Finland, located in northern Europe, is a country that offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. Known for its stunning natural beauty, Finland is home to thousands of lakes, vast forests, and the Northern Lights, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
One of Finland’s most famous attractions is the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, which can be seen in the northern part of the country during the winter months. Tourists can take guided tours to see the stunning natural phenomenon, which involves colorful lights dancing across the night sky.
Finland is also known for its incredible sauna culture, with saunas being an integral part of Finnish life. Visitors can experience the country’s traditional sauna culture by taking a trip to one of the many public saunas or by booking a stay in a Finnish sauna resort.
Another popular activity in Finland is dog sledding, which involves traveling through the snowy landscape pulled by a team of dogs. There are many dog sledding tours available throughout the country, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the thrill of the ride while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is a vibrant and modern city that offers visitors a wide range of cultural and historical attractions. The city is home to numerous museums, including the National Museum of Finland and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma. Helsinki’s historic Old Town, known as the “Vanha Kaupunki,” is also worth exploring, with its charming cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
For those interested in Finnish architecture, a trip to Alvar Aalto’s home and studio in Jyväskylä is a must-see. Aalto was a world-renowned architect known for his modernist style, and his home and studio have been preserved as a museum showcasing his work.
Finland is also home to numerous national parks, which offer visitors the opportunity to explore the country’s stunning natural beauty. The country’s largest national park, Lemmenjoki, is located in the far north and features breathtaking landscapes, including vast wilderness areas and the winding Lemmenjoki River.
Visitors to Finland can also experience the country’s unique cuisine, which features a wide range of dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Finnish cuisine includes dishes such as reindeer stew, smoked salmon, and Karelian pies, which are traditional Finnish pastries filled with rice porridge.
Overall, Finland is a truly unique and captivating holiday destination that offers visitors the chance to experience some of the most stunning natural scenery in Europe while also enjoying its vibrant culture and fascinating history.
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THINGS TO DO IN FINLAND
Finland, known for its picturesque landscapes and northern lights, offers a plethora of activities for travellers. One of the best things to do in Finland is to visit Helsinki, the capital city. It is a vibrant city with a lot of museums, galleries, parks, and waterfront areas. The Suomenlinna sea fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the top attractions in Helsinki. It was built in the 18th century and is a great place to explore Finnish history.
Another popular destination in Finland is Lapland, especially during the winter season when visitors can experience the northern lights, go dog sledding, snowmobiling, or skiing. Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, is a popular place to visit Santa Claus and his village.
In the summer season, Finland has plenty of outdoor activities to offer. The country has a vast number of lakes, forests, and national parks, making it perfect for hiking, camping, and fishing. One of the most famous national parks is Nuuksio, located just outside of Helsinki. It is an excellent destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
Finland is also known for its sauna culture, and visitors can experience it in a traditional Finnish sauna or at a public sauna complex. Sailing along the Archipelago Sea, which has thousands of islands, is another great way to explore Finland’s natural beauty.
Finally, food lovers can explore Finnish cuisine, which has a mix of traditional and modern dishes. Finnish cuisine often uses ingredients such as fish, reindeer, and berries. Travellers can explore the food markets, cafes, and restaurants in cities like Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku to taste some of the country’s unique delicacies.
PLACES TO VISIT IN FINLAND
Here are ten of the best towns and cities to visit in Finland:
- Helsinki – The capital city of Finland, known for its beautiful architecture, vibrant culture, and lively nightlife.
- Turku – The oldest city in Finland, located on the southwestern coast, known for its historic castle, cathedral, and charming old town.
- Tampere – The third-largest city in Finland, located in southern Finland, known for its industrial heritage, beautiful parks, and lakeside scenery.
- Rovaniemi – The capital of Lapland, located in northern Finland, known for its Santa Claus Village, Northern Lights, and stunning nature.
- Porvoo – A charming town located on the southern coast of Finland, known for its well-preserved old town, colorful houses, and beautiful river views.
- Kuopio – A vibrant university town located in central Finland, known for its beautiful lakes, nature reserves, and excellent ski resorts.
- Vaasa – A coastal town located on the west coast of Finland, known for its stunning archipelago, museums, and historic buildings.
- Kemi – A town located on the northern coast of Finland, known for its icebreaker cruises, SnowCastle, and Lapland’s largest gemstone gallery.
