Finland is a fascinating Scandinavian country with stunning scenery, lively cities, rich culture and wonderful wildlife-rich national parks that offer great outdoor activities. Popularly known as one of the happiest countries in the world, a visit here is nothing short of a magical experience.
Capital Helsinki is a melting pot of cultural and modern lives with an architectural fusion of ancient and contemporary designs. The city is a great base to explore the nearby wilderness and indulge in outdoor activities. Come winter, it turns into a wonderland for skiing, ice skating and ice fishing. The central market square, Kauppatori is a major tourist attraction, from where you can get on cruises and ferries to nearby islands. The city’s other major highlights include the Senate Square, Helsinki Cathedral, Suomenlinna – a UNESCO world heritage site covering multiple islands, and excellent museums and art centres like Ateneum and Kansallismuseo.
Turku, located on the southewestern coast, was the former capital of the country. While the city is more famous as the jump-off point for the Turku Archipelago, the 13th-century Turku castle and cathedral also lure visitors. The 15th-century Olavinlinna Castle in Savonlinna town in northeast of Helsinki, is popular for its annual Savonlinna Opera Festival. Further north, Koli National Park offers great hiking in summer, and becomes a lovely skiing paradise in winter. Also, if you’re lucky you may spot some wildlife.
Lapland is Finland’s northernmost province and makes up almost a third of the whole country. The area is sparsely populated and there are more reindeer in Lapland than people. This region houses one of Finland’s largest protected areas and a prime trekking destination – Urho Kekkonen National Park. Touching the international border with Russia, this park is home to abundant wildlife including bears, wolverines, golden eagles, and reindeer. Santa Claus village in Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi seems straight out of every Christmas story, with its colourful lights and houses – over here, it is holiday season throughout the year and you can meet Santa too.
The Lapland region is also famous for sighting the incredible natural phenomenon of the Northern Lights – when the skies are streaked with green and pink.
Finland is an expensive country to visit but you surely wouldn’t mind shelling out some extra bucks to experience this dreamy land, which is also the official home of Santa Claus himself!
The Lapland region in Finland is famous for its northern lights watching opportunities.