Finland

Finland is a terrific destination but one that's often overlooked. Chances are good that you have never considered a Finland vacation, but one quick look at this Nordic country, and you’re bound to take interest. As word gets out about all that Finland travel has to offer, this relatively quiet European country is beginning to make a lot of noise in the international travel market. Regardless of when you choose to visit Finland, the variety of Finland attractions is sure to please, and though summertime is the peak Finland travel season, you’re bound to have a good time in the spring, fall, and winter as well. There has arguably been no better time to enjoy a Finland vacation, so plan yours today, and see for yourself what Finland is really all about.

From the Finland national parks to the many great museums, there is something for everyone here. Some of the best cathedrals and castles in Finland are also museums, and they are certainly among the top Finland attractions. In Helsinki alone, the Helsinki Cathedral and the Uspenski Cathedral beg a visit, and any trip to Savonlinna is worth it just to see the Olavinlinna Castle. Of course, one can not leave out the attractive city of Turku when considering the Finland castles, as the main one here was the administrative hub of the country when it was under Swedish rule. Finland was part of Sweden from the thirteenth century up until the early 1800s, when Russia assumed control after winning the Finnish War. The Finnish people managed to hold on to their identities and overall culture through both Swedish and Russian rule, and today, Finns are proud of their heritage and their history. Finland declared its independence from Russia in 1917, and today, Finnish citizens enjoy a quality of life that is almost without compare. Old traditions are slowly giving way to modern technology, of which Finland is at the forefront.

Travel in Finland is aided by the efficient and complete Finnish transportation network, which includes planes, buses, boats, and trains. Using these means of transportation, you can visit the Finnish archipelago in the south, explore the vast and scarcely-populated Lapland region in the north, or stop in the central part of the country to enjoy the lakes and rolling, forested hills. Each of these regions offers unique landscapes, and there are enough Finland national parks spread throughout the country to satisfy a number of outdoor sightseeing pursuits. While enjoying the national parks in Lapland, you will arguably see the most wildlife, as this is a land of bears, lemmings, wolves, wolverines, and reindeer. Yes, some 300,000 reindeer can be found in Lapland, and it is also the home to Santa Claus, according to many. Just outside of the Lapland provincial capital of Rovaniemi, Santa Claus Village attracts scores of Finland vacationers, and it’s easily among the top Finland attractions. Anyone traveling with young kids will definitely want to consider a trip to Santa Claus Village, as it is almost priceless to see children’s faces when they meet Jolly St. Nicholas.

The Lapland region is a good place to enjoy another of the top Finland attractions—the Finnish Northern Lights. Best viewed in the winter, when the sun barely rises and an almost complete darkness settles in, the Finnish Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is a phenomenon that many visitors try to include on their Finland vacation itinerary. There are some unique Finland tours that include attempts at seeing the Finnish Northern Lights, and though you are never guaranteed to see them, your chances are pretty good up north. The opportunities to see the Northern Lights on a Finland vacation decrease in the summertime, which as opposed to winter, sees an unusual amount of daylight. In fact, come midsummer, 21 hours of daylight is the norm, so you can enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities long into the night when you enjoy Finland travel in the summer. Teeing it up for a round of Finnish golf at midnight in the summer is a golfing experience that you are not soon to forget.

Summertime is the peak season for travel in Finland, though there are enough good Finland attractions to satisfy a getaway here any time of year. In the fall, the trees are alight with reds and yellows across most of the country, and come spring, you can ski up north to your heart’s content. Though Finland is not as mountainous as Sweden and Finland, which are two countries that it borders, Finland skiing is pretty good, and there are ski runs here to satisfy all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Should you prefer cross-country skiing, many Finland hiking trails become cross-country tracks in the winter, and you will find miles of these tracks to run.

While there is plenty to see and do in Finland alone, a Finland vacation doesn’t have to be limited to Finland. There are plenty of Finland vacation packages that also include other European countries, and Finnish cruises often include stops elsewhere on the continent. In addition to Sweden and Norway, Finland borders Russia, so you can always include a few days in a foreign land on the side. There’s no end to the possibilities when it comes to Finland travel, and chances are good that one Finland vacation won’t be all that you will take. This country has a habit of bringing people back, and the Finnish saunas alone are enough to warrant repeat visits.

Top image: ninara (flickr)

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