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Finland is the official home of Santa Claus but there’s much more to do than visit Lapland at Christmas time – although the magical experience of sledding through the snow is not easily forgotten. Book a hotel in Finland for its marvellous lakes, forests that teem with wildlife and glorious architecture, both ancient and modern. Spotting the Aurora Borealis is possible even from Helsinki, if you’re not distracted by the plentiful museums, parks and monuments. With great restaurants and bars, night time is always lively, while your days can be spent admiring the Finn’s floral skills in summer or frolicking in the snow in winter.
Helsinki — Finland’s capital city is a monument to Finnish design and ingenuity, with fantastic Baroque architecture, Art Nouveau restaurants and bold modern buildings providing enough visual stimulation to keep you on your toes. The scribbled coastline of Helsinki’s Baltic shores provides all manner of tiny inlets and islands to explore and the best cuisine in the country. There’s so much to do when you book a hotel in Helsinki.
Porvoo – A little way east of Helsinki is Porvoo, one of Finland’s six mediaeval towns, and its wooden riverside houses are great to see from land or water. With cobbled streets, immaculate public gardens and perfectly preserved churches, you won’t regret booking a hotel in Porvoo; the place to discover Finland’s past.
Lapland — Visit Father Christmas in Lapland and discover the Northern Lights at the same time – with plenty of reindeer, snow and sleigh bells, there’s everything your inner child could wish for. If you’re more Scrooge than Santa, then Lapland is also a great place for skiing, snowboarding than other winter pursuits.
Lakeland— The centre of Finland is where you’ll find the thousands of lakes scattered around the country. The tree-lined shores, clean waters and pretty fishing boats are just some of the attractions but you’ll also find castles, cosy cottages and plenty of winter sports. Hämeenlinna, Savonlinna and Kuopio are the big towns where you’ll find excellent restaurants and traditional flower markets.
Helsinki has some glorious sights to discover. The sea fortress of Suomenlinna sprawls all over an island off the city’s coastline, while at the centre of town you can awaken your spirit at Helsinki Cathedral or the spaceship-esque Kamppi Chapel of Silence. Stroll around Sibelius Park and see its amazing steel organ pipe monument to the Finnish composer. Beyond the capital you’ll find 15th century castles, wooden windmills, the cobbled streets of Porvoo, snow in Lapland and the stark Lutheran majesty of Turku Cathedral.
The forests of Finland are a great place to find some peace and tranquillity, and a trek in Sipoonkorpi National Park will give you the chance to see Finland’s ancient pine, fir and birch woodlands and maybe even some elk, fox or lynx. The Helsinki archipelago is best explored by boat and you’ll find lots of options for tours. Head up to Lakeland, experience a proper Finnish sauna, walk around Porvoo and have a coffee watching the boats in the marina. With the long days of summer never quite ending in the midnight sun, you can stay out til late and enjoy one of the many festivals that celebrate Finland and Finnish culture.