Explore the various destinations of Coastal Areas and Archipelago
Formerly a centre for tar trade, and now a technology hub, Oulu is the biggest city within a 500 kilometre radius and is considered the unofficial capital of Northern Finland. Cultural events with a touch of northern madness take place all year round, the best known being the Air Guitar World Championships each August.
Kokkola is, by tradition, a shipping and trading town. Today it is a modern and vital provincial centre with a score of cultural events all year round. The wooden old town of Neristan and the Tankar lighthouse island are definitely worth a visit. Kalajoki is best known for its 10-kilometre-long sandy beach with rolling dunes.
Statistically, Vaasa is the sunniest city in Finland. Rich cultural and maritime history make for interesting stories, and the Kvarken Arhipelago Unesco World Heritage Site and Old Vaasa are inspiring eye candy.
Pori and the region around it are great for urban and rural sightseeing. Old wooden villages, converted iron works and small harbor towns lie within short driving distances. The Yyteri sandy beach is one of the best-known in Finland and the Kirjurinluoto area plays home to highly popular international Pori Jazz Festival that sees its 50th (!) edition in 2015.
Finland’s most famous wooden town is Old Rauma, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Interestingly enough, it is not the only local UWH Site: the Bronze Age burial cairns of Sammallahdenmäki date back 3 000 years. Taking the water taxi to the Kylmäpihlaja lighthouse island is a great way to see the archipelago, and the restaurant at the lighthouse is the icing on the cake.
Åland is an autonomous and monolingual Swedish region of Finland and consists of more than 6 500 islands. The capital, Mariehamn, a cute village-like town with a strong maritime and shipping heritage, is the only city in the unspoiled, ruggedly beautiful archipelago.
Finland’s second city and original capital Turku is the oldest in the country. Landmarks include the city-splitting River Aura, Turku Castle, the Cathedral and a whole lot more. Turku is also an important cultural venue with rich history. Naantali is known as an idyllic summer destination, and even the President has a villa there, not far from the Moominworld theme park.
Hanko is Finland’s southernmost town and a traditional summer destination. The idyllic summer town is defined by the sea, its beaches and maritime culture. Raasepori is famous for its charming iron works milieus of Fiskars and Billnäs. In Lohja, visiting manors and museums as well as getting into mining history and cave exploration are things to do.
By the Eastern Gulf of Finland, Kotka offers cultural experiences and activities such as sailing, white water rafting, nature excursions and archipelago trips. Visitors to Kouvola should see the Repovesi National Park, the museum quarter and the Verla groundwood and board mill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hamina is a beautiful old town with star-shaped fortresses and old wooden houses.
Seinäjoki is the hub of the Southern Ostrobothnia region, a town blessed with a fair share of Alvar Aalto architecture. Expanses of verdant fields dominate the landscape of Ostrobothnia, and early mornings and late evenings are especially memorable with mist rising above riverbanks and cranes singing in the background.
The oldest city in Finland, Turku is a fascinating mixture of a medieval town and a vibrant modern city. The Turku archipelago is among the world’s largest and you can enjoy it by foot, car, bike or various cruises.
The town of Rauma in Western Finland is known for its colorful regional dialect and long tradition in bobbin lace making. The well-preserved “Old Rauma” is the largest unified wooden town in the Nordic countries and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kvarken Archipelago is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites that exist in Finland. The 5,600 islands of the Kvarken Archipelago feature unusual ridged washboard moraines and a rapidly advancing shoreline that multiplies the potential for exciting outdoor activities the area is so well known for.
The autonomous Finnish province of Åland is located in the Baltic Sea, between mainland Finland and Sweden. Tourist activities range from leisurely days in the small-town capital Mariehamn to adventurous island-hopping around the picturesque 6,500 island archipelago.