If you think about Finland – what pops to your mind? Maybe Santa? Some of you might have learned that Finland is a small country somewhere between Russia and other Scandinavia. Not sure is it really East or West, but at least they have their Moomins. The place where people live in ice made igloos in a symbiosis with polar bears and reindeers.
Well, you got the last one right, because we really have a lot of Santa’s little helpers in the Northern parts of our country! I have heard also about luxury igloos, or glamping you might say, but nope – no wild polar bears here I’m afraid. But what we do have is something you should really come and see with your own eyes.
We have four uniquely beautiful seasons here: spring, summer, autumn and winter. This year 2017, when our country marks 100 years of independence, our seasons will be celebrated nationwide with four Finnish Nature Days.
Did you know that Finland is actually one of the best places on Earth to spot the Northern Lights? In Finnish Lapland the Aurora Borealis can appear more than 200 nights a year! And from time to time they can be even seen in Helsinki, like these ones here in the picture. Usually Northern Lights appear around the midnight, so be prepared to stay up late, dress warmly, spot the darkest place you can find with as little as possible light pollution, direct your eyes to North and wait. If you’re lucky you might see these natures own fireworks. A good idea is also to check out the Aurora Forecasts before you head out to your spotting trip.
The man in red, the one and only Santa Claus is really from Finland too. The all mighty Santa is originally from Korvatunturi, but nowadays you can find and meet up with him every single day of the year at a city called Rovaniemi, in Lapland.
Our beautiful capital Helsinki is at the same time hip and historic. Enjoy it’s vibrant cafe culture, exquisite art, cool design, check out it’s many museums and historic buildings. Hop on a ferry and take a 20 minute ride to UNESCO World Heritage Site Suomenlinna, which is one of the biggest sea fortresses in the world.
Finland’s wildernes is almost legendary. We have 40 national parks and 12 wilderness areas, so this is the perfect place for an adventurer! Our woods (covering 76% of our country) provide habitat for many kinds of wild animals and birds including bears, wolfs, reindeers, seals and eagles. Want to taste some superfood straight from our forests? In Finland we have this thing called “jokamiehenoikeus” or everyman’s right, which means that you can pick up wild berries and mushrooms from our forests as much as you want – for free.
Finns are crazy about their sauna and almost every single house has their own one. Getting familiar with this tradition of ours is the perfect starting point to understanding Finnish culture. The proper Finnish way to experience sauna is on a calm nightless summer night at your cottage, where you can cool down a bit after the heat by skinny dipping in one of our thousands of lakes.
Karjalanpiirakka, mämmi and salmiakki – these traditional Finnish treats are quite possibly something you have never experienced before anywhere else in the world. When having a first taste of Finnish national dishes, be prepared with an open mind and empty stomach – you might get hooked! Finland and especially Helsinki is nowadays also a foodie’s paradise: our sensational restaurant scene and multiple street food happenings will definitely make your taste buds salsa like never before!
Silence and Peace
The last but definitely not the least is this meditative thingy you can experience here. Silence. Peace. Finland’s pure nature where there’s space to breath. In the rush of modern life you learn to value these kinds of things in a new way. Take forest baths in one of the many woods here and you can feel the extreme relaxation.
Whether you’re exploring Suomenlinna sea fortress and hip cafes in Helsinki, hiking in one of our picturesque national parks, enjoying nightless night by the silent waters after sauna, having a chat with the man in red at Santa Claus village by the arctic circle or watching the natures own Aurora strobo-lights in Lapland surrounded by a scenery that looks like a Christmas card – I promise you, that you’re gonna fall into Finland.
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