“The Land of the Thousand Lakes” — a title that is well deserved for Finland that can boast with approximately 188,000 lakes and almost as many islands. As such it is very picturesque and a great destination for tourists that seek nature, culture, sports or to meet some of the 5.5 million locals.
Image by Harri Tarvainen via Visit Finland
Finland is silently located in the very north east of Europe, bordering Norway and Sweden to the west and Russia to the east. It also has a long shore line to the west and south where it meets, for example, the Baltic Sea and the for Finland famous Archipelago Sea. It is in the Archipelago Sea in the south west alone where 40,000 islands are found. Finland has 40 national parks now that showcase its various natural facets such as deep forest, rapids, and wildlife.
Image by Norman
But what makes Finland’s wildlife so special? Considering the vast country and its countless lakes and islands, it is a pristine location for animals to dwell in. The habitat provides for plenty of food and shelter. It is not unlikely to see bears, reindeers, or eagles in many parts of the country, and also birdwatchers will find a bonanza of rare birds that are hard to find in most other countries.
It is then no surprise that Finnish love their country and spend a lot of time outside. Many have a typical Finnish summer house in the countryside and enjoy the fresh air with family and friends. This time out is generally very cherished, and a lot of Finns spend part of it in the typical Finnish sauna or jump into the cold lake, if not both. This space, quietness, and time is treasured and will provide for a great time out.
Image by Harri Tarvainen via Visit Finland
If you now think that Finland has only country to offer, you’ll be surprised about its vibrant city life. Finnish people enjoy many public gatherings like cultural events and festivals, which can be found even in smaller cities. With its extensive countryside and countless lakes, it is then no surprise that many festivals are also held in the nature. You can, of course, decide to simply walk the streets of Helsinki or other cities, enjoying history, architecture, museums, cafes, and much more.
But how was a visit to a foreign country without meeting some locals? You may find the typical Finn to be rather silent, using few words and avoiding unnecessary small talk. This includes that they generally don’t jump into conversations with foreigners either. However, you might be surprised, and if you ask for the way or show interest in, for example, their culture, you will soon experience a strong sense of hospitality and warmth from the otherwise more reserved Finnish personality.
If you’re lucky, you will be invited home by a Finn where you can experience their hospitality and curiosity first hand. This probably also includes a home cooked meal. While you can generally get all types of international food, you will probably taste from wild berries and mushrooms that are widely available in the country. Long traditions of hunting and fishing will provide the necessary protein in fresh meat or fish from one of the many lakes or the Baltic Sea.
Image by Wei Wang
Depending on the time of the year that you intend to visit Finland, you may then have the opportunity to take part in many activities specific to the season. During the longer winter time Finns enjoy activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing, possibly even dog sledding with a pack of huskies. Yet this doesn’t mean that they are less active during the summer. Boating, canoeing, mountain biking, or fishing are just some of the many sports that Finns like to practice.
As if this weren’t enough to spend a great time here, Finland has a few surprises on the list that you may be lucky to be part of if you come at the right time.
If you weren’t lucky enough to be invited home by a Finn during your short vacation, you may still be able to experience a lot of home cooked meals. Especially in case you plan to be in Finland on the third Saturday of May, you will be able to try everything Finnish you can imagine on Restaurant Day. Anyone can open a pop-up restaurant for a day and present his or her cooking skills. This is a large communal event with lots of fun and new food experiences.
While there is of course a Sauna Day and a Nature Day, which could safely be expected to exist in Finland, there are some rather odd or silly events, which surely are lots of fun, too. This includes almost anything, such as the Swamp Soccer World Championship, the Wife Carrying World Championship, Beer Floating (Tubing), or the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship. Of course, you can also meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus at SantaPark or send your kids to Elf School.
Image by Mikko Nikkinen
In case that is too much for your liking, there’s always the option of simply enjoying the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” another title given to Finland where the sun will not fully set during the peak time of summer. Should you come during the winter time, you will instead be able to witness another great natural phenomena, the Northern Lights. For this you should come between September and March, when they are most visible. This alone is a highlight that is worth a trip to Finland.
Welcome to Finland or Tervetuloa as the Finns say!
Go on a Day Trip from Helsinki:
Finnish Sauna in the Nature
Bathe in Finnish sauna, take a dip into the pure lake and grill BBQ.
Price: 99€ per person
Hiking & Canoeing in National Park
Hike in the wilderness, paddle on the lake and eat local BBQ.
Price: 139€ per person
Sailing in Turku Archipelago
Sail between the islets and bathe in the Finnish sauna.
Price: 229€ per person
Visit Bengtskär Lighthouse
Greet the biggest, outmost lighthouse in the Nordics.
Price: 299€ per person