Nature and fresh air are well and truly on the agenda when travelling to Finland. Lakes, sea, forests, and tundra offer a beautiful and varied landscape just begging to be discovered. Covered in a perfect blanket of snow or endlessly lit by the midnight sun, the limitless scenery offers plenty of opportunities to get active and enjoy some of the most serene terrain on Earth. This is the country of snow sleighs, skis, and snow bikes, taking you on high speed journeys through magical forests, past herds of moose and around tree-lined lakes. Jammed between Sweden and Russia, Finland also benefits from a long coast on the Baltic Sea, a vibrant capital in the South and the wilds of Lapland to the North. Whether you're there to enjoy the lazy summer days of festivals and beer terraces or to catch the famous aurora borealis in the depths of the bear-infested forests of the East, Finland will surprise you time and again with its beauty.
For a summer visit, July is the hottest and sunniest month, whilst the winter ski season starts in October and ends mid-May. Our favourite time to visit starts in February at the end of kaamos, during which the country only gets three to four hours of sunlight per day, from November to the beginning of January.
For hunting two licenses are required. The hunting card that gives access to regional licenses, is granted on the presentation of a valid national hunting license and international hunting insurance. The gun import license is delivered by the police at your arrival location (port, airport, border) after identification of the number, calibre and gun manufacturer, as well as a certificate indicating a gun ownership. Bring your own ammunition because to buy some in Finland, you have to show a license delivered by the local police.
If you wish to bring your pet with you (to go hunting for example), do not forget to vaccinate it against rabies 30 days before the departure, and less than twelve months ahead. Careful, the certificate has to be written in English, German, Swedish or Finnish.
+The varied scenery.
+Finland is the country of nature in all its forms : forests, lakes, sea, rivers, mountains, islands.
+Cultural activities abound, especially during the summer months
-The cost of living, though there are more affordable options such as camp sites or chalets.
-The lack of light limits activities during the winter months, as well as the intense cold, especially in the North.
Sauna: with about 1.6 million saunas, you could say that this relaxation method is a tradition in Finland. In most hotels, room rates include the sauna and the use of the swimming pool. From the traditional saunas next to the water or more modern facilities, the principle is the same: you wash yourself, then go and relax in a humid room, in a heat of 60 to 80°C. After a complete perspiration, the skin's pores are closed by a cold shower or a dip in the lake or swimming pool! Christmas: Christmas for Finnish people lasts much longer than two days. Celebrations start as early as October, with the preparation of Christmas decorations and fairs. These evenings are called Pikkujoulu, or 'small Christmas'. On Christmas Eve, Finnish people light up graves of relatives with candles. The view of snow covered and lit cemeteries is really magical. In Lapland, near Rovaniemi, you can visit Santa Claus' house (and entertain yourself at Santapark), as well as Mother Claus' house in the east of Ukko Kekkonen park. Reindeer races: they take place from January to March. Raising farms, in the north, also offer you the opportunity to learn how to drive sleds and to learn more about reindeer-raising.
Finnish cuisine is inspired by French, Swedish and Russian food. You must taste fish from this fishing country: marinated or grilled herring, pike, vendace, arctic char, devilfish and raw or sea salted-raw smoked salmon. The crayfish season starts in late July. In the Kuopio region, the speciality is Kalakukko, a rye bread filled with small fish and bacon. In the east, you find Karelian baskets with a thin rye dough filled with rice or mashed potatoes. In Finnish Lapland, you will be able to taste meat and fish. Reindeer is obviously the main dish. The country produces 2.5 million tons every year and exports 3% of it. Some of the farms can be visited. The taste is similar to beef. All or almost all of the reindeer can be eaten, even the tongue (it has a very delicate taste); the liver and the heart are smoked. It can be cooked in soup or in a stuffed stew, and is usually served with mashed potatoes in a sauce or with forest mushrooms, with white bread or stuffed with potatoes. The animal can live up to fifteen years, but breeders think that the best meat (because it is the most tender) has to be eaten around the age of three or four. Additionally, perches, trouts, and roaches are found in Finnish lakes. Fish (and their eggs) are eaten smoked or marinated, definitely worth a try! Local producers organise food events in order to introduce their specialities to travellers. For more information on this topic and the 'food and travel' project, contact the Tourist Office of Finland, see 'Usefull Addresses' in the 'All Information' section. For breakfast, you can also taste fir tree-based lemonade (made with the tree's buds), or Arctic berry jam, slightly more sour than our berry jam.
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Jewellery, woolen hand-woven carpets, glassworks, porcelain, ceramics, wooden items, leather clothes and fur. Shops are open during the week, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Supermarkets are open until 9:00 pm during the week.