Finland is a Nordic country situated in Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden on the west, Norway on the north and Russia on the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland. The total area of Finland is 130,596 square miles. The capital as well largest city of Finland is Helsinki. The country is a democratic republic with an elected president, he is commander and leader of the armed forces, has an important role in foreign affairs and can have considerable influence on legislative issues. The seated female President at the moment is President Tarja Halonen.
Alcoholic drinks form an important part of the Finnish culture. When travelling through Finland it is imperative to try national favorites like: the national vodka Finlandia vodka, Koskenkorva, the liquorice flavored Salmiakki Koskenkorva and drinks including cloudberry liqueur. Santa Claus is commonly known to live on Korvatunturi in Finland. In the town of Rovaniemi there is the Santa Claus Village for tourists to visit.
The summer is marked by long days in Finland, especially in the far north where the sun does not set at all. There are several large lakes, including lakes Saimaa, Inari, and Päijänne. Finland is known to have excellent water quality, and green deep woods and forests around the sea, rivers, and the waterways. In Finland, tourists can sit on the shore of a lake, watching reindeer or moose and enjoying silence. They can go fishing or canoeing. Walking is quite a popular activity in the summer. The highest mountain is Halti near Enontekiö. It rises 4355,84 feet above sea level. In wintertime Finland provides excellent opportunities for cross-country skiing and some for alpine skiing too. Many of the popular ski resorts are situated north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland, but Kuusamo in the northeastern part of Oulu Province is also well known.
Ice hockey is a popular sport in winter, and it is possible to go ice yachting, or ice skating. Most lakes are also frozen, so ice fishing is quite popular. In the northern town of Kemi there is a large snow castle with an Ice hotel built every winter. Tourists in the north of the country in winter often enjoy trips in reindeer sleighs with Sami drivers, or in dog sleighs. To see the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights is quite an experience.
During the summertime thousands of tourists approach Helsinki by cruising boats traveling across the Baltic Sea. Helsinki is known as a clean, modern and safe meeting point between the east and west. Helsinki has a reputation as the coolest party city in the Nordic countries. Helsinki is also the home of the Linnanmäki amusement park, which features five roller coasters and many other rides, including the world’s first Intamin ZacSpin rollercoaster.
Helsinki is a safe city for tourists and a safe place in which to live. In terms of personal safety, Helsinki has been named 2nd safest city in the world. For stays up till 90 days, nationals from the EU and United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the U.S. do not need a visa. Visitors from other countries can request a visa at the Finland Embassy or Consulate.