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Looking out of the coach across Finland is like looking at a nation untouched by human hands. You’ll see miles of green open space, those famous glistening lakes and endless, untainted coastlines. Glimpse herds of reindeer in Lapland, Helsinki’s countless islands, incredible ice castles and the dreamlike Northern Lights, all in Finland. Beyond the obvious natural splendour of Finland, its towns and cities are modern, lively and full of heritage for you to enjoy too.
Since the Stone Age, Finland has been inhabited and some of the pottery from this fascinating time can be seen at museums in the larger cities. Finland was part of Sweden in the late 14th century until Russians invaded in the 16th century and then Finland gained independence in 1917, so today much Finnish culture is influenced by these countries.
Even though Finland is very far north, the summers are still warm and are best spent with a wander along one of Finland’s many lakes, which are lined with wooden cottages and breezy forest. It’s the Finish towns that will really win your heart though. Make your way through buzzing streets peppered with friendly cafes, quaint wooden churches and unique museums or take advantage of the myriad of Finish folk, opera and rock music on offer at every corner come evening.
Finland’s capital Helsinki, is the second-most northern capital in the world and is surrounded by picturesque inlets and islands. Start your adventure in Helsinki’s neoclassical Senate Square, which boasts the magnificent Helsinki Cathedral, plenty of Art Nouveau architecture, the bronze statue of Alexander II, Finlandia Hall, Government Palace and the National Library of Finland.
East meets west in a harmonious blend in Helsinki, evident in the domed Russian church, Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral and Temppeliaukio Church.
After exploring Helsinki’s main attractions, stroll around City Winter Garden, watch the ferries glide into the harbour or browse the stalls in Market Square, before relaxing in one of the outdoor cafes to sample some delicious Finnish snacks such as the dreamy cloudberry pie!
Wilderness lovers will be glad to know they’ll never find themselves too far from the great outdoors in Helsinki and the city even offers the chance to escape through the Sea Life park and Helsinki Zoo, not to mention Linnanmäki Amusement Park for the more adventurous souls.
Home to such magical sights as the Northern Lights and legendary Lapland, as well as one of the most charming capital cities Europe has to offer, Finland will make a sparkling impression on your memory forever.
Trafalgar - see the world from the inside
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