Snowscapes and Bright Lights
Depending on the time of year and the locations they choose, visitors to Finland might find themselves taking part in activities as varied as tracking elk and bear deep in a snow-dusted forest or watching an up-and-coming band play live in a cool Helsinki bar. Finland is the country of lakeside saunas in the middle of nowhere; ice fishing and snowshoeing; vast national parks criss-crossed by hiking trails and dotted with bodies of water; and Lapland, the official home of Santa Claus. But it also has a cutting-edge cultural life that puts it at the forefront of the culinary, music and design scenes in Europe.
The Baltic Sea EU macro-regional strategy applies to Finland, meaning that the country seeks to further aims including protection of the sea, increasing prosperity and international connections. Three cultural routes take in sights and cities in Finland, and these aims are also fundamental to these routes. Whether tracing the Viking history of the Baltic region, following in the footsteps of Saint Olav, or diving deep into the history of the medieval Hanseatic League, Finland’s cultural routes offer the opportunity to further explore the values this fascinating country shares with its neighbours.
How to get there?
It’s possible to reach Finland from elsewhere on the continent by car, train or plane. Popular ferry routes also run from Estonia and Sweden to several ports in Finland. There are dozens of international airports in the country, but the busiest by far is in Helsinki. Once in Finland, it’s easy to get around using the comprehensive public transport system, especially within cities. The country’s low population density means driving is generally straightforward. Cycling holidays in Finland are also popular in the warmer months, and EuroVelo routes 10, 11 and 13 are among the country’s many bike routes. And of course, snowmobiles and dog and reindeer sleds offer more interesting ways of getting around in the icy winter.