Finland Travel Guide, One Big Surprise!!

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finland

If you want to know about Finland, just check out the reviews section on our blog. I am talking about Nokia, of course, the world-renowned Finnish company who used to make the best cellphones in the world. Nokia describes maybe perfectly the character of Finland : striving for perfection in everything!

Let’s start with the beginning, shall we? Finland is a Scandinavian country, a Nordic country actually, having more trees than people and more islands than Japan; actually, more islands than any other country I heard of.

With a population of 5.5 million people and a land surface of 337,000 square kilometers, bordered by Russia on the east, Sweden to the west and Norway to the north, Finland is a highly developed country, being the epitome of a welfare state that meets high tech in the middle. While Finland is the eight biggest country in Europe, in the same time it has the lowest population density in the European Union.

There are 188,000 lakes in Finland making for 10% of the country’s surface and the same number of islands.

These numbers are quite impressive and as you can easily imagine, they make Finland a top-notch tourist trap if it ever was one! Just think about the mythical Korvatunturi, the place that spawned Santa Claus. Yep, it’s in Finland folks.

Korvatunturi

What to see, what to do in Finland

Finland is a cold, even icy country and cross skiing is sometimes the only option if you want to get around. Yep, you guessed it right : skiing is a cult in Finland and while you’re at it, go see the snowy hills of Lapland if you’re a big fan of snowboarding or downhill skiing.

Aland Islands are in the close vicinity of Sweden and if you pay a visit here, you’ll imbibe in the picturesque scenery of the archipelago, a place that harbors some of the oldest churches in Finland, making for the perfect place for watersport enthusiasts (during the summer season obviously).

Aaland_Archipelago

Speaking about tens of thousands of lakes and rivers, rafting and canoeing are also national sports in Finland along with skiing and buying Nokia smartphones. The best places for paddlers are Lake Oulujarvi, Saimaa and Lake Inari.

When in Finland, do what Finnish people do in the winter: dog sledding. Basically, you can enjoy a traditional and manly Arctic skill by visiting any of the numerous dog-sled facilities located in Lapland; it will be massive fun, believe me folks.

Helsinki is Finland’s largest city and also the capital, known for its forests, parks and …water. There are lots of old historical sites and buildings to be admired, with Swedish and Russian architectural influences from the country’s troubled past.

õ,

Another manly activity to be performed in Finland is ice fishing during the winter season, when thousands of Finns are pushing hard on  their luck during this masochistic display of patience and resilience.

Icy nights in Finland are an awesome Arctic experience, especially if you rent a room at the Lumi Linna Snow Hotel in Kemi. This place is built entirely out of snow and you’ll find your peace in a sleeping bag at freezing temperatures. A similar place is Arctic Ice Bar in Helsinki.

Lumi Linna Snow Hotel

Inari is a nice city in Lapland and also the true capital of Sami culture, being a gathering place for reindeer herders since the 17th century, a place soaked in tradition and vodka.

Karelia sits on the Russian border that splits it in two and brags with its unique orthodox culture and a fantastic cuisine.

Enjoying a sauna in Finland is a once in a lifetime opportunity, because a sauna in a freezing country is a quintessential/as manly as it gets experience.

Aurora Borealis is best seen in Finland, of course; this magic show transforms the Finnish skies in a psychedelic experience from November to May, each and every year.

aurora borealis

Food and Drink

As you can imagine, in a nation filled with lakes and rivers, fish plays a big role in its cuisine. Finnish people love herring, salmon, cooked fresh or smoked, even pickled. Sausages and meatballs are ranked high on every menu, served with pickles and rye bread.

Specialties include Kalalukko (something that involves fish), pastry stuffed with ice pudding served with egg butter, egg and beef meatballs,  reindeer meat (sautéed), buns flavored with cardamom served during coffee breaks, potatoes and mushrooms plus a fabulous assortment of wild berries.

Alcoholic beverages are abundant, like Koskenkorva, mesimarja, lakka or polar karpolo.

dog-sled

Visa requirements

Finland is a member of the European Union and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence if you’re an EU citizen, you’ll not require a passport, just an ID (if anything). For USA/Canadian tourists, a passport is required (no Visa though).

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2 Responses to “Finland Travel Guide, One Big Surprise!!”

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