What Is Finland Known For? 11 Things That Make Finland the Country It Is
Finland is not always on people’s radar in terms of being a tourist destination; however, the fact that it is consistently rated one of the happiest countries in the world must count for a thing or two!
What is Finland known for?
Finland is often ranked number one for being the happiest country in the world, as the Finns have high incomes, health care for all, and a top education system. Finland is famous for it’s stunning Lapland, the northern lights, Saunas, wife carrying, quirky food and for being the home of Santa Claus.
Read on to discover what Finland is known for why the Finns love their country, and what makes it a fantastic destination for your next vacation…
1. Breathtaking Nordic Lakes
The Scandinavian country of Finland is also known as the land of a thousand lakes, and it is not surprising when you learn that Finland is thought to be home to almost 200,000 lakes in total! If you’re a lover of vast expanses of water, you’ll be enthralled by the number of peaceful, pristine lakes in Finland that are just begging to be explored. Some of the most impressive lakes in Finland include Lake Saimaa, Lake Pihlajavesi, Lake Haukivesi and Lake Päijänne.
Located within and around Finland’s lakes are some absolutely stunning islands and lakeside properties that make for excellent summer getaways when days are long and bright, and the clear water is inviting you in. Your picture-perfect setting will make you feel as though there’s not a care in the world!
Another thing that Finland is known for is its wildlife. Due to the fact that Finland’s 130,700 sq. miles of land only feature around 5.5 million citizens, it makes sense that there should be plenty of wildlife sharing the space. As such, Finland makes a great destination for animal lovers hoping to witness bears, elk, reindeer and wolverines as well as marine creatures like whales and seals.
Sitting in a hide in the remote reaches of Kuusamo in Finland waiting to see a wild bear cross your path is one of the most majestic and thrilling wildlife experiences you can have!
3. Outdoor Activities
As Finland is home to such epic landscapes, it would be a shame not to get out into the great outdoors and make the most of the sights. Thankfully, Finland offers a whole host of outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, skiing, dog sledding and cycling. No matter which season you visit Finland, they have come up with one way or another to enjoy nature.
Spend your summer boating between different islands, stopping off to try out the local’s favourite outdoor activities and looking out for birds and wildlife along the way.
4. Strong Vodka
While Russia is often considered to be top dog when it comes to vodka, the Finns would have a thing or two to say about that. The strong, clear spirit is a favourite here and is often drunk in a single shot so that you can really savour the flavour and quality, rather than watering it down with a mixer! Finnish vodka is known to be particularly strong (mostly sitting around the 40% abv. mark) so drink with caution when trying to keep up with the locals!
You may well be offered a shot of the strong stuff when paying local families a visit or even before, during or after a sauna session with friends!
5. Finish Lapland - Winter Wonderland
Finland, and more specifically the town of Rovaniemi in Lapland, is said to be the home of the original Saint Nicholas, the patron of children known for his generosity and gift-giving. The idea of visiting Santa in his real-life grotto is a dream for most children, but little do they know that it’s actually possible in Finnish Lapland (well, minus the real Santa bit). This magical winter wonderland is home to reindeer, snow-laden trees and ice hotels galore so you can live out your festive fantasies in style.
There is even an address where people can send real letters to Father Christmas and have replies sent back with an Arctic Circle postal stamp (albeit written by regular humans dressed as elves!).
6. Northern Lights - From a Glass Igloo?
Yet another thing that has brought more and more visitors to Finland over the years is the natural phenomenon known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. This impressive natural light show will give you memories of a lifetime as you witness white, green and sometimes even purple streaks of light dance across the night skies.
Whether you choose to stay in an igloo-style lodge, a glass-sided treehouse or simply brave the cold in order to watch the aurora, you’re sure to have the trip to remember and plenty of photographs to make your friends and family jealous!
7. Saunas and Sauna Culture
While heading to a spa to relax in a sauna is a rare treat for most of us, for Finns, it’s a regular occurrence and something that is just as common as heading down the pub to enjoy a few beers! The locals love to sweat out their daily woes while sitting in a sauna; chatting and contemplating life with friends and family.
Finland has loads of different versions of saunas with everything from traditional wood-heated saunas to infrared versions and even a cable car sauna that works its way around a 4km circuit. In fact, there are more saunas than people in Finland, so wherever you are, a toasty wooden haven won’t be hard to find!
8. Wife Carrying
The name ‘Eukonkanto’ may not be familiar to most of us, but once you’ve seen this unique sport in action, it won’t be something you forget in a hurry. Eukonkanto, also known as wife carrying, is a competitive sport which sees husbands flinging their wives over their shoulders and carrying them around an obstacle course. This sport has become quite the tradition in Finland, with thousands having competed since its introduction in the early 19th Century.
Finland even hosts the world championships of Eukonkanto every year in Sonkajärvi, so if you find yourself fascinated by this sport you may well want to add the World Champs to your bucket list!
9. Impressive Architecture
Finland has a wonderful selection of architecture to captivate even the most discerning traveller, with everything from traditional wooden houses to vast modern structures gracing the land. The town of Porvoo, located around an hour from Helsinki makes for an excellent day trip for those wishing to see traditional Finnish architecture with an array of colourful wooden houses perched on the banks of the Porvoonjoki River. Other more modern works of architecture that are worth seeing include the Kamppi Chapel, the Sibeliustalo (named after the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius) and the spectacular Temppeliaukion Lutheran church which is built directly into solid rock!
10. Quirky Scandinavian Food
Finland has always been a big fan of local, seasonable produce so it would be a shame not to try some of the traditional dishes on offer when visiting this stunning Scandinavian country, even if it is the very acquired taste of ammonium chloride liquorice (aka salmiakki). On the whole, Finnish food is simple and delicious with staples such as sausages and potatoes (makkaraperunat), reindeer, smoked fish and meatballs.
The Finns are also a massive fan of both coffee and candy, so it’s perfect for those who love their daily caffeine fix or who have a sweet tooth! Check out a local food tour if you really want to learn about the history of Finnish cuisine, and you never know, you might just find a new favourite dish.
11. World Class Education
A final addition to this list is Finland’s excellent education system that regularly sees it ranked as one of the best schooling systems in the world. Despite children not going to school until the age of seven in Finland and not having to complete homework, the Finnish education system still stays near the top of schooling leader boards. Each child is taught at least two foreign languages which means pretty much everyone is fluent in English by adulthood.
Teaching is a revered profession in Finland, and students must complete a master’s degree before even beginning their teacher training. This ensures that teachers are well placed to educate the next generation.
Finland is a country of snow, saunas, education, equality, coffee and candy and much, much more. Let us know your favourite things about Finland in the comments below!
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