When I think about vacation, I always think about warm places. White sand beaches and palm trees. Probably because I am from north (Lithuania is kinda north). But actually cold places can be amazing too. White clean snow during a sunny day is really beautiful. And it is not only about snow.
Surprise surprise, I got to be living in one of the best winter destination countries. Few months ago I have moved to Finland – to experience what a real winter looks like. 🙂 So why is it so amazing and everyone should come and experience it?
Activities in north of Finland
You will not believe but there are actually many things to do during winter. How about visiting Santa Klaus city and meeting him and his reindeers? You can also have a ride with his sledges. In Lapland you can also enjoy husky sledging. It is a nice experience, because you have time to play with dogs and then they take you for a ride in a nice winter landscape – forest or fields. After a ride, sauna sounds like a great choice. Sauna is a really big thing in Finland. There is a saying that the number of sauna is bigger than number of people living in Finland. Because some people have more than one sauna. You know, just in case. But after being in such a cold (in January it gets up to -35 degrees) you really appreciate the warmth of sauna. Another thing to do after it – jump to an ice cold lake! Finland is called a 1000 lake country, in fact there are more than 160000 lakes. 😀 Fun fact – even outside is -25, water is always +4 degrees. But of course, do not stay there too long – better go back to hot sauna.
After sauna, when the night comes, you can chase the northern lights. It is a unique experience, and you also need luck for that. Not every night you will see them. So it is better to stay few nights in north just to be sure one night it will be visible. There are some ways to see them – go snow walking, or cross country skiing. If you are afraid of cold – just stay in the igloo hotel and watch it from your comfortable bed. It is expensive (from 550Eur/night) but definitely worth it.
Of course, skiing, snow boarding and cross country skiing is very popular in Finland. In the north, season starts at January and last even until May. As Finland is a really flat country, locals mostly do the cross country skiing – it is still fun, not so challenging even though it is a great exercise. Another advantage – you do not feel the cold when you are moving. At the same time you can enjoy winter beauty around and not freeze to death.
Also, Finland is a place where you can find vertical rainbows!
Winter in Helsinki
The capital of Finland is based in south, next to the Baltic sea. That is the reason it is not as cold as in the north, but also it means it is more windy. And actually it even makes it worse. 😀 Before Christmas, Helsinki becomes a place with hundreds of Christmas lights. And it stays until at least February – during the darkest times.
You should definitely visit Suomenlinna fortress. It can be reached by ferry from the main harbour in only 10 minutes. It is so beautiful with all the white snow. Just be careful with the wind – it is an island in the sea so it is windy. And of course when it is cold there can not be better thing than to go to a local restaurant and try local food. It is warmer with a full stomach. 🙂 Fins are proud of their reindeer meat dishes, also they eat a lot of potatoes. My favourite buffet restaurant is ”Factory”. You can find it in alexi building or next to Kamppi. Pay 10 Eur during the lunch time and eat what Finns eat every day. Dessert and a coffee included!
Another fun thing to do indoors is to go to a ice hockey match. Fins are crazy about it, so instead of shy people as they might seem to you at the beginning, you will see completely different fins. If you want to see extra energetic fins – try to get into a match between Finland and Sweden or Finland and Russia. It will get crazy. 🙂
I hope you got inspired to travel during the winter to a winter countries. Also you should be careful with the cold weather. In the next article I have prepared some tips how to enjoy cold weather and do not freeze.