Friday, January 29, 2021

Greece

Greece Flag




Why visit Greece?
Offers something for everyone whether enjoying ancient culture, architecture, authentic villages, beaches, birdwatching, blue-domed churches, casinos, caves, festivals, historic sites, islands, museums, nightlife, scuba diving, scenery, shopping, skiing, snorkeling, spas, temples, whitewashed homes, windsurfing, and yachting.



Santorini, Greece. Photo Credit: Michelle Maria/Pixabay 



A popular destination for:
  • Amateur & Professional Photographers
  • Bucket List Destination
  • Cruise: Disembark/Embark
  • Groups: Family, Friends, Incentive Travel, Multigenerational, Reunions
  • Milestones: Anniversary, Birthday, Honeymoon, Retirement
  • Romance
  • Wine Connoisseurs & Mediterranean Cuisine Foodies


Village, Karpathos (Carpathos) Island, Greece. Photo Credit: analogicus/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy:  Ceramic tiles, colorful hand woven handbags, embroidery, handicrafts,  jewelry, lace, kilim rugs, leather goods, olive oil, plates, pottery, rugs, and wines.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Amygdalopita (almond cake). Avgotaracho (fish roe). Baklava (filo pastry). Bougatsa (breakfast pastry). Bourdeto (fish dish). Daktyla (bread). Diples (dessert delacy). Fasolada (soup). Feta (cheese). Formaela (hard cheese). Graviera (cheese). Gyros (roasted meat). Kopanisti (spicy cheese). Loukaniko (sausage). Loutza (pork tenderloin). Magiritsa (lamb soup). Melomakarona (honey macaroons). Saganaki (fried cheese). Spanakopita (filled pastry). Tiropita (feta pastry). Tomatokeftedes (tomato fritters).
  • Local Drink to Try: Commandaria (wine). Kitron (liqueur). Kumquat (liqueur). Mastichato (liqueur). Metaxa (brandy). Ouzo (anise alcohol). Retsina (wine). Tentura (cinnamon liquor). Tsikoudia (brandy). Zivania (brandy).


Navagio Beach, Zakynthos Island, Greece. Photo Credit: Greg Montani/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Petralona Cave (southern Balkans) has evidence of human ancestors dating back to 270,000BC.
  • Birthplace of Western Civilisation around 3200 BC.
  • Birthplace (776 BC) of the ancient Olympic Games (Olympia). 
  • Birthplace of Democracy.
  • Forgotten for 1700 years, Temple of Apollo Epicurius (Bassae) is considered one of the best preserved monuments.
  • Varied by definition has between 1,200 - 6,000 islands.
  • One of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.
  • The Cyclades consists of 220 islands.
  • Before soap, ancient Greeks historically soaked in water followed by daubs of olive oil. 
  • Mamma Mia film was shot from Skiathos and Skopelos.
  • Mount Olympus is the legendary home of the Greek gods (Twelve Gods).
  • Founding Member of United Nations. 
  • One of Europe's most mountainous countries.
  • Males 18 - 60 could be required to serve the National Guard part-time.
  • Large producer of almonds, figs, olives, rice, tobacco, tomatoes, and watermelons.
  • Thessaloniki City ranks as a top party town worldwide.
  • Construction project of the Thessaloniki Metro system is estimated to cost $1.83 billion. 
  • Thyme is their most traditional herb. 
  • The island of Icaria claims to have invented wine.
  • Has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in Europe.

Karpathos (Carpathos) Island, Greece. Photo Credit: analogicus/Pixabay 




Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Patras Carnival, (February) Karnavali Carnival, (March) Thessaloniki Documentary Festival,(April) Feast of St George, (May) Athens Digital Arts Festival, Athens Festival, Hellenic Film Academy Awards (June) Aegean Festival, Athens Festival, Aegean Rally, Simi Festival, International Classical Musical Festival, Meis–Kaş Swim, Midsummer Eve, Navy Week, Santorini Film Festival, (July) Dionysia Wine Festival, Dodoni Festival, Epidaurus Festival, Hippokrateia Festival, International Folklore Festival, Puppet Festival, Renaissance Festival, Wine Festival, (August) Aegina Music Festival, Aeschylia Festival, Epirotika Festival, Olympus Festival, (September) Thessaloniki Film Festival and Festival of Popular Song, Thessaloniki International Fair,  (November) Thessaloniki Festival of Greek Cinema, Thessaloniki International Film Festival, (December) AthensCon, and VideoDance Festival.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Epiphany, Clean Monday, Independence Day, Great Friday, Labour Day, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Assumption DayOchi Day, Christmas Day, and Glorifying Mother of God.

