2019 is the year to visit Finland. Not only did media company Insider recently name the country as the best country to travel to, but the Nordic nation has also been proven to be the happiest nation on earth.
Take a trip to Finland to find out firsthand why the country is the number one destination for 2019, and why it is the happiest. Perhaps it’s the friendly, welcoming Finns? Or maybe it’s the unique cuisine, the gourmet food, Finnish drinks or sauna culture?
In Finland, you can stay in Ice Hotels, watch the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle, cross the wilderness on reindeer sleighs, and even visit Santa in Lapland. To show you why Finland should be top of your bucket list, the experts at Baltic Travel Company have their top reasons on why it’s the best destination to visit in 2019.
The Happiest Nation in the World
UN reports consistently rank the Nordic nations as some of the happiest nations on the planet, with the most freedom and opportunity and the highest quality of life in the world. In 2019, Finland took the crown, being declared the Happiest Nation in the World in the annual World Happiness Report.
Nothing will make a person happier than quality food, and Finland is chock full of great cuisine and intriguing dishes to try. There are a lot of different types of food to indulge in, but no visit to Finland will be complete without sampling herring, reindeer and other local specialties.
Try the lingonberry Jam, dig into some grilled Finnish sausages, and be prepared to eat a lot of Rye Bread. You can wash it all down with some Finlandia Vodka or some strong Akvavit.
The Northern Lights
One of the best reasons to visit Finland is for the chance to see the incredible spectacle of the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the Northern Lights. Although you can never be truly guaranteed to see this natural light show anywhere you go in the world, in Finland if you are in the right place at the right time of year then you can certainly maximise your chances of experiencing the Northern Lights.
Head to the far north, to remote Lapland or further during the dark of winter to see the Aurora Borealis in all their glory.
Ice Hotels and Igloos
Finland is home to some of the most unique accommodation in the world, and you’ll find unbeatable hotels that will give your visit an extra, impressive factor.
During winter, you can find ice hotels in the north, while there are even glass-ceilinged igloos that allow you to lay back in comfort and watch the Northern Lights unfold in the dark skies above you.
Snow and Ice
Finland can get very, very cold in winter, but that doesn’t bring the Finns down. Rather it has the opposite effect, and you’ll find that the darker months of the year can, in fact, be the best time to travel to Finland.
There is a lot of snow and ice in winter, but Finns embrace their unique lifestyle by taking to the ski slopes, riding reindeer sleighs across the vast, beautiful, snow-covered landscapes or zipping around on snowmobiles. Winter then, can be the best time to really experience Finnish life and culture.
Lapland is the home of Santa Claus. If you head to the city of Rovaniemi on the edge of the Arctic Circle then you can call in at the iconic Santa Claus Village, where Christmas never ends.
This is one of Finland’s major tourist attractions and, surprisingly, it’s not just open during the festive period, but all year round. You can meet Santa Claus in person, buy all manner of Christmas gifts (even under the midnight sun in summer) and ride around on sleighs, pulled by Santa’s reindeer.
Finns can’t get enough of a good sauna, and perhaps it’s regular sessions in the sauna that ensures Finland is the happiest country in the world. Saunas are good for all occasions, including summer, but in particular, it’s in winter that the heat really comes into its own.
Sauna culture is strong in Finland, and you’ll find most households have their own personal saunas, with the last sauna count running well into the millions. Sit back in the steam and enjoy this very Finnish experience.
The Great Finnish Outdoors
One of the best reasons that Finland is the number one destination for 2019, is the fact that there are endless national parks and vast outdoor landscapes to explore.
It’s a beautiful, wild country, and you can find huge forests, snow-capped mountains, crashing waterfalls and endless hiking opportunities.
The Indigenous Sami
The Sami are an indigenous group of people who live in the far north of Finland, and their culture and history are particularly unique and very distinct from your average Finn. The Sami are the original inhabitants of Lapland, and many still live a very traditional, nomadic way of life in the face of modernity, herding reindeer across the tundra and living independently in remote locations.
Visiting Lapland will give you the chance to learn more about the Sami, but you will need to be careful how you approach it, as tourism can sometimes be at odds with their way of life, and mass tourism certainly isn’t welcomed.
Finland is a country of extremes. While winter is cold and dark and the nights are endless, come summer the days never end, and temperatures can be surprisingly hot. One of the most unusual summertime phenomena to experience is the midnight sun when, quite literally, the sun never sets.
From June through July, the sun is still high in the sky when the clock strikes midnight in the north of the country. The best place to visit to see the midnight sun is Rovaniemi, which lies on the edge of the Arctic Circle.