Finland is a country to enjoy without the pressure of racing around to visit the must-see sights. It’s a place to experience the subtleties of its culture, food, and nature. Experience the Finnish sauna in the countryside, Nordic skiing in the wintertime, eating along the river in Turku.
It’s also an opportunity to get a peek at one of the most extensive social welfare systems on earth in action. Finland has recently been ranked as one of the world’s most peaceful, competitive and livable countries with one of the best education systems on the planet.
I spent about a week in Finland, visiting Tampere, Turku, and Helsinki and found it refreshingly un-touristy. Helsinki sees the majority of Finland’s tourism, especially as this year’s World Design Capital but I would encourage you to visit some other parts of the country.
It’s great to be in a place without having a stressful sightseeing agenda. In Finland we ran into a lot of friendly people, nearly everyone spoke English well, and transportation is efficient. Finland can be expensive, but with careful planning, you can help keep your costs down.
Here are some interesting facts about Finland:
1) Finland is the least densely populated country in the EU. Its population of 5.35 million live within a land area slightly smaller than Germany.
2) Only 2.2 % of the population is foreign-born.
3) There are 187,880 lakes in Finland—more than any other country in the world. 10% of the country is made up of lakes, and the remainder is covered with 70% forest.
4) Finns are considered to have one of the highest standards of living on earth. Income tax is about 31% and VAT 22%–but a free, comprehensive social welfare is provided.
5) 188,000 people live in Finnish Lapland, but it is home to 210,000 reindeer.
6) Finland has almost one sauna for every 2 people.
7) Finns drink more coffee per capita than any other nation—5.7 cups per day!
Thanks to Visit Finland for their support during our trip to Finland.