LivingTravelThe regions of Finland

The regions of Finland

The northern European country Finland borders the Baltic coast to the south and extends well above the Arctic Circle to the north. Its natural landscape and climate offer a variety of activities for visitors that vary greatly from one region to another. Technically, the country is divided into many regions and sub-regions, but to visit Finland as a tourist, it is convenient to divide the country into roughly four main areas: Helsinki, Lapland, Lakeland, and the south-western coastal area.

Urban culture in Helsinki

Helsinki’s location on the Baltic Sea has made it a center for European business and culture. The capital of Finland is a contemporary urban city with a busy port in the southern region of the country, where you will find Scandinavian culture, architecture and history. Also located in this region is Hameenlinna, the oldest city in Finland, known for its medieval castle and for being the birthplace of the composer, Jean Sibelius. Porvoo, about 30 miles east of Helsinki, is a medieval city with cobbled streets, a 15th-century cathedral, and museums.

Santa Claus in Lapland

Lapland is located in the extreme north of Finland, on the Arctic Circle, so the winters are cold, long and dark: the snow comes in November and lasts until at least May. The region is home to Santa Claus, his elves, herds of reindeer, and the indigenous peoples themselves, who have inhabited the region for thousands of years. Hiking is popular in summer, when the daylight hours are nearly endless, and winter brings dog sled safaris and the Northern Lights.

Lakes and More Lakes in Lakeland

The Lakeland region offers a maze of lakes, rivers, islands and forests where visitors rent water cabins, swim, fish and sail during the summer. The area is made up of serene landscapes interspersed with traditional villages entirely built in wood. Tampere is popular with visitors and locals for its outdoor activities and cultural events. The views of nature are captivating, from the shoreline of sandy beaches and rocky archipelagos to serene lakes and picturesque villages. The Lakeland region has a strong Swedish cultural influence dating back to the 17th century when Finland was ruled by Swedish kings.

Scenic archipelagos off the southwest coast

The far western region of southern Finland is notable for the series of archipelagos that stretch along the Baltic coastline dotted with historic coastal towns that are very popular with visitors in summer. The scenic area offers places to explore by bike, boat rides, and UNESCO-listed sites such as the old town of Rauma. It is also home to the Repovesi National Park. The interesting Aland Archipelago, on the southwest coast, is an autonomous Swedish-speaking province that has its own flag, although it is part of Finland. Visitors rent bikes to explore the archipelagos, take ferries to the islands, stay in quaint B & Bs, or camp in the countryside.

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