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Despite the modern times we live in, Christmas in Finland is all about traditions that have been passed down through generations. Unlike most Christian countries where Christmas Day, December 25th, is the primary day of the Christmas celebrations, Finnish families traditionally gather together for festivities on Christmas Eve, December 24th. It’s also the day when the most famous person living in Finland, Santa Claus, visits well-behaved Finnish children with his sleigh full of Christmas presents. What else happens in Finnish homes on Christmas Eve each year? Let’s take a little sneak peek into a traditional Christmas in Finland.   Christmas preparations; the lights, the decorations, the flavours Setting the Christmas spirit begins earlier each year. Christmas carols take over shop aisles, Christmas lights illuminate the darkening streets, millions of Christmas cards are sent to friends and family members, Christmas Markets are held, and sing-along Christmas concerts are organised all over Finland. Soon the approaching holiday season is visible in Finnish homes, too; colourful Christmas lights illuminate the gardens together with candles and ice lanterns, and the houses will be decorated with Santa’s Elves, reindeers, wreaths and Finns’ favourite Christmas flowers, poinsettia and hyacinth. With the delicious smell of gingerbread cookies and Christmas tarts floating in the air, Christmas Eve can finally arrive.   Photo: Visit Finland / Jari Kurvinen (Vastavalo)   Bringing in and decorating the Christmas tree Bringing in and decorating the Christmas tree is one of the oldest Finnish Christmas traditions that has remained almost unchanged since the 1800s. This year approximately 1,5 million Christmas trees will adorn Finnish households all over the country. For many Finnish families decorating the Christmas tree is the first thing to do in the morning of Christmas Eve as an official beginning of the best day of the year (especially if you ask children). The Christmas tree is often placed in front of a window to spread joy and Christmas spirit also among the people passing by.   Enjoying a hot bowl of Christmas porridge – but who will find the almond? Another Finnish Christmas tradition dating back to the 1800s is Christmas porridge, traditionally made of rice and milk. Typically Christmas porridge is served with sugar, cinnamon and milk but can also be enjoyed with prunes, apricots or cloudberries. This traditional Christmas Eve breakfast includes one special ingredient: an almond. According to the tradition, good luck will follow the person finding the almond on their plate.   Photo: Visit Finland / Ingela Nyman (Vastavalo)   The Declaration of Christmas Peace At noon on Christmas Eve, the whole of Finland freezes when Christmas Peace is declared in several Finnish cities. The most popular and well-known event takes place at the Old Great Square in Turku where thousands of Finns gather to listen to the declaration every year. The ones who can’t make it to the gathering may follow the live broadcast on television or radio. This is the moment when the whole of Finland truly gets peaceful; shops will close their doors, and even the public transport gets quieter. Some shops will be shut throughout Christmas Day and Boxing Day, which is good to remember when spending your first Christmas in Finland.   Honouring the deceased Another Finnish Christmas Eve tradition is to pay a visit to the graveyard and light candles on the graves of the past loved ones. At Christmas, all cemeteries from North to South are illuminated with thousands and thousands of candles. The stunning sea of candles in the dark December night is a sight not to miss.   Christmas sauna – a tradition truly unique to Finland Christmas sauna is another ancient Christmas tradition Finns aren’t willing to forget. According to some studies, 80 per cent of all Finns go to the sauna on Christmas Eve. Some even state that the lack of Christmas Sauna might ruin the whole holiday. In some families, the sauna is heated up twice during the day; first before dinner and again late at night.   Photo: Visit Finland / Harri Tarvainen   There’s no meal like Christmas dinner After (the first) Christmas Sauna, it’s time for another Christmas Eve highlight; the dinner. Finns value traditional Christmas food with slowly-roasted ham being the king of the dinner table. Even if a vegetarian diet is becoming more and more popular, Finns still consume 6-7 million kilos of ham over Christmas. Besides the Christmas ham, also potatoes, casseroles, meatballs, fish and mixed beetroot salad are included in the traditional Christmas dinner – not to forget chocolate, Christmas pastries and gingerbread cookies, of course.   ‘Are there any well-behaved children in the house?’ Tummies full of Christmas treats, it’s finally time to gather around the fireplace, relax on the sofa and enjoy some glögi, a traditional hot Christmas drink similar to Mulled Wine. Suddenly, a gentle knock on the door breaks the silence. It’s followed by a sentence familiar to all kids in Finland; ‘Are there any well-behaved children in the house?’ Who else could it be but Santa, the most awaited Christmas guest in all families worldwide and the one final highlight of a memorable Christmas in Finland.   Photo: Visit Finland / Jani Kärppä & Flatlight Films   Did you know that more than 300,000 tourists travel to Finland in December? Find the perfect rental cottage on Gofinland and start planning your white Christmas in Finnish Lapland now.   Hyvää joulua!

The post Tasty and Traditional – A Small Guide for Celebrating Christmas in Finland appeared first on Gofinland Blog.

