Finland's northern border sits on the edge of the arctic circle in Scandinavia, and a mere 5 million people call this beautiful country home.
Helsinki, located on the Baltic Sea, is the 'cool capital', and the largest city, which is now a European hotspot. It buzzes with energy, happiness, great restaurants, friendly cafes, bars and easily accessible transport (children under seven travel free). Nearby an archipelago of 300 islands can be visited by an efficient ferry system. Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of Helsinki's most popular attractions, and it's not the only one.
Outside the capital hunt for the Northern Lights, ski or snowboard at Levi, Ruka, and Saariselka or visit ancient fortresses like Turku Castle. Pull-on the hiking boots and trek one of the many stunning trails like within Riisitunturi National Park.
Finnish Lapland, in the north, sees 24-hour sunlight in the summer, replacing the long dark winter days. Its magical, and many believe Santa came from here. Christmas remains an exceptional tourist attraction for the region as the landscape is coated with white snow and lakes ice over. It's the best region to view the Aurora Borealis, more commonly called the Northern Lights. The season spans from mid-August until early April. Our tip is pick Autumn or mid-spring when the nights are clearer before the snow and clouds arrive during the winter.
Food is a passion for the Finns. There's Karjalanpiirakka, a pastry that melts in your mouth and Kalakukko similar but made with fish. The most common fish used is muikku, a small herring-like fish found in the Lake District of Eastern Finland. Grillimakkara, is a Finnish favourite especially for their summer BBQs and around winter campfires. They are big, fat sausages made for grilling and eaten with mustard and washed down with beer.
No one is disappointed with a visit to Finland. The people, scenery, and nature are remarkable, and it's carved out a world-renowned stylish reputation.
Finland has distinct seasons that vary from the north to the south of the country. It's a matter of picking what you want to see and do and timing your visit around that. Summer, while short, sees the Finns head outdoors and enjoy the long days of sunlight. Its peak tourist time and perfect for hiking.
Autumn is vibrant with an explosion of colour as the trees turn a range of glorious shades, and the Northern Lights start. From early November, winter descends, and the days grow shorter. Snow generally starts to fall at the beginning of December, ready for a white Christmas.