- Savonlinna – A town located in eastern Finland, known for its beautiful lakeside scenery, historic castle, and world-famous opera festival.
- Oulu – A city located in northern Finland, known for its technological innovations, beautiful beaches, and the world’s northernmost Air Guitar World Championship.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT FINLAND
- Finland is known as the “land of a thousand lakes,” with over 188,000 lakes scattered across the country. The largest lake in Finland is Lake Saimaa, which is also the fourth largest lake in Europe.
- Finland is the most sparsely populated country in the European Union, with a population of just over 5.5 million people. Despite its small size, Finland is one of the world’s most developed countries with a highly educated population and a high standard of living.
- Finland is home to the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. This natural light display occurs in the northernmost regions of the country during the winter months.
- Finland is the birthplace of the sauna, a traditional Finnish steam bath that has been used for thousands of years. Today, saunas are still an important part of Finnish culture and there are over 2 million saunas in the country.
- Finland has a long history of design and innovation, and is known for its iconic design brands such as Marimekko and Iittala. The country has also produced many famous architects, including Alvar Aalto, whose designs can be seen throughout Finland and around the world.
REGIONS OF FINLAND
Finland is divided into 19 regions or “maakunta” in Finnish. These regions are further divided into municipalities. Each region offers its own unique blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in exploring the vibrant city life of Helsinki in Uusimaa, enjoying the pristine lakes and forests of Central Finland, or experiencing the Arctic wonderland of Lapland, there is something for everyone in Finland’s diverse regions.
Central Finland, located in the heart of Finland, offers a perfect blend of nature and culture. This region boasts of numerous scenic lakes, forests, and hiking trails, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can explore historical landmarks, such as the Petäjävesi Old Church and the Jyväskylä Museum of Central Finland, and enjoy local food and drink experiences. In the winter, the region transforms into a winter wonderland with various winter sports activities like skiing and snowboarding. Central Finland offers a unique and authentic Finnish experience that’s perfect for a peaceful and relaxing holiday.
Central Ostrobothnia Region, located in western Finland, offers visitors an ideal getaway for those seeking peace and tranquility amidst nature. Known for its picturesque coastline, the region boasts several small towns and villages with unique cultural and historical attractions. Tourists can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, and skiing. With its charming wooden architecture, lively markets, and friendly locals, Central Ostrobothnia is the perfect destination for those looking to explore the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Finland.
Kainuu Region in Finland is an excellent holiday destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its beautiful forests, crystal-clear lakes, and rivers, Kainuu offers an ideal setting for hiking, biking, fishing, and kayaking. Kainuu is also home to several national parks and nature reserves, including Hossa National Park and Oulanka National Park, where visitors can explore stunning landscapes, spot wildlife, and take part in various outdoor activities. Additionally, Kainuu’s charming towns and villages, rich cultural heritage, and friendly locals make it a unique and enjoyable destination for travellers.
Kanta-Häme is a beautiful region in southern Finland that offers an abundance of natural beauty and cultural attractions. The region boasts many lakes, forests, and scenic trails, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the medieval Häme Castle, the artisan village of Fiskars, or take a stroll through the idyllic towns of Hämeenlinna and Riihimäki. Kanta-Häme also offers a rich culinary scene with local delicacies such as freshwater fish, wild mushrooms, and berries. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and delicious food, Kanta-Häme is an ideal destination for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday.
Kymenlaakso Region, situated in southern Finland along the Gulf of Finland, offers a beautiful coastal landscape with picturesque archipelagos, sandy beaches, and natural parks. The region is renowned for its rich history and culture, with attractions such as the Kotka Maritime Museum, Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Lodge, and the World Heritage Site of Verla Groundwood and Board Mill. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and kayaking, and indulge in local delicacies like smoked fish and rye bread.
Lapland is an enchanting region in northern Finland, known for its stunning natural beauty, fascinating indigenous culture, and abundance of winter activities. Visitors can go husky or reindeer sledding, witness the Northern Lights, cross-country ski, snowmobile, or even stay in an ice hotel. In the summer, the midnight sun provides endless daylight for hiking, fishing, and exploring the Arctic wilderness. The region is also home to the unique Sami people, who offer tours of their traditional way of life and cuisine. Lapland is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a magical and unforgettable Arctic adventure.