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Photo by Visit Finland/Soili Jussila Finland is a country of four beautiful seasons, all of which have their unique characters. Yet, most tourists visit Finland either in summer or winter. This is what most tour operators, travel sites and guides advice you to do, too. As summer is slowly drifting away and Finns are getting ready for the brisk autumn air, we want to embrace this beautiful season by revealing the secrets of autumn in Finland. There are plenty of exciting and exquisite things to do in Finland in autumn that you can’t experience at any other time of the year. Also, as most tourists consider autumn being between seasons, travelling to Finland in autumn is much more peaceful and cheaper compared to summer and winter. To some extent, autumn might even be the best possible time to visit Finland. And now it’s time to tell you why. Autumn colours should be on everyone’s bucket list The most visible sign of the approaching autumn in Finland is the vibrant colours of the foliage. ‘Ruska’, as we call it in Finnish. During this relatively short period, you can spot all the colours of a rainbow at one glance. Imagine standing by a blue lake while the autumn sun reflects all the reds, yellows, oranges and whatever is left of the green on the surface of the water. The air feels fresh, and the last warm rays of sunshine are gently touching your face. Photo by Visit Finland/Olli Oilinki Photo by Visit Finland/Carmen Nguyen Is there anything better than that? There are plenty of excellent ways to enjoy autumn colours in Finland. Here are a few of them: Go hiking Take a walk in a nearby forest, head for one of the 40 national parks in Finland or choose one of the most famous and well-built trails, like Karhunkierros in Kuusamo or Herajärvi Trail in Koli. Pro tip: It’s true that you can experience ruska as its strongest in Lapland, but it’s not necessary to travel all the way up north for autumn foliage. Try Porkkalanniemi in Helsinki, Turku Archipelago or Finnish Lakeland in Central Finland, for instance, to experience the true colours of autumn in Finland. Interested in hiking in Finland? Read our guide with the best trekking locations and trails. Photo by Visit Finland/Aleksi Koskinen Spend a day at a lake Autumn colours seem even more vibrant when admiring them from the lake. Few-hour foliage cruises are organised across Finland between the end of August and mid-October. Don’t hesitate to contact the tourist info of your travel destination in Finland to find out where the nearest ‘ruskaristeily’ takes place. Pro tip: Another great idea is to gather your friends and rent a sauna boat. As the name unveils, sauna boat is a small vessel with an actual sauna on board. They usually feature a comfy lounge and a small kitchen. The fanciest sauna boats are equipped with an outdoor jacuzzi. Sauna boats are available in various locations throughout Finland. Pump up the adrenaline on a marathon Ruskamaraton a.k.a. ‘Foliage Marathon’ is a popular running event that has been organised in Levi, Lapland since 1984. If hiking in a national park or climbing to the top of the Finnish fells isn’t quite enough to get your adrenaline running, Ruskamaraton should do the trick. Besides the excellent exercise and like-minded adrenaline junkies, you get to admire the beautiful autumn colours in Finnish Lapland. Finnish autumn is delicious – discover how to enjoy it There are reasons why hundreds of thousands of Finns can’t wait for September to arrive. Flowers might not be blooming anymore, but Finnish forests offer a wide range of other treats that anyone is allowed to enjoy. And they are delicious! In autumn, our forests will be full of wild mushrooms with approximately 500 edible species. Also, some of the most delicious vitamin-filled berries and wild herbs are at their best at autumn time. You’re allowed to pick mushrooms and berries almost in any forest. If you haven’t heard of Finnish ‘freedom to roam’, you can find our extensive guide here. Photo byt Visit Finland/Riku Pihlanto Try at least these mushrooms Besides the edible and delicious species, also poisonous mushrooms grow in Finnish forests. Therefore you should only pick the species you know. Some of the easiest and the most common ones are chantarelle, trumpet chantarelle, porcino, hedgehog mushroom and Russula decolorans. Learn to recognise these, and you won’t be leaving the forest empty-handed. Learn more about Finnish wild mushrooms here. Wild berries are the real superfood Picking wild berries is a perfect hobby; you get to enjoy some fresh air and other benefits of being in nature while filling your storages with Finnish superfood. No wonder the studies reveal that half of the Finns run to forests to pick wild berries every autumn. Some berries are perfectly fine for picking until they’re covered in snow and impossible to find. Try at least blueberry, cranberry, rowanberry, juniper berry, lingonberry and sea-buckthorn, to get started. Learn more about Finnish wild berries here. Photo by Visit Finland Enjoy fooling fish? Autumn is the best time to do it! Some might think summer is the ideal time for fishing in Finland. In reality, the cooling autumn waters put fish on the move. The fish swim towards their wintering areas in large shoals and stop for fueling in shallow waters where they’re easy to catch. Pike and perch often gather in shallow bays with reeds, whereas zander flocks in deep streams which makes it easy to snatch under bridges, for instance. Read more about fishing in Finland and find the best places to do it. Photo Visit Finland/Marko Tervonen Finland is a birdwatcher’s paradise As Finland is one of the northernmost countries in the world and also one of the easternmost in Europe, it’s possible to spot birds that are extremely rare in anywhere else in Europe. In spring and autumn, Finland becomes birdwatchers paradise when migrating species are taking over the [...]

