Finland (Suomen tasavalta)
Small North european country, which affects with bright natural and climatic contrasts. Thick snow covers half of the forest inhabited by Santa Claus and other characters in the classic children's fairy tales, sparkling expanse of countless lakes, bustling European city and the rural idyll of Scandinavia is only the beginning of the tourist chronicles of Finland.
Four times a year nature is radically changing its appearance: each season has its color, temperature, sounds and smells.
Main types of tourism in Finland are ecotourism, animal observation, rehabilitation and recreation with children.
The location, grounds and landscape
Finland is situated in northern Europe. It adjoins with Russia in the east, Norway in the north and Sweden in the west.
The country’s territory is 337,030 km².
Population: over 5 million 400 thousand people.
The capital city is Helsinki.
Biggest cities: Helsinki, Kuopio, Tampere, Turku, Rovaniemi, Lahti, Imatra, Oulu.
Religion: Evangelical Lutherans - 76.4%, the Finnish Orthodox - 1.1%, none - 21.0%.
Time zone: UTC +2.
Telephone code: +358.
Languages: Finnish and Swedish are the state languages, more than 90% of the population speak Finnish. Most Finns speak excellent English, even in the most remote areas of the country. Many hotels and stores staff also knows Russian.
Currency: Euro (EUR).
Credit card payment systems: Visa, MasterCard, American Express.
The climate and the average temperature
In Finland there are very long and snowy winters and moderately warm summers. In winter average temperatures range from -3 ° C in the south to -15 ° C in the north. Winter in the northern part of the country comes with polar night and in the south it is dark about 15:00.
In winter temperatures can drop to -35 or even -40 degrees Celsius. But such cold weather does not happen so often: usually winter temperature ranges from 0 to -25 degrees Celsius, depending on the region and month.
Flora and fauna
From south to north the landscapes of the sea coast of Finland with a huge number of small islands and rocks are replaced by dense coniferous, mostly by pine forests that cover the central part of the country. In the north in Lapland there are virtually devoid of woody vegetation hills.
In Finland people are very cherish and care about conservation. There are 35 national parks - areas which inhabited by rare or valuable species of animals and plants, there are features of the landscape, unique natural objects.
Finland is a globally recognized symbol of the whooper swan. Among the birds are also common herons, mergansers, tufted ducks, diving ducks and herring gulls.
Among mammals Finland should highlight the Saimaa ringed seal (local endemic), a large population of reindeer and elk. Also it is a home to brown bears, wolves, foxes and hares.
How best to get
There is easy accessible way to get to Finland from virtually anywhere in the world. The most convenient option for residents of Ukraine and CIS countries, as well as in most European countries is air transportation. Also tourists from Europe often use ferries. At the Finland you can travel by train, bus, car, boat, cruise ship, cycling, skiing or tobogganing.
Regular flights Kiev - Helsinki carried out by the "Ukraine International Airlines" and Finnair (flight duration is 2 hours).
Regular direct flights from Moscow to Helsinki performs "Aeroflot" and Finnair. From St. Petersburg flies airline "Russia" and the same Finnair. Flight time is 1 hour 40 minutes from Moscow and about 1 hour from St. Petersburg.
Between Moscow and Helsinki also runs daily Russian train "Lev Tolstoy" (departure at 22:50 forom Leningrad station), which can be used also by residents of St. Petersburg. Driving time from Moscow is about 14 hours, from Petersburg - 6 hours and 45 minutes. In addition between St. Petersburg and Helsinki runs a speed train Allegro (travel time 3:40 hours).
Best time to visit
The most optimal time to visit depends on what you want to see and experience in Finland. By far the most popular time to visit Finland among tourists is the period of Christmas and New Year holidays, when the country becomes a symbol of a winter fairy tale and a place of pilgrimage to the residence of Santa Claus. Enjoy all the splendor of snowy Lapland will be open from December to March.
Lovers of white nights, the midnight sun and recreation on the lakes are strongly recommended to visit Finland from June to August.
Mushroom and fishing fans and fans of berries and beautiful northern autumn need to plan a trip in September and October. But those who want to breathe fresh Scandinavian spring, you just need to come in April or May.
Popular tourist sites
Lapland is a small province of Lapland (Lappi) is the cultural center of Finland, which is traditionally inhabited by the Sami. Generally Lapland region is divided between four countries: the actual Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. It is considered as the birthplace of Finnish Lapland Santa Claus.
In Finnish Lapland are 7 national parks: Lemmenjoki, Oulanka, Riisitunturi, Urho Kekkonen, Peryameri, Pallas-Yllästunturi and Pyhä-Luosto.
National Park Lemmenjoki (Lemmenjoen kansallispuisto) is located in the community of Inari and Kittilä, was founded in 1956. Its total area is 2850 square meters, which makes it the largest national park in Finland and one of the largest in Europe. Lemmenjoki territory is covered with boreal forest, fenland and pine trees, hills and moors, rivers and marshes, and the steep slopes of the river Lemmenjoki with the stunning view of the Ravadaskengas fall.
National Park Riisitunturi (Riisitunturin kansallispuisto) is located in the municipality of Posio and was founded in 1982. The relief is characterized by mountainous terrain park and a few swamps. Special beauty attracts hill tops and Riisitunturi Korouoma canyon 30 km long.
Urho Kekkonen National Park (Urho Kekkosen kansallispuisto) was founded in 1983 and named in honor of former Finnish President Urho Kekkonen. The main attraction of the park is considered Korvatunturi hill, which, according to the legend, considered as the home of Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa Claus.