The quick travel guide to Finland and Helsinki
Finland is a large country in northern Europe, it has borders with Norway to the north, Russia to the east and Sweden to the north west. to the south west lies the Gulf of Bothnia and to the south the Gulf of Finland. Finland covers an area of 338,130 sq km and is the eighth largest country in Europe. A remarkable feature of the country is the huge number of lakes that it contains, around 188, 000 larger than 500 sq m. There are also 179,000 islands many of which are situated in the lakes. The lakes are a result of the ice age which covered the land with huge sheets of ice and left a rocky and relatively low lying landscape behind, the highest point, Halti is only 1,324m.
Finland has a population of around 5.35 million, many of whom live in the southern region around the capital Helsinki which has a population of 510,000. The country is sparsely populated with only 17 people per sq km; this makes it, after Norway and Iceland, the third most sparsely populated country in Europe. Other large cities are Espoo with 244,930 people, Tampere with 211,691 and Vantaa with 198,351.
One of the most famous parts of Finland, known to all children as the home of Santa Claus, is Lapland. This area lies in the far north of the country and extends into Norway and Sweden. Lapland is also known as 'the land of the midnight sun' because the sun doesn't set during the summer months.
Much of the Finnish landscape is covered (seventy-five percent of land area) by coniferous taiga forests and fens, with little arable land. The most common type of rock is granite. It is a ubiquitous part of the scenery, visible wherever there is no soil cover. Moraine or till is the most common type of soil, covered by a thin layer of humus of biological origin. The greater part of the islands are found in the southwest in the Archipelago Sea, part of the archipelago of the Åland Islands, and along the southern coast in the Gulf of Finland. The distance from the southernmost – Hanko – to the northernmost point in the country – Nuorgam – is 1,445 kilometres (898 miles).
Finland has a humid and cool semi continental climate. The climate type in southern Finland is north temperate climate. Winters of southern Finland (average day time temperature is below 0 °C/32 °F) are usually 4 months long, and the snow typically covers the land from middle of December to early April. In the southern coast, it can melt many times during early winter, and then come again. The coldest winter days of southern Finland are usually under -20 °C (-4 °F), and the warmest days of July and early August can be over 30 °C (86 °F). Summers in the southern Finland lasts 4 months (from the mid of May to mid of September). In northern Finland, particularly in Lapland, a subarctic climate dominates, characterized by cold – occasionally severe – winters and relatively warm, short summers. Winters in north Finland are nearly 7 months long, and snow covers the lands almost 6 months, from October to early May. Summers in the north are quite short, only 2–3 months.
Tourism attractions in Finland were visited by over 4 million visitors in 2005. The Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine forests, rolling hills and complemented with a labyrinth of lakes and inlets. Much of Finland is pristine and virgin as it contains 35 national parks from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells of Lapland. It is also an urbanised region with many cultural events and activities. Commercial cruises between major coastal and port cities in the Baltic region, including Helsinki, Turku, Tallinn, Stockholm and Travemünde, play a significant role in the local tourism industry. Finland is regarded as the home of Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, living in the northern Lapland region. Above the Arctic Circle, there is a polar night, a period when the sun does not rise for days or weeks, or even months. Lapland is so far north that the Aurora Borealis, atmospheric fluorescence, is seen regularly in winter.
Outdoor activities range from Nordic skiing, golf, fishing, yachting, lake cruises, hiking, kayaking among many others. At Finland's northernmost point, in the heart of summer, the Sun does not completely set for 73 consecutive days. Wildlife is abundant in Finland. Bird-watching is popular for those fond of flying fauna, however hunting is also popular. Elk, reindeer and hare are all common game in Finland. Olavinlinna in Savonlinna hosts the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival.
Location Map of Finland
Interactive Map of Finland
|Travel Guide to the European Union 2013|