Some people traveling to Finland are looking for Finland’s large, snow-covered, white, wild desert, dark sky illuminated by the magical colors of the northern lights. But today there are just as many visitors looking for hip-art, high-quality concept design and culinary adventures in colorful but painfully stylish Helsinki, the daughter of the Baltic Sea, originally built by the Russians – they were based in St. Petersburg but added more Art Nouveau details. Our selection of the best places to stay in Finland ensures that, regardless of the reason for your stay, you have a suitably good bed for the night, whether it is a luxurious city pillow or a rustic log cabin in the middle of nowhere.
Finland’s other name is “Land of a Thousand Lakes”, but this is a serious underestimation, as there are about 188,000 lakes in Finland. So it’s a great place for sailors and rowers. Finland has a similar number of islands.
Give it a short, sparkling summer and let yourself be pampered with large, sunny nature, bright colors and a wonderful atmosphere of optimism. Walk through the rising forests to the lakes, which act as mirrors where you can paddle, kayak or swim. Or sail in style on the waterways. Then rent overnight in one of the cottages, which are regularly scattered along Finland’s well-planned hiking trails. You can even see deer or bears. Summer is also the time for music and art festivals, food markets and beer gardens and terraces.
Winter doesn’t stop the invitation to explore, it just makes the country more attractive to skiers, skiers, etc. And when the lakes freeze, it’s easier to get to the skates. And you might even be tempted to try ice fishing or a cruise on the Baltic Sea or a few nights in one of the Snow Queen’s palaces, a real ice hotel? Or with Santa Claus and his speaker in Lapland?
WHERE TO STAY – WHAT CITY / CITY OR AREA?
Most people start in Helsinki. It is a city with a vibrant arts and culture field and a reputation for design and nascent dining. It is also a good destination for outdoor activities, as there are very beautiful scenery nearby and unlimited opportunities for hiking, water sports, etc.
Helsinki is not the only city worth visiting, Tampere has one of the best covered markets in Finland, and there are cozy chalet-style kiosks selling sausages and fruit, fresh fish and a selection of local specialties.
Turku is also vibrant, with a beautiful castle and cathedral – a suitable capital that was there until 1812.
Of course, Finland can only mean Lapland to you, a huge white wilderness; where you can come experience the midnight sun and northern lights, see flocks of reindeer and maybe even meet Santa! It is huge and relatively empty, but the Sámi have made it a home and the community is one of the largest in the region. Lapland is a surprisingly flat area. There are huge forests and countless shelters – if not frozen – and slightly sloping, rounded hills or small mountains. There is a lot of ski terrain, if not very mountainous, but the area is ripe for Nordic skiing and hiking.
At the other end of the bright, white Lapland scale are the bright white sandy beaches of the Iland archipelago, a sunny area of land surrounded by small wooded islands and secluded beaches. The largest and most important islands are connected by cable cars and bridges, while the outer islands can be reached by car ferry – or of course by boat. The islands have many small villages and almost all are charming and friendly. This is also a great place to bike.
Hanko is another popular seaside destination, but more stylish. It revived life as a Russian spa in the late 19th century, and luxury villas by the sea at that time have survived.
WHAT SHOULD NOT BE POSTS
There are magnificent churches in Helsinki, but the highlights are probably the huge square Lutheran Cathedral in Senate Square, the classic onion domes in Uspenski Cathedral and the amazingly minimalist “Rock Church” carved from massive stone and roof. Copper strips were added to the top – which really looks like a UFO.
Then there are many museums of art and design. You can start with Suomenlinna, a Swedish sea fortress built, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to several museums and Finland’s only surviving World War II submarine.