Finland is a wonderful European secret that more people are happily discovering each year. A little off the beaten track in culture, language, and geography, Finland delights in contrast and creativity: historic urban centers lead the pack in design and social expression, but there is just as much space and reverence for the sleepy maritime villages and breathtaking northern landscape. Nature is a big part of the Finnish lifestyle, which means any tour should include some trekking and laid-back cottage living, but don’t discount the sights and sounds on offer in the quirky, bustling Finnish cities. Here are eight places that bring all the facets of Finland to life.
Finland’s capital is the gateway to the country, and most visitors begin their journey within its modern streets. Brimming with culture and statuesque architecture, Helsinki is the poster-child of Scandinavian design: galleries like Kiasma and the Finnish Art Gallery celebrate the nation’s creative and cutting-edge insight, while revamped neighborhoods showcase a hip and trendy vibe that sets the city apart from other northern urban centers. But there’s a good deal of history here, too, like the museum island of Seurasaaren Ulkomeseo, a collection of ancient wooden buildings transferred from around the country and set in a wooded landscape for you to explore. Indeed, there is a near perfect mix of old and new in Helsinki, and certainly enough to keep you busy for at least a few days.