Parthenon (Temple), Athenian AcropolisGreece. Photo Credit: Nick115/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • An entry fee is charged for beaches equipped with concessions, lifeguards, showers, sun beds, and umbrellas.
  • June - September is commonly the Honeymooner Season.
  • Spring is the best season for birdwatching (Crete and Lesbos).
  • Between July - August the Cycladic Islands are prone to strong winds.
  • Golf is available on Athens (Glyfada), Halkidiki and on the islands of Corfu, Crete and Rhodes.
  • Scuba Diving is best in Corfu, Crete, Santorini, Zakinthos.
  • Between December - March skiing is popular on Mount Helmos and Mount Parnassos.
  • Windsurfing is popular on Kefalos on Kos, Prassonissi on Rhodes, and Vasiliki on Levkas.
  • A special tourist police force and tourist police stations have been assembled for travelers (Dial 1571).
  • No bare arms or legs are permitted in churches or monasteries.
  • Smoking is prohibited in all public places.
  • Most visited islands are Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, and Rhodes.
  • Catamarans and hydrofoils services connect visits to various islands.
  • Demonstrations and strikes are common. Avoid them!
  • Tourist areas are prone to pick-pocketing and purse-snatching.
  • Rental car theft is known to occur to steal luggage, passports, and valuables.
  • Photography of the military persons and buildings is prohibited. Could lead to arrest.
  • Mace or pepper-spray are illegal. Subject to arrest, confiscation or detention.
  • Do not purchase protected antiques. Carry all receipts for all purchases.
  • Handicap parking spaces and sidewalk ramps are often blocked by parked vehicles.
  • Sidewalks are often narrow with broken paving stones, large holes, obstructed by trees and street signs.
  • Buildings often lack accessible elevators and/or bathrooms.
  • Hospitals may require payment in cash prior to treatment or hospitalization.
  • International Driver’s Permit (IDP) required.
  • Failure to validate your public transportation ticket could fine one up to 60 times the basic fare rate.

Theatre of Dionysus (Akropolis Hill), Athens, Greece. Photo Credit: yvanox/Pixabay 


This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA not required for visits under 90 days.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.

Subject to earthquakes, forest fires, and tremors.


Meteora (Monastery), Thessaly, Greece‎. Photo Credit: Tasos Lekkas/Pixabay 



  • Best Time to Visit: May - June & September - October
  • Coolest Months: December - February 
  • Hottest Months: July - August
  • Peak Season: June - September

(Castle) Mandraki Harbour, Rhodes, Greece. Manfred Richter/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Acropolis Athens, Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina), Archaeological Site of Mycenae and Tiryns, Archaeological Site of Philippi, Archeological Site of Delphi, Archeological Site of Mystras, Archeological Site of Olympia, Delos, Medieval City of Rhodes, Meteora, Monasteries of Daphni Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios, Mount Athos, Old Town of Corfu, Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos, Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint-John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos.

Santorini, Greece. Photo Credit: Herbert Bieser/Pixabay 


Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine



Skiathos Island, Greece. Photo Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas/Pixabay


                                               All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Gabon

Gabon Flag




Why visit Gabon?
Best known for their beaches, caves, fishing, mangroves, rivers, tribal culture, rainforests, waterfalls, and wildlife. 


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Glassware, masks, musical instruments, pottery, soapstone sculptures, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Cassava Root. Dacryodes Edulis (firm fruit). Gari (porridge).
  • Local Drink to Try: Rehab (beer).

Fun Facts
  • In 1472, the Portuguese arrived.
  • In 1960, became independent from France.
  • In 1981, commercial radio station, Africa No. 1 was founded. Considered one of the most powerful radio stations.
  • In 2008, the National Geographic Expedition  began documenting their caves
  • Rich in natural resources: forests, gold, iron,magnesium, petroleum, and uranium. 
  • Libreville is Africa's most expensive city.
  • Only women are permitted to attend Juju Magic Mass on Sundays.
  • The President is protected by 1800 security guards.
  • Relies on logging and manganese income mining.
  • Education is required for youths ages 6 - 16.
  • Oil revenue contributes to local school construction and teachers' salaries.
  • Best Atlantic tarpon fishing in the world.

