Finland is a land of interesting contrasts, such as the four seasons, the Midnight Sun and the winter darkness, urban and rural, East and West.
As you look out from the plane, the first impression you may have is that there are a lot of trees… an endless carpet of forest, with many lakes and small towns in between. It’s kind of a surprise when you land in Helsinki to find that the airport is so modern and efficient. Not a polar bear in sight.
It’s truly amazing how uniquely exotic each season can be. Four times a year, nature changes its uniform completely – colour, light, temperature, sounds and smells. Everything changes in a way that happens nowhere else.
The Finns are also considered to be cool – a bit quiet and reserved. However, they are actually warm, friendly, hospitable and especially honest people once you get to know them and we encourage you to do just that.
Guide courtesy of www.visitfinland.com
Currency: EURO (EUR)
- USD $1= 0.75 Euro
- GBP £1= 1.20 Euro
Exchange rate at time of writing.
Languages: The official languages is Finnish, a branch of the Finnic language. There is also a large population that speak Swedish.
Population: 5.4 million
MUST SEE & DO
- The Northern Lights
- Canoeing and rafting
- Dog sledding
- Ice fishing
- Sleep in a hotel built entirely of ICE
- Water sports in the summer months
- Helsinki: the capital city hosts great architecture, museums, and night life.
- Aland Islands: close to the Swedish border, this Swedish speaking area provides great fun in the summer months and some of the oldest churches in Finland.
- Karelia: a city split between Finland and Russia.
WHEN TO GO
Finland experiences four distinct seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. So be aware of what season you will be traveling in.
- Spring and Fall are seasons of rainy weather. The days are cool, but sunshine is still abundant.
- The summer is the brightest season in Finland with 20 hours of sunshine meaning that days are long and nights are short. The average temperature reaches 68°F (20°C). However, some days can reach temperatures around 86°F (30°C).
- In the winter months the temperature drops below freezing with the average temperature measuring 23°F (-5°C). Winter lasts from November to April. The country experiences the phenomenon known as the winter night when the sun does not peak over the horizon for 51 days. The best advice is to pack the warmest clothing available to you.
FOOD & DRINK
The western side of the country bases many dishes from meat and fish, whereas the eastern side of the country bases dishes from vegetables and mushrooms.
Foods to try:
- Arctic wild berries
- Fried, smoked, or pickled Baltic Herring
- Rye bread- a staple of Finnish diet
- Porridge for breakfast
- Pulla- sweet bread
- Salmiakki- salty black liquorice candy
- Game foods- moose, deer, duck, etc.
- Milk or buttermilk are often served with a meal
- Sima- mead
- Sahti- traditional beer
- Kilju- sugar wine
- Gogli- a type of mulled wine served around Christmas
Finnland offers a variety of ways to travel the country:
- Air: there are over 25 airports in Finland
- Train: a clean and spacious way to travel
- Bus: one of the best ways to travel, the coach system cover 90% of the public roads in the country
- Car: a good way to travel in the summer months, be cautious about car rentals (hire) in the winter months because of weather conditions
- Boat: several cruise companies travel the coast and waterways
The best dress etiquette is to be conservative.
Many countries can travel to Finland without a visa including European Union countries, the USA, Canada, and Australia.
By Casey Thompson
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