You should visit finland if you want to do something that your friends haven’t done, you’re bored of crowded places, you want to see Santa or you want to experience clean nature (while the world still has it). In Finland you can enjoy experiences not that accessible in any other places like for example swim in ice water, experience the real sauna or walk in the woods in the world’s cleanest nature. Finland is really renown by different characteristics such as the world’s cleanest tap water, the confident women, the honest people, the endless summer nights and the offered space to breathe by the Finns.
Finland is a land of interesting contrasts, such as the four seasons, the Midnight Sun and the winter darkness, urban and rural, East and West. It’s truly amazing how uniquely exotic each season can be. Four times a year, nature changes its uniform completely – colour, light, temperature, sounds and smells. Everything changes in a way that happens nowhere else. The Finns are also considered to be cool – a bit quiet and reserved. However, they are actually warm, friendly, hospitable and especially honest people once you get to know them and we encourage you to do just that.
Places to visit
Rovaniemi is the capital of Finnish Lapland and the hometown of Santa Claus. Located on the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi provides modern services and lots of activities year round. Saariselkä–Ivalo–Inari is Europe's northernmost holiday resort where travellers can experience the mystery of Lapp culture. Enjoy the fantastic outdoor activities with modern facilities and genuine hospitality. Levi offers a pace of life that will make your holiday an experience – it begins gently in the morning and throbs in the evening to the sound of dance music.
Imatra and Lappeenranta lie on the shores of Lake Saimaa (the largest lake in Finland), half an hour’s drive from each other. Spas, water, cottages, and a score of both winter and summer activities to be experienced next to the Russian border. One of Finland’s major cities, Tampere is a great example of industrial heritage reinvented for modern urban purposes. Cafés, shops, restaurants, cinemas, galleries and museums in old factory buildings are complemented by glittering lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi that surround the city. There’s no risk of running out of things to do. Design, outdoor activities, lake cruises, shopping, well-being services – Lahti and the region around the city offers all of these, and only an hour away from Helsinki and its international airport.
Finnish Coast and Archipelago
Finland’s second city and original capital Turku is the oldest in the country. Landmarks include the city-splitting River Aura, Turku Castle, the Cathedral and a whole lot more. Turku is also an important cultural venue with rich history. Naantali is known as an idyllic summer destination, and even the President has a villa there, not far from the Moominworld theme park. Statistically, Vaasa is the sunniest city in Finland. Rich cultural and maritime history make for interesting stories, and the Kvarken Arhipelago Unesco World Heritage Site and Old Vaasa are inspiring eye candy.
The capital of Finland is a compact city easily explored on foot. Design, architecture, culture and shopping are all great exploration angles and large park areas, forests, lakes, and the coastline with numerous islands sprinkled off it make certain there’s no shortage of natural presence. Needless to say, there’s something going on in Helsinki every day of the year. Population-wise, Espoo is the second largest city in Finland. However, the city is so spread out it is more like a cluster of several smaller cities. Located next to Helsinki, Espoo’s modern art museum Emma and the city theatre serve culture buffs, the beautiful national park in Nuuksio caters for outdoor enthusiasts and two large shopping centres along with a score of smaller boutiques make sure shoppers have their hands full. Like Espoo, Vantaa lies next to Helsinki and is a large city with no real centre. Home to the Helsinki-Vantaa international airport, Vantaa is more than just a travel hub: Finnish Science Centre Heureka is fascinating for people of all ages, and after some brain food, a visit to Jumbo shopping centre and the adjacent Flamingo spa world might be in order. Cultural experiences and sights are offered in the form of concerts, museums and churches as well as the old Helsinge parish village. Porvoo is most famous for its charming Old Town that dates back to the Middle Ages and is filled with adorable cafés, restaurants and handicraft boutiques. Beautiful manors, museums, churches and chapels characterise Porvoo. Nearby Loviisa is similarly beautiful with the Old Town, the Strömfors Iron Works and the Svartholma Sea Fortress being key sights.
On a fine summer day, Finns have an overwhelming urge to get outside and get out of town. During the week, when the sun is warm, they are eating lunch at a sidewalk café, sunning in the park, bicycling home from work, walking their dogs, or checking their email while sitting on a park bench. There isn’t endless summer in Finland, but there are almost endless summer days. The sun is still shining at 10 pm in Helsinki on midsummer, so when you leave a restaurant after a very long dinner, the evening is still young. In Lapland, Utsjoki for example, a single summer day lasts for over two months. Even in the south, it’s never really dark… just a period of twilight for a few hours.
