Finland is not called the ‘Land of a Thousand Lakes’ without a reason. Its 188,000 enchantingly beautiful lakes and an equal number of picture perfect islands offer visitors a wide variety of sightseeing and recreational activities. This beautiful Nordic country also offers visitors spectacular displays of natural phenomena in the sky – the magical ‘Northern Lights’ during the long Polar night and the mesmerizing ‘Midnight Sun’ during the Polar day.
However, that’s not all. In the country’s north, which lies within the Arctic Circle, is the famous Lapland, the abode of the Sami people who still live a nomadic lifestyle with their wild reindeers. Here you can go on the popular ‘Santa Claus Tour’, ride reindeer sled, ski over frozen landscape and lakes, ride a dog sledge and gaze at the Northern Lights. In the south, which is mostly dominated by lakes, you can go sailing, go hiking and fishing, have sauna, take part in colorful festivals and gape at the ‘Midnight Sun’.
With so many wonderful things to see and do, Finland is every visitor’s dream destination. Here are 5 things you can’t miss in Finland:
The Santa Claus Tour
This popular 5-hour tour takes you to a reindeer farm in Lapland where you will be given the chance to ride a real reindeer sled ride and experience how Santa Claus does it so well. The sled ride is followed by a special celebration as you cross into the Arctic Circle. At the end of the ride, you can ride the snowmobile and skidoo in the snow-covered wilderness. It is a wonderful time and place to be during Christmas.
The Northern Lights
Throughout the Polar night, which lasts for up to 51 days in the northernmost parts of Finland, you can gaze at the ‘Northern Lights’, also known as Aurora Borealis, which is a magnificent display of the colors of natural light in the sky. If you’ve never seen the phenomenon before, you will be so awed by the awesome beauty of the lights that you will never forget the experience.
The Midnight Sun
Throughout the Polar day, which lasts for up to 73 days in the northernmost pasts of Finland and for 19 hours at a stretch even in the southernmost part, you can see the reddish-yellowish sun hanging in the in the sky just above the horizon. If you’ve never seen the midnight sun, you will be so amazed by the surreal beauty of this natural phenomenon that you will talk about it for the rest of your life.
Vappu, the spring festival
Also known as Walpurgin Night, this spring festival is celebrated on 1 May every year, coinciding with May Day. This festival with pagan roots is the biggest Finnish festival for young Finnish people, especially students, who revel in the streets of cities and towns wearing colorful overalls. Vappu begins in the evening of 30 April, when students wear white caps, and ends in the night of 1 May.
Juhannu, the midsummer festival
This festival is celebrated from 20 – 26 June to celebrate the summer solstice. Originally a pagan festival, it was adapted to Christianity several centuries ago. People light bonfires, eat, drink and make merry. The cities become deserted because many folks retreat to their summer cottages during this festival.