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The Official
Travel Site of Finland

  • 1

    Aurora
    Borealis

    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.

  • Seeing the Northern Lights requires sufficient darkness and clear skies, which makes late autumn, the winter and early spring (September to March) the most favourable times. The best time of day is an hour or two before and after midnight. The display might last 20 seconds or go on for hours.

     

  • How do the Northern Lights come about? Sami legend says a Fox runs across the Arctic fells and lights up the sky with sparks flying from its tail, whirling up the snow. The modern Finnish term “revontulet”, the fox’s fires, derives from this myth.

    A scientist’s explanation to the phenomenon would be something like “the solar wind sends charged particles towards the Earth, and upon colliding with its atmosphere they produce energy given off as light”. We prefer the Sami myth.

     

aurora borealis – once-in-a-lifetime or obsession-forever?

The thrill of witnessing the Aurora Borealis is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. Some, however, get hooked and can never get enough of the blazing colours in the sky.

  • 2

    Midnight Sun

    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.

  • Over two thirds of the world’s people who experience the Midnight Sun live in Finland. In the northernmost parts of Finnish Lapland, the sun stays above the horizon for over 70 consecutive days.

  • Although the full Midnight Sun only shines above the Arctic Circle, nights are white all over the country. Late at night, the sun briefly dips beyond the horizon before rising again, blurring the boundaries between fading night and dawning day.

WHITE NIGHT magic

With the midnight sun anything you can do during the day, you’ll be able to do at night – with a special edge, mind you.

  • 3

    Finnish sauna

    Sauna 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 – there’s even one inside parliament.

  • There are many traditions and practices concerning the sauna experience, but the most important one for the Finns is to relax, purifying both body and mind.

  • Did you know the word “sauna” is Finnish? 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.

Sauna – the best place to meet the finns

If you want to understand Finland and its people, getting familiar with sauna is a good starting point.

  • 4

    Clean lakes – lots of them!

    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. As many of these lakes are very large in size, a great part of Finland is covered in water – making Finland distinguishably different from other European countries.

  • 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 and most summer activities revolve around water, such as swimming and going to the sauna, fishing, canoeing, rowing and sailing.

lakes are part of finnish identity

Finnish people are a nation whose identity is closely linked to nature. Vast green forests and glimmering blue lakes dominate scenery wherever you go.

  • 5

    Wild nature

    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 thousands of wild animals and birds – many of which can be seen on arranged wildlife excursions and bird watching sanctuaries.

  • The King of the Finnish Forest – Finland’s vast forests are home to an estimated 1,500 brown bears. Though they may roam anywhere in mainland Finland, bears usually try hard to avoid people. However, on the bear-watching trips run between April and September in several localities in Finland’s Wild East sightings can be almost guaranteed.

  • In Finland you can find the world’s rarest seal, the Saimaa ringed seal. These inland seals have adapted to their freshwater home since they were cut off from the sea in Lake Saimaa – Finland’s largest lake – after the Ice Age. They are found only in Lake Saimaa. Thanks to conservation measures their numbers have recently risen to over 300, but they are still seriously endangered.

FACE THE WILD

In Finland, you can find some of the world’s last wilderness regions, where you can experience the untouched nature with its rare wild animals.

  • 6

    Ski resorts and routes

    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.

  • The round fells of Finland’s main ski area, Lapland, offer varying terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. The largest ski resorts are all found in Lapland with a skiing season lasting as long as six months – the last snow usually melting in early May.

  • The ski centres also offer activities like husky and reindeer rides, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice-fishing.

skiing in Lapland

Finnish Lapland is a skier’s paradise. Beautiful white fells, lit slopes in mid-winter and late-evening sunshine in the spring guarantee long skiing hours and endless fun.

  • 7

    Finnish design

    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.

  • Finns take inspiration from nature and spin it into beloved objects, architecture and a blueprint for a way to live. The very essence of Finnish design is in its ability to take the natural world and seamlessly weave it into everyday life.

finland – the design nation

Finland is a country where design can be seen everywhere – from the pure lines of Alvar Aalto’s architecture to functional city planning to bold, minimalist design in textiles and clothing.

  • 8

    The Real
    Santa Claus

    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.

  • Santa Claus may only visit children in their homes once a year, but he is also delighted to welcome you into his own home and show you around his office. You might meet Rudolph the Reindeer too!

  • One of Santa’s most important jobs is reading letters, and the Arctic Circle Post Office receives more than half a million of them every year from all over the world. Santa replies to each one of them, as long as you include a clearly written address!

santa claus – the one and only

If you are particularly eager to meet Santa Claus and his jolly elves before Christmas or just want to personally say ‘thank you’, you are warmly invited to stop by his official office, situated on the mysterious Arctic Circle in Finland.

All articles

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