If your plans for the summer holidays have not yet gone beyond the definition phase, then I have a suggestion for you. How about a country of a thousand lakes and white nights? This is not a popular holiday destination, which certainly deserves attention. Why? Here are 10 reasons why you should go to Finland.
Why should you go to Finland?
1. Incredibly beautiful nature
Finland has nearly 190,000 lakes, tens of thousands of islets, millions of hectares of forest (the highest percentage of forest in Europe!) And 40 national parks. When is it better to enjoy this wealth than in the summer? The Finns take care of their nature, the forests are very clean and wild, and walking along them is a pleasure. It is also worth mentioning deer, elk and various birds; Nature lovers will surely be happy to go to Finland!
2. Traveling in Finland is easy
It is a well-organized and safe country where the vast majority of people speak English. The Internet allows you to do many things and to find all the information you need. Although Finns are often not enthusiastic about conversations, but they are very friendly and willing to help with advice. Transport works well. Finnish roads are empty and good for driving in summer. The tent can be camped almost anywhere (also at the campsite). In a word, the country is very friendly to tourists, the only minus can be quite high prices for tourists.
3. You should go to Finland if you like peace and quiet!
Finland is a place where the introvert will feel as comfortable as possible. There are 15 people per thousand kilometers in a country; for comparison, in Poland this number is 122, and in Singapore – 7800. Moreover, Finland is also not very popular among tourists – without impressive sights, it often loses to other countries of Northern Europe and their fjords (Norway), waterfalls (Iceland) or cities (Sweden, Denmark). In my opinion, this is unfair, because the Finnish labyrinth of lakes and beautiful cities will captivate many, but this lack of attention makes it an even more pleasant country. In a word, if you want to take a break from people, Finland will not disappoint you.
4. Long days
Endless days are a great phenomenon, especially when you get lost in the forest late in the evening (I know this by my example). We can survive the white nights in the summer even in the south of Finland, where the sun sets only for a moment – in Helsinki the longest day of the year lasts 19 hours – but even at the darkest moment of the night it is not completely dark here. For more than two months in the north, the sun does not hide at all over the horizon, which is an interesting experience. But here other difficulties arise – your body experiences severe stress from such a restructuring of the light clock!
5. Finnish desert huts (houses in the desert)
While exploring the Finnish forests many years ago, I was surprised by various amenities, especially free and public houses in Lapland (Finnish autiotuvat), where tourists can spend one or two nights. The huts are located on trails (usually deep in the forest), and their equipment usually includes very useful things, such as stoves, tools, gas, firewood; and often even well-kept outbuildings. Most often, houses are located near the stream, from which you can get clean water. Autiotuvat is limited in northern Finland, but throughout the country you can use other, often well-prepared, shelters and barbecues. Of course, these shrines should be left in the state in which they were found. If you used firewood to kindle a stove, then add some new ones for future tourists. If you want to see such mutual hospitality yourself, then you should definitely go to Finland!
As you can guess, Finland is ideal for hiking. To all the advantages that are described above in the previous paragraphs, I add that the paths in the forests are well prepared and marked, and maps of routes and houses can be found on the Internet (for example, at nationalparks.fi). Finland is not a mountainous country, and the routes are usually easy (which is an advantage for me!). You can meet the hills in the north, where, among other things, is the highest point in Finland – Halti (1324 m).
7. You should go to Finland if you enjoy cycling!
Finland is a paradise for cyclists, regardless of whether they prefer urban, mountain or collage bikes. The roads are good, on many of them there is almost no traffic (especially in the north), and in cities there are many bicycle paths. In the summer, in the forest, winter skiing trails turn into cycling (and hiking) trails. You will not want to shorten the path for shorter and longer (multi-day) trips, because there are many options, and this is pleasant everywhere. Some of the most scenic and favorite places for cyclists include the Turku archipelago, the Åland Islands and the Reitti 2000 route starting in Helsinki.
8. Charming cities
Finland is not only forests, lakes and reindeer husbandry. Colorful wooden houses, churches and narrow streets give Finnish cities a unique charm. I especially remember the red houses in Porvoo, the old part of Rauma, the streets in Naantal (there is also a real Moomin house here!) Or Savonlinna with a charming castle. It is easy to find a small town in Finland where you can take a good photo. Of the larger cities, it is certainly worth visiting Turku, where there is a castle, a cathedral. Many tourists want to go to Finland sometimes only for Helsinki!
9. Forest berries
Another form of spending free time, which is associated with the forest, and which I really liked, is picking berries. There are a lot of them in Finland! Extensive carpets from pristine berry bushes are a typical species in the Finnish forests, and you do not need much time to collect a fairly large number of these fruits. In the Finnish forests there are a lot of wild strawberries, blackberries (including “Arctic blackberries”, Finnish messimarya), blueberries (Finnish poolucca), and yellow-orange “polar berries” (Finnish lakka) are also characteristic in the north. The latter – fresh or in the form of jam – are often served with Finnish “creaky cheese” (Finnish leipäjuusto). Blueberries, in turn, are a necessary addition to deer goulash. If you are a real gourmet and a lover of fresh and tasty berries, then you should definitely go to Finland!
Spreading the tourist advantages of Finland, of course, one cannot fail to mention its largest city and capital! Helsinki, located by the sea among numerous islets, is a pleasant, interesting and beautiful city. Most of all I like Helsinki because it is quite calm. Here you can relax, but you will not have time to get bored. You can explore the city while walking, occasionally peeking into some cozy cafe or pub.
Pride of the Finns
A Finnish pub is generally an unique place, because you can meet local people in it (and I say this without any anger. Finns are a great nation, only without beer, as a rule, very silent). Helsinki also has museums, beautiful parks, beaches, nightclubs, interesting buildings and tourist attractions (such as Fort Suomenlinna, a rock church, a cathedral) and countless saunas. In 2012, the city was proclaimed the world capital of design, which should not be surprising since the Finnish style is unique – simple, minimalistic and functional, combining tradition with modernity. The Finns are very proud of him, and probably in every Finnish house you can find a “designer” thing (for example, furniture from Alvar Aalto, Iittali dishes or Marimekko clothes).