
  • You must put your name and contact information on your drone.
  • Buying a third party damage insurance policy is recommended.
A drone in air. Source (CC: by-nd)

Flying with drones in Helsinki

We focus a bit on Helsinki, the capital of Finland, as it’s the place most people visit when they go to Finland, and the place where you’ll probably fly a drone then.

In the capital there are several areas where it is totally forbidden to fly your drone, and unfortunately one of them is the center-center of the city: the place where is for example the white cathedral of Helsinki.

For the rest, follow the recommendations of this post and its sources.

Areas for not flying a drone in Finland
Visual guide of to know where not to fly your drone in Helsinki.

Flying your drone in Lapland

Extreme cold can make drones work differently than they do at “normal” temperatures… as well as affect your fingers if you operate it without gloves or protection (here are some tips on how to dress for the extreme cold of Lapland).

In addition to following the recommendations of this post (and visit the official sources we linked in case anything has changed), you must consider how to fly a drone in cold temperatures.

Lapland is at least this snowy for half a year.

If the day is wet as well as cold, this can accelerate the freezing of some parts of the drone such as the propellers or rotors. Sensors may freeze or give readings that are not correct. Fog or if it starts to snow are two other things to keep in mind, as they can limit visibility and snow can accumulate or interfere in some parts of the drone.

Equally, as we commented in the post of tips for photographing the aurora borealis, the cold also makes the batteries last less, so keep this in mind when flying a drone in Lapland. If you have extra batteries, be sure to carry them and keep them under your coat until you use them.

And you, have you flown a drone in Finland? Can you show us a photo or video you made?