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (February) Gabao Hip Hop Festival, (May) Festival Akini-a-Loubou, and (August) Les Nuits Atypiques.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Easter Monday, Women's DayLabour Day, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Assumption Day, Independence DayEid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, All Saints Day, and Christmas Day.

Good to Know
  • English is not spoken; official language is French.
  • Hot and humid year round!
  • Avoid political rallies and social protests.
  • Avoid roaming at night.
  • Largely a cash economy; credit cards are not widely accepted.
  • Prevalent diseases include African Trypanosomiasis, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever,  HIV/AIDS, Malaria, SchistosomiasisTuberculosis, and Yellow Fever.
  • Avoid public transportation.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever vaccination required. 


Bitam, Woleu-Ntem, Gabon. Photo Credit: Ralph Messi/Unsplash


  • Best Time to Visit: June - September
  • Hottest Months: March - May
  • Peak Season: October - December

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Lopé National Park

Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine


                                             All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

France

France Flag




Why visit France?
Truly offers something for everyone whether to enjoy the alpine villages, beautiful architecture, casinos, cathedrals, caves, chateaus, culture, cycling, classical art, fashion, fishing, gardens, hiking, historic villages, history, medieval cities, mosques, mountain climbing, museums, national parks, nightlife, palaces, religious abbeys, religious monuments, rocky coast, sailing, shopping, sidewalk cafes, skiing, sophisticated cuisine, spas, thermal-spring baths, variety of landscapes, vineyards, water sports, and wildlife.



Strausbourg, France. Photo Credit: Monika Neumann/Pixabay 



A popular destination for:
  • Amateur & Professional Photographers
  • Bucket List Destination
  • Cruise: Disembark/Embark
  • Groups: Family, Friends, Incentive Travel, Multigenerational, Reunions
  • Milestones: Anniversary, Birthday, Honeymoon, Retirement
  • Romance


Paris, France. Photo Credit: Walkerssk/Pixabay 


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Antiques, art, beret, champagne, cheese, chocolate, cognac, couture clothing, crystal, gloves, hand blown glass, lace, macarons, mustard, porcelain, pottery, perfumes, scarves, tapestries, truffles, and wine.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Andouillette (sausage). Basil Salmon Terrine (like pate). Bisque  (soup). Bleu de Bresse (cheese). Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage (cheese). Café Liégeois (dessert). Camembert (cheese). Cassoulet (meat casserole). Chartreuse Elixir Végétal (vegetable dish). Coq au Vin (braised chicken). Croque Monsieur (hot sandwich). Duck Jus. Éclair (dessert). Gratin Dauphinois (gratin potatoes). Mille-Feuille (custard dessert). Mousse au Chocolat (dessert). Pan Bagnat (sandwich). Pot-au-Feu (stew). Roquefort (cheese). Steak Frites (steak and fries). Tourin (garlic soup).
  • Local Drink to Try: Alfred Gratien Cuvee Paradis Brut NV Champagne, Beaujolais Nouveau (wine). Bordeaux Red (wine). Champagne Leclerc Briant Cuvée Extra Brut NV, Crémant d'Alsace (sparkling wine). Dubonnet (sweet wine). Noilly Prat (vermouth). Pastis (anise flavored spirit).


Dining out, do not ask for French Bread, after all all their bread is French made.