The post Is Finland Worth Travelling to in Autumn? All Secrets of ‘syksy’ Revealed appeared first on Gofinland Blog.

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Dissatisfied with your everyday life? Move to Lapland! This is not the exact reasoning I followed in the moment I decided to leave the country I was living in, but it is the one that turned out to be true afterwards. At first, I just wanted to move away from my previous country to study abroad without any concrete idea in mind about where to go. I did not even know what to study. So I picked up my laptop and, being a person who cannot really sleep at night, within a couple of sleepless nights spent surfing the Internet in my electronic friend’s company, I found the right Degree Programme for me. Only after that I checked where the university offering that Programme actually was located. On the webpage it said “Rovaniemi”. It sounded familiar, but I couldn’t recall where from. I googled it and the first thing that appeared on my laptop’s screen was a picture of Santa waving at me. That was the moment I realised that I was going to apply to a university in Santa’s hometown and, being a winter and Christmas atmosphere lover, this fact only strengthened my wish to move to the administrative capital of Lapland. I applied to Lapland’s University of Applied Sciences, I did the entrance exam and after about two months I got the email I was most waiting for at that time: I got accepted to study in Rovaniemi. As soon as I landed in Rovaniemi, I felt at home. I felt so good, and my feelings after almost a year living here are still the same, that I don’t even really want to go back to my other home country because I would feel homesick from here. Life in Lapland proved to be amazing to me. There is no way of getting bored in here. There is always something to do and a lot to discover. This is the region that has 8 seasons and as many reindeers as inhabitants, if not more.   This is the region where sleepless nights turn into breathtaking experiences by admiring stunning Northern Lights from late autumn till spring   and the astonishing Midnight Sun in summer.   This is the region of colours: white winter wonderland; bright red, yellow and orange with all of their nuances during Ruska in autumn; Northern Lights’ green, yellow, pink and purple shining in the darkness of winter nights; different shades of blue during the “blue moment” or “Kaamos” in the same period as Northern Lights; beaming sunlight in summer. This is the region of happiness to me.   Every ordinary day can be turned into an extraordinary one here in Lapland. My average day could simply be waking up in the morning, having a coffee, going to the university, having lunch there, going back home after the lessons, having dinner, studying for a while, sleeping and repeating this over and over again. But no. This is not how things work here. Of course, they can go like this if someone wants to have a standard life with a basic and, in my opinion, quite boring routine. But Lapland offers far more to the ones that are willing to be Above Ordinary, which is also the region’s slogan. You can enjoy the view of beautiful landscapes simply while walking or cycling to move around; you can pet and make friends with adorable huskies and reindeers and have a ride on a sleigh pulled by them in the farms that provide safaris with them; you can pick berries and mushrooms in autumn and go fishing in summer or ice fishing in winter; you can ski or ice-skate on frozen lakes and rivers in winter and do many other kinds of winter sports; you can attend hockey matches; you can go hiking from spring to autumn; you can enjoy homemade blueberry juice almost anywhere or coffee and pancakes prepared in a traditional way in a Kota outside in a forest, in a park or along a hiking path; you can have sauna anytime – if you do not have one in your own apartment you will have at least one in your building for common use – and make friends with Finns there or simply enjoy a relaxing moment;   you can hunt Northern Lights or wait till midnight to see the sun approaching the horizon and rising again according to the season and so much more. All of these incredible activities can be included in your everyday life when living in Lapland. Moreover, as I mentioned before, nights are not only meant for sleeping in here and they have an added value, thus enlarging the concept of everyday life also to “everynight” life.   So, to everybody who wants to make a change in their lives and feel Above Ordinary: Lapland is waiting for you. Even if not for living, but just for enjoying a shorter stay with extraordinary everydays and exceptional experiences that will probably turn into lifelong memories, Lapland is ready to host you and to be discovered. Anyone can choose what to be and how to live. I chose to be and live Above Ordinary. What about you?   Blog Post competition with Lapland University of Applied Sciences This blog post has been written by another of two winners of our blog post competition. Gofinland organised a competition among the students of Lapland University of Applied Sciences. The students are studying tourism in international degree programme. In the future, they will be the professionals in International Tourism. Isabella Victoria Borgogni is sharing her inspiring experience in Finland. Read also the blog post of another winner of our competition: Minh Hieu Nguyen wrote a great article about how hiking. Minh’s insight gives aid how to relax in nature and improve your wellbeing.  

The post Everyday Life in Lapland – Where Every Day and Every Night Counts appeared first on Gofinland Blog.

