There are many sights in Finland which attract over 4 million visitors. The Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine forest, rolling hills and complemented by a labyrinth of lakes and inlets. Much of Finland is pristine as it contains 37 national parks from the southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells and Lapland. It is also an urbanised region with many cultural events and activities. Now let us break it down a little and see the top attractions in Finland.
Old Rauma is a town in Western Finland. Rauma is the third oldest town in Finland, and currently houses approximately 40000 inhabitants. It is an outstanding example of a traditional Nordic city constructed in wood. The twon was built in the 15th century around a Franciscan monastery.It is a historic seafaring town but in the 20th century its main industry became paper milling. Old Rauma recently made UNESCO's World Heritage list on its 550th anniversary. It boasts one of the oldest harbours in Finland as well as an impressive array of ancient vernacular architecture. Fine craftsmen such as lace makers, goldsmiths and furniture makers actively use many of these preserved buildings. Old Rauma also contains one of the narrowest streets in Finland. The 15th century Franciscan Holy Church and the Rauma Museum, located in the town hall, are also well worth a look.
The Island Fortress Of Suomenlinna
The 18th century Fortress of Suomenlinna is a must see on any trip to Finland. It is located on an island at the entrance to Helsinki harbour and has been a UNESCO world heritage treasure since 1991. The unique fortress is a fine example of European military architecture. Besides being a historical site and tourist attraction, Suomenlinna is also a well loved recreation area for Helsinki citizens. With 900 permanent inhabitants, Suomenlinna remains a lively island with an impressive array of museums, galleries, restaurants and cafes to keep you occupied.
St.Olaf’s Castle, Olavinlinna
Balanced on the edge of a tiny green island in a lake, this beautiful 500 year old castle resembles something from a fairytale. Founded in 1475, it is comprised of the main castle as well as three towers and a bailey with a surrounding wall reinforced by towers. It is among Finland’s most well known tourist attractions. There is a very interesting orthodox museum in the castle grounds displaying Russian Orthodox artifacts from Finland and Russia.
The King’s Road
The King's Road is the historical route between the old northern capitals of Oslo, Stockholm, Turku, Helsinki and St.Petersburg. Dating back to the 13th century, the ancient road winds along the Finnish southern coastline past castles, manor houses and frame cottages. Originally, the King’s Road served as an important connection between the powerful kingdoms of Sweden and Russia. Today, it is a remarkable testament to history. Taverns and inns that offered refuge to the weary travelers are still intact. Old stone churches and iron mills also remain.
Turku is the oldest and most fascinating of Finland’s medieval towns. Once the capital of Finland, this 750 year old town has fully restored 13th century castle which is now a Viking museum. The medieval Gothic cathedral is one of the most impressive in Finland. The handicrafts museum is located in the quaint old town where most of original medieval houses still stand. Make sure to visit the thirty workshops which represents different trades and that tell the story of the old professions. If you happen to visit near Christmas, Turku is regarded as Finland’s Christmas city. In the old great square at 12 noon every Christmas Eve, a crowd of several thousand people gather to listen to the proclamation of a Christmas peace declaration which has resounded throughout Finland since the middle ages.
The Åland Islands
The Åland Islands are unique, self governing set of islands off the Finnish coast. They are the smallest region of Finland, though they predominantly speak Swedish. With their own distinct culture, flag and postage stamps, they are dotted with medieval churches and old world fishing villages and are particularly ideal for get-away-from-it-all cycling, camping and cabin holidays.