The 13 best places to visit in Finland

 

Built in 1907 in the city of Tampere, directly north of the capital, Helsinki, is the 64 metre (210 ft) high Romantic styled Tampere Cathedral. Famous for its controversial symbolic frescoes that depict The Garden Of Death, The Wounded Angel and a painting of a winged serpent on red background believed to symbolise sin and corruption, this wonderful church is beautifully decorative inside as well as out.

13. Tampereen Tuomiokirkko

 

Built in 1906 on the Bengtskär Skerry in the Finnish Archipelago Sea, south west of the capital, Helsinki, is the 52 metre (170 ft) Bengtskär Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse of all the Nordic countries. Today it houses some hotel rooms and a sauna.

12. Bengtskär Hotelli

 

Built by the Swedish in the 15th century under the name Olofsborg, literally meaning Olaf's Castle, is the Olavinlinna, one of the most important fortifications in Finland. Situated north east of the capital, Helsinki, close to the Russian border, it is the northernmost medieval stone fortress still standing. Situated on a small island surrounded by a network of lakes, it was the first Swedish castle built with thick circular walls that could withstand cannon fire. As such the castle withstood several sieges by the Russians during the First and Second Russian-Swedish wars, where it has survived to this day. Its rich history makes Olavinlinna one of the countries most important surviving castle structures.

11. Olavinlinna

 

Half an hour north west of the capital, Helsinki, is the 53 square kilometre (20.5 square mile) Nuuksio National Park, comprising the westernmost park of the Nuuksio lake highlands. Easily accessible from the capital, this protected area of forests, lakes, steep rocks and wild animals is one of the countries most visited national parks.

10. Nuuksion Kansallispuisto

 

Every year from the beginning of January to the end of April, at the northern end of the Gulf Of Bothnia, near to the border with Sweden, the town of Kemi becomes home to the biggest snow fort in the world. Since the winter of 1996 a new snow castle has been built from snow and ice water from the sea. A highly unique venue that changes year on year, it always houses a snow restaurant, snow chapel and a snow hotel.

9. Kemi Snow Castle

 

West of the capital, Helsinki, on the south western coast at the mouth of the Aura River is the city of Turku, the sixth largest and oldest city in Finland. With a wealth of history spanning 700 years it is the site of many historical events with many historical buildings still standing today, these include the majestic Turku Castle and Turku Cathedral. Despite Finland being home to Lapland and the Santa Claus Village, Turku holds the distinction of being the official Christmas city of Finland.

8. Turku

 

In the Baltic Sea​ at the mouth of the Gulf Of Bothnia between mainland Finland and Sweden are the Aland Islands, an archipelago of nearly 300 habitable islands and over 6,000 skerries and desolate rocks. The islands close proximity to the Swedish capital, Stockholm, has made the area a favourite among tourists taking boat trips for island hopping.

7. Aland Islands

 

Opened in 1985 in Finland's Lapland region, near to the city of Rovaniemi is the world famous Santa Claus Village Amusement Park. Attractions include the Arctic circle line, which is a line running through the village to officially signify your entry into the Arctic and of course the 'real life' Father Christmas. Visiting the park during the Christmas season is a must for any family with young children, but is of course extortionately priced.

6. Santa Claus Village

 

In the east of the country is the relatively small 30 square kilometre (12 square mile) Koli National Park, a rocky, rugged and densely forested lake dotted area of protected land.

Pictured from one of the finest viewpoints, the Ukko-Koli with a great view over the Pielinen Lake.

5. Kolin Kansallispuisto

 

In the far north of Finland within the region of Lapland is the ​142 square kilometre (55 square mile) Pyha-Luosto National Park, encompassing forests, wetlands and the countries southernmost tunturi line, remnants of Alp like mountains over two billion years old. Since the merging of Finland's oldest national park, Pyhatunturi and its newest, Luosto, Pyha-Luosto National park holds the distinction of being both the counties oldest and newest. 

4. Pyhä-Luosto Kansallispuisto

 

In the extreme south of the country on the Gulf Of Finland is the countries capital, Helsinki, the third largest city of the Nordic countries after Stockholm and Oslo. The most populated city in the country by far, Helsinki is the beating heart of Finland.

With so much on offer, click here for the Must See Places In Helsinki...

3. Helsinki

In the extreme north west of the country, straddling the border with Norway is the 2,206 square kilometre (852 square mile) Kasivarren Wilderness Area, the second largest and most popular wilderness reserve in Finland. Except for Saana, all Finnish fells over 1,000 metres (3,280 ft) high are found in Kasivarren, including the countries highest peak, Halti, which stands at a huge 1,324 metres (4,344 ft) above sea level. Filled with lakes, peaks and great open terrain crossed by hiking trails, it is one of the most rugged and desolate areas in Finland.

2. Käsivarren Erämaa-Alue

 

In Lapland, bordering Russia on the eastern side of Finland is the 270 square kilometre (104 square mile) Oulanka National Park, one of the oldest and most visited protected areas in the country. The landscape is one of pine forests, river valleys and rapids, whilst the north is a vast wetland of mires rich in animal and plant species. One of the most popular hikes in Finland can be found in the park, the 80 kilometre (50 miles) Karhunkierros, open all year round it is the perfect way to fully see this incredible location.

1. Oulangan Kansallispuisto

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