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Minh’s experience in Rovaniemi This is the story of Minh, who has been living in Rovaniemi for almost 6 years. The blog post has been done in co-operation between Gofinland and Lapland University of Applied Sciences. Minh is one of the winners in our blog post competition which was organised within the Degree Programme in Tourism. The students are aiming for a Bachelor Degree education and they will be the future professionals in tourism. Read Minh’s story below! ”No one has ever become poor by giving” – Anne Frank. ”This sentence has been on the Diary of Anne Frank for over more than half of a decade, and over the courses of time, things have changed. But still, it holds true in every situation and every case, that when you think about it, it never runs out of style. Not everyone can be generous, but it is good enough, that our beautiful nature has granted us such beauty with great generosity.” Winter landscape in Rovaniemi. Minh’s story in Rovaniemi ”I have lived in Rovaniemi myself for almost 6 years now, and one thing that I love most about this place, is how amazing the winter sceneries can be. Every winter, the snow falls like crazy, the temperature drops down quicker than a dog running in the street and the nights are longer than the days. On a bad day, Rovaniemi could be cloudy and blue-y and snowy, but on a sunny day, it is another story. The sun shines so brightly through the trees, and everything surrounding you is covered with snow. It is usually super cold when the sun shines so bright here in Lapland, and it’s true! It was -20 when I took the picture above. But on days like that, a hiking, small or big, is worth it all.” Watching the gorgeous landscape from a viewpoint. This scenery is just 2 kilometers from the center of Rovaniemi. Why to go hiking or enjoy the nature? Because the views are just priceless. The Lappish scenery in Ylläs and Rovaniemi offer untouched nature. The untouched winter nature pays off the exhaust and tiresome, and at the end of the day, you can only be wowed by the nature in front of you, next to you, or behind you! So no matter how low the temperature can be, just get out and try! The hiking will keep you warm, but when you stop, the body will stop producing extra heat and you might get a bit chilly. Tips for a hiking trip: Put many clothing layers below (The bottom layer should be the one to keep the warm, and the top layer is the one to keep you away from the wind). Don’t leave too much open skin especially during winter, as you will lose most of your body heat through the open skin. So remember to wear gloves, hats and scarfs! Bring some hot drinks (such as coffee or tea) and some easy food like chocolate bars or different kind of nuts for resting during the hike. If you are into photography, bring your camera of course. Remember to have extra battery, as the cold can make it quicker to shut down your camera. Finally, have the best attitude you can have! After all, you are hiking to enjoy and relax, not to get grumpy. Take some proper shoes (hiking shoes for longer trips/colder weather) and warm jacket or wool shirt for resting. When you stop walking and stop for a lunch, remember to put on some extra clothing! Always know where you are going. In Finland, it’s quite easy to get lost in the woods so remember to observe where you are going and preferably bring a map and a compass with you. If you’re going for a longer trip, remember to book you accommodation in advance! Warm drinks and warmth from the campfire – it keeps you going. Seeing snow for the first time in Rovaniemi! ”I come from Vietnam where we don’t have any snow at all, this landscape has always been wowing me every time I see it. I didn’t see much snow when I was a kid, and when I looked at the TV screen, showing all these movies that have these beautiful snow scenes on it, I couldn’t help but wishing that one day, I would get there to feel the snow by myself and I did it. 6 years are more than enough to get used to it, but the feeling remains exactly the same: Still the same kid who can get super excited and jumpy when a breathtaking wintery view was right in front of his eyes. Only this time, it was no longer a TV screen. It was for real!” Mesmerized by nature and the amount of snow in Lapland. Hiking in Rovaniemi as a foreigner ”The hiking trails that I did wasn’t too challenging, as it was only for small hiking walk. But challenging or not, getting myself into the nature was refreshing. I remember so vividly that feeling, when I was in the middle of the forest, completely alone, with only the sound of my foot steeping in the snow. The feeling was euphoric. My head was lifted off from all the stress. For the first time of this season, I had the time to truly enjoy the winter the way it was. No other people around me, no computer or ringing phone nor  sound from the cars. There was me, standing, mingling into the nature and catching my breath. I realized how I love this landscape and I want it to be this way forever. For me this is my sanctuary. In here all my weariness and woes from my every day’s life get buried deeply into the snow and what’s left of me, is peacefulness. That’s how generous the nature has been to me, and to us, and we can give back, by appreciating its kindness.” Warming up before heading out again! Campfire always captivates and [...]

