Located west of Helsinki, Espoo is the second most populated city of Finland with 201,000 inhabitants. Contrary to most Finnish cities, it was not built around an old city centre, but is divided into five living complexes that are the size of an average Finnish town: Tapiola, Matinkylä, Leppävaara, Espoonlahti and the centre of Espoo. This comfortably sized city offers a setting that cleverly accommodating for both nature and urbanism. Many monuments are gathered in this same place, like the medieval church of Espoo's centre (15th century), Tapiola's garden-city, Otaniemi Technical School (built by Alvar Aalto), the Gallen-Kallela Tarvaspää museum, the studio of the famous Finnish painter from the beginning of the century or the Glims museum- a 19th century outdoor museum. Right next to Helsinki (and its airport), Vantaa is a new city, built around a beautiful old site. You should make an effort to see the Saint-Laurent medieval church, the "Heureka" scientific centre and the aviation museum next to the airport.
There are numerous activities you can choose from and definitely no lack of snow: snowshoeing, snowmobiling, fishing, reindeer and dog sledding, skiing, and especially cross-country skiing.
Sleep in an igloo.
Take a sauna after a long day of being out in the cold and, for those who are brave, swimming in the frigid waters of a lake or throwing themselves in the snow. This transition from hot to cold is very good for the skin.
Excursions to the national parks in winter and summer (mountain biking, hiking, etc.).
In summer, go canoeing or fishing<:strong> in one of the many lakes in the region.
Look for amethysts in the mine of Lampivaara.
The Northern Lights, we really hope.
A visit to a Huskies park and a reindeer farm.
The Santa Claus Village. Even though it's a particularly commercial place and you may not believe in Santa, it will still be a rather unique experience. The village is so beautifully decorated and illuminated with thousands of lights that it is guaranteed to make you feel the magic of Christmas. You can even visit the post office and send mail that will be stamped ?Santa Claus Village'.
TheArktikum Museum of Rovaniemi will give you an insight into the folk traditions of the Arctic Circle.
The Samiland Museum of Levi provides a complete panel of the history, culture and heritage of the Sami, the last indigenous people of Europe.
Bundle up in winter because the temperatures drop to -50 degrees.
Complaining that there isn't much to do here because the residents' happiness comes from living in a calm environment admiring the nature.
Reindeer meat is the most famous meat in this region. Served as steak, a filet or mincemeat, it is enjoyed with a red berry coulis and mash. When well cooked, the meat is very tender and delicious.
Salmon is proposed at every meal and presented in every possible form (smoked, wrapped in foil, pickled, raw, etc.).
The berries that are served with the dishes and desserts are picked in the forests. In some restaurants you can even taste bear! Bear hunting is legal here but is limited to a certain number of animals per year.
Although it's pretty much a given, try the Finnish vodka, even if it isn't exactly cheap, it will warm you up.
Lapp artisanry revolves mainly around items made out of reindeer elements. Thus, you can buy finely crafted objects like knives with handles made of reindeer antler and letter openers made of reindeer bones. You will also find intricately carved silver jewellery, chapkas made with fur and reindeer hides. These items are generally fairly expensive but that's because they are of a very high quality and often handmade.
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