With the Baltic Sea on the West, Russia on the East, and Estonia just a bit to the South, Finland is off the beaten track unlike the usual countries included in a European tour. It's a land of lakes and islands, making it the largest archipelago in the world. Nature scenes in Finland are a sight to behold, whatever time of the year. The landscape is mainly flat, with only a few hills and mountains. There are also coniferous forests and rough terrain. The climate can be temperate in summer, due to the warm air coming from the gulf stream in the Atlantic. Winters can be frigid, however, due to Finland's location in the far north.
One of the most fascinating facts about Finland is its low gender gap. It consistently earns one of the top ranks in the global survey of gender equality, due to its wide-ranging laws and implementation of policies involving women. It was also one of the first countries to provide full suffrage to female citizens in 1906. Ever since then, the promotion of the welfare of women in education and other fields has been upheld. This paved the way for continuous improvement for women to achieve full equality in Finnish society.
Finland is a land known for rest and relaxation. Travellers can retreat to a simple house by a lake and enjoy the signature Finnish sauna culture. It's rare to find a vacation house without a sauna, which allows tourists tired from their trips to warm themselves. Once they get refreshed, they can go stargazing and watch the dance of Northern lights, depending on the time of the year. If this is the goal, a trip to the Finnish Laplands is in order. The lights appear 200 nights a year there.
For the ultimate unique experience, travellers can go on a camping tour and stay overnight in an igloo. Tourists will just have to place reindeer skins and blankets over a sleeping bag on a bed carved from ice. This can be truly memorable, especially if paired with an invigorating swim in an icy pool. Skiing is also an activity travellers shouldn't miss. There are many skiing resorts offering skis and other equipment for hire. Once done with skiing, visitors can get warm with hot cocoa and coffee.
Sledding with reindeers or huskies is also a great addition to a Finland trip. Explore the forests and then go back to camp for fly-fishing preparations. There are also numerous rivers where tourists can test their skills to catch salmon and then go boating on a canoe after.
How to get around within Finland
Getting from one place to another is easily manageable in Finland. There are 27 airports in the archipelago where tourists can get domestic flights. Trains are also easily accessible, as the railways stretch all over the country from Helsinki to Kolari. The coaches or buses are also handled by three transport companies such as Matkahuolto, Onnibus, and ExpressBus for long-distance road travels.
It's also possible to travel in Finland via car. Tourists used to left-hand driving will have to orient themselves first, however. There's a right-hand traffic in Finland, which makes it necessary to think about hiring to driver to navigate on the roads.
Riding a boat or ferry is also another way to reach a particular destination in Finland. There are many charter and sightseeing cruises to be had. Visitors will have to coordinate with the tourist office of their destination to get a seat on the boat.
How to get there
The main gateway to Finland is the Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport. It's the hub for Finnair, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Flube Nordic, and Blue1. Those coming from the continent can board flights coming from the British Airways, Air Berlin, Scandinavian Airlines, TAP Portugal, and other carriers. The American Airlines also offers seasonal flights to Finland. For those coming from Asia, there's Japan Airlines and Turkish Airlines offering direct flights.
Images by Flickr/timo_w2s
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