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This is the story of Sebastian’s journey to Finland and our wonderful culture where nature and spending time in summer cottages are essential . Straight after arriving in Helsinki we got our rental car and drove north. Ahead of us was a 10 day journey through the southern part of Finland. My expectations of this beautiful country were fulfilled immediately after leaving the city and entering the remote nature of Finland. We drove for around 3 hours north, one hour was driving on a gravel road straight into the forest until we reached our cottage directly at lake. A Finnish BBQ in the forest. After a day of hiking and exploring the area we finished the day by making a campfire on a hill with views over the lake. To be honest, I couldn’t imagine a better place for a fire. The nature and the remoteness of that place even made it more beautiful. A cold beer and some sausages on the stick really made a perfect evening. Amazing view on the National Park of Repovesi After leaving the remote cottage behind, we made our way to explore Repovesi National Park. In the park there are a lot of hiking trails and some great views over lakes and forests. There are also some campgrounds, where families spent the night. Unfortunately we didn’t bring our own tent, so we had to leave the park at dawn to sleep in our B&B. Roadtripping in Finland After another night at a campfire at the B&B Pinus in Mäntyharju, we made our way more north to Koli National Park where we stayed on a farm for 2 nights. The view from the top of Koli National Park was even more breathtaking than the views we saw before. After a good day of hiking, we had one of the best burgers ever at Kolin Ryynanen, close to the park. Scenic sunset in Finland. On our way to the West Coast we stopped at another cottage directly at a lake. As many times before in Finland we were all by ourself. We took out the paddle boat for a sunset cruise before sitting at the warm campfire again. Lovely view from pier. Time to jump in! The west coast was a bit disappointing. There was no road directly at the sea and we missed our days at the lakes so much, that we headed back inwards on our way back down south to Helsinki. Helsinki City overview. Our last couple of nights we spent on an organic farm with an awesome breakfast. Holidays in Finland is pure nature and relaxation. If you want a lot of action, this is the wrong place. But if you are looking for untouched nature and wilderness, this is one of the best places I have visited so far. Helsinki is a charming capital, with lots of good bars, restaurants and great cultural activities. I liked Finland so much, that I came back a couple of months later to see it in autumn. The weather was more moody but definitely as beautiful as in summer. Sebastian made a short video while exploring Finland. In the video Sebastian experiences the Finnish nature and cottage culture at the fullest.  It’s worth checking out. Sebastian creates fantastic short films about traveling in different locations and takes quite spectacular photos while traveling! You can follow Sebastian in Instagram: sebpic_

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  Photo by Tommaso Fornoni on Unsplash You are considering booking a trip to Finland but aren’t sure what to expect. Do all Finns have blonde hair and blue eyes? Are Finns as nice as everyone says they are? In this article, you’ll learn how foreigners view Finns (and how true their perceptions really are). Read on to find out what’s true and what’s false! 1. All Finns Have Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes It is not uncommon for foreigners to believe that every Finn they’ll meet has blonde hair and blue eyes. (This same stereotype applies to any country in North Europe.) The truth is, this is not the case. Finnish-born actress, director, and writer, Pihla Viitala is living proof, having brown hair and brown eyes. Actor and writer, Juho Milonoff is also another Finnish celebrity that goes against this stereotype. So, when you are walking through Helsinki, don’t be surprised to see Finns with blonde hair and blues eyes…and those with brown, red, and black hair and hazel, brown, and green eyes. 2. Nokia Is a Japanese Company Contrary to popular belief, global technology company, Nokia, is not Japanese. Given that this article is about all that is Finland, yes, it is in fact a Finnish company. Or was until the year 2016. What may be also surprising is that Nokia started out in 1865 as a paper mill company. As the years passed, it diversified to include not just paper products but mobile devices, rubber boots, tires, telecommunications, infrastructure equipment, and more. If you do end up going to Helsinki, Finland, you may find yourself walking passed Nokia headquarters. (And, on a separate note, for shipping, find more here.) Photo by fox jia on Unsplash 3. Finland… What’s That Again? Especially Americans clump Finland in with Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. They may have heard of the country but many can’t locate where Finland is on a map. Which brings us to our next common misconception… (Speaking of maps and traveling, learn more about Stratos Jet Charters here.) 4. Finland Is a Part of Scandinavia This is not a clear-cut answer. It really depends who you ask…Finns included. Some state that Sweden, Norway, and Denmark only make up Scandinavia. Others will throw Finland in. So, the answer is really up to debate. 5. Finns Are Innocent and Pure We hear a lot about how perfect Northern Europe is, with parenting, teaching—progressiveness in general—being attributed to our European friends in the North. While Finns take teaching seriously and is ranked as the fifth happiest country, it does have some imperfections. According to National Geographic, while Finns drink less than the average European, they are big binge drinkers. In fact, National Geographic goes on to state that alcohol is the leading cause of death for Finnish men. That and when Finns do drink to excess, they can get mad, which can lead to violence. 6. It Is All About Santa Claus Yes, there is some truth to this stereotype; According to Quartz, in 1989, the Santa Claus Land Association was formed—which includes Finland’s 16 largest companies. The main purpose of this association is to market all things Santa Claus. So, there is a reason why you hear much about Santa Claus in Finland.   In 1927, radio broadcaster, “Uncle Markus” (who is Finnish) claimed that Santa’s workshop was said to be found in Korvatunturi, which is a part of Lapland—a province in Finland. Now, Lapland is known as home to the “real Santa Claus. Nonetheless, there is much more to Finland—such as visit Kiasma and Market Square—than St. Nick. Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash Final Thoughts Just like any other country you travel to, there will be people who are friendly and others who are standoffish, nice and mean, loud and quiet. Be sure to enjoy Finland. Happy and safe travels! What else have you heard about Finland? Do you agree with what foreigners think about Finland? Leave a comment. _________________________________________________________ The writer Wendy Dessler is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

The post What Do Foreigners Think About Finland and Finns? appeared first on Gofinland Blog.

