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Finland attracted over 4 million tourists in 2005, with most coming from Sweden. The value added by tourism is about 2.4% of the Finnish GDP, and provides around 60,000 jobs. The Finnish tourism brand is stated by the Finland Promotion Board. The brand has four main dimensions beginning with letter C: Cool, Contrasts, Credible, Creative.

Contents

The Nature and the Finnish Summer

Päijänne, one of the largest lakes in Finland.

The summer is marked by long days in Finland, especially in the far north where the sun does not set at all. Tourists can go fishing and canoeing. There are several large lakes, including lakes Saimaa, Inari, and Päijänne. Walking is quite a popular activity in the summer. There are no high mountains in Finland, so climbing is somewhat limited. The highest mountain is Halti near Enontekiö. It rises 1328 metres above sea level.

Attractions

Finland is famous for its many lakes, nearly 200,000 of them, not including the small ones. Finland is also known to have excellent water quality, and green deep woods and forests around the sea, rivers, and the waterways. In Finland, tourists can sit on the shore of a lake, fishing, watching reindeer or moose and enjoying silence.

Alcoholic drinks form an important part of the Finnish culture. When travelling through Finland it is imperative to try national favorites like: the national vodka Finlandia vodka, Koskenkorva, the liquorice flavored Salmiakki Koskenkorva and drinks including cloudberry liqueur. In wintertime Finland provides excellent opportunities for cross-country skiing and some for alpine skiing too. Many of the popular ski resorts are situated north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland, but there are exceptions like Kuusamo in the northeastern part of Oulu Province.

Santa Claus is commonly known to live on Korvatunturi in Finland. In the town of Rovaniemi there is the Santa Claus Village for tourists to visit.

Northern Finland and Winter Sports

In the winter there is a large snowcastle with an Ice hotel built every year in the northern town of Kemi. Rovaniemi is a place from which to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights. Tourists in the north of the country in winter often enjoy trips in reindeer sleighs with Sami drivers, or in dog sleighs.

It is also possible to ski, with downhill resorts at Saariselkä and Levi, and many cross country ski tracks throughout the northern part of the country. Ice hockey is a popular sport in winter, and it is possible to go ice yachting, or ice skating on the ice. Most lakes are also frozen, so ice fishing (pilkkiminen) is quite popular.

The Cities

Helsinki, Finland's capital and largest city, receives many visitors year-round. During the summertime thousands of tourists approach Helsinki by cruising boats travelling across the Baltic Sea. Helsinki is known as a clean, modern and safe meeting point between the east and west. Helsinki has a reputation as the coolest party city in the Nordic countries.

Other popular tourist destinations within Finland include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Kuopio and Porvoo.

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Helsinki

See also: List of sites in Helsinki
Hietaniemi beach, commonly called Hietsu.
The Temppeliaukio church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city; half a million people visit it annually.

Helsinki is relatively small and intimate but lively and bustling. The nearby islands are its summer delights.

Because Helsinki is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea and has many kilometres of coastline, most of its central districts are near the seaside. Helsinki is a very maritime city and is popularly called the daughter of the Baltic.

Helsinki's coastal position makes it ideal to experience in the summertime from one of the many sightseeing ferries leaving from the port of Helsinki. Many of Helsinki's main attractions are also related to the sea, including the Suomenlinna naval fortress (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and the Seurasaari Island with its parks and open-air museum. Locals often spend sunny days at the Hietaniemi beach (often simply called Hietsu), Helsinki's main beach in the district of Töölö.

In the winter-time Helsinki's northern position makes it dark for most of the day, thus making it a cosy town with much interesting lighting, such as the classic Aleksanterinkatu's Christmas street (Joulukatu). During the coldest months of the winter it is very common for Helsinkians to go for walks on the frozen sea, although much caution must be taken. There are also many places for ice swimming along the coast, some with saunas.

Air travel to Helsinki is via the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, situated in the neighbouring town of Vantaa, a town part of Greater Helsinki. Helsinki also has popular cruiseferry links with Stockholm, Sweden and hydrofoil and catamaran links to Tallinn, Estonia. Silja, Viking and Tallink are the biggest ferry operators.

Helsinki is also the home of the Linnanmäki amusement park, which features five rollercoasters and many other rides, including the world's first Intamin ZacSpin rollercoaster.

Helsinki is a safe city for tourists and a safe place in which to live. In terms of personal safety, Helsinki has been named 2nd safest city in the world.[1]

Helsinki has also efficient tourist information system maintained by the City of Helsinki Tourism & Convention Bureau located in the city centre next to Esplande park.

Transportation

See also: Transportation in Finland

The Finnish rail system is called VR. It offers InterCity and express trains throughout the country, and the faster Pendolino trains connecting the major cities. There are very large discounts (usually 50%) available for children (7-16 yr), students, senior citizens, and conscripts. There are international trains to St. Petersburg (Finnish and Russian day-time trains) and Moscow (Russian over-night train) in Russia. Connections to Sweden are by bus due to rail gauge differences. It's possible to take the Silja and Viking Line ferries from Helsinki to Mariehamn in the Åland archipelago, Stockholm (Sweden), Rostock and Travemünde in Germany, and to Tallinn, (Estonia).

There are about 25 airports in Finland with scheduled passenger services. Finnair, Blue1 and Finncomm Airlines provide air services both domestically and internationally. Helsinki-Vantaa airport is Finland's global gateway with scheduled non-stop flights to such places as Bangkok, Beijing, Guangzhou, Nagoya, New Delhi, New York, Osaka, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Helsinki has an optimal location for great circle airline traffic routes between Western Europe and the Far East. Hence, many foreign tourists visit Helsinki on a stop-over while flying from Asia to Europe or vice versa. The Helsinki-Vantaa Airport has been ranked as one of the best airports in the world.

See also

References

External links


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