Finland has four distinct seasons, the midnight sun, long winter nights and a distinctive culture in the different regions of the country. Finnish people are warm and genuine and treat each other as equals. Democracy and equality are considered very important value for them.
Finland is a bilingual country: the main language is Finnish, and Swedish is spoken by some people. All population groups and regions of the country has equal educational opportunities regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, religion etc.
Finland is one of the safest and stable societies in the world. It is also one of the leading information societies in the world. Finland is in European Union and has strong ties with the other Scandinavian countries.
Nature is everywhere in Finland. Approximately 70 percent of the land is covered by forest, there are about 188 000 lakes, 1 100 km of coastline and around 81 000 islands off the coast. The archipelago that lies between mainland Finland and Sweden is the largest in Europe.
Weather, Climate and Geography
During the winter months, temperatures can drop as low as –35 degrees Celsius. Luckily, this is not the norm: regular winter temperatures fall somewhere between –5 and –15.
In the summer, it gets as hot as 30 degrees Celsius, sometimes even more. Normal summer temperature is a bit over 20 degrees. In Finland, it is common to have up to a 70-degree difference in temperature between January and July.
During January and February, there is almost always snow in northern and eastern Finland. Even if there’s little snow in Helsinki, there’s often up to a meter or more on the skiing slopes of Lapland. The snow season in northern Finland begins in November and lasts at least until April-May. In the inland regions of southern and central Finland, the first snow falls at the beginning of December and melts during March.
Geographically, Helsinki is situated on the southern peninsula by the Gulf of Finland. Facing Tallinn (Estonia) across the bay, a number of islands, which are part of Helsinki, can be reached via boats and ferries. North of Helsinki leads to other cities in Finland and connects to the borders of Sweden and Russia.
If you are planning a winter visit, get a warm, padded winter jacket. Thermal underwear, a warm hat, thick socks and gloves help a lot when temperatures drop below freezing.
If you have trouble finding winter gear where you come from, don’t worry – everything can be purchased in Finland. Warm clothing is included in guided safaris and other winter excursions.
In the autumn and spring, waterproof footwear comes in handy if you intend exploring the outdoors. In the summer, casual wear is pretty much the same as in other parts of northern and central Europe – light trousers, shorts, tee-shirts and so on.
Passport and Visas
There are no visa requirements for US, UK, EU, Australian and Canadian citizens. All visitors must have a valid passport.