Château de Chambord, Chambord (Centre Region), France. Photo Credit: JEROME CLARYSSE from Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • In 600BC, Colony of Massalia founded (Marseille). 
  • In 121BC, Romans settled (southern Gaul).
  • During 1860, "couture"  originated (Paris).
  • In 1723, Maille was founded in Marseille (high end condiments).
  • In 1854, Mariage Freres founded (high end tea).
  • In 1924, launched Deaflympics a version of the Olympics but for the deaf.
  • In 1940, invaded by Nazi Germany and Italy.
  • In 1971, created the environment ministry. 
  • In 2013, legalized same-sex adoptions.
  • Denim fabric originates from Nimes (south).
  • Including territories has the most time zones (12) of any country.
  • Only the Champagne Region may use the word "champagne".
  • Gorges du Verdon is considered one of Europe's most beautiful river canyons.
  • Their driving age is 18.
  • Ranks as the world's fifth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Welcomes over 89 million visitors annually. 
  • Oversea regions include: Adélie Land, Amsterdam Island, Clipperton Island, Crozet Islands, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Guadeloupe, Kerguelen Islands, Martinique, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Réunion island, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Scattered Islands, St. Paul Island, Saint Pierre & Miquelon, and Wallis & Futuna.
  • Has four major rivers Garonne, Loire, Rhône, and Seine.
  • Second most environmentally-conscious country in the world.
  • Founding member of the United Nations.
  • Fourth-largest donor of development aid in the world.
  • Home to one of the largest aerospace industries in the world.
  • Host the largest and oldest military parades of European countries.
  • Approximately 6.2 million visit the Eiffel Tower (Paris) annually.
  • Most visited attractions include: Arc de Triomphe, Carcassonne, Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Château de Versailles, Mont Saint-Michel, Musée Picasso, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Pont du Gard, Puy de Dôme, and Sainte-Chapelle.
  • The Louvre Museum is the most visited art museum in the world, with over 5 million visitors annually.
  • The French Riviera area (southeast) has 3,000 restaurants. 
  • Loire Valley is the leading region of castle visits.
  • Has 37 UNESCO's World Heritage sites.
  • One of the world's largest producers of electricity.
  • Second most extensive rail system in Western Europe.
  • Home to the world's tallest bridge, Millau Viaduct.
  • It's estimated nearly 500 million speak French worldwide.
  • Has 43,180 buildings protected as historical monuments.
  • Saint Sernin Basilica (Toulouse), is the largest romanesque church in Europe.
  • Children's fairy tales: Bluebeard. Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard by a French Author (Charles Perrault, 1628-1703).
  • Birthplace to world's first female filmmaker, Alice Ida Antoinette Guy-Blaché  (1873-1968).
  • Gender equality in the workplace leader.
  • Offers over 400 varieties of cheeses.
  • Michelin Guide has awarded 620 stars to restaurants.
  • Popular beer brew regions are in Alsace, Lorraine, and Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
  • Reunion Island leads their rum distillery production. 
  • Each wine region offers a unique blend of grapes and soil; Alsace (northeastern), Beaujolais (south), Bordeaux (southwest), Bourgogne (eastern), Champagne (northeast), Corsica Island, Languedoc-Roussillon (southern), Loire Valley (northwest), Provence (southeast), Rhone Valley, and Sud-Ouest (southwest).


Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile (Monument), Paris, France. Photo Credit: ian kelsall/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Carnival of Limoux, Comic-Con Paris, March for Life, The Cavalcade of Scaër, (February) César Awards, Fête du Citron, Lumières Award, Nice Carnival, Paris Carnival, Paris International Agricultural Show, Rétromobile, (March) Orléans Masters, Paris Half Marathon, Sanch Procession, Videoformes, (April) Foire de Paris, Humarathon, Monte-Carlo Masters, Nice Half Marathon, (May) Cannes Festival, French Open, Feria de Nîmes, Museum Week, (June) Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Champs-Élysées Film Festival, Corrida de Langueux, Solidays, Strasbourg Music Festival, (July) Africa Fashion Week Paris, Bastille Day Military Parade, Festival d'Avignon, Festival de Cornouaille, Japan Expo, Pablo Casals Festival, Paris-Plages, Tour de France, Vieilles Charrues Festival, (August) Maskarada, (September) Auray-Vannes Half Marathon, Feria d'Arles, Feria Festival, Lille Half Marathon, Marathon du Médoc, Paris Fashion Week, Paris-Versailles Race, Voiles de Saint-Tropez, (October) Marseille-Cassis Classique Internationale, Nuit Blanche, Open World Forum, Paris Games Week, Paris Marathon, Reims à Toutes Jambes, Salon d'Automne, Semaine Olympique Française La Rochelle, Toulouse Marathon, (November) Bal des Débutantes, Boulogne-Billancourt Half Marathon, French Riviera Marathon, Paris Independent Film Festival, Paris Photo - Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards, Paris Fashion Week, Student Yachting World Cup, Trophées UNFP du Football, and (December) Corrida de Houilles.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labour Day, Victory Day, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Bastille Day, Assumption of Mary, All Saints' Day, Armistice Day, Christmas Day, and Saint Stephen's Day.


