Finland stretches high into the Arctic Circle with its charming capital city, Helsinki, at its southernmost point. Bordering the Baltic Sea, with Norway, Sweden and Russia, it is a country steeped in myth and legend.
A holiday in Finland is a voyage of discovery, exploring its wild and untamed nature. Finland’s light is one of its unique qualities. In summer the Midnight Sun burns in the sky, suffusing everything with bright, white light or in contrast in some parts of the country, the sun doesn’t set for more than 70 consecutive days. From September to March you have the opportunity of viewing the northern lights. According to Sami legend, these dancing lights are caused by a fox running across the night sky, with sparks flying from its tail.
Most of the country is covered in water, with over 188,000 lakes, surrounded by rich green forests and Arctic fells. The countryside is criss-crossed with walking trails, perfect for keen ramblers. Finland’s wild nature is the habitat for many species of wildlife. In beautiful Lake Saimaa you can see the rare ringed seal. Finnish skies are home to many rare birds including ospreys and cranes, and her lakes are inhabited by graceful swans.
Finnish food is based on the freshest of local ingredients including succulent sausages washed down with local beer or new potatoes accompanied by salty herring. The Finnish rye bread and cinnamon buns are delicious although the salmiakki or salty liquorice may be something of an acquired taste! Reindeer meat is popular, as are the berries which grow in the countryside and taste fantastic in Karelian pie.
A great holiday tradition is the Finnish sauna. It is accompanied by many rituals, and is a great way to relax, purifying body and mind. Finnish life draws greatly on its traditions as well as its mythology, inspired by its Norse and Viking heritage. It is easy to see why Finnish myths and legends have conjured up explanations for natural phenomena and spirits and pixi-like creatures, who lurk in its vast forests and lakes.