North Karelia Region in Finland is an enchanting natural destination for tourists seeking to explore scenic beauty. The area boasts dense forests, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife, which attract visitors who are keen on hiking, fishing, and camping. In addition, North Karelia offers a rich cultural experience, with traditional villages and events showcasing the region’s folklore and heritage. Visitors can also enjoy regional delicacies such as Karelian pies and local berry juices. North Karelia Region provides an idyllic holiday destination that combines outdoor adventure and cultural experiences.
Northern Ostrobothnia Region, located in northern Finland, is an excellent holiday destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The region boasts vast wilderness areas, including several national parks, where visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, and skiing. The charming city of Oulu, located on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia, is also a popular destination, offering cultural attractions, excellent restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure or urban exploration, Northern Ostrobothnia has something for everyone.
Northern Savonia is a beautiful and tranquil region in Finland, known for its stunning natural scenery and abundant lakes. The area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, fishing, and skiing. Visitors can also explore the region’s charming towns and villages, each with its own unique character and cultural attractions. With its welcoming locals, delicious cuisine, and peaceful ambiance, Northern Savonia is an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway in the heart of Finland.
Ostrobothnia is a region in Finland known for its beautiful coastline, charming coastal towns, and unique cultural heritage. Visitors can enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, and fishing. The region is also home to several museums and cultural attractions, offering visitors a chance to learn about the area’s history and traditions. The towns of Vaasa and Kokkola are popular destinations, offering a mix of historical sites, cultural events, and local cuisine.
Päijät-Häme Region in Finland is a popular holiday destination known for its beautiful natural scenery and abundance of outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and fishing. The region boasts several lakes, including Lake Päijänne, the second largest lake in Finland. The region’s largest city, Lahti, is a vibrant cultural hub with a variety of museums, galleries, and festivals. Visitors can also explore the charming towns and villages, sample local cuisine, and relax in cozy cottages surrounded by nature.
Pirkanmaa, located in southern Finland, is a vibrant region filled with natural beauty, cultural landmarks, and modern attractions. The region’s largest city, Tampere, is known as the “Manchester of Finland” and is home to charming museums, galleries, and restaurants. Visitors can also explore the beautiful Pyhäjärvi Lake and the stunning Seitseminen National Park, which is perfect for hiking and skiing. With its unique blend of nature and culture, Pirkanmaa is an excellent holiday destination for all kinds of travellers.
Satakunta Region in Finland offers a diverse range of activities for holidaymakers. With its stunning coastal landscapes, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and fishing. The region also has a rich cultural heritage, with several museums and historical sites to explore. Satakunta is also known for its local food scene, offering traditional Finnish dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The lively cities of Pori and Rauma are also popular tourist destinations, offering a variety of attractions and events throughout the year.
South Karelia Region in Finland is an excellent holiday destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its beautiful lakes, national parks, and forests, visitors can engage in various activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating. The region is also home to charming towns and villages, including the historic city of Lappeenranta, where visitors can explore cultural landmarks, museums, and enjoy traditional Finnish cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or an adventure-packed vacation, South Karelia has something to offer everyone.
Southern Ostrobothnia is a picturesque region in Western Finland, known for its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can explore its vibrant towns and villages, enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and skiing, and learn about the region’s fascinating history and traditions. From the scenic landscapes of the Kvarken Archipelago to the charming town of Seinäjoki and the bustling city of Vaasa, Southern Ostrobothnia offers a unique and unforgettable holiday experience.
Southern Savonia is a beautiful region in Finland that offers an array of natural wonders and cultural attractions. Visitors can explore the pristine lakes and forests, visit historic towns like Savonlinna and Mikkeli, and indulge in Finnish cuisine. The region is also home to world-renowned cultural events like the Savonlinna Opera Festival, making it a perfect destination for those looking for a blend of nature, culture, and relaxation. With plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, boating, and fishing, Southern Savonia is an ideal destination for anyone seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating holiday.
Southwest Finland Region is an idyllic destination that combines the charm of the archipelago and the vibrant city life of Turku. Visitors can explore historical sites, such as Turku Castle and the medieval Turku Cathedral, or indulge in outdoor activities like island-hopping and boating. The region also offers plenty of opportunities for culinary adventures, including traditional Finnish cuisine and locally produced craft beers.
