Finland is a country of extreme contrasts – icy winters and golden summers, and vibrant cosmopolitan cities mixed with vast areas of remote wilderness. You are sure to enjoy these when you visit Finland, along with the following.
The Christmas Country
Christmas is the most festive time of the year for the Finns, filled with unique and heartwarming traditions, which is why it is a great time to visit Finland. Get to see the St. George Lucia Festival in Helsinki, which is one of the country's pre-Christmas celebrations, especially for the Swedish-speaking Finns, and while there, grab the chance to skate at the city's popular ice rink or shop for crafts and delicacies at the St. Lucia. Thomas Christmas Market. You can visit a graveyard in Helsinki, too, which is filled with candles on Christmas Eve or spend a traditional Christmas Eve dinner with a Finnish family.
The best part about spending Christmas in Finland, though, is that you get to see Santa Claus – for real! Drop by the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi and get to meet the man in the red suit himself in his office, as well as his herd of reindeer and little helpers. You do not have to wait until the Christmas season to do this, though, since the Santa Claus Village is open all year.
Snow Castles and Igloos
Have you ever wondered what it's like to sleep in an igloo? Put an end to your curiosity and spend the night in one in Finland, such as one of the Harriniva Igloos, where you can sleep on a double bed made of snow under a blanket made of reindeer skin. Spending the night in the Kakslauttanen Igloos is recommended for couples since most are built for two. There is even one with a clear roof so you can gaze up at the Arctic skies – or even the Northern Lights – while wrapped up in each other's arms.
There are also entire complexes made out of snow in Finland during winter like the snow castle in Kemi where there is a bar, a restaurant and a chapel made out of snow where you can have or see a truly unique wedding. There is also a snow village in Yllas where you will see many astonishing ice sculptures.
There are approximately 1.8 million saunas in Finland so make sure you try out at least one when you visit Finland. Indeed, the Finns love the sauna. In fact, the word sauna itself is a word from the Finnish language – the only one to be included in the dictionary. Some saunas use electricity while others – roughly 500 – are traditional smoke or wood-burning saunas, which are usually located around the lake. Popular saunas include the smoke sauna at Hotel Kakslauttanen – the largest in the world with a capacity of up to 70 people – and the newly opened Sauna Gondola in Yllas.
Finland is home to an amazing diversity of Finland, although it is most known for its large population of European brown bears and wolverines, which you can get to see if you visit Finland. Indeed, there are many wildlife watching tours you can take during your stay so you can observe rare wild animals in their natural environment without fearing for your life. It is also easy to spot reindeer and different birds such as the elegant whooper swan – Finland's national bird.
Aside from wildlife watching, there are many exciting activities to keep you occupied if you visit Finland during the summer, such as hiking and cycling in its stunning nature parks, horseback riding, playing golf, sailing, kayaking and rafting. In winter, these activities are replaced with skating, skiing, snowboarding, fishing and reindeer or dog sledding, which means you will certainly have a lot to enjoy no matter what time of the year you come visit.