Highlights of Finland

written by Julia Hammond

Nordic nation Finland has been voted the world’s happiest country for the last three years. Thanks to the warm welcome, top class hotels and first rate infrastructure, holidaying here is a pleasure. If you’re keen to grab a slice of the action, then here are a few highlights of Finland to get your trip planning underway.

Explore the streets of the Finnish capital Helsinki

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The Finnish capital is a waterfront city packed with historic buildings. Dominating the skyline is the grand cathedral, with its whitewashed walls and green domes. Between it and the harbour are streets filled with impressive neoclassical buildings erected by the Russians in the early 19th century. Even more imposing is the Suomenlinna sea fortress, located on an island a few kilometres south of the waterfront. There you can visit a 1930s submarine. Another must see in fine weather is Sibelius Park overlooking the Baltic Sea. Check out the huge structure resembling an organ which consists of over 600 steel pipes.

Admire the quaint wooden buildings of Rauma

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There are a few charming towns in Finland that are primarily constructed from wood, and Rauma is arguably the most photogenic. This pretty town’s historic core is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is worth making the detour to the Gulf of Bothnia to experience. After a couple of devastating fires in the 17th century, Rauma’s wooden buildings were rebuilt. Today, this architecture and the town’s maritime heritage are two of the main reasons visitors come here. Another draw is the handmade lace tradition.

Ride a reindeer-pulled sleigh in Rovaniemi

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You don’t have to be a child to appreciate the magic of Christmas and if you are planning a winter trip to Finland, then a visit to Rovaniemi is a must. Located within the Arctic Circle, it’s the official home of Santa Claus, so where better to harness up a few of his reindeer and go for a sleigh ride through a snowy forest? Alternatively, the town’s happy huskies are always up for a jaunt; dog-sledding is easier than you think, and a lot of fun. Skiers are also well catered for. When you’re done, spend the night in the Snowhotel which is fashioned from blocks of ice and contains a chapel, ice bar and ice restaurant.

Gaze up in wonder at the Northern Lights

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Winter’s also the season to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. You’ll need a bit of luck – to watch nature’s most dramatic and breathtaking display you’ll require a clear sky and strong aurora activity. Wrap up warm too, because you’ll be outside for long periods as you wait for the fickle dancing curtains to turn the sky green and purple. But if they do show up, the lights of the Aurora Borealis will be a magical sight that will last a lifetime in your memories. Now that’s worth getting cold feet for, isn’t it?

Get back to nature in the country’s lakes and forests

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In summer, do as the Finns do and get out into the countryside. The country is often nicknamed “Land of the Thousand Lakes” – but that’s actually an understatement as there’s nearer to 188,000. The largest is Lake Saimaa. Many are surrounded by evergreen forests which make the perfect place for a weekend retreat in a traditional log cabin. Make sure it’s fitted with a sauna – most are, as this is one of the country’s favourite pastimes.

Why not let Mundana fix you up with the trip of a lifetime to Finland?

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