Uusimaa is the most populous and vibrant region of Finland, boasting beautiful coastal cities, idyllic archipelagos, and stunning natural landscapes. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities, from exploring the historic sites and museums of Helsinki to taking in the breathtaking views of the Nuuksio National Park. Uusimaa also offers unique experiences, such as visiting the medieval Porvoo Old Town, sampling local cuisine and artisanal products, and taking a cruise through the Helsinki archipelago. With excellent transportation options and numerous accommodation choices, Uusimaa is an ideal destination for both first-time visitors and seasoned travellers alike.
Åland, an autonomous region of Finland located in the Baltic Sea, is a picturesque archipelago known for its natural beauty and tranquility. Visitors can enjoy cycling, kayaking, and fishing while taking in stunning views of the sea and the surrounding islands. Åland also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with opportunities to explore historic sites, museums, and traditional handicrafts. With its charming small towns, friendly locals, and peaceful atmosphere, Åland is an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday in a unique and enchanting setting.
FOOD AND DRINK IN FINLAND
Finnish cuisine is heavily influenced by its northern climate and the availability of local ingredients such as berries, mushrooms, fish, and game meats. Finnish cuisine features simple, hearty, and wholesome dishes that are typically prepared using traditional methods. One of the most popular dishes in Finland is Karjalanpiirakka, a savory pastry filled with rice or mashed potatoes. Another popular dish is Lihapullat, meatballs made with a blend of beef and pork and served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.
Fish is also a staple of Finnish cuisine, with salmon and herring being the most commonly consumed varieties. Other popular dishes include Kalakukko, a fish pie made with rye bread and stuffed with fish and pork fat, and Graavilohi, a traditional Nordic dish made with raw salmon that has been cured in salt, sugar, and dill.
In addition to traditional Finnish dishes, Finland has a growing coffee culture and is known for its specialty coffee shops. Finland is also home to many microbreweries and produces a variety of beers, ciders, and spirits. One popular spirit is Koskenkorva, a clear, unflavored vodka made from barley and pure Finnish water.
Overall, Finnish cuisine offers a range of simple, hearty dishes that highlight the country’s unique northern climate and ingredients.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT FINLAND?
The best time to visit Finland depends on your preferences, as the country experiences distinct seasons throughout the year. Finland has a continental climate, meaning summers are warm and winters are cold.
Summer, from June to August, is the most popular time to visit Finland, as the weather is mild and the days are long, with up to 19 hours of daylight in some areas. This is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, and berry picking. The Finnish countryside is at its greenest during this time of year, making it a perfect time for nature lovers. The peak summer season can be quite busy, especially in popular tourist areas, so make sure to book accommodations and activities well in advance.
Winter, from November to March, is also a popular time to visit Finland, especially for those who enjoy winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. The country’s northern regions experience long nights and the Northern Lights, which are a major attraction for many visitors. December is also a festive time in Finland, with Christmas markets and celebrations taking place throughout the country.
Spring and autumn are less crowded but still offer pleasant weather and fewer tourists. The spring months of April and May bring longer days and milder weather, making it a great time for exploring the Finnish countryside. Autumn, from September to October, is the perfect time to see the changing leaves and enjoy outdoor activities before the winter snow sets in.
FINLAND GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Finland is a country located in Northern Europe, bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east. The country is known for its thousands of lakes, dense forests, and stunning natural beauty. The southern part of the country is mostly flat, while the northern region is characterized by low mountains and rolling hills. The largest lake in Finland, Lake Saimaa, is located in the southeast of the country. The coastline of Finland is also long and dotted with numerous islands.
The climate of Finland is characterized by cold and long winters, and relatively mild summers. The country experiences a range of weather conditions due to its high latitude, including polar nights in the winter, and the famous “Midnight Sun” in the summer. Average temperatures in the winter can dip below freezing, while temperatures in the summer are usually in the 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit. Precipitation is common throughout the year, with snowfall occurring in the winter months.
The geography and climate of Finland make it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and fishing. The country is also known for its saunas, which are a cultural institution in Finland and are believed to have numerous health benefits. Overall, Finland’s natural beauty and unique climate make it a fascinating and attractive country to visit.
FINLAND TRAVEL GUIDES
Finland is the perfect destination for some time away from home however make sure you plan ahead to not miss out on the best destinations and receive local knowledge. Shop for a good Finland travel guide on Amazon today and keep it in your bag during your stay.