Situated in Finnish Lapland, about 150 km from the Arctic Circle, Akaslompolo village is the perfect place for the adventurous tourists wishing to explore the Arctic Circle. Forget about TV, telephone, internet, newspapers, or any other type of access to the modern world, and indulge yourself in a relaxing vacation. Here you can ride dog sleds (husky mushing) through the wilderness even for several days, wander cross country with snow shoes or skis, drive a snow mobile, fish at ice holes, watch the northern lights and enjoy complete solitude. At Yllas there is a big Ski-Center. In Akaslompolo you can see The Santa Claus's house and if you are really lucky, you can see Santa Claus and his wife.
Forssa is a charming town located at the centre of the triangle, joining the main cities in the south of Finland of Helsinki, Tampere and Turku. The town has a historical and cultural atmosphere, which originates from Forssa's colorful past as a centre for the textile industry. The most notable landmarks include the impressive red brick buildings of Kutomo and Kehraamo - former a textile mill and a spinning mill respectively. There is a wide range of sports opportunities such as the Feeniks sport centre, various sporting clubs, sports fields, running tracks and outdoor recreation areas as well as the Vesihelmi Water Park, providing excellent facilities for exercise. At the stately Cotton Mills area, there are museums and art exhibitions displaying the history and traditions of both the town and the region.
The 365 years old, Hameenlinna is a vibrant educational and cultural town situated at the junction of nationally important rail, road and waterway network. The old town is built around the medieval Hame Castle (dating from the 13th century) on the riverside of the lake. The famous natural park Aulanko-Karlberg is located nearby and will charm you with its breathtaking beauty. The town is famous as the birthplace of the famous composer Jean Sibelius, who was born here in 1865. Stroll down Raatihuoneenkatu street and sample the city's sights, restaurants and boutiques, it will give you a first taste of this historical city.
Surrounded by water on three sides and fringed by islands, Helsinki grew up around a natural harbor overlooking the Gulf of Finland. A city of wide streets, squares, and parks, adorned with sculpture, Helsinki was one of the world's first planned municipalities and is noted for its 19th-century neoclassical architecture. It is a city of bustling, colorful market squares and halls, of outdoor summer concerts and sports events, of seaside parks, of excellent cafes and restaurants and cutting-edge art in fine museums. It is also a pleasantly compact city, with many of the attractions in the central districts, within easy reach of one another.
Espoo, the second largest city of Finland, is part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area along with the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. It has a unique urban structure consisting of five district centers, all of them as large as a normal Finnish town, connected perfectly by public transport to one another. One of the best known districts is Tapiola - the carefully designed garden city, where people, nature and architecture are in harmony with each other. Don't miss the Nuuksio National Park that hosts several rare species of various flora and fauna. Other tourist sites include: the Espoonlahti church - a concrete and stone medieval structure, a popular site for concerts in the summer and the Glims Farmstead Museum showcasing life in Espoo in the 19th century. The exhibits include old farmsteads and inns and the furniture used in those times.
Vantaa, the fourth most populated city of Finland is also part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, along with Helsinki, Espoo, and Kauniainen. Although there are not many tourist sites in Vantaa, you might still enjoy Heureka Science Center or Viherpaja Japanese and Cactus Garden, both located near Tikkurila. For museum enthusiasts there is The Finnish Aviation Museum near the airport and then of course The Vantaa Agricultural Museum. Vantaa is known as the birthplace of the famous Finnish race driver Mika Hakkinen. Next to the railway station in Tikkurila, you can visit the city museum housed in the oldest station building in Finland, designed by Carl Albert Edelfelt and completed in 1861.
Located in eastern Finland, Imatra is a modern industrial town dominated by Lake Saimaa, the Vuoksi River and the Finnish-Russian border. The famous Imatrankoski Rapids are the oldest tourist attraction in Finland. To celebrate the town's 50th anniversary, the rapids were permanently illuminated to allow people to admire it all year round. The magnificent castle hotel Imatran Valtionhotelli has stood by the rapids for more than 100 years. The River Vuoksi offers excellent opportunities for fishing throughout the year: in winter it is possible to go ice fishing as well as practice open water fishing since the Vuoksi never freezes completely. The river is also suitable for swimmers and beautiful jogging and cycle tracks surround its contours. From the banks of the river bird watchers can observe dozens of bird species.
