The Republic of Finland is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden on the west, Norway on the north and Russia on the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.
Helsinki, the Finnish capital, is a city of parks, forests and water. It is filled with historic architecture, museums, superior shopping, animated nightlife and the UNESCO-listed Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress. The oldest town in Finland, Turku, is located across the åland Sea towards Stockholm in Sweden. The city showcases a medieval castle and cathedral, museums and a lively nightlife centered on the floating “boat bars” moored along the Aurajoki River. Lakes are abundant in Finland and are particularly concentrated in Lakeland, where nature-based activities such as swimming, canoeing, fishing and boating are enjoyed.
The district of Karelia is celebrated for its Orthodox Christian culture, its cuisine, language, traditional villages and religious festivals. The åland Islands are a Swedish-speaking archipelago that features some of the country's oldest churches. Savonlinna is famous for its medieval castle and summer opera festival in July. Surrounding lakes and forests are full of camping grounds that can serve as a base for watery activities and bird watching. Lapland, in Finland’s Arctic North, is wilderness, Sámi culture, three national parks and around 300,000 reindeer. Inari, the capital of Sámi culture in Lapland, is a tiny village where the Siida museum and the “wilderness church,” a meeting place for reindeer herders, are foundNearby Lemmonjoki National Park is the largest in Finland.
As far as Finnish dining, fish and meat are favorites in traditional dishes in the western part of the country, while dishes in the east typically include vegetables and mushrooms. Finnish foods often use products like rye, barley, oats as well as berries (such as blueberries, lingonberries, cloudberries and sea buckthorn).
Helsinki is Finland's principal international airport, 12 miles north of the city. Finnair City Bus and the airport bus operate to the city regularly, but taxis are also easily had. International flights also land at Turku, Tampere, Vaasa and Rovaniemi. Car ferries sail daily to Finland from Stockholm and other Swedish ports, as well as from Tallinn (Estonia). International ferry companies include Viking Line and Silja Line. There are also ferry services to Finland from Rostockand Travemünde (Germany). Several major international cruise lines call at Finnish ports. There are rail-sea links to Finland via Copenhagen and Stockholm, and several trains run daily from Helsinki to St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Finland has a humid and cool semi continental climate. The climate type in southern Finland is north temperate climate. Winters of southern Finland are usually four months long, and the snow typically covers the land from middle of December to early April. Summers in southern Finland last four months, from the middle of May to the middle of September. Winters in north Finland are nearly seven months long, and snow covers the lands for almost six months, from October to early May. Summers in the north are quite short, only two to three months.