Finland captures the extremes of wild and sophisticated all in one country. The expanses of wilderness throughout Finland extend all the way up to remote Finnish Lapland in the Arctic Circle. Finland's capital, Helsinki, is a cosmopolitan, modern city that leads the way in avant-garde design.
In the summer, the sun barely sets over Finland, giving you hours of daylight to enjoy outdoor activities in Finland’s numerous forests, lakes, rivers and mountains. In the winter, when it's dark most of the day, there are plenty of snow activities such as skiing, sledding, ice fishing and reindeer races to keep you entertained. Regardless of when you visit Finland, make sure to join the locals at the sauna, an essential part of the Finnish lifestyle.
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If you’re interested in architecture and design, then a visit to Helsinki is a must. The city is well known for its design — a mix of quirky, modern decor and Art Nouveau from the early 20th century. Helsinki is surrounded by water, making the vibrant harbor a center of activity in the city. Helsinki also has one of the world’s highest standards of living and is a business as well as cultural center for Finland.
Sauna, or sweat bath, is a staple of Finnish life—as indispensable as rye bread. You can find a sauna just about everywhere in Finland - even in remote Lapland. The sauna has been around for about 2000 years and used for everything from curing meat to giving birth. Whether you finish off with a roll in the snow or dip in an icy lake, the sauna ritual is always the same:sweat, whisk (slap yourself with birch twigs), wash and cool off.
The sauna was once a place of magic and superstition, mostly to do with healing and love. Nowadays, the sauna is about socializing, cleanliness and well being. A sauna is relaxing, exhilarating and, above all, fun.
Lapland lies above the Arctic Circle and is the largest region in Finland, but the most sparsely populated. In Lapland, you can experience the long days of the Midnight Sun and the long periods of darkness of the polar nights. The wilderness here is stunning—with pristine national parks filled with forests, rivers, mountains and wildlife, including wolverines, bears, eagles and lots of reindeer. Lapland is also a good place to view the spectacular aurora borealis or Northern Lights.