Everyone knows that Santa – the one and only – comes from Finland. Although the exact location of his private retreat in Korvatunturi, Lapland, is unknown, his official hometown is Rovaniemi, where he greets visitors all year round.
There are 37 national parks in Finland, covering a total surface area of 8,150 square kilometres. In Europe’s most forested country – about 70% of Finland is covered with trees – with tens of thousands of lakes and beautiful archipelago, national parks provide some of the most amazing opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, canoeing and skiing.
There are around 75 ski resorts in Finland, most of them small spots near cities and villages. The big ones, however, lie in the fells of Lapland and offer something very different from the usual European ski resorts. The surrounding landscapes are unspoilt, blanketed with pure snow from December to April. In the early winter the slopes are lit, later on in the spring the sun shines until very late in the evening.
Finland is often called the Land of a Thousand Lakes – a modest name, considering that there are, in fact, 188 000 lakes in the country. From the metropolitan area around Helsinki all the way up to the great Lake Inari in Lapland, Finland is filled with oases of the clean blue. Where Inari is known for its deep and crystal clear waters, Lake Saimaa’s ringed seal, one of the most endangered species in the world, is the country’s largest lake’s most memorable attraction. A lakeside cottage is an essential part of Finnish summer.
Sauna – the word itself is Finnish – forms a great part of our country’s heritage and culture. It is estimated that there are over two million saunas in Finland. For a population of 5.3 million, this equals to an average of one per household. For Finnish people sauna is a place to relax, purifying both body and mind. Whether an electric sauna in a modern business environment or an old-fashioned wood-burning sauna by a lakeside cottage, a sauna is always near you.
One of the most remarkable features of Finland is light. When the endless sunshine of summer gives way to dark winter, the Northern Lights appear like magic and lighten up the sky. The further north you go, the greater the chances of spotting the Aurora Borealis – in Finnish Lapland they can appear on 200 nights a year. In Helsinki and the south, the Aurorae can be seen on roughly 20 nights a winter, away from city lights.
The white summer nights are perhaps Finland’s most iconic natural phenomena. The nighttime sun is at its strongest during the months of June and July but the further north you go, the longer and higher the sun stays above the horizon. In the very northernmost parts you can experience a full midnight sun from May to August.
Finland is a true design nation. Finnish design icons such as Marimekko and Iittala are still worshipped worldwide whilst a whole new generation of innovative young designers are also taking hold. Yet, Finnish design is more than what meets the eye – it is a way of being, delicately woven into everyday life and culture.
Finland is a country of vast green forests, beautiful Baltic Sea islands, windswept arctic fells and thousands of blue lakes. These untouched and beautiful landscapes provide habitat for many wild animals and birds including the world’s rarest seal.
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.
As you look out from the plane, the first impression you may have is that there are a lot of trees… an endless carpet of forest, with many lakes and small towns in between. It’s kind of a surprise when you land in Helsinki to find that the airport is so modern and efficient. Not a polar bear in sight.
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.
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