Despite my fondness for the Nordic countries, it took quite some time for Finland to show up on my radar. For long I envisioned it to be too flat and too monotonous for my taste. Just lots of similar lakes and forests, with the incidental cliché shot of the snow-clad pine trees. How wrong I was. Not long after venturing out of Helsinki and into the winter landscapes, I fell madly in love with Finland’s wilderness and its amazing opportunities for hiking, exploration and landscape photography.
I now recon Finland to be one of Europe’s greatest destinations for the outdoor enthusiast. The Lakeland in the south contains tens of thousands of lakes, with just as many islands. Finding one for yourself only requires stepping into a canoe, at the Linnansaari or Kolovesi National Park for instance. Further north, the National Parks of Koli and Oulanka provide great hiking opportunities with some of Finland’s most impressive vistas and wildlife. Above the arctic circle you slowly venture into the domain of the wind beaten fells and plains of Lapland. In summer, there are ample opportunities for trekking. In winter, all these already amazing landscapes take on an enchanting beauty once the lakes freeze and a blanket of snow covers the trees and fells. Temperatures can drop to extremes, mostly adding to the exhilarating experience of winter adventures.