Joensuu is a university town and one of the of most important harbor cities of the North Karelia Region in Finland. The tourist landmarks include: the town hall, a typical example of Saarinen's architecture, the Neogothic church and the Modern Museum of History and culture. The Perhos-Botania University Botanical Gardens illustrate habitats from all over the world. You can see a thousand exotic species, carnivorous and tactile plants, lianas and bamboo from desert to rain forests. There are also butterfly and insect collections, theme exhibitions, turtles, and a talking parrot. Some very good hiking tracks can be found just outside town.
Located near the beautiful lakes Paijanne and Keitele, Jyvaskyla is surnamed the "Athens of Finland". The town is famous for its many buildings designed by Alvar Aalto and for hosting Neste Oil Rally Finland, which is part of the World Rally Championship. It is also the home of the annual Jyvaskyla Arts Festival. The Harju ridge provides a piece of nature suited for outdoor activities and a superb view over the city centre to Lake Jyvasjarvi. During the summer the lake is used for swimming, boating and fishing. In winter the Lake Jyvasjarvi offers a first-class natural ice skating circuit that is highly popular with families. The ice annually attracts tens of thousands of skaters. Jyvaskyla is also a city with a great wealth of museums and galleries.
Located on the shore of Lake Oulujarvi, Kajaani is a charming town with a pleasant rural atmosphere. The most notable tourist sights are: the old wooden houses in the town's centre, the Kajaani Art Museum and the ruins of the Kajaani castle. Other attractions include the railway station, which represents a traditional carpenter style, the Wall of Tears, which was built to aid people during the period of Great Depression, and the War Veteran Statue that is situated in Sampo Park. Vimpelinvaara is a popular sports and outdoor recreation area. Rehja Island is known for its peaceful location in the middle of Lake Nuasjarvi where you can spend warm summer days. In the wintertime, there are good skiing opportunities in the surrounding area and the town features a popular jazz festival every spring.
Founded in 1620 by the Swedish King Gustaf II Adolf, Kokkola or Karleby is a charming historical town. There are several museums and beautiful churches well worth visiting such as: the Historical Museum of Kokkola, the Kaarlela Museum of Local History, Kokkola Church and Kaarlela Church. At the Peasants' Museum and the Animal Park, which operates right by the museum, there are about 7500 museum pieces waiting to be explored. The Animal Park houses 25 different species of animals. The 7 Bridges Archipelago nearby offers pristine nature, bright summer nights and also winter activities on the seashore. Tankar, the lighthouse island outside Kokkola invites you to an unforgettable adventure in the Gulf of Bothnia. This islet has worked as a base for fishermen for centuries. The little church on Tankar was built in 1754 for their use.
Located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland, at the estuary of Kymi River, Kotka is the second biggest export port in Finland. The splendid maritime scenery surrounding the city offers opportunities for various outdoor activities, including sailing, shooting the rapids, fishing, and nature excursions and archipelago trips. You can admire excellent views of the city and the surroundings from the top of the former Haukkavuori water tower. The river Kymijoki, which runs through the city, has some challenging rapids just outside the city. This is also the place where one can visit the Langinkoski lodge, a former fishing lodge of Tsar Alexander III. Don't miss the museum Icebreaker Tarmo - the oldest icebreaker in the world dating from 1907.
