At Nature Travels we are expanding our range of experiences for our lovely customers to enjoy and have recently added Finland to the countries our adventures are based.
Finland is Europe’s 8th largest country but one of the most sparsely-populated, which gives a real sense of wilderness when away from the main cities. The landscape is mostly flat whilst ridges run along northwest to southeast that were formed by glaciers. The glaciers lasted longer and were thicker in Finland and after being compressed under the enormous weight, the country is now rising because of post-glacial rebound and Finland is expanding by around 7 square km every year.
Finland is a country with thousands of lakes and islands – about 188,000 lakes and 179,000 islands. With vast areas of outstanding natural beauty, Finland is covered in taiga forest, the countryside is rich in wildlife and the brown bear is the national animal. Grey wolf, wolverine, lynx, beaver, reindeer and elk can also be found to name a few, including the world’s rarest seal, the Saimaa ringed seal, which can only be found in the lakes of south east Finland.
Given all those lakes and the winter season, it’s not a surprise that skating is popular in Finland, girls learn to figure skate whilst the boys play ice hockey but that’s starting to change in recent years with help from the International Ice Hockey Federation holding their World Girls’ ice hockey weekend in Finland. All children are given an equal start in life and for the past 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a baby box with essentials such as clothing, toys and even a snow suit so they can get accustomed to the cold as quick as possible.
The sport often considered Finland’s national sport is Pesäpallo or “nest ball” which resembles baseball or rounders but differs with the batter and the pitcher facing each other on the home base and the pitcher throws the ball directly upwards above them to at least one metre above their head.
There are some similarities to Sweden, as it was part of Sweden for more than 500 years until 1809. Swedish is still one of its official languages and all official texts including road signs are written in both Finnish and Swedish. However, there is no need to speak Finnish or Swedish as most Finns speak fluent English. When visiting Finland you might like to know that you have to have your headlights on at all times including during the daytime and speeding fines are directly related to income. A speeding millionaire managed to rack up a huge €54,000 fine!
Saunas are one of the main things you will associate with Finland. With a population of around 5.5 million and nearly 2 million saunas, that’s pretty much one sauna per household! All of our new packages offer sauna facilities and the sauna is a vital part of Finnish culture and we encourage all our guests to give it a go and if feeling brave, have a roll in the snow afterwards (or jump in the lake if during summer!).
The Finns are the world’s biggest coffee drinkers and they enjoy their coffee with pulla, a Finnish sweet pastry. There are other famous things from Finland as well as the sauna, including Angry Birds, Moomins and Nokia but more importantly it’s also home to many world championships, including wife-carrying, sauna, air guitar and mobile phone throwing (but not all at the same time!). There is also a beer floating event, which doesn’t involve floating bottles of beer but rather thousands of people float down a river in various inflatable devices including dinghies, paddling pools and life rafts with no more than a paddle and a lot of beer!
At Nature Travels, we specialise solely in environmentally responsible outdoor adventure holidays and Finland makes a perfect addition as a year-round destination for exciting travel. Explore Finland in Summer with our new Cycling and Canoeing in Eastern Finland and Hiking in the Finnish-Russian Borderland. Experience a Finnish winter with our Cross Country Skiing in Eastern Finland, Private Dogsled Tours for Two in the Taiga Forest and Snowshoeing in the Hossa Nature Park.