Tuesday, January 26, 2021


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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"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. 

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