Finland is one of five Nordic countries in Europe that has an advantage of giving visitors the taste of its own culture with the spice of influences from neighboring Sweden and Russia. It is a small country with a population of only 5,4 million people, that speaks a unique and beautiful, but a very difficult to master language that is only related to two other languages in the world, Estonian and Hungarian. It is a country of 4 seasons, each of which has something great to offer.
Perhaps spring is the least interesting time to visit Finland, because everyone has already enjoyed all the advantages of winter and by March/April has been already fed up with darkness and cold, so cannot wait for the summer to come. Clearly longer days and more sunlight make people feel more joyful and the awakening of nature is always pleasant, but most of the time the transition between Finnish winter and summer is so speedy, that often people just switch from their winter woolen pants to summer shorts.
Autumn can be spectacular specifically in the North, in Lapland, where the “Ruska time”, the season when the trees get dressed into bright red and yellow clothes, is outstandingly gorgeous and the forest is a paradise for the mushroom picking lovers. In that way September and October can be very pleasant months to visit the North. It is said that those are the best months to see the Northern light, Aurora borealis, because the nights are dark enough and the conditions for the magnetic activity are quite favourable.
Summer is the most favourite time of the year for the locals. People spend weekends, holidays and free time in their summer houses on the thousands lakes or on the archipelago. The days are long, the weather is often pleasant. It is the time for eating all kinds of berries. If you ever try Finnish strawberries, you will admit that they are the testiest in the world. They are quite affordable on every summer market, but if you want to have true Finnish experience, you can go to one of the many strawberry fields and pick your own strawberries. Whatever you manage to eat being on the field is free, the rest you will be able to buy for a very good price. Summer is when people finally have a chance to spend a lot of time in the water. Believe it or not, Finland also has quite nice sandy beaches that might be far from the tropical ones, but still quite nice.
However if you decide to come to Finland you would most probably choose the extreme dark and cold months of December and January in order to deeply understand what life in the North is like. Winter can be also a good time to see the Northern lights, especially because of so long nights and such short days during this time of the year. Even though Finnish people go to sauna and jump to the lakes after having gotten heated up enough to tolerate even low water temperatures all year round, the best experience for you as a visitor will be in the winter. It is truly is a special treat when you first get your body to relax totally and sweat all the troubles away in the temperature close to 100 degrees Celsius and then run almost naked, just wearing your socks and gloves, run to a hole in the ice and jump in it if you dare. As soon as your body plunge into the water you feel like thousands of needles impale your body and you are about to die. You probably get out of the water quite quickly; very few manage to actually swim there for some minutes. Only when you are out of the water and back to the sauna you realize what you have been missing all these years of not doing this. Your body feel so warm and relaxed, your head will be light you will feel a little bit high, almost drugged, but the opposite to being drugged this will be a health injection to your immune system. It is so much adrenaline, that if you stay in Finland for too long doing it you might get addicted. If you end up in the very up North, in Lapland, in the country of snow, ice and Santa, you cannot miss paying a visit to the Old Santa, who has been treating you so well every Christmas when you behaved well and even when not. The village of Santa is great for both kids and adult. Santa or Joulupukki (in Finnish) speaks all the languages of the world and overcoming the shame you will probably be tempted to take your chance to sit on his knee and tell him your life story. Santa has a big team of helpers, who are working day and night to deliver him all he messages of greetings, gratitude and desires and you are welcome to send yours from his very own post office. Being in the white kingdom, where snow is so bright and sparkly, all you want is to forget about how cold it is and still enjoy being the great outdoors. Depending on the level of your “adventurosity” you may choose between having a ride on a snowmobile, reindeer or husky sledge. All of those means of transportation will allow you to admire the amazing white landscapes. Take a snowmobile if you like adrenaline and are not afraid to be stuck in the middle of nowhere drowning in the snow, or if you have courage to run your snowmobile up the steep hills. Get a reindeer drive licence if you like laying down on the warm reindeer skin in the sledge all covered up with winter clothes, enjoy the slow motion listening to the sound of creaking snow and not minding an occasional crap dropping in front of you. I assure you this ride will be a mind peace-bringing experience. Ride sled dogs if you enjoy the speed slower than snowmobile, but faster than reindeer, if you like dogs and enjoy taking control and steer, the huskies are for you.
You have not been to Finland if you have not stayed in a wooden Finnish house, have not warmed up by the bonfire and have not grilled the sausages on it, if you have not eaten salmon soup and have not tried Kosken Korva, the most common clear spirit drink, that is especially likable in a good company of your new Finnish friends after your sauna-ice hole experiment. Make sure you fit it all to your wild Finnish programe. Don’t think twice – visit Finland!
Useful link: Finlands officel travel guide – www.visitfinland.com/