- Travel and Places
Discover Finland's Unusual Charms
A short guide to Finnish tourist attractions - Part 1
Most people will know Finland as either a skiing destination or the home of Santa Claus, and while there are excellent skiing resorts in Finland, and quite a few excellent Santa themed holiday spots, there is so much more to discover. Over the course of a half dozen or so lens I hope to introduce fellow Squids to some of the lesser known treats that Finland has to offer. HyvÃ¤ Suomi!
Revonulet: The Northern Lights in Finland
The last Solar Maximum was in 2000 and due to "Sunspot 981", which has been growing since its solar minimum in January 2008, NASA scientists have predicted that Solar Cycle 24's in 2012-2013 will be the greatest since 1958. This means that the coming winter in Finland will be one of the best ever for seeing the Northern Lights!
What are the 'revontulet'?
In Finland, people refer to the Aurora Borealis as "Revontulet". This means 'foxes fire' literally, and comes from an ancient SÃ¡mi (the Lapp natives of northern Finland) legend which states that the auroras are caused by a fox rushing over the snowy fells, or hills, with the foxes tail sending up trails of sparks and fire into the night skies as it brushes the snowdrifts. The Finns of Karelia, in eastern Finland, have a different legend: according to them the auroras are the result of Thor throwing bolts of lightning at the hero VÃ¤inÃ¤mÃ¶inen, who is the main character in the Finnish national epic "The Kalevala".
Discover the Northern Lights in Finland
Here are some of the best links to content about the Northern Lights in Finland. If you can think of any more, post them in the comments section!
- Sparked by the Fox
Visit Finland is the official tourism site, and they provide some of the best videos - this is one.
- Discovering Finland at Pinterest
Discovering Finland is another excellent site which has a number of social media accounts to compliment their main website. This is a collection of photos and videos they put together on Pinterest.
- Discovering Finland on facebook
Discovering Finland's facebook page has lots of photo galleries, this is the one for the Aurora Borealis.
- Northern Lights in Finland
A nice blog article on the Aurora Borealis in Finland.
- Igloo Village in Kakslauttanen
The glass igloos of Kakslauttanen provide visitors with a unique opportunity to enjoy the northern lights in the crystal clear Arctic sky in a comfortable room.
Snow Hotels & Igloo Villages in Finland
Sleeping under ice!
There are many available choices of accommodation in Finland, from cozy log cabins by the ski resorts, summer cottages by the lakes, to some of Europe's finest spa hotels in the south. Perhaps the most exotic of all are the many places where visitors can spend a night in a room fashioned from snow and ice. Indeed, this radical option has proven to be one of the winter’s most popular, as can be seen by the increase in the number of beds available, which has been growing steadily since the very first Snow Hotel opened. These Snow Hotels are located in Finnish Lapland, where the external temperatures can drop below -30Âº Celsius. However cold it is outside, visitors can be assured that their beds are snug and warm, soft reindeer skins (in some of the accommodations) under thick and comfy sleeping bags see to that, and the room temperatures are kept between 0ÂºC and -5ÂºC, thanks to the insulating properties of snow. Visitors can be assured of a hot berry drink at bedtime, and in the morning a visit to the sauna, in some cases even a Snow Sauna!
Snow Hotels in Finland - Where to find the best snow accommodations in Finland
- Discovering Finland's Snow Hotels & Igloos
This blog provides visitors with an in-depth introduction to all of the places in Finland where they can spend a night under ice!
- Snow Hotel in LumiLinna
In the town of Kemi, close by the Swedish border in Finnish Lapland, every year they build LumiLinna, the SnowCastle. Within the grounds visitors can choose to stay in the SnowHotel.
- Arctic SnowHotel outside Rovaniemi
The Arctic SnowHotel lies just 25km north of Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland.
- SnowVillage Finland
Almost 200km above the Arctic Circle lies the picturesque SnowVillage Finland in Lainio, which is a little under 30km from KittilÃ¤, and near to the excellent ski resorts of Levi and YllÃ¤s.
- Harriniva Holiday Centre & Hotel Jeris
At both the Harriniva Holiday Centre and Hotel Jeris there are Igloo Hotels (in addition to the more regular hotels and log cabins), where you can spend the night.
- Hotel Kakslauttanen
Despite being 250km north of the Arctic Circle, Hotel Kakslauttanen is easily accessible as it is just 35km south of Ivalo airport. The hotel has become famous for its ‘Igloo Village‘, with 8 snow igloos that sleep from 1 to 5 people.
- Discovering Finland's Snow Hotels & Igloos
Over 30 photos of the Snow Hotels in Igloos in Finland.
- Snow Hotels & Igloos on facebook
Another collection, this time with almost 50 photos of Finland's Snow Hotels and Igloos.
The Fortress of Suomenlinna - the gem in Helsinki's Harbour
Built on six islands, the island Fortress of Suomenlinna has been recognised by UNESCO as an outstanding example of military architecture of its time, and added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1991. Today, the islands are one of Helsinki's most popular tourist spots, and are particularly beloved of the city's locals who throng there in summer to enjoy picnics, swim and use the sandy beaches. As a World Heritage Site, the islands form a museum of considerable importance; but it is much more than that - it is a living and thriving community, and home to around 850 residents.
In the mid '80s the Nordic Arts Centre was established there, and since then it has garnered a reputation as an avant-garde cultural centre in Helsinki. As part of an ongoing development, several of the old military buildings have been converted into artists studios, which are let out by the islands' administration at reasonable rates. During the summer the island hosts an art school for children, and a summer theatre with open-air performances that play to packed houses. There is also the very popular Viapori Jazz Festivals, held in both summer and winter. In short, Suomenlinna is a recreational haven – there are sandy beaches, parks, and numerous picnic sites: in 2009 alone some 713,000 people visited!
Discover Finland's Island Fortress of Suomenlinna
A collection of links to enable visitors to explore UNESCO World Heritage Site Suomenlinna
- Visit Finland's Suomenlinna Video
The official Finnish tourist site has created a video that gets around Suomenlinna in less than 2 minutes!
- The Official Suomenlinna Website
Suomenlinna has its own website, also in English, Russian and German. Learn the history of the island fortress!
- Discovering Finland's Suomenlinna Blog Article
Discovering Finland introduces you to all the attractions on Helsinki's island fortress.
- Suomenlinna on wikipedia
Suomenlinna on wikipedia.
- Suomenlinna photography on Pinterest
A collection of photographs from around the web gathered on Pinterest.
- Suomenlinna photographs on facebook
A collection of photographs on Discovering Finland's facebook page.