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Travel Guide to Finland

From the coast and islands along the Gulf of Finland to the inland forests and thousands of lakes to Lapland in the north, Finland has a great deal to offer the visitor. The capital Helsinki is in the south where most of the population live - further north you will wide open spaces and stunning scenery to explore. 

Places to visit in Finland

Helsinki has its own page - Helsinki

Saimaa  - is a lake in southeastern Finland. At approximately 4,400 square kilometres, it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth largest in Europe. Major towns on the lakeshore include Lappeenranta, Imatra, Savonlinna, Mikkeli, Varkaus, and Joensuu.

Savonlinna - is a small city in eastern Finland close to the Russian border on the banks of Lake Saimaa. The town has one of the countries most famous lamdmarks - St Olaf's Castle, a medieval castle dating from 1475. Set on a rock outcrop overlooking the lake, the castle has two museums inside with exhibits from the town and region's past. 

Lakes - Finland has a huge number of lakes - around 188,000 in fact, these are scattered throughout the country. Many lakes are suitable for outdoor activities including; sailing, kayaking, fishing, hiking and swimming. 

Aland Islands - lie partly in the Gulf of Bothnia and partly in the Gulf of Finland. There are about 300 islands some eighty of which are inhabited. Most of the island population speak Swedish. 

Lapland - lies in the extreme north of Finland near the border with Norway. It is a large area making up about 20% of Finland. The population is around 185,000 - large towns are Rovaniemi (the regional capital), Kemi, and Tornio. Most of Lapland is flatish with many lakes and waterways. Watch out for wild animals if you're driving!

                        Reindeer Crossing - Santa won't be pleased!          Finnish lakeland 

                                                                                Reindeer                                                                                                     Finnish lakeland

Turku - is a city situated on the southwest coast of Finland at the mouth of the Aura River. It is the oldest city in Finland dating back to the 13th century. It is also a port with ferries to Sweden, the Aland Islands and Estonia.

Porvoo - is also an old settlement dating from around the 13th century but much of the town dates from the 19th century. There are many wooden houses in the town which make it a scenic and popular dstination for tourists. It is located about 50km east of the capital. 

Rovaniemi - is a small city in the Finnish Lapland area in the north of the country. It is reckoned to be the best place in Finland to view the Aurora Borealis where it is visible for up to 200 nights per year. 

Brown Bears - Finland has around 1600 brown bears - they live in the woods ie everywhere!! 

Oulu - in northern Finland hosts the Air Guitar World Championships in August each year!   

Korvatunturi - is a low hill in Lapland located within the Urho Kekkonen National Park and it is reckoned locally to be the home of Father Christmas. 

 

Food and Drink 

Baltic Herring - very popular, try it grilled, smoked or picked.

Gravlax - raw, salted salmon.  

Karelian stew (karjalanpaisti) - a thick stew made with beef or pork.

Meat balls (lihapullat) - just about the same as anywhere else.

Reindeer - is a common dish in the north - so what; - you thought they were just for looking at! 

Aura cheese - a Finnish blue cheese. 

Koskenkorva - the local brand of vodka. 

Beer - is more like larger in many countries, local brands are Lapin Kulta, Karjala, Olvi, Koff and Karhu

Glogi - is a mulled wine served in winter. 

 
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