Summer ends with an explosion of colour in the forests. This is the season known as ‘ruska’, when the autumnal reds, browns and yellows are especially beautiful on the fells of Lapland. September is also a popular time for trekking in northern Finland. While Finns are going back to work, recalling the summer and planning for the next one, others are still finding their way here. The ground is covered in fallen leaves and the smell of wood smoke fills the air. The woods are dotted with wild edible mushrooms, such as yellow chanterelles and brown porcini.
During January and February, there is almost always snow in northern and eastern Finland. Even if there’s little snow in Helsinki, there’s often up to a metre or more on the slopes in Lapland. The snow season in northern Finland begins in November and lasts at least until May. In the inland regions of southern and central Finland, the first snow falls at the beginning of December and melts during late March and April. During the long days of March and April in Lapland, you can ski or sleigh for 12 to 16 hours under a brilliant sun. The best season in Lapland starts in February and lasts until May. You can go downhill or cross country skiing, go on a dogsled or skimobile safari, or even indulge in some ice skating or ice fishing. The Finnish winter lasts half the year, so Finns have thought of plenty of activities to fill the time.
Dress warmly and enjoy it. Even if the thermometer reads minus 20 centigrade, it doesn’t feel as cold as you might think. The dry continental climate here doesn’t feel as cold as the damp cold of central Europe. Finns are also used to this kind of weather, so everything runs smoothly and punctually.
WINTER DARKNESS (POLAR NIGHT) – KAAMOS
Northernmost Finland is above the Arctic Circle, so the sun does not rise for a month or more during the winter. It’s not completely dark – there are a few hours of twilight around noon. This polar night is called ‘kaamos’ in Finnish; it sounds a bit like ‘calm us’. In Utsjoki, in the far north, this period lasts for nearly two months. The winter days are short all over Finland and the sun is very low on the horizon even at midday. By mid-April, even though there is still plenty of snow in Lapland and there may be snow flurries in the south, the sun stays above the horizon for 14 to 15 hours in southern Finland and for 16 hours in the north.
Summer is short in Finland and spring is even shorter. In southern Finland there is often snow on the ground at the beginning of April, with a few crocuses poking their heads through the bare patche. In May everything is growing so fast that you can almost see the grass growing and the leaves bursting forth. The Finns’ festival of spring is May 1, or Vappu, a time of frenzied celebrations across the country. Be forewarned: This is not a day when Finns are their usual sober and hardworking selves. If you prefer peace and quiet, this is a good time to rent a cottage. The forests are carpeted with anemones and other wildflowers. Spring rain and sunshine pass quickly over the lakes. The water is still cold, but if you are brave, hot and steaming from the sauna, then you might fancy taking a quick dip.
Way of life
In the rush and crush of modern life, the rarities are what we value most, such as space, quiet and time. The space to breathe, a time to dream… you can find these treasures in Finland, where the lakes are many and the people are few.
Sauna is a place to get in tune with your thoughts, do some deep pondering and then wash away your worries. It’s as much about cleaning the mind as it is cleaning the body. The Finnish foods ramge from Finnish salmon and trout to duck and snow grouse, from reindeer and elk to blueberries and cloudberries, it’s all wild and delicious – and good for you.
Yes, it’s freezing outside and yes, the water is cold! Forget all excuses and just do it – the exhilarating feeling you get after an icy dip is worth that leap of faith. Cruise through silent, snow-covered wilds in a muscle-powered sled. A tour across the forests and fells with your own team of dogs or reindeer is as close to a true Northern experience as you can get.
Linear functionality and simplistic beauty are phrases often used to describe Finnish design. From furniture and decorations to glassware and everyday tools, Finland’s designers have always been inclined to make items that work and look good. Everyone knows who he is, but how many can say they’ve been to his home? Meeting Santa Claus at his house in Finnish Lapland is every child’s dream. Even adults can’t resist being taken in by the magical atmosphere of the Arctic Circle during Christmas. Finland’s unique architecture is a constant visual reminder of the country’s position as a barrier between the East and the West. Believe it or not, Finland is the place to go for festivals. From numerous rock, jazz, opera and folk festivals to chamber music and theatre events, there’s always a party going on. Of course, you already know the sun never set. Salmiakki is a salty liquorice sweet that is black or dark brown in colour. Lörtsy is a thin, half-moon shaped meat pie originally invented in Savonlinna, eastern Finland. We know they sound strange, but you’ll love them both. From mobile phone throwing to wife carrying, swamp football to air guitar, table drumming to rubber boot throwing… the list goes on. It’s weird, it’s wonderful, it’s silly, and it’s a great excuse for a party!