Kouvola is a lively town located within Finland's borders and as a border post between the European Union and Russian Federation. There are plenty of sights and attractions in Kouvola and Kuusankoski for the entire family. The top family attraction is the Tykkimaki amusement park, third largest in Finland, hosting over 40 games and gadgets. Kouvola Horse Track is an internationally accredited venue. Museums in both Kouvola and Kuusankoski - the neighbouring town, offer a chance to travel through time, while the more art-oriented find several exhibitions throughout the year. Kouvola Art Museum, designed by Erkki Valovirta, is considered to be one of the most beautiful art museums in Finland. The town is surrounded by beautiful countryside with breathtaking nature. You may also want to visit Verla, an idyllic mill village listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Kuopio is a modern economic centre in Eastern Finland. The breathtaking nature and quality services make it a great place for vacation. Kuopio is famous for the Finnish fish pastry (Kalakukko), and the dialect of Savo, as well as the hill of Puijo and the Puijo tower. Puijo serves also as a stage for an yearly World Cup ski jumping competition. In summer you can enjoy Kallavesi Lake by boating, by boarding a cruise, by shooting the rapids, or by going on a fishing trip or a jet-ski safari. Golfers will be delighted by the Puijo Golf Course. Horse-riding, trips by off-road vehicles are also available. The Kuopio region is also ideal for cross-country skiing and the ski centers of Tahko, Kasurila and Puijo are perfect for those who prefer downhill skiing. You can go ice-fishing or ice-skating on a frozen-over lake and even take part in the Finland Ice Marathon.
Situated in the north-eastern part of Finland, Kuusamo is a major center for winter sports. One of the largest Skiing centrums in Finland, Ruka, is found here. Ruka hosts many international competitions in ski jumping, cross country skiing freestyle skiing and nordic combined. Kuusamo is also known for its natural beauty. The Arctic Circle creates its own light, which varies in hue and intensity during each season of the year. In the winter, the sun stays low and Northern Lights dance across the heavens. From fell summits, the landscape reflects thousands of snow white shades in the winter light, while thousands of brilliant stars twinkle. You will discover a diversity of plants, forest trees and marsh shrubs bearing berries. In late summer, forests are blue with blueberries and marshes yellow with golden cloudberries.
Only 100 kilometers away from Helsinki, on the shores of Lake Vesijarvi, you will find Lahti a lively cultural city with much to offer. It is famous for its Sibelius Hall, Symphony Orchestra, City Theatre and varied cultural events. The exhibitions at the Lahti Art Museum and the numerous galleries are always of high standard. The city also offers plenty of recreation possibilities including winter sports, marvelous nature and friendly people. Every year the Lahti Ski Games gather the best Nordic ski athletes and ten thousands of spectators to the Salpausselka ridge. One of the city's most impressive sights is the Church of the Cross, designed by academician Alvar Aalto. The Musical Fountains, on the shore of the Pikku-Vesijarvi Lake, will delight you with an enjoyable symphony of water, colors and lights.
Lappeenranta is a city renowned for its beautiful natural scenery and its happy Karelian character. The lake district of Saimaa adds a distinct charm to the southern Karelian landscape and life style. The bay area, with its historical fortress and linden trees, is the summer paradise for local residents, and for travelers from all over the world. Winter in Lappeenranta is a lively and active season. Well-kept cross country skiing tracks start from the centre of the town, with many skiing events to enliven the atmosphere in the late winter. A rich variety of theatre performances and concerts, excellent accommodation, fascinating museums and magnificent opportunities for outdoor activities, seasoned with Karelian hospitality, make Lappeenranta a favorite tourist destination all year long.
Pyha-Luosto National Park is located in Finland's Lapland Province. The park's base is formed by Finland's southernmost, 12-peak tunturi line. The tunturis are remnants of Alp-like mountains of 2 billion years of age. The highest tunturis are Noitatunturi (540 m / 1770 ft) and Ukko-Luosto (514 m / 1690 ft). Luosto also has excellent facilities: spas, cozy log cabins, downhill and cross country ski slopes and tracks. During the winter you can go skiing, visit the Pyha-Luosto Husky and Reindeer Park and the Amethyst Mine (the only one in whole Europe which welcomes visitors), or you can experience snowmobile, reindeer and husky safaris in the snowy forest and snowshoe hikes to the untouched fell slopes. Choices for a summer include hiking up to Amethyst Mine or in the Pyha-Luosto National Park, canoeing, fishing, bicycling and swimming.
