Independent tours into Finland’s heart and soul
Finland, Europe's Northern pearl, is offering meaningful experiences to a growing group of different travelers year-round. Our Scandinavian crew gathered two different premium tours for you to explore country's top attraction.
Finland, Europe's Northern pearl, is offering meaningful experiences to a growing group of different travellers year-round. Our Finnish staff member, Leila has recommended two premium tours for you to explore the country's top attractions.
To many people from other countries, driving on traffic-free roads is a holiday in itself. Roads in Finland are generally in a good condition and empty, with only the evening sunshine to keep drivers company. Photo: Visit Finland
10 day Journey into Finland’s Cultural Heritage
This self drive, premium tour takes you to some of the most important historical and cultural sites in Finland. Finland’s coast boasts the world’s largest archipelago. For centuries, the shores of the Baltic in Finland have been dotted by small, charming fishing towns and villages that are mostly populated by Swedish speaking Finns.
One of the best ways to discover Finland’s cultural heritage is to visit some of the fortresses, castles and manor houses that date back to the Swedish and Russian ruling times.
On your tour you will explore the main sights of Turku, the European Capital of Culture, with a private guide and by yourself. This medieval city has plenty of unique architecture and venues to explore such as Turku Castle, several museums and the Cathedral. After the tour we recommend enjoying a lunch at one of the cafes by the Aura River. Photo: Elina Sirparanta
If your Finnish friends present you with gifts made of glass, these most likely carry a red round sticker with a white ‘i’ on it. Whatever you do, do not remove this sticker – ever! This sticker marks the brand ‘iittala’, a brand that Finns love and are very proud of! On tour you will visit the Iittala glass village and learn more about this beloved Finnish institution and why that little dot is so important. Photo: Visit Finland.
On day 9 you will explore the Lake Tuusula's artist community by bicycle. There are several historical homes here that belonged to Finland’s leading artists, authors and composers. You will stop at Halosenniemi, a wilderness atelier that belonged to Pekka Halonen and visit is to the birthplace of Lake Tuusula's artist community. Last visit is to the home of Jean Sibelius and his family from 1904. Photos: Visit Finland
9 days Journey into Finland’s Heart and Soul
Taking this tour to the eastern parts of Finland is like taking a trip into the heart of Finnish identity. The Finns love their deep green forests, the rolling hills and the glittering lakes that cover most of this area. The importance of this national landscape was highlighted in Finnish art and mythological history. This tour also explores the Russian influences and Finland’s war history.
Lappeenranta is one of the most beautiful summer towns in Finland, known for friendly Karelian people and the beautiful surrounds of Lake Saimaa. It has a colourful history, lying as it does on the border between two different cultures - Finland and Russia. One of the main attractions in Lappeenranta is its Fortress.
Another important feature of this border city is the Saimaa Canal that opened for traffic in 1856. The canal was built between the towns of Lappeenranta and Viipuri (now Vyborg in Russia). Photo: Visit Finland
The Karelian cooking tradition is known for its abundance and the Karelians for their hospitality. The cuisine is typified by its slow-cooked foods, the bounty of the forest, such as the use of mushrooms and game, as well as different types of pies and pasties for everyday and festive occasions. Photo: Visit Finland
Explore the Kalerian culture in the town of Joensuu, the regional capital of North Karelia founded by Czar Nicholas I of Russia in 1848. Visit in the Carelicum culture centre is an excellent way of getting to know Joensuu and the region of North Karelia. In summer the Market Place in Joensuu is buzzing with people and is the place to buy the world's best Karelian pies, a local traditional pie made of rye with a rice filling (you can learn how to make these later on the tour).
Your drive continues west and to the New Valamo Monastery in Heinavesi.
About 73% of the Finns belong to the Lutheran church. Lutheranism is an official state religion as is the Orthodox Christianity with about 1% of the population belonging to the Finnish Orthodox Church.
Most of the Orthodox Christians were located here in Karelia, in the eastern part of Finland. We have booked you a guided tour during which you will learn about the Orthodox traditions and the life at the monastery and will even be able to taste some of the wines the brotherhood produces on-site. Photo: Visit Finland
Punkaharju and the view of glistening lakes between the grand pine trees is one of the well-known landscapes in Finland. Finnish authors Ludwig Runeberg and Zachris Topelius both described its beauty in their works. Around 65 per cent of Finland’s total land area is covered in forest. Not only are they source of income, but hiking in summer, cross-country skiing in winter and gathering berries and mushrooms in late summer and autumn are popular leisure activities in Finland. The Finnish concept of ‘Everyman’s Right’ means that you can walk freely in the forests regardless to whom they belong. Photo: Visit Finland
In Savonlinna, the building of Olavinlinna, castle of St. Olaf, began in 1475. The castle was built to repel Russian attacks from the east and to guarantee the control of the region for the Swedish Crown. Make sure you visit also the bustling market place of Savonlinna. Photo: Visit Finland
_Surrounded by the Europe’s fourth biggest lake, Lake Saimaa, Savonlinna is famous for its world-class opera festival which is arranged in the Olavinlinna Castle in July/ August. Photo: Visit Finland
If you want to continue your journey of discovery around Finland, you can combine this tour with our second self-drive itinerary From the Sea to the Lakes – a Journey into Finland’s Cultural Heritage.
See the tour details and book your holiday to Finland:
10 days From the Sea to the Lakes - self drive with 50 Degrees North
9 days Green Forests & Blue Lakes I self drive with 50 Degrees North
Main picture: Asko Kuittinen