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Text and photos: Marjaana Tasala This year 2017 is very special to us Finns, because our beloved home country is turning respectably 100 years old! There have already been all kinds of celebrations going on through Finland, but one major occasion worth mentioning is the newest addition to Finnish National Parks – Hossa. Oh Hossa, a true paradise for anyone keen on pristine northern wilderness. Its clear waters lure you to hop on your kayak and enjoy the peaceful stillness. Its meandering paths through wild green forests and rugged rocks invite you to a nature adventure you will never forget. Hossa National Park truly is a sight to see. Fascinating nature attractions with diverse wildlife Imagine a mystical landscape full of ridges formed by Ice Age glaciers, and a mosaic dotted by over a hundred crystal clear lakes and ponds. Some of them might be the most clear ones you have ever seen! Like Lake Öllöri, which is situated next to Hossa Visitor Centre. Or narrow Muikkupuro Stream, which campfire site is one of the most attractive places to have a well deserved break between your hiking or paddling trip through Hossa National Park.   Julma-Ölkky canyon lake in Hossa National Park Finland’s biggest canyon lake, Julma-Ölkky, and its 50 meters high rocky walls can be found from Hossa, too. This massive natural formation is actually best viewed from the lake, so grab a canoe and paddle in your own pace or hop on a cruise boat, which will take you to a 30 minute long ride from shore to shore. The wildlife in Hossa is like nowhere else, because the king of Finnish forests lives around there. While you are unlikely to meet a brown bear on the park’s hiking paths, you are almost sure to encounter one on an organized bear safari. Santa’s little helpers, reindeers, also belong to Hossa’s scenery along with the Siberian jay and many other bird and wild animal species. Unique history telling its stories from the stone age Finlands former president Urho Kekkonen loved Hossa’s scenery so much, that he was planning to be a permanent resident there after retiring. Unfortunately, he didn’t ever have the chance to move there, but as a passionate fisherman he visited Hossa several times. But historically the most valuable thing in Hossa might be the famous Värikallio rock paintings. On the surface of the rock wall along an ancient water route are over 60 separate figures illustrating the traditional northern worldview. The paintings are estimated to be even 4500 years old and are a definite must see destination if you are visiting the area. Activities whole year round (and for families too) On summer time clear waters and whispering pine forests invite Hossa’s visitors to activities like diving, trekking, canoeing, fishing, supping, berry and mushroom picking – you name it. There are 100 kilometers of marked hiking trails, so all the best natural spots are easily accessible by foot or cross-country bike. If you would like to roam Hossa’s wonders with a canoe, 60 kilometers of water routes will provide you enough canoeing for days. Or is stillness something you are looking for? You are definitely in a right place. Hossa’s peaceful atmosphere will calm you down and instructed yoga and mindfulness moments are of course available too. Relaxing quietness of the wilderness will charge your batteries like nothing else before. Hossa is an excellent destination for families with children too! Most of the marked hiking routes are easy and perfect for little feet to lumber. The National Park also provides trails that are suitable for people with reduced mobility, so these routes are accessible by baby carriage or wheelchair. During the snowy white winter months cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snow shoeing are one of the most popular activities. But you mustn’t forget a true Finnish winter experience – a refreshing dip in icy water! Because believe it or not, swimming in a hole in the ice leaves you feeling fantastic. And of course you can do it straight from the warmth of a wood heated sauna. Where to stay and how to get there? There are several resorts and other accommodation possibilities in the surrounding area. You can choose to lodge in one of the cozy cabins, lean-to shelters or wilderness hut or even hotel and of course camping is possible too. But remember, campfires are only permitted in spots designated for this purpose. Was that convincing enough for you to pack your bags and travel to north-eastern Finland? Flights from Helsinki to Kuusamo and Kajaani will take you quite near, and from the airport it is easy to reach the park by a rental car. Accommodation in Hossa: check out the large selection of rental cottages near Hossa National Park _________________________________________ Marjaana Tasala co-writes two blogs: RIMMA + LAURA (www.rimmalaura.com) and Fall into Finland (www.fallintofinland.com). We recommend you to follow her amazing photos on Instagram, too.