Located in the heart of Finland's Lake District, Mikkeli offers you the unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the midnight sun from the water's edge. The shores of Lake Saimaa offer all types of cottages with different specifications. In wintertime the lakes freeze over thick, opening up new possibilities for ski across the lakes in the bright winter sun, or drill a hole through the ice for some winter fishing. In summertime you cruise to town by boat. Mikkeli District also offers plenty of cultural activities that you can combine with your relaxing cottage holiday, including ballet festivals, theatre performances, and museum exhibitions. Mikkeli is famous for its lively nightlife offering plenty of bars, pubs and clubs.
Located in the proximity of both Turku and of the archipelago, Naantali is one of the most important tourist centres of the country. Naantali is well known for its fascinating history as a convent town, for its charming wooden houses and maritime atmosphere. Most of the city's area is located on the island of Luonnonmaa, but the majority of the population lives on the mainland. An important tourist site is the Moomin World theme park on the island of Kailo. Other tourist attractions include Naantali Spa Hotel, the largest spa in Scandinavia, and the mediaeval convent church of Naantali. Arts and music are an important part of Naantali, as is the sea, with yachts sailing right to the very heart of the Old Town.
Located on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu is the most important city in Northern Finland and the sixth largest city in the country. It is the major university and science city. Several museums are dedicated to science and a visit to the Science Centre Tietomaa is a must. Tietomaa hosts all sorts of scientific things of interest. Various technologies are explained and there are lots of things to learn about and you're allowed to play with everything. Another interesting sight is the Oulu City Hall - a neo-renaissance stone palace, completed in 1887, housing a part of the City's central administrative office. The Oulu Cathedral represents neo-classical style and was originally built in 1777. It houses Finland's oldest painted portrait from 1611. Don't miss Oulu's botanical gardens where you will find the northernmost pyramids in the world.
Founded in 1558, nearby the coast of Gulf of Bothnia, Pori is nowadays a modern and important seaport town. It is famous for the sandy beaches of Yyteri and for hosting Pori Jazz, an annual international jazz festival. Natural heritage centre Arkki presents wetlands nature in Satakunta, which is unique in Finland. In about twenty kilometers you will get from the barren islets of the outer archipelago to the wooded islands, meadows and shore groves of the land-rise coast, the reed areas of the river delta, groves along inland rapids, and to spacious bogs. Other tourist attractions include: the Central Pori church - representative of neo-gothic style, the Norwegian style church at Reposaari - built in 1876 and the islet of Kirjuri featuring children's playgrounds of Pelle Hermanni the clown and Kolme Karhua ("The Three Bears"), a pirate ship for kids.
Founded in 1442, Rauma is a charming historic town. The heart of the town - Old Rauma is the most beautiful and the largest preserved coherent medieval wooden town area in the Nordic region. In 1991 the area was listed on the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites as an example of Nordic wooden town construction. The buildings in the area date mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries and form a myriad of shops, complemented by an idyllic backdrop of wooden houses and lush gardens, a marketplace, and many historically and culturally significant sights. The Church of the Holy Cross, built in the 15th century, featuring mediaeval murals and frescoes is well worth a visit. The town is a heaven also for shoppers and gourmets. Especially during the summer months, the marketplace is a popular meeting place.
Situated close to the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is the capital of Finland's Lapland Province. The town's landmarks include the Jatkankynttila bridge with its eternal flame over the Kemijoki river, the Arktikum, the Rovaniemi Town Hall, the Lappia House. In the winter, you can enjoy cross-country ski, downhill skiing and snowboarding at the Ounasvaara Ski Resort. There are also plenty of opportunities for snowmobiling, dog sledding and reindeer sleigh rides. Santa Claus Village and Santapark, are located 8 km north. About 80 km to the south of Rovaniemi, you can visit Ranua Wildlife Park hosting 60 species of arctic and northern wild animals, including polar bears, lynx, wolf, wolverine, moose. In the summer you can take a trekking trip in Ounasvaara, a riverboat cruise, a visit to a reindeer farm or participate in a number of safaris and fish trips.
