Across the White Plains: A Look at Finland

in Country Guides

Northern Lights in Inari, Finland - Photo: P. Sanders

Finland is a country of roguish weather and striking beauty; sitting on the colder reaches of Northern Europe, it is a welfare state that provides one of the highest living standards in the world. This is a land of lakes and islands, of organized cities and striking landscapes, where technology’s bleeding edge exists side by side with unspoiled nature.

Finland is an excellent destination for tourists who dare climb out of the warm comfort of Europe’s warm Mediterranean destinations. Unlike neighbors such as Norway and Sweden, Finland is a land of rolling plains filled with lakes and adorned by low hills. The land rises up on the cold North (reaching its highest point on Mount Halti) but never manages to provide awe inspiring heights. Most of the appeal comes from the myriad of lakes (around 188,000 throughout the country) and over 179,000 islands, which make Finland a superb boating destination.

There is plenty to do in Finland, though one would be wise not to expect the classic winter sports paradise usually associated with anywhere chilly. Cross-country skiing is definitely popular among the Finnish locals (who would have to travel to the northern reaches to try their hand at anything resembling downhill skiing or snowboarding) who also enjoy canoeing in the lakes during the summertime. You can join in on the fun or try your hand at some of the more esoteric sports popular in this little pocket of the world; activities such as such as air guitar tournaments, swamp soccer matches and wife carrying races are quite popular and brave visitors can try to best the locals.

The Magical Lights of Lapland

A huge number of tourists coming to Finland flock to this icy land hoping to see the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon which is also often called the Finland Aurora Borealis. The best place for catching the Northern Lights at their finest lies in the North, on the Lapland region which is almost entirely located within the chilly realm of the Arctic Circle. It is during the dark winter months when the sun shies away and the freezing cold and rain makes the land harsh and unforgiving that these lights are seen with the most regularly. First time spectators and usually spellbound by the twist of the light as swirling shades of blue, green and red flare across the sky. Luckily, braving the freezing winter months is not mandatory, as other peak seasons exist during the months of February through March and September through October.

 

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