Read the article
If you’ve never considered Finland as a destination perhaps now is the time to do so, a nation of nature, this is where you attain all the feel good that you ever needed with miles and miles of country parks filled with wildlife, wilderness lakes, and a beauty that will take your breath away; the Finnish people may take all this for granted, turning from suited workers to outdoor players in the blink of an eye but this experience is one of wonder to anyone unused to the Finnish way of life.
Charming Helsinki makes the perfect destination for a city break, it may be the capital city of Finland but it feels small and friendly with a community spirit that comes into its own during the long days of the summer months, a gentle party vibe and a sense of wellbeing filling the historic streets of this most beautiful city.
Helsinki may not be the cheapest city in the world to visit but if you plan well you can find some great quality hotels at very reasonable prices, Sokos Helsinki offers traditional Scandinavian style housed in Helsinki’s very first skyscraper, whilst the Sokos Hotel Albert is ideally located in the arts and design district; if it is old world charm that you are after then Seurahuone Hotel offers almost 200 years of history and grandeur with a refined edge that any discerning visitor will love.If you are planning on staying outside Helsinki there are many great hotels, not least Hotel Kantarellis in Vaasa with its boutique feel and rooms that all contain their own private sauna, or Lossiranta Lodge in Savonlinna with its exquisite location perched on the edge of the lake close to historic Olavinlinna Castle; those that like to see green credentials will love the eco hotel Hotel Green Star in Joensuu promising an ethical stay in this amazing country.
Three course meals are the norm in Finland, with a hearty soup generally the starter of choice, mains are meat rich, whilst local delicacies like pickled herrings are readily available, fruits are popular particularly loganberries and cloudberries, and are often found in jams and desserts, but are equally popular in alcohol such as vodka, schnapps and liqueurs.If you are dining in Helsinki there are many notable restaurants, but if you can get a reservation do try to eat at Musta Lamma where the quality speaks for itself and the outdoor roof terrace gives the most fantastic views of the city, failing that be sure to dine at Cafe Alamaja, set on the harbour and serving those famous reindeer steaks in beautiful outdoor dining areas. If you like the idea of a microbrewery serving excellent food, the Huvila in Kuopio offers all that you need, with the added bonus of its unusual wooden architecture.
If you are staying in the capital Helsinki there are loads of great ways to spend your days, but some sights are essential to enjoy the full experience, don’t miss Temppeliaukio Church, the church set in a rock, or Diana Park, the space around which the Design District has appeared, containing the very best in Finnish design; for the ultimate experience make sure that you take a boat or ferry trip around the archipelago islands, allowing you to see this beautiful city from a whole new aspect.Whatever you do don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the sporting activities on offer in Finland, the vast national parks and lakes giving a huge natural playground filled with that great outdoor feeling, trekking, mountain biking, fishing, and water activities are all readily available whilst the more extreme sport enthusiasts can indulge in cross country skiing or dog sledding – all finished off with a sauna, Finland’s most famous export and still much loved amongst its inhabitants.
The climate of Finland is split across the North and the South, the north very much experiences a cool yet humid semi-continental climate, whilst the South is far more temperate, the geographical location of the country leads to short bummers, but summers that enjoy almost full days of sunlight, this is a direct contrast to the winter months with their very short days and heavy snowfall.This isn’t to say that winter isn’t an amazing time to visit Finland with great opportunities to view the northern lights, or to travel to the northernmost point and the Lapland province which takes on a winter wonderland feel with its arctic location, and considerable dedication to the folklore of Christmas.