Saariselka is a mountain area and a village in Finland, located 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, embraced by Saariselka fells and Urho Kekkonen National Park. This region is an important centre of the fascinating Sámi or Lapp culture. It is criss-crossed by an extensive network of routes specifically for trekkers and it contains the enormous Lake Inarinjarvi. It is also a focal point for reindeer herding, fishing, crafts and tourist services. The skiing season in Saariselka begins in October and lasts until May. Winter activities range from cross-country skiing and downhill skiing to husky, reindeer and snowmobile safaris as well as ice-fishing. Furthermore, the clean breathtaking nature and the silence will offer you a relaxing vacation.
Although Salo is known to have been inhabited as early as 7,000 years ago and has long long been a centre of rural commerce it officially became a town in 1960. Its position almost equidistant between Helsinki and Turku, facilitated its economical developpement. It is considered to be the original home town of Nokia phones. The statue of Lauri, the blacksmith standing in the centre of the town represents the first citizen of Salo. Other tourist attractions include: Salo Art Museum Roundhouse - a new Art Museum housed by a century-old building locomotive hall, Meritalo Museum - one of the oldest buildings in Salo center, hosting Uskela Dress (a new regional dress) and Uskela Church - built in 1832 after the plans of C. L. Engel, the most famous architect of his time in Finland.
Seinajoki is known as a city of education, hospital and health services, culture, sports, as well as of trade and business activities. Thanks to its Alvar Aalto Centre, Seinajoki is a recognized destination for architectural sites. Great buildings designed by Alvar Aalto such as the City Hall dating from 1962, City Library (1965), Lakeuden Risti church (1960) and Civil Guard House can be admired in Seinajoki. The city is, together with Buenos Aires, one of the world's leading Tango Cities. The Tangomarkkinat Tango Festival, the biggest summer event in Finland, attracts annually more than 100 000 people. In addition to tango, Seinajoki also hosts annually Provinssirock, the biggest rock festival in Finland.
Founded in 1779 on the banks of the Tammerkoski Rapids (one of Finland's official national scenic areas) Tampere evolved into the most highly industrialized locality in Finland during the 19th century and became nowadays the most populous inland city in the Nordic countries. It is also a centre for Finnish cultural life with its theatres and events focusing on music, literature, arts and architecture. The main tourist attraction is the Sarkanniemi amusement park, which includes a dolphinarium and the landmark Nasinneula tower, topped by a nice restaurant. Other well worth visiting sites are Tampere Cathedral, Tampere City Library Metso ("wood grouse"), Kaleva Church, the Tampere Hall for conferences and the Tampere Market Hall. Tampere is also home to one of the, if not the, last museum in the world dedicated to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
Turku is one of the most important historical centres of Finland and also one of its busiest seaports. The Archipelago is a unique travel destination situated in the island area. Here you have the chance to enjoy complete peace and relaxation or engaging yourself in many activities. There are several historical museums that display the city's medieval period, such as the Turku Castle, which has been a functional historical museum since 1881, and the Aboa Vetus museum, built in the late 1990s over the 14th century archaeological site. The Luostarinmaki handicrafts museum was the first Scandinavian venue to receive the "Golden Apple" tourism award. The Abo Akademi University hosts the Sibelius museum - the only music museum in Finland. Turku is also the official Christmas city of Finland.
Dating back from 1606, Vassa nearly burned down completely in 1852 and was built afterwards some kilometers from the original spot. The architect Setterberg who designed the city took the fire into account and hence why the city map shows broad avenues and several city sections. The belfry and town hall ruins can still be visited. Located nearby the sea, it offers some nice harbor views and eleven museums. There is an enormous amusement park, Wasalandia, for those who love the thrill of new adventures. Other interesting sites include: Tikanoja Art Museum housing Finnish and foreign art, temporary exhibits, Edvins Sculpture Park and Dugout Village, Museum of the Old Vaasa, and Wasastjerna merchant house dating from the 1790s.
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