With Finland attracting 6.7 million foreign tourists in 2017 and 8.5 million in 2018, one of the world’s northernmost countries is building its reputation as an ice-cold holiday hotspot.
To help the many millions of tourists expected to arrive during 2019, the good people at flag carrier Finnair have created a list of the best places to take part in quintessential Finnish experiences. Visitors can easily do some of these in a single day, ideal for an extended stopover in the happiest country on Earth.
If you’ve ever wanted to bask in the glow of the sun all day long, you’ll be able to experience that in Finland. In Helsinki, the sun doesn’t set for 24 hours, leading the Finns to coin it ‘the midnight sun’.
While the Finns love their winters, summer holds a special place in their hearts too; from mid-June to early July, never-ending days aren’t just a dream – they’re a reality. Did you know they even have a Midsummer Day national holiday on 22 June?
To truly understand how to live life like a Finn, the sauna is one place you’ll want to hit up. Regardless of if it’s winter or summer, sauna is such a big part of Finnish culture and it’s an activity itself that can’t be compared to anything else.
Try the Allas Sea Pool — a new spa complex inspired by the historic spa heritage of the Baltic Sea, or check out the Löyly Design Sauna — another incredibly striking location that’s just a short walk from the city centre.
Finland’s 40 nature parks
There’s nothing like taking in the fresh air – Finland has the third cleanest air in the world – and hiking is made all the more easier when snow isn’t involved. The clear paths in moderate temperatures create opportunities for less serious hikers to take in all that nature’s best has to offer.
Check out Nuuksio National Park (above) – a mere 45 minutes from Helsinki city centre where even an hour-long hike along one of the main trails lets you experience the feeling of being in the wilderness. Or if you’re game to venture further out, try Koli National Park – atop Ukko-Koli hill – where you’ll find one of the most gorgeous views of Finland and one that has inspired many Finnish artists.
Soak up Finnish design
The clean lines of Finnish design can’t be ignored — and is something you experience from the moment you board your plane. Finnish culture and a strong craft tradition have brought up some of the world’s most impressive and loved designs and designers.
On Finnair, visitors also find brands such as Marimekko and Iittala (above) as part of the tableware and amenity kits presented to passengers.
Finns are passionate about their food and they know how to celebrate it. In Finland, market stalls everywhere overflow with seasonal produce and local delicacies. Festivals mark the arrival of favourite foods throughout the year.
Some of Finland’s most iconic foods include the Karjalanpiirakka, also known as Karelian pies that are made with rye flour and filled with potatoes, rice or carrots. A Finnish summer is also incomplete without the Grillimakkara – thick, juicy sausages that are traditionally eaten with mustard and washed down with beer.