Château de Fontainebleau, Fontainebleau, France. Photo Credit: edmondlafoto/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Mediterranean Sea (south) offers the warmest waters.
  • Atlantic Coast area offers the best for surfing.
  • Plan meals accordingly as restaurants normally serve lunch between 12N-2PM and dinner after 7:30PM.
  • Rental cars are known break-in targets.
  • Car Rentals usually charge a surcharge for drivers  under 25.
  • High speed trains connect Amsterdam, Brussels, France, Geneva, London, and Zurich.
  • Military and Police routinely patrol public spaces.
  • Three course meals are common, starting with hors d'oeuvre/entrée (introductory course, plat principal (main course), and fromage (cheese course) or dessert. Sometimes a salad is offered before the cheese or dessert serving. 
  • “Smash and grab” robberies are known to occur.
  • Use of drones and footage is highly regulated. Violators subject to 75,000EUR fine and/or one year prison sentence. 


Sénanque Abbey (Village of Gordes), Provence, France. Photo Credit: Walkerssk/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with three months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA not required for visits under 90 days.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.


Nice (French Riviera), France. Photo Credit: Prosag-Media/Pixabay 



  • Best Time to Visit: April - October
  • Coldest Month: December - March
  • Hottest Month: July 
  • Peak Season: June - August


Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France. Photo Credit: Denis Cheyrouze/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Abbey Church of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Amiens Cathedral, Arles Roman and Romanesque Monuments, Belfries of Belgium and France, Bordeaux Port of the Moon, Bourges Cathedral, Canal du Midi, Cathedral of Notre-Dame Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau Reims, Chaine des PuysChampagne Hillsides Houses and Cellars, Chartres Cathedral, Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay, Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc (known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc Ardèche), Episcopal City of Albi, Fortifications of Vauban, French Austral Lands and Seas, From the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans the Production of Open-pan Salt, Gulf of PortoCalanche of PianaHistoric Fortified City of Carcassonne, Lyon, Historical centre of AvignonPapal PalaceAvignon Bridge, Saint-Émilion, Lagoons of New CaledoniaLe HavreMont Saint-MichelNord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, Fontainebleau, Palace and Park of Versailles, Banks of the Seine, Place StanislasPont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct), Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps, Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley, ProvinsPyrénées – Mont Perdu, Roman TheatreRoutes of Santiago de Compostela in France, Strasbourg, Taputapuātea, The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement, The Causses and the Cévennes Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape, The Climats Terroirs of Burgundy, Loire Valley, Réunion Island, Vézelay Church and Hill.


Honfleur, France. Photo Credit: edmondlafoto/Pixabay 


Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

Your one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals



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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine



Rocher de la Baume, Sisteron, France. Photo Credit: Volker Glätsch/Pixabay 


                                           All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Finland

Finland Flag



"The Land of a Thousand Lakes" & "Promised Land of Heavy Metal"
"If sauna, tar and booze doesn't help you, then a disease is deadly"



Why visit Finland?
For the traveler cold or cool weather traveler seeking to enjoy architecture, aurora borealis (northern lights), birdwatching, bicycling, cafes, charming villages, cross-country skiing, culture, festivals, fishing, forests, galleries, golf, hiking, hunting, islands, kayaking, lake cruises, medieval history, museums, national parks, reindeer safaris, reindeer sledding, saunas, scenic lakes, snowmobiling, trekking, wildlife, and winter activities.



Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Photo Credit: Sturrax/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Candles, ceramics, crystal, fabrics, furniture, furs, glassware, hats, jewelry, lace, liqueurs, local designer clothes, reindeer-skin slippers, rugs, tapestries, and vodka.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Baltic Herring (fried fish). Blueberry Pie. Chanterelles (mushrooms). Hernekeitto (pea soup). Kaalikääryleet (cabbage rolls). Kesäkeitto (vegetable soup). Lihapullat (meatballs). Makkara (sausage). Pulla (pastry). Rönttönen (pastry with filling). Ruisleipä (rye bread). Vispipuuro (whipped porridge).
  • Local Drink to Try: Finlandia (vodka). Glögi (mulled wine). Jaloviina (brandy). Karhu (pale lager beer). Karjala (lager beer). Koff (beer). Koskenkorva (vodka). Lapin Kulta (beer). Olvi (soft drinks). Salmiakkikossu (liquor).