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Finland is one of the prettiest countries in the world. It is known for the amount of contrast that you get to see in its landscape. It is here that you can see the four seasons in true earnest. It is at Finland that you would be able to see the Midnight Sun as well as the Northern Lights. Pyhä-Luosto National Park The first name that needs to be taken in this context is the Pyhä-Luosto National Park. These are basically rugged hills that have been there for a long time and they have been cut at various places by gorges that happen to be really deep. The best thing that you can do over here is trekking. You can easily walk to the top through these forests that have been there for an eternity and more. The top areas of this park do not have any trees and there is plenty of wind to contend with as well. The skies here are vast as you would find elsewhere in Lapland. The scenery is especially breathtaking during both summer when you have the Midnight Sun, and winter when the skies are being lit up by the Northern Lights. You would also see some Siberian jays that are really friendly if you happened to stop for a picnic while hiking. Aland Aland happens to be the perfect weekend getaway if you happen to be in Finland. No matter who you are with this is the best place to have some great time. You can relax at the sauna, go hiking around the archipelago which is naturally inspiring, or just walk around and take in the sights and sounds over here. One of the various things that you should certainly do whilst you are at this place is to take part in one of the fishing trips. You can hire a local fishing guide for the purpose – this is one experience that is always going to stay with you. The food over here also happens to be exceptional. It is highly recommended that you visit the local Art Museum and Cultural History Museum, and the Aland Maritime Museum. If you are here you might catch hold of the Northern Lights as well as one of the many storms.   Uto Island  Uto Island is located right in the southernmost part of the country and is the last inhabited island in that part of this archipelago. You can get there with the help of a free ferry that takes around five hours. The island is small as such and is there right on the Baltic Sea. A lot of people visit it during the winter season – a time when it happens to be as cold as hell. You can also visit it during spring and autumn where you would see many migratory birds. The island is a rocky one and occupies an area of just a square km. All around the year over here, you would not find more than 50 people on an average. There are normally around 150 people during the summer season. The island was vacated in 2005 by the Finnish armed forces. Pallas-Ylläs Tunturi National Park  One of the various things that you can do over here is trekking. You can easily visit one hilltop from another this way. All the way you would be passing through Arctic fells. This also happens to be the finest hiking trail in the country. Apart from hiking, skiing is also one activity that you would really enjoy doing over here. You can stay at the Lappish villages that have plenty of history apart from lodgings where you can haul up without compromising on your comfort. It also helps that they are really welcoming. In fact, it is said that this part of Lapland has the best air in the whole world with regards to freshness. Once again this is a great place if you wish to see the Northern Lights. You can easily visit the national park by way of a car and other modes of public transportation. Koli National Park The national park is located in northern Karelia and as such is well known for its natural scenery that comprises hills covered in trees. One of the best views that you can get from here is that of the Lake Pielinen from atop the Ukko-Koli Hill. This is one reason why over the years so many artists, nature lovers, and photographers from across the country have been attracted to the spot. The scenery is as splendid as they come and as such it fills you with a sense of serenity unlike anything else. You just feel a sense of wonder when you come here. In fact, the lakes and hills over here create such a setting that you would enjoy it no matter which time of the year you come over here. You can access this by car as well as public transportation. Oulanka National Park The national park is located at Kuusamo and happens to be one of the most popular members of its fraternity in the country. The national park is also known to have a commendable collection of falls and rapids. The most prominent name among these is the Klutakongas rapid that is located in the Oulanka River. The Jyrwa fall and the Myllykoski fall at the Kitka River are worth mentioning in this context as well. The national park itself is part of the Karhunkierros trail, which is known for its rough terrain. There are plenty of choices if you wish to go trailing over here – the hanging bridges only add to the charm of the entire region as such. In fact, the waterfalls over here are said to be among the most impressive of their kind in the entire country. There is plenty over here for the nature photographers. Some other options that may be mentioned in this regard are a village named Saramo, the Riisitunturi National Park, the Repovesi National Park, [...]

The post 6 picturesque locations you’ll want to visit at Finland appeared first on Gofinland Blog.

