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Finland is a country of many surprises. It is a natural wonderland that is home to more trees than people and is considered to have more islands than any other country. You can drive for miles here and see almost nothing, while the Finnish way of life is strongly connected to nature and the surroundings.
The Finnish culture has been influenced by its neighbours including Sweden and Russia. There are small enclaves that have strong Russian influences and there are also some Swedish-speaking areas. The origins of the language are also unsure as it is actually closer to Hungarian in nature than any neighbouring language.
A good starting point is Helsinki. This is a fairly small capital city and when compared to some others in Europe you may find it much friendlier. There are historic buildings and public squares and there are wharfs filled with market stalls. If you come here at midsummer you will find that the city has a strong party atmosphere.
There are 35 national parks in Finland where you can spend a little time watching out for bears, reindeer and elks. 10% of the country is water and nearly 70% is forest. If you want to spend time hiking and mountain-biking then this is the place for you. Fishing is one of the main industries here and it is also a great activity for your holidays. From organised fishing trips to simply setting up your rod at the edge of one of the lakes, you can enjoy the peace and beauty of the country this way.
The south of the country is much more cosmopolitan than the north. The main cities are located here and it is a real contrast to the north of the country, which is part of Lapland. The traditional Sami people have had their home here for thousands of years. Visit at Christmas and you can go along to one of the Santa theme parks here!
One tradition you should not miss out on is the Finnish sauna. With 1.6 million saunas in the country there are definitely plenty to choose from.
If you decide that car rental is going to be your best way to get around then you need to watch out for elk and reindeer in forested areas. It should be noted that many petrol stations have no staff but there is a self-serve system that takes both cash and credit cards. Car hire outlets exist in many towns and some companies will insist on a minimum age of 25 for the driver, with a driving licence that is at least one year old.