Finland has it all – snowy winters, pleasantly warm summers and colorful spring and autumn. Lapland is the most snow guaranteed place in the Europe. Not only the climate but also Finns are considered to be cool – a bit quiet and reserved. But they are actually warm, friendly and hospitable.
Although socially and economically it is in the vanguard of nations, parts of the country remain gloriously remote; with the trendsetting modern capital of Helsinki counterbalanced by vast forested wildernesses in the north and east, like Lemmenjoki National Park and Oulanka National Park.
Then, there are the endless days of summer and the endless nights of winter. Winter, too, has a special charm here. Catch the aurora borealis after your wood-fired sauna and you'll feel blessed by the universe.
- Capital: Helsinki
- Official Languages: Finnish, Swedish
- Government: Semi-Presidential Republic
- Currency: Euro
- Time Zone: +2 GMT. (3 ½ hours behind India) Like most states in Europe, Summer (Daylight-Saving) Time is observed in Finland, where the time is shifted forward by 1 hour;so +3 GMT.
- Telephone Calling Code: 00358
When To Go
Best time to visit: July temperatures average 13 to 17°C. February is usually Finland's coldest month, with temperatures averaging from 22 to -3°C.
In Northern Finland, winter temperatures are 30°C to -50°C and it is snowbound from October to April. Northern Finland lies in the Land of the Midnight Sun and so has continuous daylight during part of the summer. The winter night sky here often becomes enriched with brilliant displays of the aurora borealis or Northern Lights.
Southern Finland never has continuous daylight, though it averages 19 hours of daylight a day in midsummer. Snow covers the ground in southern Finland from December to April.
What To Do
Finnish food has been influenced by both climate and its location between Sweden and Russia.
What to eat and drink
- Fish: Salmon, zander, herring, perch, char above all is a staple and delicious whether eaten fresh or smoked/pickled accompanied by dark rye bread
- Typical meat dishes: Include meatballs; reindeer and elk meat are also eaten
- Pulla: A sweet cardamom-flavored bun and the traditional accompaniment to coffee
- Poronkäristys: Sauteed reindeer traditionally eaten by the Sámi who are the descendants of the original inhabitants
- Lakka: The Arctic cloudberry, a real treat with creamy texture offset by tart acidity
- Kalakukko: A thick rye loaf stuffed with tiny lake fish, a specialty of Kuopi
- Karjalanpiirakka: A savoury pastry of rye flour stuffed with rice pudding and eaten with egg butter
- Koskenkorva: A vodka-style spirit. Salty liquorice sweets are often added to make salmiakkikossu
- Berry liqueurs: Mesimarja (arctic bramble), Lakka (cloudberry) and Polar (cranberry)
- Finnish beer: Is of a high quality and graded according to alcohol content.
- Traditional buys: Finnish
- Puukko knives, hand woven Ryijy rugs and every conceivable part of a reindeer. For any Lappish handicrafts, look for the "Sámi Duodji" label that certifies it as authentic.
- Popular brands for modern (or timeless) Finnish design: Marimekko clothing, Iittala glass, Arabia ceramics, Kalevala Koru jewelry, Pentik interior design, Artek furniture by renowned architect and designer Alvar Aalto. Kids and not a few adults love Moomin characters which fill up souvenir store shelves throughout the country.
The best and easiest way to see the highlights is on an escorted tour, where all your travel, accommodation and sightseeing arrangements are well taken care of. A knowledgeable local guide brings history and culture to life as you travel in the comfort of your deluxe coach.
A world leader in budget travel, Cosmos combines the benefit of escorted travel with a great price. Ideal for practical, value-minded travelers. Vacations include comfortable hotels, breakfast and some meals, sightseeing with local guides and the services of an expert Tour Director.