Aside from the fact that Finland is home to an impressively technological modern nation, which draws strong influences from Russia as well as from European neighbours, this large and sparsely populated country is home to several unique features. If you’re searching for a place to see Aurora Borealis or experience the midnight sun, Finland is the right choice. When there, a visit to a sauna is a must – they have invented it and they know how to do it properly. And to cool down, you must take a swim in one of 188,000 lakes. And when you think, it could not get any better, we tell you that Finland is the homeland of Santa Claus – and you can visit him all year round. Suitcases packed?
Aurora Borealis that lightens up the sky with blazing colours is such a powerful and unique natural phenomenon that you should experience at least once in your lifetime. The legend behind is as powerful as the phenomenon itself: it is said that a fox runs across the Artic fells and lights up the sky with sparks flying from its tail, whirling up the snow. The further north you go, the greater are the changes to spotting the Northern Lights. The perfect timing would be sometimes between September and March an hour or two before midnight. It might last a few seconds or go on for hours.
The greatest part of the Finnish culture and heritage is the sauna. The Finns consider it so important that they have even built one in their parliament. Sauna is not only for physical, but also for spiritual cleansing. It is the place for bonding, having in-depth conversations… There is said to be over two million saunas in Finland, which means one per household on average. So, when you are in Finland, visiting sauna is a must. Combined with a swim in one of their 188,000 lakes, you will experience the unforgettable.
If you visit Finland from May to August, especially its northernmost parts, you will get a chance to experience the Midnight Sun, a natural phenomenon that causes the sun to set and rise only one day every year. The sun takes on remarkable colours, like those during sunrise and sunset and a warm, bright light embraces the nature. When the sun shines for 24 hours, you can do many things. A visit to one of the many open-air festivals, a round of golf or maybe a day or two at a cottage at the lake? It’s traditional for the Finns to own a cottage by a lake, where they can retreat from everyday worries. And having sun shine 24/7 makes the cottage life even more wonderful.
The one and only real Santa Claus comes from Finland, more precisely from the mysterious Artic Circle. In the town called Rovaniemi his official office is located, which is definitely the most exciting place in the world for children. Here, you can visit him all year round. He will be delighted to show you around and offer you some ginger bread biscuits baked by his wife, Mrs. Claus. And if you’re lucky enough, you might meet Rudolph the Reindeer too! If you decide to write him a letter, make sure to write the address clearly and the chances of getting his reply are p high. So far, they have responded to over thousands of letters from 198 different countries in the world – what is your wish for the upcoming Christmas? A visit to Lapland perhaps?
With more than 300 surrounding islands, charming architecture, dozens of outstanding restaurants and numerous design stores, the vibrant city of Helsinki, Finland’s capital, is a destination well-worth visiting. This modern and compact European city boasts a distinctive character, a fusion of East and West, which can be felt in the architecture and the way of life. Must-visit sights include the impressive Central Railway Station, for which some suggest that it served as an inspiration for Batman’s Gotham City, the fortress of Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is located on an island just a short ferry drive away, the former working class neighbourhood of Kallio, which today sparkles with life, and the Esplanade park, a venue for numerous music and art events, to name but a few.
Located in the northern part of Finland, Lapland is the place to be for all adventure, but at the same time romantic souls. If you want to experience Aurora Borealis, see a reindeer or two, take a bath in the midnight sun, have a sledge safari with huskies, try yourself in ice or kings crab fishing, sleep in an igloo, get to know the Sami people and speak in person with a real Santa Claus, you have found your dream destination. Mesmerizing natural wonders combined with the dazzling little towns which sparkle with life, such as the reindeer’s head shaped Rovaniemi, Saariselkä, Ivalo, Inaro and Levi, create a perfect combination of opposites. Once you visited, you understand, why Santa has decided to live here.
Located on the West coast of Finland, along the Aura River, the maritime city of Turku was once the capital of the country. Dating back to the 13th century, the town is considered the oldest in Finland. The river, which is the heart of the city, is also the entrance point for the archipelago of thousands of rocky islands. The city, which was pronounced the European Capital of Culture in 2011, boasts several historic sites, including the Turku Castle, Forum Marinum maritime centre and its museum ship fleet, as well as the Pharmacy Museum and Qwensel House. Overflown with summer festivals and events, rich history, culture and architecture, the city is a popular destination for cruise ships, which sail from Turku Harbour across the Baltic to Sweden.
Finland, the country of thousands of lakes and forests, which are never far away from wherever you are. Pay a visit to Santa, admire the Northern lights, sense the peace of the country side and cottage life. Experience the spirituality of Lapland and you will never be the same.
If you want to experience the phenomenon of the Northern Lights, take a bath at the Blue Lagoon, see the most mesmerizing natural phenomena, including volcanoes, glaciers, fjords and bubbling hot springs, or ride Icelandic horses, Iceland should be your next destination to visit.