Remote sensing of the fraction of absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (fPAR) has become a timely option to monitor forest productivity. However, only a few studies have had ground reference fPAR datasets containing both forest canopy and understory fPAR from boreal forests for the validation of satellite products. The aim of this paper was to assess the performance of two currently available satellite-based fPAR products: MODIS fPAR (MOD15A2, C5) and GEOV1 fPAR (g2_BIOPAR_FAPAR), as well as an NDVI-fPAR relationship applied to the MODIS surface reflectance product and a Landsat 8 image, in a boreal forest site in Finland. Our study area covered 16 km2 and field data were collected from 307 forest plots. For all plots, we obtained both forest canopy fPAR and understory fPAR. The ground reference total fPAR agreed better with GEOV1 fPAR than with MODIS fPAR, which showed much more temporal variation during the peak-season than GEOV1 fPAR. At the chosen intercomparison date in peak growing season, MODIS NDVI based fPAR estimates were similar to GEOV1 fPAR, and produced on average 0.01 fPAR units smaller fPAR estimates than ground reference total fPAR. MODIS fPAR and Landsat 8 NDVI based fPAR estimates were similar to forest canopy fPAR.