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  Photo by Tommaso Fornoni on Unsplash You are considering booking a trip to Finland but aren’t sure what to expect. Do all Finns have blonde hair and blue eyes? Are Finns as nice as everyone says they are? In this article, you’ll learn how foreigners view Finns (and how true their perceptions really are). Read on to find out what’s true and what’s false! 1. All Finns Have Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes It is not uncommon for foreigners to believe that every Finn they’ll meet has blonde hair and blue eyes. (This same stereotype applies to any country in North Europe.) The truth is, this is not the case. Finnish-born actress, director, and writer, Pihla Viitala is living proof, having brown hair and brown eyes. Actor and writer, Juho Milonoff is also another Finnish celebrity that goes against this stereotype. So, when you are walking through Helsinki, don’t be surprised to see Finns with blonde hair and blues eyes…and those with brown, red, and black hair and hazel, brown, and green eyes. 2. Nokia Is a Japanese Company Contrary to popular belief, global technology company, Nokia, is not Japanese. Given that this article is about all that is Finland, yes, it is in fact a Finnish company. Or was until the year 2016. What may be also surprising is that Nokia started out in 1865 as a paper mill company. As the years passed, it diversified to include not just paper products but mobile devices, rubber boots, tires, telecommunications, infrastructure equipment, and more. If you do end up going to Helsinki, Finland, you may find yourself walking passed Nokia headquarters. (And, on a separate note, for shipping, find more here.) Photo by fox jia on Unsplash 3. Finland… What’s That Again? Especially Americans clump Finland in with Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. They may have heard of the country but many can’t locate where Finland is on a map. Which brings us to our next common misconception… (Speaking of maps and traveling, learn more about Stratos Jet Charters here.) 4. Finland Is a Part of Scandinavia This is not a clear-cut answer. It really depends who you ask…Finns included. Some state that Sweden, Norway, and Denmark only make up Scandinavia. Others will throw Finland in. So, the answer is really up to debate. 5. Finns Are Innocent and Pure We hear a lot about how perfect Northern Europe is, with parenting, teaching—progressiveness in general—being attributed to our European friends in the North. While Finns take teaching seriously and is ranked as the fifth happiest country, it does have some imperfections. According to National Geographic, while Finns drink less than the average European, they are big binge drinkers. In fact, National Geographic goes on to state that alcohol is the leading cause of death for Finnish men. That and when Finns do drink to excess, they can get mad, which can lead to violence. 6. It Is All About Santa Claus Yes, there is some truth to this stereotype; According to Quartz, in 1989, the Santa Claus Land Association was formed—which includes Finland’s 16 largest companies. The main purpose of this association is to market all things Santa Claus. So, there is a reason why you hear much about Santa Claus in Finland.   In 1927, radio broadcaster, “Uncle Markus” (who is Finnish) claimed that Santa’s workshop was said to be found in Korvatunturi, which is a part of Lapland—a province in Finland. Now, Lapland is known as home to the “real Santa Claus. Nonetheless, there is much more to Finland—such as visit Kiasma and Market Square—than St. Nick. Photo by Jaanus Jagomägi on Unsplash Final Thoughts Just like any other country you travel to, there will be people who are friendly and others who are standoffish, nice and mean, loud and quiet. Be sure to enjoy Finland. Happy and safe travels! What else have you heard about Finland? Do you agree with what foreigners think about Finland? Leave a comment. _________________________________________________________ The writer Wendy Dessler is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

The post What Do Foreigners Think About Finland? appeared first on Gofinland Blog.

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Do you want to spend a holiday in Finnish Lapland, but don’t know which would be the best destination for your needs? Don’t worry – it is possible to see the most popular ski resorts in Finland during the same holiday! This article gives you valuable tips for an arctic road trip in Finland! 1. Start Your Trip from the Kittilä Airport in Finnish Lapland Kittilä Airport is a small and idyllic airport in Finland, with several daily flights from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Kittilä is actually the first contact with Lapland for hundreds of foreign travelers arriving to admire the natural wonders of the North. The location of the airport is great, as it is only 17 km away from our first tourist destination, the Levi ski resort! There are also several car rental companies at Kittilä airport (eg Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt and FiRent) to get your car for the upcoming road trip. 2. Head for the Levi Ski Resort Levi is one of the most popular ski resorts in Finland, which provides great facilities for an active holiday in winter. The winter season is the best time to enjoy the frosty sceneries of Levi, because snow is almost always guaranteed. Don’t also forget the many events that are organized in Levi! The biggest winter event in Levi, the Alpine Skiing World Cup, is famous for its international atmosphere. The numerous rental cottages and holiday homes give you a chance to spend a perfect holiday in Finnish Lapland. Check out the large range of accommodation and find a perfect cottage to suit all your needs! 3. Continue the Journey towards Ylläs Once the Levi ski resort has become familiar, it’s time to continue the journey towards the next destination. The ski resort of Ylläs, which is 65 kilometers and about an hour’s drive away from Levi, is also among the most interesting winter destinations in Finland. Ylläs has actually the largest network of ski trails in Finland (330 km), the longest slopes, and many interesting activities for everyone. When visiting Ylläs, you can participate in different safaris (e.g. snowmobile, reindeer and husky safaris) or rent equipment and try snowshoeing yourself. If you are not afraid of cold water, you even have a chance to try winter swimming in an icy lake! Find a perfect cottage for your holiday in Ylläs, Finland. 4. Next destination: Snowy Ruka in Kuusamo After spending a day or two in Ylläs, it is time to continue the journey again. It takes about 4.5 hours to drive the distance from Ylläs to Ruka, but do not worry – there’s plenty to see along the way! If you are traveling through Rovaniemi, you can go to greet Santa Claus and explore the whole Santa Claus village in the Arctic Circle. Alternatively, you can drive through Sodankylä and Kemijärvi, where the Pyhä-Luosto tourism center is a potential pit-stop along the way. After arriving in Ruka, you can stay in an atmospheric cottage or even book a ski-inn accommodation in the center of the village. 5. Until Next Time, Finland! When it is time to say goodbye to Finnish Lapland, you can start your trip from Kuusamo airport, which has several daily flights to the capital of Helsinki. The airport is located only 32 km away from Ruka, so you can enjoy the wonderful winter landscapes even on the day of departure. Whether you are interested in sporty activities, exotic travel services or the local culture, Lapland is full of opportunities! Explore the rental cottages Gofinland website and start planning your journey in Finland!

The post Want to See More? Ideas for a Winter Road Trip in Finnish Lapland appeared first on Gofinland Blog.

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