|Population||Ca 5,5 million|
Finland – Experience the northern lights and get heated up in a Sauna
You do not have to travel far to experience the unique sauna culture, interesting design quarters, beautiful archipelagos and of course – Santa himself. If you are in Finland and do not take a sauna, that is almost as bad as being in Italy without eating pasta. If you travel far north in the country, up to the Finnish Lapland you might be able see the magnificent northern lights or the midnight sun, depending on what time of year you go.
Helsinki design park & archipelago
Helsinki offers a lot when it comes to architecture, design and art. You probably recognize some of Finlands most famous designers such as Marimekko and Littala, here in Helsinki they both have their own designer stores that you can check out. If you want to continue the track of fashion you can head to the Designer Park, a quarter with inspiring shops that are selling unique products and craftwork. Head over to the Architecture Museum which will take you through the history of Finnish and international architecture, and make sure to make some time for the Design Museum where you can find various design objects.
Take a break from the city life and take a nice daytrip out to the archipelago. Here you can visit the small islands just a short boat journey away from Helsinki. The old sea fortress: Suomenlinna or Sveaborg as it is called in Swedish, is built on eight islands and is today listed as an UNESCO world heritage and is definitely worth a visit! For those of you who are interested in nice nature you can visit the island Stora Räntan which invites to various nature and a big number of different plant species considering the size of the island.
The Sauna culture
With more than 5 million inhabitants and a little over 3 million public saunas, we can guarantee that the Finnish people loves to take a sauna. And with all their rights, since it is great for your health. The warmth will make your muscles soft and you will also get rid of a lot of toxins through your sweat and it stimulates the production of white blood cells which will boost your immune system and make you feel relaxed. In Helsinki there are plenty of public saunas you can visit, one of them is Löyly that opened up in 2016. The building itself is top modern and has a unique architecture, here you can find three different saunas, a spa area and a big restaurant with outdoor seating. If you want to visit an older sauna complex, we would suggest Kaurilan Sauna, a charming sauna that has been here since the 19th century.
Rovaniemi and Santa’s village
If you want to say hello to Santa it is a bit hard to do it over a day from Helsinki. The train ride takes about 12 hours so we would recommend the overnight train which will have you in Rovaniemi in the morning. Santa Claus’ village can be found just outside the town of Rovaniemi and they have opened every day of the year. Here you will find reindeers and elves and during Christmas the little village is an amazing place for the whole family to discover.
Of course, there are a lot of things to do here in Rovaniemi apart from visiting Santa. If you are here in the period between August and April, you may have the luck to see the spectacular northern lights. If you are here during summertime, in June or July the midnight sun will shine bright during the whole day and night. Rovaniemi is a modern town but the citizen’s connection to the nature is still noticeable. Many people go to the forest to hunt or fish or to pick berries and mushrooms.
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