Finland is one of the world’s northern most countries. It is often referred as the Land of the Midnight Sun. Many tourists visit the country for a rare glimpse of the Northern Lights. With a population of 5.5 million, Finland is one of the least densely populated countries in Europe.
If you’ve always wanted to visit the country, below are 5 useful tips that will help you to plan your dream trip to the winter wonderland.
Wandering the Tourist Spots
In the Vogue article, interior architect and founder of Pure Design Esa Vesmanen suggests visiting Regatta Cafe and walking towards Seurasaari Island. Seurasaari Island is an open-air museum filled with vintage wooden architecture from Finland, as well as cafes that cater to thirsty tourists. Seurasaari is a 2.5 kilometre seaside walk where tourists can see where the current Prime Minister lives. For beach lovers, Vesmanen recommends sailing in the summer at Suomenlinna and Vallisaari, which can be reached by boat from the Market Square in Helsinki. Esa Vesmanen won the Interior Architect of the Year in 2008 for his Salme Optic boutique design, which uses old shelves and chairs to create new furniture.
Visiting a Sauna
Finnish people love saunas because of the country’s cold climate. Finnish actor Jasper Pääkkönen suggests visiting Löyly — an establishment he co-founded — which is a modern-day sauna that uses sustainable-sourced wood that are used to heat the water. “In Finland, the sauna has been a part of our everyday life for centuries,” Pääkkönen says. “The whole life cycle of a Finn, literally, from birth to death, revolved around the sauna.” Löyly contains three saunas: a regular continuously heated sauna, a private one that’s good for groups, and a smoke sauna. Jasper Pääkkönen plays the role of Halfdan the Black in the popular History Channel show Vikings.
Enjoy the Nature
Finnish poker player Juha Helppi is known for his love of nature and being extremely good at card games. JohnLearn.com states that Helppi won the first ever underwater poker tournament. As the winner of the tournament, Helppi was able to choose the next place for the tournament. The place he chose was the beautiful Gulf of Bothnia in his home country. It is one of the most underrated travel spots in Finland, where tourists can breathe in fresh air and relax in the classic red and yellow cottages beside pine trees. Quiet lakes that show the deep blue sky makes the Gulf of Bothnia a perfect place for relaxation and meditation. Juha Helppi is an established card player who travels the world to take part in high-stakes poker tournaments. PartyPoker details that apart from playing cards professionally, Helppi is a seasoned paintball player who led the Finnish national paintball team to championship wins in 1997, 2003, 2007 and 2008. Helppi holds about $7.1 million in tournament winnings.
Eating the Country’s Food
Famous Finnish food bloggers Amir and Galith Nadbornik spoke to Vogue and suggested paying a visit to BasBas, which is a restaurant that fuses traditional food with creative modern twists. It is known for its fresh food and wide choice of vintage wine. BasBas is very popular so reservations must be made before visiting. Restaurant Mat was also suggested by the foodie duo, which is a famous place known for its brunch menu. The restaurant caters to all kinds of events including weddings and parties, making it the perfect place for visitors who want to hold a special, intimate event abroad. Mat has a huge choice of bread and desserts for people who appreciate homemade pastries. Amir and Galith Nadbornik are the writers of Hungry in Helsinki, a famous food blog written in English that features Finland’s range of authentic food places.
Shopping at a market hall
Culture Trip writer Jessica Wood recommends visiting a market hall or kauppahalli, which differs in size based on where they’re located. Every city in Finland has at least one market hall that sells everything from spices to souvenirs. A market hall is a great place to find local ingredients, as well as cheap meals from food stalls. Jessica Wood is a British freelance arts and culture writer who now lives in Finland with her husband. She has a popular column on the Culture Trip where she shares a huge choice of tips and tricks on how tourists can enjoy their stay in the country.
There is so much more to do in Finland, but the above five points should be enough for first time visitors. Whether you want the peace of Finland’s exquisite countryside, or the excitement of its urban areas, the country is full of marvels. The Finnish are warm, sincere, and open so if you can, try to mingle with them! You’ll learn a lot about the country by speaking with the locals.
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This is a guest post by Courtney Holloway
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