Escape for the Weekend

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Finland

What to see in Finland? the Northern Lights; Santa Claus’ residence; Finlandia Hall; the Lumi Linna Snow Hotel; wrecks the St Michael, the Vrouw Maria, the Plus and the Kronprins Gustav Adolf.

Finland is a country in Northern Europe bordered by Sweden, Norway and Russia. The capital of the country is Helsinki. The official languages are Finnish and Swedish.

The national currency is the Euro.

On the territory of Finland there are almost 188 000 lakes and about 179 000 islands. Much of Finland’s landscape was formed by glaciers of the Ice Age, which made it mostly flat with few hills and fewer mountains. The land is covered with fens and taiga forests, inhabited by brown bears, gray wolves, wolverines and elks. There are 37 national parks in Finland, which help to keep its nature pristine.

The temperate climate of Finland is rather warm for its latitude due to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the Baltic Sea and numerous lakes.

What do you know about Finland? First of all, this country is famous for its unique lakes and rivers, carefully protected by the state. Rafting, all kinds of hiking, fishing and boating will impress any traveler who comes to this land. Main attractions and places of interest in Finland are concentrated in its capital - Helsinki, located on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia.

In Finland you can see the Northern Lights in winter and midnight sun in summer; visit Santa Claus’ residence in Lapland and go skiing in Levi, one of the largest Finland’s winter sport resorts; visit Finlandia Hall and the underground Rock Church in Helsinki; and spend a night at the Lumi Linna Snow Hotel, built entirely from snow.

Nature enthusiasts will be undoubtedly glad to visit the winter Imatra, where you can take up winter fishing: the picturesque Vuoksi River never freezes, even in cold weather.

Another natural attraction of Finland is Lemmenjoki National Park, one of the biggest unpopulated areas in Europe, which shows all the pristine beauty of Finnish lakes, forests and wildlife. It is home to golden eagles, bears and moose.

Wild Northern animals can also be seen in the northernmost zoo Ranua. Here you will meet more than 60 species of wild animals that live only in the Arctic: wolves, brown and polar bears, elk, lynx, deer, and even wolverine.

Those who like dogs must visit the husky farm, located 20 km from Rovaniemi. here you will see many species of wolf-like dogs, watch their life, the process of training and, of course, take a ride in a husky sled.

In Kalevala village, an open-air ethnographic museum near the town of Kuhmo, you can learn much interesting about the culture of ancient Finland and its inhabitants.

Airports

Helsinki Airport (HEL)

Oulu Airport (OUL)

Diving in Finland

In the Gulf of Finland, and its larger neighbor, the Gulf of Bothnia, there are a lot of wrecks, even wooden ones, well preserved due to the temperature and low salinity of water. But keep in mind that all of the shipwrecks older than 100 years are legally protected, which means divers are not allowed to touch anything.

The most interesting wrecks:

The St Michael, a Russian merchant ship, about 25 m long, well preserved, partially excavated;

The Vrouw Maria, a Dutch merchant ship sunk in 1999 and lying at a depth of 41-43 meters.

The Kronprins Gustav Adolf, a Swedish man-o-war, sunk off Helsinki in 1788 and turned into an underwater museum for scuba divers, with info plates underwater. She is located southwest from the lighthouse island of Harmaja at a depth of 18-20 meters;

The Hindenburg, a German icebreaker built in 1915 and sunk in 1918 after hitting a mine off Åland. She lies at a depth of 37-47 meters;

The Nederland, a Dutch river barge, sunk in 1917. The wreck is 35 meters long and 8 meters in width and rests at a depth of 20-24 meters near Marhällan.

The Plus, a 70-meter long square-rigger, built in 1885. She lies just 100 meters from shore, at a depth of 17-32 meters.

The S/S Notung, a 75-meter steamship, built in the UK in 1882 and sunk in 1942. She is located at a depth of 40-50.

The water visibility varies from 4 to 15 meters. The average temperature of water is about 4 degrees Celsius in winter and 18 degrees in summer.

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