Step away from the crowds and enjoy an unforgettable holiday in Finland. Last summer I had the amazing opportunity to spend three weeks in this beautiful country and to this day it remains one of my most memorable travel experiences. Here are my top 10 reasons to make a trip to the land of a thousand lakes.
1. It’s one of the best places to watch the Northern Lights: If you are one of those people who like me, spend countless hours on the internet looking at marvelous travel pictures, you’ve probably come across the glass igloo hotel in Finnish Lapland. And I mean, who doesn’t want to witness this marvelous natural phenomenon?
2. Helsinki was the World Design Capital of 2012. Finnish design is world famous – whether you like art, fashion, architecture or interior and industrial design, Helsinki is the place to be and the city’s design district is something not be missed. Brands like Marimekko and Artek are both big names in the Finnish design industry. So get inspired, and go on a Design Walk tour or just follow a any Design District walking route.
3.Santa Clause does exist, and he’s Finnish. You can visit Santa’s village in Rovaniemi, Finlan, take a picture with him and see the Elves’ Factory as well as learn about Finnish Christmas traditions.
4. Have the real Finnish sauna experience. Did you know that the word sauna is the only Finnish word that has made it into international vocabulary? That’s because sauna was invented in Finland and it’s very much part of Finnish culture. Sauna is a group experience, meaning you organize sauna evenings with your family and/or friends. Wouldn’t you like to sauna the Finnish way? Alternate between steaming and jumping in the sea or lake. Bonus points if the water is freezing cold.
5. Finnish food is delicious. When you think of foodie travel you might think of Italy or France and Finland might be the last country you think of in terms of culinary destinations. Believe me, I thought the same thing before getting there. The potatoes and dill, the smoked salmon, and the karjalanpiirakkas are all to die for. Oh and Finland has the best butter in the world, I promise you.
6. It’s off the beaten path. Most people cross the pond to visit London, Paris and Rome, but few ever go Nordic. There’s something special about a place you visit by yourself and no one else you know has been to. Everyone wants to have a story to tell friends and family back home, a different story and you’ll have one after visiting Finland!
7. The Landscape is breathtaking. Finns are intrinsic nature lovers and you can tell why when you see the beautiful landscapes in Finland. With the thousand or so lakes, the forests and mountains in Finland you will be able to enjoy magnificent scenery all four seasons. And you don’t need to look further than the Finnish capital, the Helsinki Archipelago has over 300 islands – and that is the first view that greets you when you’re flying to Helsinki. 8.They have a Wife- Carrying and Cellphone-Throwing competitions yearly Yes, Finland might have the weirdest competitions and festivals out there. Though the cellphone throwing explains why Nokia phones are so resistant. There was also at some point a Mosquito-Squashing competition as well, or maybe it’s still being held?
9. Sports and adventure. Skiing, snowboarding, ice yachting. Finland is mostly known for winter sports but you can also find great rock climbing and mountain biking trails, sailing routes, etc.
10. Location, location, location. Helsinki is perfectly positioned between Russia, Sweden and the rest of mainland Europe. So you might want to go on a cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki and then move on to St. Petersburg. There are also daily ferries to Tallin, Estonia – which would make for a lovely day trip.