There are countless options for adventure-seekers in Finland but for many, it can only be a Lapland holiday in 2014. Covering an area larger than Portugal, Finnish Lapland is huge and visitors can experience a real sense of the great outdoors. This northern province has plenty to offer, particularly during the frozen winter.
The skiing season there lasts as long as six months and holiday makers can also enjoy activities like snowshoeing, ice-fishing, reindeer rides and snowmobiling. Meanwhile, if you’re planning further ahead to the summer, this is a spectacular season to visit ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’.
Northernmost Lapland does not see sunset for more than 70 consecutive days and you can follow the local’s favorite pastime of renting a lakeside cabin in places of natural beauty like Oulanka National Park; fishing, kayaking, hiking and indulging in as many outdoor pursuits as you can pack in.
The Urban Landscape
In contrast to the outdoorsy experiences on offer in Lapland, Finland’s capital Helsinki boasts a plethora of urban attractions. Located by the Baltic Sea this modern metropolis has a laid back feel. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and nightclubs for weary travelers to let off some steam before pounding the streets in search of cultural attractions like the impressive cathedral and contemporary art center Kiasma.
Just a 15-minute ferry ride from the Helsinki Market Square lies the fortress of Suomenlinna. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one of the country’s most popular attractions and it contains cafes, restaurants and museums, topped off with impressive ocean views. Elsewhere, those who venture east of Helsinki can visit Porvoo. This is the second oldest city in the country and its charming cobblestone streets and novel wooden shore houses are well worth a trip.
Plan your trip
Backpackers planning a holiday in Finland should bear in mind that October to December tend to be wet months, so are not the best time to visit. It pays off to plan trips carefully and to prioritize certain areas, as Finland is a large country and it’s a good idea to save money on transport where you can. If you have limited time, concentrate your travel on one of the National Parks like Urho Kekkonen, as the vast variety of landscape and activities will provide a good snapshot of what Finland has to offer.
(Photos by RukaKuusamo.com and sludgegulper via Flickr CCL)