Finland may carry the moniker of being a ‘winter wonderland’ but there is much more to this country than frosty subzero temperatures and large expanses of white. Although many people flock to this part of the world to experience the Northern Lights and the midnight sun, you’ll find plenty of other things to do in Finland.
While stunning postcard images of Finnish landscapes may flash before your eyes, Finland is much more than just the outdoors. Its vibrant capital city, Helsinki, is a yuppy’s delight with its happening design and music scene, shopping, museums, and art galleries. The city also flaunts some of the most beautiful examples of modern architecture such as the rock-carved Temppeliaukio church and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. Besides Helsinki, other cities of note are Tampere and Turku with their vibrant student population.
While skiing and ice fishing are high on the list of winter activities, the short Finnish summers have their own distinct flavor. Finns like to make the most of this short sunny season, and the atmosphere rings with good cheer in the form of music festivals and exhibitions. Outdoor activities abound in the summer months and many visitors lap up the opportunity to explore Finland’s vast expanse of protected forests and fells.
Hiking is high on the list of things to do in Finland in the summer with some spectacular hiking trails. The Urho Kekkonen National Park is Finland’s wild side at its best, offering some of the best trekking experiences, with a large network of wilderness huts. Extending till the border of Russia, the park is home to golden eagles, wolverines, bears, and thousands of reindeer.
Although the long winters may seem a bit dreary, the season has its own charm. While the slopes become the sought after destination for skiers, other popular activities include sledding, ice fishing, chartering a posse of reindeer, or controlling a team of huskies. Lapland is where the magic of winter is at its best. It’s a cold cauldron of fantastical delights tempered with the midnight sun, the Northern Lights, the mystical Sámi people, and Santa Claus himself!