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It’s regarded as the most quirky and mysterious of the Nordic countries, home to Santa’s North Pole Christmas workshop and post office, and the breathtaking aurora borealis. Here you’ll find a good mix of offbeat oddities: the wife-carrying festival or air-guitar world championships, sleigh rides in the snow pulled by reindeer or husky dogs, and naked saunas (followed by frigid lake swims). Finland is known for its unspoiled wilderness – there are more than 1000 lakes and islands. Or travel to the “top of the world” to the Arctic Circle and take in the Northern Lights, one of nature’s finest open-air art exhibitions. You might even be lucky enough to see one of the country’s elusive and rare European brown bears, or learn about the unique culture of the Sami people. In summer, soak up the sunshine on a beer terrace in Helsinki – these pop up as the weather turns warmer and are a great place to rub shoulders with the infamously-quiet Finns. In winter, stop at a cafe for a hot brew – residents are some of the world’s biggest coffee drinkers (necessary to keep awake when you get so little daylight and to fend off the frigid temperatures up north!). Local dishes include smoked fish such as salmon, herring and whitefish, free-range reindeer, as well as foraged mushrooms, root vegetables, and Lapland cloudberries and lingonberries. Best for: Active Travellers; Arts + Culture Lovers; Eco Travellers; LGBTQ-friendly; Nature Lovers; Special Events/Parties

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