Finland's uniqueness lies in its harmonious blend of nature, culture, and innovation. Beyond its breathtaking landscapes, it boasts a world-class wellness culture and modern design sensibilities and is a hotbed for innovation. In this land of contrasts and endless wonder, there is no dearth of once-in-a-lifetime activities. Here are eight such unique experiences that you can do only in Finland.
The Arctic Circle, positioned at 66°33′45.9″ north of the Equator, defines a crucial geographical boundary. This line signifies the southernmost limit and is the reason for the Midnight Sun during the summer and the constant Polar Night in winter. In Rovaniemi, you will likely cross the Arctic Circle regardless; you can plan and make a ceremony out of it. The Santa Claus Village, a popular destination in the region, offer the opportunity to obtain an official certificate to commemorate their achievement. You can walk, jump, roll, cycle or drive to cross. Rovaniemi also boasts a unique claim for being the only place in the world where you can traverse the Arctic Circle underground.
Ranua Wildlife Park, or simply Ranua Zoo, is the best place to observe the remarkable Arctic fauna. Located in the municipality of Ranua, Lapland, Finland, this zoo stands as the northernmost in Finland and ranks as the second northernmost globally. This place houses approximately 50 species of wild animals, comprising 150 individuals, but polar bears are the hot favourite.
In Rovaniemi and Kuusamo, sledging is a beloved winter activity deeply rooted in Finnish and Sámi traditions. It is also the best way to explore the country's natural beauty in an eco-friendly, peaceful adventure, immersing you in the serene, snowy landscapes. Ensure a safe and memorable journey by booking with a reputable tour operator with trained huskies, gear, and safety instructions. Remember to bundle up, as Finnish winters can be bitterly cold while enjoying this quintessential Arctic experience.
Spanning across the Gulf of Finland, the 2.5-hour ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn in Estonia is a great way to see two countries in one day. Various shipping companies also offer diverse cruise options, the most popular being the one-day cruise. You can also consider an overnight adventure on a Baltic Sea night cruise. These multi-story liners offer comfort, entertainment, breathtaking sea sunsets and sunrises.
All roads lead to a sauna in Finland. As omnipresent as they may be, you must plan to elevate your sauna experience by trying out some unique options only available in Finland. The Helsinki Sky Sauna, situated on a Ferris wheel, and the world's only ski gondola sauna in the ski resort village of Ylläs are just a few examples. If you don't want to make longer detours for the sauna, sign up for a glass sauna under the midnight sun experience that is easily available at most places.
These semi-hemispherical rooms, emerging from the grounds of the Arctic wilderness and made entirely of glass, are where you'd want to watch the Aurora Borealis. You can lie down on your bed and gaze up or recline your bed in a comfortable lounger position, snugly wrapped in a blanket, to see the dance of lights. While several glass igloo accommodations across Finland exist, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is one of the most popular options. Located in the Lapland region of Finland, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort offers a range of glass igloos and even private saunas. Kakslauttanen's popularity is due to its stunning Arctic setting. However, planning your trip in advance is essential, as these accommodations can be booked quickly during the prime Northern Lights season.
If Disney's "Frozen" was your favourite movie, then The Snow Castle of Kemi would be your favourite spot on earth. Situated north of the country, this castle is the biggest snow fort in the world. It is rebuilt every winter with a new design and concept. While the chapel, restaurant, and hotels remain constant, the walls and towers change yearly. The Snow Restaurant has ice tables, seats covered with reindeer fur, and ice sculptures. The Snow Chapel has become an exotic wedding destination, and The Snow Hotel is a cool honeymoon spot.
The Tree Mountain in Ylöjärvi is two hours from Helsinki. A perfect amalgamation of nature, art, and a touch of mathematics, the Tree Mountain is a quirky symbol of ecological well-being. This elliptical manmade forest stretches 420 metres in length, spans 270 metres in width, and reaches a height of 28 metres with over 10,000 pine trees. The trees were meticulously planted in a unique pattern following a mathematical symbol. Each tree stands as a tribute to someone special. Beyond its mathematical intrigue, "Tree Mountain" represents an effort to conserve the environment, transforming a former gravel pit into a work of art.
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Finland is two different countries in two seasons. From June to August, The weather is mild, with long daylight hours, often called the "white nights." This is the best time for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, fishing, and camping. For those who love snow from October till February, you can go skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and even try ice fishing or ice skating. Lapland, in northern Finland, is a popular destination for experiencing the magic of Christmas and meeting Santa Claus.