Olavinlinna (Castle), Savonlinna, Finland. Photo Credit: Jacqueline Macou/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Around 9000BC, became inhabited.
  • During 12th Century (1101-1200) it was a Pagan country.
  • In 1906, was the first European country to recognize women's right to vote.
  • In 1917, declared independence.
  • From 1999-2010, hosted the World Sauna Championships (Heinola) until competitions were deemed too dangerous following the death of a competitor. 
  • In 2007, hosted the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • In 2008, their pizza chain Kotipizza won America's Plate International Pizza Contest (hosted in New York). 
  • Since 2012, ranks within in the Top 5 of happiest countries in the world.
  • The country's interior has many lakes and swamps.
  • World Champions in Swamp Soccer.
  • Home to an official accredited school for Santa's Elves. Mail your letters to Santa, 96930 Rovaniemi, Finland. Receives over half a million letters annually.
  • Home to approximately 179,000 islands.
  • Reindeer are most prominent in their literature, mythology and ritual life.
  • Their National Sport is Pesäpallo, a fast-moving bat-and-ball; compared to baseball.
  • Has over 180,000 lakes. Saimaa Lake being Europe's fourth largest.
  • During the Ice Age their glaciers were thicker and lasted longer contributing to their geography.
  • Said to be rising from the sea due to post-glacial rebound.
  • Land approximately 78% forest is Europe's leading wood producer. 
  • Endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal is only found in Saimaa Lakes.
  • Has one of the world's most extensive welfare systems offering all residents decent living conditions.
  • Port of Helsinki is the of busiest ports in the world.
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the largest Lutheran church in the world.
  • Degree Programs are often taught in English.
  • Ice Hockey is a popular spectator sport.


                         Helsinki Cathedral (Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral of the Diocese of Helsinki), Helsinki, Finland.                                                Photo Credit: Tapio Haaja/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (March) Tar Skiing Race, (May) Helsinki City Marathon, Walpurgis Night, (June) Kuopio Dance Festival, Midsummer Festival, (July) Animecon, Finncon, Hamina Tattoo, Ilosaarirock Festival, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Kuninkuusravit, Pori Jazz, Ropecon, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Tangomarkkinat, (August) Flow Festival, (September) Helsinki Comics Festival, and (October) Herring Fair.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, May Day, Ascension Day, Pentecost Sunday, Midsummer Eve, Midsummer Day, All Saints' Day, Independence Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St Stephen's Day.


Oulu, Finland. Photo Credit: David Mark/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Entry requires sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.
  • Best chance to see Northern Lights is from September - March.
  • Finnish and Swedish are the official languages.
  • Climate varies significantly relative to latitude from south to north.
  • During Polar Nights, the sun does not rise for days or weeks, or even months, and during summers Midnight Sun the sunset doesn't set beyond midnight (up to 73 consecutive days).
  • Ski Season is from December - April.
  • Camping is permitted in wilderness areas. 
  • Northern Lapland offers salmon fishing.
  • Has venomous snakes.
  • Offers an extensive rail system throughout the country. 
  • Traffic approaching from the right has priority on the roadways.
  • Snow tires from December - February are recommended on all vehicles. 


Lapland, Finland. Photo Credit: zanna-76/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and two blank pages for entry stamp.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.


Provoo, Finland. Photo Credit: LUM3N/Pixabay 



  • Best Time to Visit: May - September
  • Coldest Month: October - April
  • Hottest Months: June - August 
  • Peak Season: June - August 


Raahe, Finland. Photo Credit: David Mark/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki, Fortress of Suomenlinna, High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago, Old Rauma, Petäjävesi Old Church, Struve Geodetic Arc, Verla Groundwood and Board Mill.


Helenski, Finland. Photo Credit: Anastasia Borisova/Pixabay 



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                                           All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

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