Finland is full of interesting contrasts, such as the four seasons, the midnight sun and the period of darkness, urban and rural, East and West: you name it. The Finnish countryside offers nature-lovers many different kinds of experiences. They can enjoy the landscapes by land or by water at any time of the year. Thanks to free public access, the hikers can roam the great outdoors nearly everywhere in Finland.
During January and February, there is almost always snow in northern and eastern Finland. Even if there’s little snow in Helsinki, there’s often up to a meter or more on the slopes in Lapland.
The snow season in northern Finland begins in November and lasts at least until May. In the inland regions of southern and central Finland, the first snow falls at the beginning of December and melts during late March and April.
During the long days of March and April in Lapland, you can ski or sleigh for 12 to 16 hours under a brilliant sun. The best season in Lapland starts in February and lasts until May. Backcountry or cross country skiing, go on a dogsled or skimobile safari, or even indulge in some ice skating or ice fishing. Enjoying this wild paradise is worthwhile.
Finland is justifiably renowned for its forests and lakes. About a tenth of Finland’s total area is covered by inland waters. Most of the country lies within the boreal coniferous forest natural vegetation zone.
There are 37 national parks in Finland. The first national parks were established in 1938 and in 1956 seven new national parks were set up. The next 13 national parks were established at the beginning of the 1980s. The two most recent parks at Sipoonkorpi and the Bothnian Sea were established in 2011.
Finland’s unspoilt forests are still home to brown bears, wolves, a healthy population of lynx and other predators, as well as elks, beavers, red squirrels, reindeers and many more animals that have vanished from other parts of Europe. Woodland wildlife may be hard to spot, however, since most animals and birds are wary of humans. National parks and nature reserves are naturally good places to see wildlife. Bogs and undeveloped lakeshores are particularly rich in flora and fauna. The national parks of Linnansaari and Kolovesi are home to the endangered Saimaa ringed seal.
Oulanka National Park is considered the most beautiful and popular park in Finland. With its area of 270 km2, it is also the largest national park in the country. It was founded in 1956 and still maintains a beautiful and pristine Nordic nature. Oulanka National Park lies near the Russian border and the Arctic Circle, in the regions of Kuusamo and Salla on the boundary of North Karelia and southern Lapland.
Traversing Lapland: Lapland is situated in northern Finland with the region home to a small friendly community. Although best known as the home of Santa Claus and his reindeers, Lapland Finland is also has a great reputation for some superb outdoor activities.
Paddle the Grand Lake Saimaa: On the map, Lake Saimaa looks like the outcome of an enormous explosion. As a result, its almost labyrinthine form makes the lake great for kayaking. Due to the number of stretches of open water linked by straits and dotted with islands, it’s hard to believe Saimaa is Finland’s largest and the fourth largest natural freshwater lake in Europe. Landscapes on and around Saimaa are simply breathtaking. In the shelter of the archipelago, there are hardly any waves, which makes kayaking routes suitable even for more inexperienced paddlers.
Northern lights: The origin of the northern lights has various explanations in folklore and mythology. The Finnish name for the northern lights “revontulet” is associated with the arctic fox. According to a folk tale, an arctic fox is running far in the north and touching the mountains with its fur, so that sparks fly off into the sky as the northern lights. Earth’s longitude rotates deeper into the oval once every 24 hours; in the case of Finland this rotation means the best time for viewing the Northern lights is around 10.30 in the evening (Standard Time) In Finnish Lapland, the number of auroral displays can be as high as 200 a year. In southern Finland the number is usually fewer than 20.