Top 10 summer adventures
1. National parks
There are 40 national parks in Finland, scattered around the country’s archipelago, lakes, forests, peatlands and fells. They showcase the country’s various natural characteristics, such as rapids, rift valleys and eskers (winding ridges). Besides having stunning scenery, the parks are perfect for various year-round outdoor pursuits, including hiking, climbing and snowshoeing.
2. Bear watching
For anyone keen to join an organised trip to see and photograph wild bears, the densely forested borderlands of Eastern Finland are an ideal destination. Around 1,500 brown bears call Finland’s thick forests home, and the chances of sighting these majestic beasts are high on bear-watching trips, which normally run between April and September.
3. Midnight Sun Film Festival
The atmosphere of the Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä is one of the most unique in the world: fascinating film directors from around the world, up-and-coming talents, an international audience and the inhabitants of Sodankylä gather under the midnight sun to kick back and soak up the vibe in the relaxed and informal ‘spirit of Sodankylä’.
4. Midnight Sun
Dark Arctic winters have their counterpart in one of the most iconic of Finnish natural phenomena: the Midnight Sun. Those who venture north of the Arctic Circle will be greeted with continuous daylight, as the sun doesn’t set at all here from May to August. Further south, the summery scenes continue; the sun can be visible for almost 24 hours a day during June and July.
5. Pure air
Some of the cleanest air in the world can be found in Finnish Lapland, in the Muonio municipality of Western Lapland to be precise. Finland’s fortunate location far away from some of the bigger cities means pollution levels are extremely low. There’s really only one big city in Finland — Helsinki — and, even there, locals breathe air considered clean and good quality on a European level.
6. Early-Autumn Northern Lights
Even though most of us associate the aurora with cold and snowy winter scenery, the most active seasons are actually autumn and spring, when the Earth’s orientation towards the sun maximises the probability of solar flares interacting with the planet’s magnetic field to generate this phenomenon.
7. Night in the Wilderness
Have you always dreamt of sleeping in a tent or a treehouse? Or perhaps escaping to a secluded island and spending a night in a lighthouse, enjoying quality food and a sauna? Get in touch with your wild side in Finland, where nature is never too far away.
8. Wild food
Wild food from Finland can be found almost everywhere you look — fish in the sea and in tens of thousands of lakes, as well as berries, herbs and mushrooms in the deep forests stretching all the way from the south to the most northern point of Lapland — adding lots of seasonal dishes to the table.
9. World Heritage Sites
Finland is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, of which six are cultural and one is natural. The tranquil Kvarken Archipelago and the Struve Geodetic Arc are the newest additions to the list, which already includes the imposing Fortress of Suomenlinna and the wooden town in Old Rauma.
If you want to truly get under the skin of Finland and its people, there’s no better way to do so then to book a session in a sauna. It’s a huge part of Finnish culture, and the intense steam is purported to have numerous health benefits for bathers.
Where to go in Finland
Finland’s coast has the world’s largest archipelago, plus an abundance of old wooden towns, lighthouses, manors, churches, and national parks. The laid-back islander lifestyle and maritime culture define this area. With beaches, handicraft markets, small-town events, cafes and village shops, Finnish coastal towns come to life in the summer.
Finland’s capital is a vibrant seaside city of beautiful islands and parks. The city’s rhythm is laid-back yet refreshingly active in terms of both the number and quality of restaurants and nightclubs — with nature never too far away, either. Helsinki’s unique character comes from its proximity to the sea, as well as its location between East and West.
Finnish Lapland, bathing in 24-hour sunlight for nearly three months of the year, bestows wild berries and other treasures of the forests with an intense flavour and health-giving properties. The midnight sun calls for many activities, too, such as hiking on the beautiful fells, or visiting cultural events.
Finland is the land of a thousand lakes, but to be more precise, it’s the land of hundreds of thousands of lakes. Taking a trip to Lakeland is like taking a trip into the heart of Finnish identity, with its deep green forests, the rolling hills and the glittering lakes that cover most of central Finland.
Win a five-day trip to Southern Finland
Helsinki is a compact city easily explored on foot. Design, culture, food and shopping are all great exploration angles and large park areas, forests, lakes, and the coastline — with numerous islands sprinkled off it — ensure there’s no shortage of natural presence.
Competition prize for two people includes:
- Finnair (AY) flights from London/Manchester/Edinburgh airport to Helsinki, Finland
- Four nights’ accommodation in Helsinki and in Espoo (3+1), breakfast included
- Tentsile Experience ‘Night in the tree’ in Nuuksio National Park, Espoo + transfers to Nuuksio
- Museum Card and Helsinki Design Walk
- Lunch or dinner in restaurant Saari
The itinerary is offered by Visit Finland, Finnair and selected partners. The prize can be used between 1 June and 30 September 2018. The value of the prize is €1,500 (£1,330).
Enter at: visitfinland.com/summer-of-extremes